Drum roll, please. The top five seven seated vehicles are the SEAT Alhambra, Vauxhall Zafira, Hyundai Santa Fe, Land Rover Discovery, and the Ford S-MAX.
Drum roll, please. The top five seven seated vehicles are the SEAT Alhambra, Vauxhall Zafira, Hyundai Santa Fe, Land Rover Discovery, and the Ford S-MAX. Okay, stop hitting that drum. Now our focus must be less instrumental and more numerical, as we place these machines “in order” of excellence via a points system. This evaluates their handling, cargo capacity, price, and status. The winner, of course, is the vehicle with the most points.Item one is handling. The Discovery wins this category as it feels luxurious and composed on tarmac, and supremely capable over the rough stuff. It therefore inspires confidence, and earns five points. Next – claiming four points - is the Hyundai Santa Fe. It too has four-wheel-drive, making it feel extremely secure although not as versatile as the Discovery. Best of the 2WDs is the S-MAX, which earns three points for its sharp feel. The SEAT Alhambra and the Vauxhall Zafira feel less inspiring, so only take two and one respectively. Our next consideration is cargo capacity where, once again, the Land Rover earns the maximum five points. Why? Because its storage volume with the rear and middle seats folded flat is a monstrously large 2,558-litres. Plenty of room for that drum kit, then. Next – earning four points thanks to its 2,297-litre boot - is the SEAT Alhambra. Furthermore, the Santa Fe deserves three points as its capacity is 2,247-litres - and the S-MAX claims two thanks to its 2,000-litre boot. Finally, the Zafira earns one for its comparatively modest 1,820-litres. It is still cavernous, however, so there is plenty of space for noisy instruments. That brings us to where low is best - cost. Land Rover Discovery prices start at a rather painful £38,825, so it only earns one point. The Santa Fe claims two thanks to its £23,650 starting price (seven seater), and the SEAT wins three. It costs from £23,535. The S-MAX gets four as it costs from £22,600, and the Zafira has five as it is priced from only £18,565. Our final factor is important to some and irrelevant to others. It is, of course, status. In other words, which vehicle makes the neighbours most jealous? There are few more fashionable than the Discovery, so again five points. The Santa Fe is a stylish 4x4 too – rather than a workmanlike MPV – so it wins four. That leaves the S-MAX with three thanks to its handling, the SEAT with two due to its decent looks, and the dated looking Zafira gets one. Time then to reveal the final order. The Land Rover Discovery wins the countdown with sixteen points. Next is the Hyundai Santa Fe which scores a thrilling thirteen. The Ford S- MAX finishes third with a highly respectable twelve, and the SEAT Alhambra is fourth with eleven. That, of course, leaves the Vauxhall Zafira fifth with eight. But that is a little harsh. Despite being last, the Vauxhall is a tremendous workhorse for the money. In fact, any of these vehicles should provide years of easy motoring. But, as always, you get what you pay for and the pricey Discovery is in a different league. Now, where did I leave that drum?