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BEST BUYS

Large family? Here are SA's most affordable seven-seaters

If you need to schlep junior soccer teams here are the buys in the R200,000 to R400,000 price range

15 July 2022 - 15:22
Seven seater MPVs offer great space and versatility, and don't all cost an arm and a leg.
Seven seater MPVs offer great space and versatility, and don't all cost an arm and a leg.
Image: Supplied

Large kombis and MPVs are renowned for their space and luxury, but they aren't exactly affordable to the masses. People carriers like the VW Kombi, Kia Carnival and Hyundai Staria sell for between R760,000 and more than R1,000,000.

However, for those who need a car to carry junior soccer teams there are a number of more affordable seven-seaters available if you're willing to do with fewer luxuries and power.

Here we look at what's available on the market:

Mitsubishi Xpander.
Mitsubishi Xpander.
Image: Denis Droppa

Mitsubishi Xpander

As the name describes, the Xpander has a modular interior that can be expanded from a five- to a seven-seater, or into a panel van, by flipping down the rear seats.

The Xpander is one of the largest seven-seaters in the segment at 4,475mm long, and has enough interior space for six or seven adults at a push. The middle-row seats move forward on sliding rails. The backrests of all seats can be adjusted separately, and the middle row can be tilted forward against front seats to cater for bulky cargo.

The Xpander is sold in a single-specification 1.5l petrol model, and the only choice you get is whether it’s a five-speed manual (R311,995) or four-speed automatic (R331,995). 

The 77kW engine delivers honest commuting performance and is competent on the open road, though it does become quite vocal when revved harder. Ground clearance is a handy 205mm, which gives the Xpander an SUV-style elevated seating position.

Standard items include dual airbags, ABS brakes and a rear parking camera.

As a bonus, the Xpander has futuristic styling that makes it stand out from the generic mommy-mobile herd.

Warranty: Three years/100,000km

Service plan: Two years/30,000km

 

Suzuki Ertiga.
Suzuki Ertiga.
Image: Supplied

Suzuki Ertiga

This seven-seater stands out with its versatility and keen pricing. At 4,395mm in length it gains additional shoulder and leg space compared to its predecessor, and access to the third row is made simple by a second row that tilts and slides forward.

Folding down all the rear seats liberates 803 litres of luggage room and the ground clearance is 180mm.

A 77kW 1.5-litre petrol engine is common to all three models in the range, which comprise the 1.5 GA manual (R254,900), the higher-specced 1.5 GL manual (R295,995), and the 1.5 GL auto (R312,900).

Even the entry level model comes standard with two airbags, stability control, ABS brakes, and aircon.

All versions have two airbags and ABS, but no stability control.

Warranty: Five years/200,000km

Service plan: Four years/15,000km

 

Toyota Rumion.
Toyota Rumion.
Image: Supplied

Toyota Rumion

Replacing the Avanza, the Rumion is a rebadged Suzuki Ertiga but comes with a larger choice of five models all powered by the 1.5 litre 77kW engine: the 1.5S (R260,600), 1.5 SX (R290,300), 1.5 SX auto (R306,900), 1.5 TX (R320,000), and 1.5 TX auto (R336,500).

There is sufficient space for average-sized adults on seats that move back and forth, with the three-seat third-row bench ideally suited to children. The seats can be flattened to open up more luggage.

The range-topping TX versions have niceties like keyless access, start-stop button, rear parking camera, climate control, alloy wheels, and front fog lights.

Warranty: Three years/100,000km

Service plan: Four services/60,000km

 

Honda BR-V.
Honda BR-V.
Image: Supplied

Honda BR-V

The seven-seat BR-V has been in the market for several years but was treated to a makeover in 2020 with design, equipment and refinement upgrades.

A number of new features were added including LED daytime running lights, rear parking sensors on the Comfort and Elegance models, as well as a touchscreen audio display system with a reverse parking camera for the flagship derivatives.

Its 88kW i-VTEC 1.5 litre petrol engine also musters more power than the opposition, which is useful when you're transporting up to seven people. The transmission options are six-speed manual or CVT automatic.

At 4,456mm in length the BR-V is one of the larger people carriers in its segment and is available in five models: 1.5 Trend (R310,700), 1.5 Comfort (R349,700), 1.5 Comfort auto (R372,400), 1.5 Elegance (R377,200) and 1.5 Elegance auto (R399,500).

All versions come standard with the LED daytime running lights, along with features like ABS brakes, dual front airbags, aircon, electric windows, and an audio system with Bluetooth and USB connectivity. 

Warranty: Five years/200,000km

Service plan: Four years/60,000km (standard in Comfort and Elegance, and optional in Trend)

Mahindra Scorpio.
Mahindra Scorpio.
Image: Supplied

Mahindra Scorpio

The eight-seat SUV has a respectable length of 4,456mm and is the most powerful vehicle in this list, with its 2.2 litre turbodiesel engine mustering a generous 103kW.

Though somewhat long in the tooth, the six-year old Indian vehicle offers good value and comes well equipped. All versions have two airbags, ABS brakes, rain-sensing wipers, tyre pressure sensor, remote central locking, navigation and cruise control. It's available in rear- and four-wheel drive variants, all with a manual transmission.

The three guises are the Scorpio 2.2 CRDe Sll (R369,999), 2.2 CRDe 4WD (R394,999) and 2.2 CRDe 4WD Adventure (R439,999).

Warranty: Four years/120,000km

Service plan: Five years/90,000km

Renault Triber.
Renault Triber.
Image: Supplied

Renault Triber

SA's most affordable seven-seater is also the smallest at 3,990mm long and the least powerful. With its 52kW three-cylinder 1.0 litre petrol engine the Triber lives life in the slow lane even with just one person aboard, let alone a full load.

Based on the Kwid and likewise imported from India, the Triber is one of the French brand’s vehicles for price-sensitive developing markets.

If you can live with the meek performance and flimsy feel, the range-topping Triber Prestige comes with a generous spec sheet including LED daytime running lights, four airbags, alloy wheels, a keyless entry with push-button start/stop, a cooled glovebox and a touchscreen infotainment system with navigation. 

It also has aircon with vents for all three rows, but using the aircon exacerbates the car’s lack of power.

The four Triber versions are the 1.0 Life (R197,400), 1.0 Zen (R207,400), 1.0 Intens (R223,400) and 1.0 Intens auto (R233,400).

Warranty: Five years/150,000km

Service plan: Two years/30,000km

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