Take the tribe

Wagon, van or SUV: The pick of the seven and eight-seaters

The Courier-Mail - Cars Guide - - Front Page - CRAIG DUFF

SCHOOL’S back and par­ents across the coun­try are scram­bling to find uni­forms, bags and the best route to get to school. For larger fam­i­lies who have an­other child about to start their for­mal education, the is­sue com­pounds and many will be in the mar­ket for new trans­port for the tribe.

Mod­ern peo­ple-movers have been moulded into three di­verse groups: the oc­ca­sional seven-seaters where the thirdrow pews are best left for emer­gen­cies, the high-rid­ing SUV style and the prac­ti­cal but not as pretty van-based con­tenders.

Here are some of the classi­est can­di­dates in each di­vi­sion. All are ca­pa­ble of car­ry­ing an ex­tended fam­ily with vary­ing de­grees of spa­cious­ness and com­fort. It comes down to how of­ten you’ll need those third-row seats and how much you’re pre­pared to pay for ex­tra room.

On-road costs add $3000 or more in this price bracket, so we’ve pub­lished drive-away prices.

OC­CA­SIONAL SEVENSEATERS Kia Rondo From $35,400

The Rondo rules as the best han­dling of the en­try level seven seaters. Be­cause it’s not jacked up off the ground it corners with less body roll, which in­duces less nau­sea in your pas­sen­gers and saves you un­pleas­ant cleaning du­ties. A 2.0-litre four-cylin­der en­gine is paired with a six-speed auto for claimed fuel use of 7.9L/100km.

Nis­san X-Trail From $35,500

Any­one shop­ping for a mid­sized SUV with seven seats should look here. As with the Rondo, the X-Trail misses out on third-row airbags but the sec­ond row seats slide in­de­pen­dently and have a raised base so smaller bod­ies can still en­joy a de­cent view. The 2.5-litre four-cylin­der en­gine and con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion claim fuel use of 8.1L/100km.

Toy­ota Prius V From $40,100

Petrol-elec­tric propul­sion is the unique sell­ing propo­si­tion for the Prius. The 1.8-litre en­gine and elec­tric mo­tor achieve an of­fi­cial fuel use of 4.4L/100km. Per­for­mance isn’t punchy but it doesn’t need to be in this type of car and the Prius is more than ca­pa­ble of keep­ing up with the traf­fic. Toy­ota’s at­ten­tion to de­tails shows in the stor­age spa­ces and ad­justable rear seats.

SUVs Kia Sorento From $45,200

Prac­ti­cal­ity is the premise be­hind Kia’s big SUV. It isn’t as phys­i­cally im­pos­ing as the Mazda but it packs a lot of space into that shape and the com­bi­na­tion of a seven-year war­ranty and sharp pric­ing

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