Why I’m Glad We Chose a 7 Seater SUV over a 5 Seater Sedan

Why I’m Glad We Chose a 7 Seater SUV over a 5 Seater Sedan

This post has been written in collaboration with NRMA

When I found out I was pregnant with Phoebe, I knew a new car was on the cards for our family. The surprise pregnancy was the catalyst for us making a decision on whether to purchase an SUV or another sedan. The SUV won in the end, but I will admit a lot of thought was put into the purchase of our new car. I thought I’d share why I’m glad we chose a 7 seater SUV over a 5 seater Sedan. And I admit that my husband was right. And I was wrong.

The Apprehension

I have never been a fan of driving big cars. I would ALWAYS get nervous driving my dad’s Toyota Hilux 1.5 Cab Ute in the city, parking it into loading zones. I was that girl who would drive past a loading zone if I had to reverse park. I would drive around the city until I could find a park to pull into. Sometimes parking in an expensive car park for half an hour or so was better than me trying to wedge the ute into a tight space. I would physically punch the air when I could pull into an empty loading zone.

And so it was with this apprehension that made me weary of considering an SUV. Jacob suggested the 7 seater would be practical. All I could imagine was driving the streets of Brisbane in a semi-trailer.

But after heading to a number of different car dealers and looking at car seat configurations, the bigger SUV’s were looking to be our best bet.

The Considerations

I don’t know about you, but when our family would go on holidays, the car would be filled to the brim with STUFF. Holidaying with young kids can feel like you’re packing to go on a six-month expedition, when really, you’re only heading away for a week!

With a third little person on the way, and considering we like to holiday locally every year, we had to consider space needed for annual family vacations.

The second consideration was having family visit. In a sedan, there are no spare seats for extra passengers, but a 7 seater would allow us to travel with other family members, when they came to visit.

The third consideration was the cost. Could we afford upgrading to a bigger car because bigger cars usually require more money to purchase and run. I left this domain with Jacob, where he researched all the financial pros and cons of 7 seater SUV’s to help with our decision. If you need to work out how much it will cost you to pay off your car, NRMA have this handy car loan calculator which will calculate your repayments so you can work out whether you can afford your new purchase or not. NRMA also offer new car loans and used car loans so you can be driving your new wheels in no time, whatever model you decided.

The Decision

We were lucky enough to have a friend who worked in Toyota and was able to source a demo model of a 7 seater Toyota Kluger. We got the car for a brilliant price and got some free added extras. It was a very good day when we got to pick up our new Kluger and leave our Honda Civic, which was on the verge of heading into the period of requiring expensive repairs.

Toyota Kluger

Our new Toyota Kluger, photo taken on the afternoon we picked her up.

Why I’m Glad We Chose a 7 Seater SUV over a 5 Seater Sedan

We bought our car 3 years ago and I’m always grateful when I get behind the wheel. Here are just some of the reasons I love having a 7 seater SUV.

It fits all the car seats

I didn’t realise how difficult it was to fit 3 carseats in the back seat of a car. The Toyota Kluger and Nissan Pathfinder seemed to have the most room in the back seat to accommodate a baby capsule and two car seats.

I can separate the kids

Now that my girls are older, they like to fight or annoy each other when sitting next to each other in the back seat. Having a third row, with 2 seats in the back, has meant my oldest now sits in the back, and we’ve separated the younger two by installing their car seats on either side of the passenger seats. This separation promotes peace in the car while I’m driving and quite frankly, it’s great for my sanity.

Kluger space inside car 7 seater suv

I can fill the boot and still have space for the kids

Just joking. I put the kids in first and no longer have to put shopping on their laps. The boot is so spacious, we have no trouble with lack of space when we head on holidays. When I do grocery shopping, the bread doesn’t get squashed, because the bags don’t need to be piled on top of each other for space.

Why I’m Glad We Chose a 7 Seater SUV over a 5 Seater Sedan

Tetris packing by my husband on our recent trip to Coffs Harbour

I can help others

I LOVE being able to help others, and having a 7 seater Kluger has meant, if someone needs help getting their kid picked up from school, I can do it.
On school holidays, if we plan a day trip to a museum, I can take another mum and her two kids so we can travel together. It saves two cars heading out and is a lot of fun having a full car.

Why I’m Glad We Chose a 7 Seater SUV over a 5 Seater Sedan

Heading out with friends to the art gallery, all seven seats are taken.

For some reason, I had thought having a 7 seater SUV would mean I’d be expected to be someone else’s car ferry service. But that hasn’t happened. In fact I’m the one offering to be the taxi service because I can do it, and I get a lot of joy in helping another mum out.

7 seater SUV is life changing

All the kids in the back

When choosing to upgrade a new car, there are so many variables to consider. But one of the biggest considerations should be convenience. I have never felt frustrated with our Kluger. I haven’t had the ‘if only we bought…’ regrets. Our Kluger has delivered what we imagined it would promise. It has over delivered and I’m so grateful I listened to my husband and gave up on my idea of driving our family of five in a sedan. I will admit defeat on this one. Darling husband you were right in pushing us to get the 7 seater. And I’m so grateful you did.

Did you find it stressful deciding on a family car? What car features are important to you?

Disclosure: This post has been written in accordance with my disclosure policy. All opinions are my own. 

  • I regret we didn’t get a 7 seater especially when my kids were younger as we could only ever fit our own immediate family in our car and not any of our kids friends. As a result we could never invite one of their friends for weekends away with us whilst my kids had a few weekends away with other families.

    I must confess I’m the same as you with reverse parking and have been known to circle blocks to find a park I don’t need into reverse into.


    • Yes, I’m not good at reverse parking. I just won’t attempt it because I will hit something. LOL. x

  • We’re in the market right now and it’s hard to find one that suits so far. And it’s quite tiring car shopping. It’s a balance right now between buying a new (or new to me) car and wondering how long mine will go for before it gets too expensive and a car loan is cheaper than repairs.

    • Yes, car shopping can be exhausting! I remember wanting to make a decision already when we were looking back then. I do hope you can find the car for your needs Ness. x

  • WE have had seven seaters for years now, first the Hyundai Sante Fe, then the mazda CX9, now we have an Audi Q7 which I love. Essential for a large family I think.

    • Oh gosh, you’d have to with 5 kids. Our friend asked if we had considered a mini-van and I was like NOOO (because my head was with a small SUV or a sedan). Have heard great things about the Mazda CX9. And Audi are a gorgeous car. x

  • We both brought new SUVs with the cash from our house sale back in 2014. I chose a 5 seat X Trail and hub got the 7 seater Pathfinder. To be honest, I have been the grandma who carted young people around from 1996-2015 but this time we probably didnt need the extra seats but I say if you can afford this vehicle, go for it. I did have a Toyota Avensis 7 seater for the peak years of my grandparenting years and had to get special car seats fitted to accommodate 3 g’ kids in the second row. I did it though. I think your decision has been a great one!! More space, fewer fights too. Denyse #teamIBOT

    • More space and fewer fights has promoted peace in our car. I think we will continue to do the 7 seater from now on as our kids get older too.

  • Tracy

    We had to replace a sedan just after we had our 3rd child. We couldn’t afford an SUV so had a station wagon with the dickie seats (seatbelted) in the back. That was perfect til the kids got too big LOL. And 3 car seats was the reason we went with a Ford instead of a Holden…hand space between seats is a whole thing!
    When my BIL was living in the USA they had a Toyota Highlander, which is our Kluger. It is wonderful car and for a long time it was kind of my dream car. You’re right, it just does everything you need it to do.

    • Yes to handspace between the seats. Forgot to mention that point. All good fitting three seats across, but hopeless if you can’t get your hand in between the seats for the buckle. Dream cars can become a reality… eventually. Everyone has to make the right decision on what works for their current finances and family situation. Thank you for sharing what you’ve had experience with in the past. 🙂

  • We are so desperate for a new car. We bought a super old Camry before we had Zee because we knew we were going to need something bigger than the Corolla to accommodate the car seats and assorted kid-paraphenalia that comes with having a newborn and a toddler but we are getting to the point where we don’t need it now and are looking at upgrading to something newer, probably some kind of station-wagon or one of the larger “small” cars. Personally I’m keen for another Corolla, and I’m wondering if I can convince my Mum to buy a new car and sell me her rare Corolla station wagon, lol!

    • Corolla is a great car. Kids can bring so much stuff with them, but you’re right, as they get older, you don’t need to pram, baby bags and all the things when taking them around. For us, I love the space and accommodation for others in the car when the back seat is full. I hope your mum does buy a new car. LOL. 🙂