Budget-friendly load luggers for large families

The SUV has replaced the traditional saloon car as the transport of choice for families across South Africa. While SUVs and their booted compatriots suit the needs of most families, there are a few out there that require seats for more than five. Problem is, most seven-seaters are prohibitively expensive. 

There are a few, though, that manage to offer up plenty of space for not much outlay.

Renault Triber 1.0 Prestige – R209,900

family cars
The Renault Triber is one of the cheapest seven-seaters in South Africa.

Manufactured in India, Renault’s quirky seven-seater is focused on delivering affordable transport to the masses. The range kicks off at R183,900 for the base model Expression. The Prestige may be R20,000 dearer, but it is packed with far more standard features. All the essentials are to be found, including air-conditioning, four airbags, ABS brakes and electric windows. 

The Prestige also ships standard with satellite navigation, among other nice-to-haves. A one-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine isn’t going to break any speed records, but that’s no issue. We’re looking at space and practicality. Despite the compact exterior dimensions, the Triber boasts a spacious interior. With the rearmost seats folded down, Renault claims the little MPV offers up 625L of luggage space. A two-year/30,000km service plan is standard.

Suzuki Ertiga 1.5 GL – R261,900

family cars
Good build quality, plenty of interior space and a peppy engine are all endearing qualities of the Ertiga.

The Ertiga takes on a more traditional shape than the SUV-aping Triber. While the tall shape may not appeal to all, it pays dividends inside. There is ample room for passengers. Suzuki claims the Ertiga can hold up to 199L of cargo – even with all seven seats in use. The long wheelbase means that even rearmost passengers can sit comfortably.

Softly sprung suspension ensures a good ride quality, while the 1.5-litre powertrain can provide decent economy (claimed 6.2L/100km) and performance, courtesy of the Ertiga’s featherweight mass. The GL is the pick of the bunch, striking the best compromise between value for money and equipment. Two airbags, ABS with EBD and two ISOFIX anchorages come standard. A four-year/60,000km service plan is standard.

Toyota Avanza 1.5 SX – R280,100

family cars
The Avanza enjoys great popularity with South African consumers.

The senior of the group, Toyota’s Avanza has been with us since 2007. A number of revisions have been thrown the Avanza’s way in an attempt to keep it fresh, but there’s no denying that it’s certainly long in the tooth. Still, they’ve managed to garner a reputation for incredible durability and reliability.

The mid-range 1.5 SX also features seven seats as standard and comes equipped with dual front airbags and ABS with EBD. The Avanza 1.5 SX is the only car here to boast standard traction and stability control. Due to the brand’s reputation in South Africa, the Toyota would be your best bet if you’re a driver for a ride-share company, as they hold their value exceptionally well. Just browse a secondhand car website to see what I mean – older, well looked after examples still command a pretty penny.

Honda BR-V 1.5 Trend – R285,400

SUV-like styling lends the BR-V kerb appeal.

Like the Triber, our most expensive entrant also has styling inspired by the ever-popular SUV. Honda’s BR-V is a wonderful thing. Beautifully built, suitably solid and blessed with excellent rolling refinement. The 1.5-litre petrol engine is the most powerful of the group (88kW versus the Triber’s 52kW and the Ertiga and Avanza’s 77kW), while fuel economy remains on par with the group.

The BR-V is the largest car here, boasting an impressive 691L of boot space with the third row folded down. With all seven seats in place, there is still a capacious 223L up for grabs. Like the Avanza and Ertiga, two airbags and ABS with EBD are standard. The only omission on the otherwise impressive scoresheet of the BR-V trend is the lack of a service plan, although a five-year/200,000km warranty is standard.

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