Used car buying guide: Best £5k seven-seat car

5k seven-seat car

It might not look like a seven-seater but the Hyundai Santa Fe has that option (Picture © Hyundai)

The £5k seven-seat car. Think you can’t get one? Think again. Seven seaters come in more shapes and sizes than simply van-like MPVs. Here we look at three different hugely flexible family cars that are readily available for £5000 and offer excellent value for money if you need space.

£5k seven-seat car: Hyundai Santa Fe Overview

When Hyundai launched this version of the Santa Fe in 2006 it was an instant improvement on its awkward-looking predecessor. For a start it looked an awful lot better. It also had an option to specify seven seats; the previous model had just five. So when you’re looking for your £5k Santa Fe, make sure it was originally ordered with seven seats.

£5k seven-seat car: Hyundai Santa Fe What they come with

The Santa Fe isn’t the most dynamically accomplished car you’ll ever drive. However, Hyundai is renowned for offering a lot of standard equipment with its cars and the Santa Fe is no different. Even the cheapest GSI model came with electric windows and mirrors, 17-inch alloy wheels, six airbags, an alarm/immobiliser and air-conditioning. On the CDX there are leather seats, electrically adjustable for the driver, 18-inch alloys and climate control. The CDX+ gets a 10-speaker sound system, sat nav and even a DVD player for the rear seats.

£5k seven-seat car: Hyundai Santa Fe What you get

The Santa Fe isn’t at the top of most used car buyers’ wish list – good news for the savvy car buyer. However, for our £5000 budget you will struggle to get a car that is much newer than 2006 and even then it could have more than 100,000 miles under its wheels. We found a 2.2 CRTD CDX for £4566. It was 2006 06-reg with 129,000 miles on the clock. For exactly £5000, we found a 2006 56-reg 2.2 CRTD. It was in top spec CDX+ trim, however it had done 141,000 miles.
Look out for: The fuel gauge in this generation Santa Fe can sometimes pack up.

5k seven-seat car

The Mazda5 comes with handy sliding rear doors and acclaimed reliability (Picture © Mazda)

£5k seven-seat car: Mazda5 Overview

If there’s a more anonymous but more under-rated seven-seat MPV than the Mazda5, we’d be interested to hear about it. However, that makes it a great used buy. It also means that you can get a newer car than you would with other more popular motors. All versions come with seven seats. And the Mazda was the only car among its rivals of the time to offer sliding rear doors.

£5k seven-seat car: Mazda5 What they come with

Although there are seven seats in the 5, whoever gets to sit in the middle chair of the middle row will probably feel a bit short changed as it’s narrow and uncomfortable. The boot is also tiny when the rear row of seats is in use. Where the Mazda really scores is its prowess as a driver’s car and high levels of standard equipment. Entry level TS models come with electric windows and mirrors, air-con, a CD player and 15-inch steel wheels. The TS2 has 16-inch alloy wheels, picnic tables and leather trim. The range-topping Sport has 17-inch alloys, rear privacy glass and a six CD changer.

£5k seven-seat car: Mazda5 What you get

As the Mazda sails below most people’s radar, you’ll get a bit more for your money. So although we found a 2007 57-reg TS2 model with a two-litre petrol engine, it had only done 44,000 miles. For £4990, we found a 2007 57-reg Sport. This had done just under 60,000 miles but it did have the more desirable two-litre diesel engine and came with three months of warranty.
Look out for: There have been a number of recalls over the 10 years since the 5 came out. Make sure your car has had the work done. These include problems that can cause the engine to stall and engine mounts to fail.

5k seven-seat car

The Ford S-MAX is more stylish and better to drive than the Galaxy it’s based on (Picture © Ford)

£5k seven-seat car: Ford S-MAX Overview

When the S-MAX was unveiled in 2006, it was a revelation. Here was a car that had carrying capacity for seven, yet handled well and looked sporty enough to suggest its owner hadn’t quite given up in the battle for practicality over performance. However, the reason it’s here is because there are a lot of S-MAXs for all wallets and the laws of supply and demand mean this keeps prices keen.

£5k seven-seat car: Ford S-MAX What they come with

The original S-MAX looked good – arguably better than the model that replaced it. With seating for seven in comfort and a chassis that has the poise and handling of something much smaller, it’s a great compromise between two usually conflicting demands. S-MAXs came with a wide range of engines from 2.0 to 2.5 turbo petrol and 1.8 and the preferred 2.0-litre diesel. They are generally well equipped with even the cheapest Edge models featuring air-con and electric windows. The range-topping Titanium gets 17-inch alloy wheels plus electric driver’s seat and rain-sensing wipers.

£5k seven-seat car: Ford S-MAX What you get

The joy of looking for a used S-MAX is that, as with the majority of Fords, you’re spoilt for choice. We found a 2006 06-reg 2.0 petrol in mid-range Zetec trim which had done 81,000 miles for £4985. For £4990, we found a diesel 2.0 TDCi model from 2008 that was 58-reg but had done 127,000 miles.
Look out for: Water can leak into the passenger side of the vehicle. This is usually caused by a faulty connection in the air-conditioning. It’s worth looking under the carpet to see if the sound deadening material is damp or there’s tell-tale rust showing there’s been a leak in the past.

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