Cars that fit three child seats in a row for less than 10K

Cars that fit three kids

Cars that fit three kids across the back seats aren't as easy to come by as you might think. The problem is that many child seats (which you must use until a child is either aged 12 or 135cm tall) are just too wide to fit three abreast. 


Suitable cars do exist, however, and you don't have to pay the earth for them – cue our list of the ten best cars to fit three child seats in a row, each for under £10K. 
 
 

Why used seven-seaters tick the most boxes

 
Each car here is a seven-seater, as these tend to offer three full-size seats across the middle row, giving the best chance of fitting three child seats here. Some of these models are also available as five-seater cars, but we reckon it's worth paying a bit extra for a much more versatile car. 
 
 
To keep each car under £10,000 we've chosen used models, but these include several cars that should look and feel as good as new if they've been well cared for. We've also recommended models that offer the best balance of power and equipment for the money, on the most recent number plate – the fewer miles a car has done, the less wear and tear it's likely to have suffered. However, it's up to you if you want to compromise in one area to get more from another – for example, an older or higher-mileage car will be cheaper, or allow you to afford a higher spec. 
 

Getting the right fit

 
Bear in mind that not every trio of child seats will fit across all of these cars, and the slimmer your models of child seat, the better your chances. In particular, booster cushions are a slimmer alternative to high-backed booster seats.
 
Remember too that, even individually, not every child seat will fit properly in every car. The angle of the car's seat back and base may not suit the shape of your specific child seat; Isofix points in the car can be positioned too high for your child seat's Isofix connectors. Your child seat's manufacturer can often tell you if a their seat is compatible with a particular car. If not, the only way to be sure is to try out your child seats in any car you're interested in, and know what to look for; or be prepared to replace some or all of your child seats when you buy the car. 
 

How much to pay

 
The prices we've given with these cars are what you can expect to pay at a dealer, who in most cases will operate an approve-used scheme which includes a wide range of official checks on all used cars before they go on sale and includes some sort of warranty. You'll pay less privately but the car will be sold as seen and you won't get any back-up if something goes wrong. Either way, you can always try to negotiate on price.
 
We've also specified the age of the cars you'll need to look at for a £10,000 budget, using the car's registration figures – for more information on what these figures mean, click here
 

Petrol or diesel?

 
For each car, we've recommended both a diesel and petrol model, depending on your driving habits. A diesel car will be stronger, so it's the best choice if you're likely to travel fully laden with seven passengers and their luggage on a regular basis; diesels are also a good option if you travel over 12,000 miles a year, where the extra expense of buying a diesel car will be offset by its better fuel economy. However, diesel cars are often fitted with a diesel particulate filter (DPF), and these can get clogged up, leading to engine failure, if they are not given regular runs at higher speeds to clear them out. If your driving is mainly urban, petrol may be a safer choice – you're unlikely to miss the oomph of a diesel round town, and you'll also avoid problems with a DPF. 
 
If you're not sure which will work out cheapest for you, read our guide to petrol vs diesel including our downloadable calculator. 
 

Reliability and used cars

 
Reliability is a key issue for anyone who regularly relies on their car, and the reality is that few used cars are without their problems. We've highlighted particular issues to watch out for with any of these cars, and if you want to make life easy for yourself you should demand that any problems are fixed before your buy – or walk away and find a car in better condition. 
 
Always check on the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) website for any recalls that have been issued, and check that the problem in question was fixed by a main dealer.

 


Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

Seven-seat version of the practical, family-orientated C4 Picasso, with the same distinctive up-and-over windscreen. The Grand C4 Picasso is closely related to the Peugeot 5008 but has a soft, floaty suspension compared to the Peugeot's slighty sportier feel. Models produced before late 2010 are the best value. 

Seat Alhambra

Seat Alhambra

The Alhambra is a large MPV, which explains how it can seat seven adults in comfort. The first-generation model you'll get for £10K isn't as versatile as some MPVs but it's still spacious and good to drive. 


Ford Galaxy

Ford Galaxy

Space for seven adults, versatile seating that folds flat in seconds, and it's the best-driving large seven-seat MPV that £10,000 can buy. You'll need to look at examples built before the Galaxy's 2010 facelift to stay on budget, though.  

Toyota Verso

Toyota Verso exterior

Verso is the sensible option: the interior isn't very appealing to look at but the Verso is a good all-rounder and comes with Toyota's excellent reliability record. What's more, a five-year warranty means that £10K will buy you a car that still has a good chunk of manufacturer cover left. 


Ford S-Max

Ford S-Max

The S-Max is like a smaller (and cheaper) version of the Ford Galaxy, with the same versatile seating system and another enjoyable driving experience. As with the larger Galaxy, for £10K you'll be looking at models built before the S-Max was updated in 2010.

Vauxhall Zafira

Vauxhall Zafira

Good driving manners, a spacious cabin and rock-bottom prices make a used Zafira one of the cheapest ways into a seven-seater, and £10K will buy you one as young as two years old. 


Peugeot 5008

Peugeot 5008

A great all-rounder, the Peugeot 5008 is good to look at, drive and use, with seats that fold flat in seconds. It was first launched just four years ago but the earliest examples are now on the used market for under £10K.

Volkswagen Touran

Volkswagen Touran

The Touran is relatively compact for a seven-seater, fairly practical and offers VW's quality and image - without the brand's usual high prices. £10K will buy you a model built before the Touran's facelift in 2010. 


Renault Grand Scenic

Renault Grand Scenic

Seven-seat version of the Scenic has a versatile cabin full of family-friendly features and a generous equipment list. Reliability could be better but concerns over this help to keep prices low - £10K can buy you a model as young as two years old and with the balance of its original warranty.

Volvo XC90

Volvo XC90

Safe, reliable, seven-seat SUV with just enough space for three child seats to fit across the middle row. Comes with Volvo's legendary seat comfort. XC90s hold their value well but a higher-mileage example can still be bought for under £10K.