The Seven Seaters
Seven seats are such a bonus when you’ve got a big family
The Seven seaters
Seven seats are such a bonus when you’ve got a big family, or when friends or family join you on a trip. The Toyota group, including Lexus, has a number of vehicles with seven seats or more, ranging from affordable family vehicles through to ultra-luxurious SUVs that will take you and six of your closest people anywhere you want to go.
The most affordable seven-seater in the Toyota stable, the Avanza is tried and tested. As a family vehicle, as office transport and even as a taxi, the Avanza plays a number of roles with aplomb. The 1.5-litre petrol engine is one of the reasons why this car is so popular – it is economical to run (6.3 l/100km) but offers peppy performance (77kW and 136Nm), and it is also regarded as incredibly reliable.
For families, the Avanza TX is the most attractive model, literally, with a more upmarket appearance featuring LED lighting and alloy rims.
Prices range from R247 900 to R320 000 and include a 4-services/60 000km service plan and 3-year/00 000km warranty.
Having seven seats is just one of the attributes that keeps the Fortuner firmly entrenched at the top of the monthly vehicle sales charts. The rearmost row of seats folds away for flexibility, while the Fortuner as a package is very hard to beat in terms of practicality and value for money. The choices of engines, with two turbodiesels and two petrols, as well as 4x2 and 4x4 versions means that the Fortuner range is appealing to a wide range of people looking for different things from their family vehicle, from a car to do the school run to a hardcore 4x4 for expeditions into Africa.
Prices start at R520 900, which includes a 6-service/90 000km service plan and a 3-year/100 000km warranty.
Toyota Land Cruiser Prado
A consummate all-rounder, the Prado is a luxury SUV that can actually live up to its rugged looks and deliver on that promise of adventure.
The Prado features a 4x4 system with a low-range transfer case as well as centre and rear diff-locks and 215mm of ground clearance. The specification levels are premium, too, while ride comfort is one of the things that sets it apart from competitors. There are currently two engine options, 2.8-litre turbodiesel and 4-litre petrol.
With regards to the seven seats, the rear row folds into the floor of the boot at the touch of a button, leaving a vast luggage space big enough for a lengthy time on the road.
Prices start at R939 900 for the 2.8GD TX and go to R1 105 800 for the 2.8GD VX-L. All Land Cruiser Prado models include a 9-service/90 000km service plan and 3-year/100 000km warranty.
Toyota Land Cruiser 200
The biggest and baddest SUV on the block, the Land Cruiser is the ultimate off-road vehicle. The 4.5 turbodiesel V8 engine is a major part of the vehicle’s arsenal, producing 195kW and 650Nm, while there is also a full complement of comfort and convenience features, off-road technology and safety equipment.
And instead of having just seven seats, the big Cruiser comes with one extra, thanks to a rear row of seating that actually accommodates three instead of the customary two. Before you sign on the dotted line, check that the Cruiser 200 you’ve got your eye on does have the third row of seats, because not all of them do!
New prices start at R1 107 900, including a 9-service/90 000km service plan and 3-year/100 000km warranty.
Lexus RX350L EX
Probably the most stylish seven-seater around, the RX350L EX adds a little bit of length and two extra seats to the standard RX350 model.
This is an SUV in the Lexus mould, which means luxury, safety and technology combined with svelte good looks and the incredible Lexus reputation. Power is courtesy of a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine that provides 216kW and 358Nm, with an 8-speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel-drive. The list of features is too long to get into, because the RX has everything the Lexus sedans have, but in an SUV body.
The RX350L EX is priced at R1 130 900, with a 7-year/105 000km warranty and maintenance plan. The five-seat version of the RX is slightly cheaper.
The Lexus LX is essentially a luxury version of the Toyota Land Cruiser 200, with all the same mechanicals. The LX 570 has a 5.7-litre V8 petrol engine with a 8-speed automatic transmission, and is able to match the Cruiser 200 off-road as well.
In the 8-seater LX 570, the rear row of seats (when fitted) can fold away automatically when not in use. The LX 570 really is the pinnacle of seven (or eight) seat SUVs, especially if comfort and space are as important to you as 4x4 capabilities.
The LX 570 is priced at R1 894 100, and includes an impressive 7-year/100 000km Lexus warranty and maintenance plan.