Seven you will never regret it
Definitely more seats. We have an 8 seater and a 7 seater. I prefer more space for people. You never know when it will come in handy. We have three kids, but regularly one or both of my parents come out with us.
I'd opt for the 7 seater. Not just because of the probably rare occasion when you have extra passengers, but for sanity. I have 4 children (8, 6, 4 and 2) and an 8 seater car. I would never go anything smaller than a 7 seater, I need to keep my children as far away from each other as possible in the car otherwise they fight, argue, hit, kick, touch each other all just to be annoying siblings. Ugh. Driving anywhere longer than a 5 minute trip is a nightmare some days! But then, you may not have that issue!
But I would also keep in mind your future, is this to be a long term investment? Do you plan on having this car for at least the next 10 years? If so, then more seats might be beneficial. If your children do extra curricular sports there's the possibility of car pooling with other team mates, there is the friends over aspect, or family members (we've often dropped family members off home after a family gathering - again car pooling), it allows for more room, school bags and other school paraphernalia can take up a fair bit of room.
I dunno, when I had 3 children and a 5 seater car, it was just a nightmare, and they weren't school age then, but it was just SO SQUISHY (but then, it was also 3 carseats being used for the 3 children). I dunno, I'd go for the bigger car, bigger doesn't need to mean more expensive to run, though a lot of 7 seaters are shocking on litre of petrol per 100km ratio so obviously keep that in mind!
We had a 5 seater until our 3rd was about 6m and by then. I had totally had it! They were so squashed , hot , the older two would fight , if we had a visitor like MIL etc we had to take two cars to go anywhere. We bought a Ford territory and I don't regret it for a second. We have two in the middle and one in the back because my older two fight nonstop so I had to separate them. I also don't know anyone with 5 who has a 5 seater.
My husband and I had the same discussion when I was pregnant with my third and we needed a bigger car to fit three car seats across the back. He wanted the 7 seater, I wanted the 5 seater. He was definitely right. With school age kids who are doing sport and have friends over (we are not walking distance to school), we used those extra seats ALL the time.
Then we ended up having twins, so now we use all 7 seats in the car, and I kind of wish we had an 8 seater, I feel like I'm always relying on everyone else to do drop-off/pick-ups because I can't fit any extras, which I hate.
We have 3 kids and a 5 seater, would love a 7 seater but there were no vehicles on the market that did what we needed.
We've got a 7 sweater and we use those extra seats more than we thought we would. They come in handy that's for sure, and when not in use they simply fold down & you can enjoy the same boot space as a 5 seater. Well worth the extra money IMO.
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I have 3 kids (4 in about 6 months!) but have had a 7 seated for years. Wouldn't be without it. My mum doesn't drive so we often have her in the car with us & even both my mum & dad...things like school concerts etc where parking is at a premium it's handy to only have to take one car. And a big yes to constantly having friends/team mates with us in the car too.
I vote for seven seats too my only advice is make sure the third row seats are easy for you to put up. We had a 2012 Territory and to put up the third row was a major pain in the butt so I just didn't do it, we've just bought a Prado Kakadu and it has electric third row seats so it's super easy! We will really get value for the third row seats now I can actually use them lol
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