If you wanted to buy a solid seven-seat car in the UAE, our first recommendation would be to go for the new Land Rover Discovery.

As you can see in this video here, we’re very fond of the new Discovery. It’s quick, it’s quiet, it’s comfortable, it’s practical, and it’s seriously luxurious. There’s a reason the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have one as a family runabout, you know.

The problem is, all of that loveliness comes at a price. The top-spec model we tested cost AED 330,000, and prices start at around AED 250,000. That puts the Discovery way out of reach for a lot of people who might need to ferry about a couple of adults and a few kids.

Happily, the market is chock-full of good, seven-seat SUVs that won’t break the bank. So, if you’re interested in something reliable, spacious, and even a little bit fun, these are our top picks for seven-seat SUVs under AED 200,000.

Kia Sorento

We’ll start the list of with something that offers seriously good value for money. The Kia Sorento isn’t exactly brimming with excitement, but it’s quiet, refined, comfortable, and can be optioned with seven seats. Oh, and prices start at AED 95,550 – which is seriously low for a full-size SUV. And don’t think that the price climbs to crazy levels once you’ve added a few options – fully loaded, the Sorento will still be cheaper than most of the other cars on this list. Plus, if you spec the 3.3-litre V6, you’ll find that your sensible family SUV is actually pretty quick. A win-win, then.

Mitsubishi Pajero

Yep, this is an obvious one – the Mitsubishi Pajero is a common sight all over the UAE, and with good reason. It may not be the last word in luxury and refinement, but it’s spacious, well-enough appointed, and properly good off-road (particularly if you spec the 3.8-litre V6). Prices for the three-door model start at AED 94,395, but you’ll have to spend a bit more to get the five-door model. Still, the price isn’t bad for a seven-seat family bus that can conquer mountains, if you ask us.

GMC Acadia

We’re into soft-roader territory with the GMC Acadia, but there’s plenty to like about this car. To begin with, it starts at AED 134,000. For that, you get a good-looking family runabount with seven seats and a whole lot of tech. There are five USB ports for charging devices on long journeys, and a 230-volt power outlet, too. There’s also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus a nifty infotainment system that’s loaded with features. Add to this the active noise cancellation for a quiet cabin, and you have a car that’ll really take the stress out of travelling with kids.

Nissan Pathfinder

While we’re a little disappointed that newer generations of the Nissan Pathfinder are no longer much good off-road, this seven-seat family car from Nissan has proven hugely popular. It starts at AED 124,950, and that’ll give you loads of space with easy access to both the second and third row of seats. Nissan has also loaded the Pathfinder with tech, so that even the basic model comes with an 8-inch touch-enabled infotainment display, Bluetooth, and USB connectors. If you want four-wheel-drive, you’ll have to move up the range, but given that most buyers tend to keep their SUVs on the road, we’d recommend the base model as something of a bargain.

2015 Toyota Fortuner GXL


Toyota Fortuner

Sure, the Toyota Fortuner isn’t as glamorous as the Land Cruiser, or the even the Prado, which many UAE expats aspire to own. But in spite of that, a redesign combined with some seriously good features has turned the Fortuner into a pretty desirable car. Two years ago, the new Fortuner was announced, and it was a completely new car – with much better interior and exterior styling. And underneath, it still shares a platform with the Toyota Hilux, famously the world’s most unkillable car. Oh, and it’ll still devour the sand dunes thanks to being relatively lightweight, and it has proper off-road functions like a low-range gearbox. Combine that with seven seats and some of the latest Toyota in-car tech, and you have a bargain starting at AED 114,900.

Chevrolet Tahoe

We’re coming in at the more expensive limit of our budget here, but the Chevrolet Tahoe, like the GMC Acadia, is something you’d buy to make driving with kids more relaxing. Inside, there’s loads of space (with seating available for up to nine people), and loads of tech. It’s also full of small, practical details that’ll just make your life a little easier – like the storage bin behind the infotainment screen, or the large cubby hole underneath the centre console. Oh, and if you spec it right, you can configure the seats in loads of different ways and have them move about electronically, meaning you only need to lift a finger. If we’re drawing comparisons to the Land Rover Discovery, the Tahoe comes ridiculously close to the same levels of refinement. Except it starts at just AED 167,500.

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado

Yes, it’s one of the UAE’s favourite SUVs. And since a new one was released last year, the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado is now even better. Inside, you get seating for seven in a light cabin with loads of nice touches (the top-spec model really is pretty luxurious), plus a good infotainment system that comes as standard. Oh, and if you’re into your off-roading, you really couldn’t do better. You get a low-range gearbox, a proper transfer box, and a bunch of terrain-response features to get the best out of your car when it’s bashing through dunes. And on the road, the Prado is quiet, comfortable and refined. The three-door model starts at AED 129,900, but you can easily get a highly-specced five-door model for well under AED 200,000. Spec the 4.0-litre V6, and you’ll find you have an SUV that’s surprisingly quick.