7 seater SUVs or MPVs have become the norm for growing and larger families. This has given rise to budget SUVs like the Honda BR-V, Toyota Rush, and the Perodua Aruz.
They all seat seven, cost around the same as a B-segment sedan and offer superb value for your money in terms of features, safety systems, and comfort levels.
This got us thinking, what other seven-seaters can buyers possibly get for the price of an Aruz – or for around RM75k – on the used car market. Suffice to say, we were pleasantly surprised by what we found.
However, to qualify the argument, we are merely taking into account the relative prices of these family carriers, and not the overarching ownership costs and working conditions of the vehicle. With every used car purchase, it pays to take your time when searching for a used car and get necessary mechanical inspections done to ensure a good ownership experience.
We have covered these topics extensively, from tips to avoid being scammed, even safeguarding your vehicle with an aftermarket vehicle warranty for added peace of mind. In all cases, we have prioritised vehicles, which are still eligible for financing with commercial banks.
Here’s the shortlist of seven-seaters you can buy for the price of a new Perodua Aruz.
Toyota Wish (AE20)
The second-generation Toyota Wish was produced between 2009 and 2017 and features spacious seating for seven courtesy of a slide and tilt second-row seating. The majority of Toyota Wish models available here feature the 1.8-litre (2ZR-FAE) engine, which produces approximately 143 hp and 173 Nm of torque, which is sufficient for daily travel within the city, and the long highway drives. Ride comfort and good NVH levels are other highlights of the Toyota Wish. With that said, there’s little imagination, in terms of styling on the outside, and the interior could use better plastics on the touchpoints such as the door panels and dashboard.
Nissan Serena (C26)
It’s hard to imagine that the Nissan Serena shares its roots with the endearing Nissan Vanette. The fourth-generation (C26) Serena offers massive amounts of passenger space and practicality – not to mention a roof so high, it allows passengers to almost walk through the cabin. The Serena is powered by a 2.0-litre (MR20DD) direct-injection four-cylinder which produces 147 hp and 210 Nm, mated to a smooth CVT-Type automatic transmission. Owners do note slightly low ground clearance depending on road conditions and the need for additional airbags (especially curtain airbags).
Consider this for a second; the Mazda Biante is shorter, at 4,715mm, and slimmer, at 1,770mm, than the current-generation Mazda 6 sedan (at 4,870mm and 1,840mm respectively), but the Biante can carry two more passengers. The Biante offers superb practicality courtesy of sliding third-row seats, which allows it to accommodate more luggage without the need to flip/fold the last row. Superb ride quality and cabin refinement are other highlights of the Biante. Its 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine develops 149 hp and 190 Nm of torque (mated to a 6-speed automatic) making it a decent highway cruiser and city dweller. The Biante loses some marks for not offering cruise control and auto headlamps, which were supplied as standard even on cheaper Mazda models.
Hyundai Grand Starex
The biggest car on our list seats even more than seven passengers, with three rear passenger rows, the Grand Starex will accommodate up to 11/12 passengers. Sliding rear rows also means that you can move the seats into a variety of different positions depending on your requirements of carrying people or luggage. The Grand Starex is powered by a 2.5-litre turbodiesel that develops 170 PS and 320 Nm of torque so there’s ample power to haul heavy loads. Do note however, that while it's powerful, the engine isn’t as refined as its competitors and some owners have noted that since the rear rows of seats cannot be removed or stowed away, carrying larger or longer items can be a challenge.
Honda Odyssey (RB3/RB4)
The Honda Odyssey needs no introduction. Having been in our market for nearly 20 years, it has built a reputation for being a reliable and spacious family carrier, which offers some trappings of premium luxury. Odysseys offer almost a car-like driving demeanour, and given that they’re smaller than the Alphard and Vellfire models, they are also easier to drive around the city and park. The RB3/RB4-generation Odysseys were supplied with a 2.4-litre four-cylinder which develops around 160 hp and 218 Nm of torque, mated to a 5-speed automatic. Do note, however, that third-row leg- and headroom isn’t as generous as other vehicles in this list and given the Odyssey's relatively sleek roofline, entry/egress for the third row can be a bit of a challenge.