SUV’s, or Sport Utility Vehicles, offer many benefits over sedans, minivans and trucks. They are truly the most versatile vehicles on the market. When you choose a seven passenger SUV, you can easily take your turn with the soccer team carpool, or drive your business associates for meetings.
Most models offer third and second row seating that folds flat to create more cargo room, allowing you to pick up your own supplies for your weekend warrior projects, or haul your own gear for your weekend getaways. When you are buying an SUV there are several key things to keep in mind.
Obviously you want to know that there will be plenty of head room and leg room for you and your passengers. But you also want to know that your SUV can haul the gear you have, and that it can provide you with the towing capacity you need. Here is a summary of five of the top SUV models that offer seating for 7 people.
The term SUV used to be synonymous with poor gas mileage. But as technology has improved, the mileage ratings have improved. The Honda Pilot features gas mileage of 17 city and 23 highway, which is comparable to a minivan without the minivan look. The starting price is $28,045 and you can expect to pay about $40,000 for one that is nicely loaded. This SUV can actually seat up to 8 people, with optional seating for 7.
When the 60/40 split fold rear seat and center seats are folded down, the available cargo space is 87 cu-ft. While this is great when you only have one passenger, the fact is that you also need the cargo when all seven seats are occupied. In this event, the available cargo space is 18.0 cu-ft. behind the third row.
There are two drive train options and the one you choose will affect towing capacity. The 2wd option can tow up to 3500 pounds and the 4wd model can pull up to 4500 pounds. Safety features include side curtain airbags and stability assist to help prevent rollovers.
Ford Explorers have been around for many years now, and continue to be popular choices. This seven passenger SUV features a 50/50 split fold rear seat, allowing for more versatile configurations of the seating and cargo. The Ford Explorer has received National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s five-star crash test ratings for five straight years.
The safety canopy system helps keep all the passengers safe while AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control prevents rollovers. Another impressive new safety feature of the Explorer is inflatable rear safety belts that will actually help cushion the impact of seat belts in the event of an accident.
Because they inflate, they keep little bodies safer as they hold the neck and head in a more stable position, without causing injury from hard seat belts. The Explorer also offers a dual moon roof that 2nd row passengers will really enjoy. The price will run between $28,000 and $39,000.
You can transport almost anything because this SUV offers 80.7 cu-ft. when all seats are folded down. The available cargo space with all seats in position is 21 cu-ft. The towing capacity for the Explorer is up to 7115 pounds. The fuel economy is on the low side at 14/20.
Chevy Traverse is a smaller SUV that can still seat 7. This vehicle is enjoying accolades from Parents Magazine and Edmunds.com for being among the Best Family Cars of 2010. Kelley Blue Book and Autoweek have also praised the Traverse for its high quality.
The price starts at $29,224 with the fully loaded models will being around $42,000. One of the best features of the Traverse is that the center row seats easily move fully forward allowing an adult to easily climb in the 3rd row and sit comfortably. When both rows of seats are folded, the Traverse offers an amazing 116.4 cu. ft. of cargo space.
The Traverse can also tow up to 5200 pounds. 2nd row passengers will love the available dual sun roof and the six air bags positioned strategically throughout the vehicle will keep all of your passengers safe and sound. Traverse offers a 100,000 mile/ 5 year warranty on the powertrain, which is the best warranty available in this market.
The cargo behind the 3rd row is a truly impressive 24.4 cu-ft. so you can fit all of the groceries and the kids in the car without anyone feeling pinched for space. The Traverse is also more eco-friendly with its healthy gas mileage rating of 20/24 mpg.
The Toyota Highlander features a smooth ride and the quality that Toyota is known for. The pricing starts at $27,390 and features an impressive 20/25 for gas mileage. There are two engine options, and the one you choose will affect how much you can tow. The 4 cylinder can tow up to 3500 pounds while the V6 can tow up to 5,000 pounds.
The third row is a 50/50 split folding seat and the center row seats can also be folded flat, creating an overall available cargo area of 95.4 cu-ft. However, when all seats are in place the cargo area behind the 3rd row is only 10.3 cu. ft. However, safety features include three-row roll-sensing side curtain airbags and a driver’s knee airbag.
Other features designed to keep you safe include Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist and Hill Start Assist Control.
The Infiniti Qx56 is a top of the line SUV. This seven passenger SUV starts at $56,700 and offers some very nice features. Gas mileage is 14/20 but the towing capacity will rival the Expedition at 8,500 pounds.
The interior offers plenty of space and comfort. When the 60/40 rear folding bench seat and the center row are folded down, the QX offers 95.1 cu-ft. of cargo area. With all seats in position Infiniti still offers 16.6 cu-ft. cargo space behind the third row.
With the QX56, Infiniti takes safety to the next level. The Cruise Control is intelligent enough to not only maintain speed, but to also automatically adjust the speed to match traffic. The blind spot warning alerts you if there is a car in your blind spot when you engage the turn signal.
The car can also sense when the vehicle is too close to another vehicle and will pre-pressurize the brakes, making them more responsive when you need them most. Not only has Infiniti loaded this vehicle with features to keep you safe in a collision, it’s also loaded it with features to help prevent the accident from happening in the first place.