Consumers looking to invest in a new vehicle that can seat 8 people almost always need it for a specific set of circumstances. Shuttling a large family around town demands a different set of features than carrying a group of climbers to base camp. One size certainly doesn’t fit all, so we’ve summarized the main features and strengths of the ten most capable 8 passenger vehicles of 2016 to help you determine which option is the best fit for your situation.
2016 Honda Pilot – $29,995
Regarded as one of the best SUVs on the market today, the Honda Pilot has been winning over consumers with its incredible function and utility since its inception in 2003. For 2016 the Pilot has been reworked once again, featuring new styling, an updated interior, and a new 9-speed automatic transmission in some models.
Inside the Pilot the interior has been noticeably upgraded, with less cheap plastic and even more space. It’s one of the few SUVs in its class to have a usable third-row seat, and while it’s not entirely without flaws it’s still perfectly capable of seating two adults in moderate comfort.
Its 3.5L V6 is both sporty and efficient, getting an EPA estimated combined 23 mpg. Thanks to an updated suspension the Pilot handles like a dream; the ride is incredibly smooth, and the pilot turns with precision in the corners. To top it all off the 2016 Pilot is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+.
Honda has taken the successful formula for the Pilot and refined it yet again to create one of the best SUVs available on the market in 2016.
Read our full review.
2016 Honda Odyssey – $29,275
When it comes to minivans, the Odyssey has been a consistent top contender in the market for many years running. There’s plenty of space in the 2016 Odyssey, and it’s one of the safest vehicles on the road today; Honda has chosen to make a wealth of safety features standard on all Odyssey models including a rear-mounted camera. This helps to earn the 2016 Odyssey a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS.
It has seating for up to eight, and the third-row seats are usable by adults. All the seating in the Odyssey is adjustable and configurable; seating can be arranged for seven or even eight, depending on individual needs.
The Odyssey’s 3.5L V6 is reasonably quick for a vehicle of its size, and while it may not win any speed records it’s more than adequate for an efficiency people carrier. Thanks to the engineers at Honda, the Odyssey will get an EPA estimated 22 combined mpg, a fair amount for a seven-passenger vehicle. Consumers looking for a daily-commuter with the utility and space to carry the whole family will find a lot to like in the 2016 Honda Odyssey.
Read our full review.
2016 Toyota Sienna – $28,700
A direct competitor to the above-listed Odyssey, the 2016 Toyota Sienna is very similar in almost every way. It may not be an IIHS Top Safety Pick, but it did receive almost identical scores from that institute and comes equipped with the same standard safety features as the Odyssey. It’s also slightly less fuel efficient than the Odyssey, being rated at an estimated 21 combined mpg.
Where the Sienna outshines the Odyssey is comfort; it features the same configurable seating, but with more space and a better ride. A 3.5L V6 is coupled with a 6-speed automatic; it’s still no race car, but it does have plenty of acceleration and the handling is more than adequate for daily driving needs. The ride quality is superb, and the Sienna gracefully glides over bumps in the road with ease.
The Sienna is also one of the largest minivans on the market, and the seats themselves are as comfortable as any of its competitors offerings. A lot of time and attention was placed into making sure the 2016 Sienna excelled as a people carrier, and Toyota has produced one of the best minivans on the market as a result.
2016 Toyota Highlander – $29,990
Utility is king when it comes to SUVs; most manufacturers have shifted their focus to provide less rugged, more people-friendly vehicles to their consumers. Toyota hasn’t forgotten the SUV’s original purpose, however, and the 2016 Highlander is a smart blend of rugged utility mixed with modern functionality.
There’s not much focus here on driving enjoyment; the 4-cylinder base engine is merely adequate and the Highlander handles like an SUV. This small 4-cylinder engine is rated at an EPA-estimated 22 combined mpg. Toyota wasn’t looking to make “the ultimate driving machine” though, and their decision to focus on function and comfort makes the 2016 Highlander one of the top SUVs on the market today.
On the inside the Highlander is well-equipped even at the base trim. The seats are comfortable and the Highlander can seat up to eight; even the third-row can fit two adults in relative comfort on short trips. It’s also good to note that while the Highlander doesn’t come close to the off-road capabilities of the 4Runner it’s not afraid to get it’s feet wet and does fine in light terrain.
The IIHS has given the 2016 Highlander its highest award for safety. The 2016 Highlander is a complete SUV package at a reasonable price that will appeal to buyers looking for a crossover that hasn’t forgotten where it came from.
2016 Ford Expedition – $45,435
The second-largest SUV on this list, Ford has chosen to keep it’s long running Expedition model running on the same formula it has for nearly a decade. That means big, old-school SUV size and power combined with luxury-like comfort and top-notch versatility. The exterior of the expedition hasn’t changed much over the years; it’s still immediately recognizable despite some small style updates resulting in a more rounded body.
On the inside the Expedition has only gotten better, with more luxury flair and even more room than last year. It’s quieter than previous years, and all three rows of seating are comfortable, but the third-row is still best reserved for short trips. Still, there’s almost as much space here as there is in a full-size van, which means drivers have a lot of options for their passengers.
Under the hood the Expedition has been completely reworked from last year, eschewing the large V8 Ford has traditionally placed in its full-size SUV and replacing it with a twin-turbocharged V6 rated to produce 365-horsepower. This V6 setup gets better fuel efficiency than ever possible with the old V8’s, and the Expedition gets a respectable 18 combined mpg. An old-school SUV with all the modern trimmings, the 2016 Ford Expedition aims to attract buyers who still want a large SUV with rugged underpinnings and significant interior space.
2016 GMC Acadia – $30,975
Exceptionally well-styled and equipped, especially in the Denali model, the 2016 GMC Acadia is a large SUV with class. The Acadia finds a smart mix between affordability and comfort, featuring a fantastic interior that doesn’t have any of that cheap plastic feel common to most vehicles in its class.
It packs a lot of versatility, too, with a usable third-row seat and adjustable second and third rows, the Acadia can be customized to meet almost any requirement. The 6-speed automatic coupled to a 3.6L V6 gives the Acadia a smooth ride, but it’s not the fastest SUV around. The ride quality is excellent, however, and the Acadia transports its passengers in total comfort. That V6 gets an EPA-estimated 18 combined mpg, and the Acadia received good ratings from the IIHS.
The 2016 Acadia features smart styling and a wealth of versatility; it has an attractive exterior and the vehicle itself fits nearly any role a crossover could be used for. GMC is sure to find the Acadia a home in the garages of buyers looking for an affordable, upscale, and versatile passenger SUV for their everyday use.
2016 Chevrolet Traverse – $31,205
A full-size crossover for buyers seeking a passenger SUV with loads of space, the 2016 Chevrolet Traverse is a safe, functional SUV at a reasonable price. It’s well-equipped even at the base model, and higher trims add even more value.
The base models’ 3.6L V6 is rated to produced 288-horsepower and will tow up to 5,000 pounds. This comes at the slight cost of fuel efficiency, where the Traverse still gets a respectable 18 combined mpg.
The Traverse also received great crash scores from the IIHS, and comes with an array of safety features standard, with much more available as optional extras.
The Traverse will seat up to eight, or seven with the second-row captains chairs, though it’s best to stick with the bench seat for the added functionality. The third-row isn’t going to break any records for passenger space, but it’s certainly usable even by adults over moderate distances. There’s plenty of cargo capacity in the Traverse as well, and the seats can be adjusted or folded for even more room.
All models also come equipped with six months of Chevrolet’s Onstar system as standard, offering a number of helpful safety and navigation-related features unavailable from other manufacturers. All of this makes the Traverse a smart choice for consumers in the market for an all-in-one passenger and cargo carrier that won’t cost an arm and a leg.
2016 Kia Sedona – $26,400
The 2016 Kia Sedona is the smallest minivan on this list, and also the least expensive. Kia has made sure that it still has everything minivan buyers need in a people-carrier, however, and they’ve done so at a price that makes sense.
The 2016 Sedona is both comfortable and stylish, with bold lines and a hefty exterior that isn’t afraid of its van-based roots. Featuring seating for up to eight, with a comfortable and functional third-row seat, the Kia Sedona works best as an everyday commuter for families who need the extra room to get everyone from place to place. While higher-trim models get expensive very quickly, as is the standard with minivans, the base model functions well as is.
Its 3.3L V6 provides enough power for everyday driving needs, and the vehicle itself handles well for a minivan with so much heft. This V6 gets an above average combined 20 mpg in the base model, and the 2016 Kia Sedona is another IIHS Top Safety Pick.
There’s plenty of cargo space in the Sedona as well, and seats can be folded or adjusted for more room as needed. The 2016 Sedona has some serious competition in the minivan class, but it not only holds its own, it excels in all the right places buyers care about in their minivans.
2016 Buick Enclave – $39,065
The 2016 Buick Enclave is a handsomely styled, spacious and comfortable luxury SUV far less expensive than other competitors in its class. One of the nicest looking mid-size crossover SUVs, particularly from the front, the Enclave is one of the most luxurious SUVs in its price range.
There’s room for up to eight on the inside, with a generous third-row and plenty of space in the first and second. Quality finishing and smartly reserved styling highlight the quiet opulence of the Buick’s interior, and with available extras the Enclave can be equipped with all the utility and safety features a driver could need.
The Buick’s 288-horsepower 3.6L V6 has just the right amount of power for the vehicles’ large size and is rated at an EPA-estimated 18 combined mpg. While the Buick handles well and the ride quality is sublime, there is an ever present reminder of the vehicles weight when it’s being driven.
That won’t be enough to dissuade most buyers from taking a long, hard look at the Enclave, however, and it’s a solid choice for anyone interested in a Luxury Crossover.
2016 Chevrolet Suburban – $49,700
By far the largest SUV on this list, the 2016 Chevrolet Suburban is unapologetic about being a large SUV and it’s not afraid to wear this as a badge of pride. The 2016 Suburban can seat up to eight, or even nine with the optional front bench seat and every seat in the Suburban is roomy and comfortable, including the third-row, which can seat two adults for medium-length trips.
A mighty 5.8L V8 sits under the hood of this massive SUV, providing 355-horsepower and the ability to tow up to 8,300 pounds, one of the best towing capacities in its class. Despite its large size, the Suburban gets decent fuel efficiency thanks to Chevrolet’s smart cylinder shut-off technology which will deactivate 4-cylinders at cruising speed. Partly due to this, the 2016 Suburban is rated for up to a combined 18 mpg.
The 2016 Suburban caters to a wide-range of consumers looking for big, hefty V8 power and the same interior space as a full-size van. It fills this role beautifully and is one of the best large-size SUVs on the market today.
- Complete, Sortable List of 7+ Passenger Vehicles
- Best 8 Passenger Vehicles of 2015
- Best 8 Passenger SUVs
Over to You
Which of these vehicles are you leaning towards? Leave a comment and let us know what you like about it!