It seems like every SUV model offers seating for eight passengers these days. Sometimes that third row is so small even children would have trouble squeezing into it. Some chassis will just never be able to create a usable third row without failing miserably or giving up utility in other areas. To help avoid this consumer pitfall, here’s a list of the 10 best eight passenger SUVs for 2017.
Year: 2016 | 2017
|Vehicle||MSRP||MPG City/Hwy||Rating||Seats||3rd Row Room|
|Honda Pilot||$29,995||19/27||8.95||8 std||38.9, 31.9, 57.6|
|Toyota Highlander||$29,990||20/25||8.4||8 std||35.9, 27.7, 55|
|Chevrolet Tahoe||$47,000||16/23||8.1||8 std (9 opt)||38.1, 24.8, 62.6|
|Chevrolet Traverse||$31,205||17/24||8.0||8 std||37.8, 33.2, 57.6|
|Infiniti QX80||$63,250||14/20||8.1||7 std (8 opt)||36.8, 28.8, 60.5|
|GMC Acadia||$30,975||17/24||7.9||8 std||38.4, 33.2, 57.8|
|Buick Enclave||$39,065||17/24||7.9||7 std (8 opt)||37.8, 33.2, 57.4|
|Chevrolet Suburban||$49,700||16/23||7.8||8 std (9 opt)||38.50, 34.50, 62.60|
|Ford Expedition||$45,435||16/22||7.8||8 std||38.3, 37.7, 51.9|
|Lexus LX 570||$88,880||13/18||7.6||8 std||35.8, 28.3, 62.3|
2016 Honda Pilot – $29,995
For years, the Honda Pilot was a solid choice for SUV buyers, however, most consumers and experts agree that in recent years they have traded exterior looks for ride quality and driving enjoyment. With the 2016 Pilot, Honda has shifted focus to find a balance between these two, creating an SUV that both looks good and gives a smooth ride for its passengers.
Boasting a reworked suspension, seating for eight and all the standard Honda bells and whistles; even the base model Pilot with no extras is a great value for the purchase price. A 2016 IIHS Top Safety Pick with optional front-crash prevention monitoring, the new Pilot is a successful mixture of tough SUV and family-friendly van.
Drivers take note: this is not the sporty, coupe-like handling SUV that first debuted over a decade ago. While the vehicle may not handle like a sport-coupe, the ride is extremely comfortable and will excel at being a daily passenger commuter and even provides a generous combined 22 mpg city/highway.
With a comfortable third row and an inexpensive entry price for the base model, the Honda Pilot has once again taken its place as a solid entry-level large SUV.
2016 Toyota Highlander – $29,990
Toyota has always made great vehicles and the Highlander is no exception. The 2016 Highlander looks even better than last year and provides more room and comfort for its passengers. Falling more towards the rugged looks of its larger brother, the 4Runner, the 2016 Highlander is a far cry from a van yet still sports a third row.
While the third row could be more spacious, particularly when it comes to headroom, it fits nicely into the vehicles small rear vertical profile. Its seating arrangement can potentially seat eight, though you’ll want to fit taller individuals in the middle row or up in the front passenger seat.
Another IIHS top safety pick, this vehicle also offers optional front-crash prevention monitoring to keep your family safe. Similar to the above Honda Pilot the 2016 Highlander is no sports car, but it does provide a comfortable ride and a comfortable environment for the whole family.
With a combined 22 MPG, or 28 for the more expensive hybrid models, the Highlander is on par with the Pilot for MPG as well. With the entry model priced at almost exactly the same as well, these competing large SUVs rank very close together in all categories.
A trade-off between better looks and third row headroom, both models can find their respective places in the garages of car buyers looking for additional seating in their SUVs.
2016 Chevrolet Tahoe – $47,000
Always an attractive choice in the full-size SUV category, the 2016 Tahoe is no exception to this trend. Smaller than its larger cousin, the Chevrolet Suburban, the 2016 Tahoe is still a large vehicle in its own right; the Tahoe can seat nine with optional front bench seat and six adults can be comfortably seated even on long trips.
Like other Chevrolet models, the Tahoe can be well-equipped with optional extras to provide near luxury SUV quality though the price tag will rise as features are added. The 355 hp V8 gets an estimated combined 18 mpg, but the engine can be switched to only use half its cylinders while driving turning the moderately thirsty V8 into an efficient V4 with the push of a button. Fuel economy data on this fuel-efficiency mode is not available, but drivers should expect a huge increase in gasoline usage when driving in this mode.
Crash safety data is not yet available from the IIHS, though the NHTSA gave it 5-star ratings in almost all categories.
The 2016 model year for the Chevrolet Tahoe is once again an impressive presentation from Chevy’s full-size SUV lineup and will suit the needs of most large-family SUV shoppers.
2016 Chevrolet Traverse – $31,205
Closely mirroring a minivan, the Chevrolet traverse places its focus on interior space and passenger comfort. Fans of the station wagon will find much to enjoy in the Traverse’s exterior design, with a similarly long profile; the only difference is in the height. This turns out to be a wise choice by Chevrolet as it creates additional headroom in the third row seat.
For an attractively priced large SUV, the Traverse offers generous space for all its occupants, comfortably seating six adults and two children. Even the base models are well equipped and the standard front side-airbag is among the first of its kind in large SUVs. The Traverse received good ratings in all categories, but its optional front-crash detection system received a low rating from the IIHS.
Its 288 horsepower direct injected V6 gives the Traverse a decent amount of get-up and go, and the ride-quality is free of bumps and wobbles. A combined 18 mpg fuel rating from the EPA is average for large size SUVs, a side-effect of its larger 6-cylinder engine.
Chevrolet poured its resources and time into creating a spacious and comfortable eight-passenger SUV and in that respect they have succeeded in their goal; the Traverse may be one of the largest models on this list, but it’s also one of the nicest passenger SUVs of this year.
2016 Infiniti QX80 – $63,250
Infinity, Nissan’s luxury division, has always brought a strong offering to the table when it comes to SUVs. The 2016 QX80 continues this tradition and is an affordable alternative to similar, but more expensive, entries from its European competitors. The QX80 certainly looks the part of the full-size SUV, bringing back thoughts of the Ford Expedition or Chevrolet Suburban, but the interior is where the QX80 truly shines.
Well-equipped even at the entry level, the QX80 offers a luxurious and comfortable interior, with seating for eight, though the third row may be too small for your average adult. The QX80 makes up for this in cargo-space, however, and both rows can fold down to compete with full-size vans in terms of sheer hauling area. Both rear-wheel and four-wheel drive are available, with a large 400 hp V8 providing both on-the-road power and off-road performance.
Speaking of off-road, the QX80 is an exceptional entry for such a large vehicle, with a true low-range gearbox and power transfer between the rear and front wheels for slippery off-road situations in the four-wheel drive model. The suspension gives the QX80 an extremely comfortable ride, as is expected from a luxury SUV, but the real surprise is in the vehicles acceleration and towing capacity.
The QX80 will hit 60mph in under seven seconds and tow up to 8,500 lbs; no small feat for a large Luxury SUV in this price range. Of course, the QX80’s mpg rating suffers, tagging in at a a combined 15 or 16 mpg for the four-wheel and rear-wheel drive models respectively.
This may be low compared to other eight-passenger SUVs, but the QX80 makes up for it in its versatility and sheer size, and while the IIHS has yet to rate the QX80, Infiniti’s other offerings for this year have received top safety picks.
A wise choice for the luxury SUV buyer looking for a large interior the QX80 is a blend of value, comfort and performance that hits its mark with true precision.
2016 GMC Acadia – $30,975
GMC may not be a true luxury brand, but in recent years they’ve truly stepped up their ability to provide a luxurious experience at a reasonable price. When compared to the other models in this price range, the Acadia trounces its competition in almost every category.
With comfortable seating for five adults and three children, the Acadia’s third row does leave something to be desired. The second and third row seats both fold down for an incredible amount of cargo space and the ride itself is extremely comfortable.
The only new feature over the previous year is the addition of WiFi connectivity via the vehicles’ Onstar system, which comes as standard, though the service itself does cost extra. Standard features are numerous on the Acadia, including a wealth of safety features and a highly rated crash-review from the IIHS. Its 288 hp V6 is “good enough” for the Acadia’s hefty 5,000 lbs curb weight, and the car’s handling is above average for its size.
The exterior aesthetic will be pleasing to most; the Acadia looks more like a crossover than a full-size SUV. The most expensive trim, the Denali, is a master-class in affordable luxury, providing a plethora of standard features and optional upgrades, many of which compete admirably with its more expensive cousins from other brands. While its not a true off-road vehicle, or even a off-road contender like the above QX80, the Acadia does offer an all-wheel drive variant alongside its front-wheel drive model.
Rated at a combined 17 and 18 MPG for its respective AWD and FWD models, the Acadia isn’t going to win any awards in the fuel economy department, but doesn’t differ much from similarly equipped models in its price range.
The Acadia stands out as a well-equipped every day passenger commuter for the entire family, allowing its passengers and driver to travel in luxury without the high-price normally attached to cars of this breed.
2016 Buick Enclave – $39,065
The 2016 Enclave is more of a crossover between a minivan and an SUV than an actual full-size SUV. This means there is plenty of room for passengers, cargo, and whatever else can be placed in this roomy offering from Buick.
As usual, Buick brings a touch of class and luxury to this vehicle, with a splash of room-for-eight seating in a comfortable environment. The interior itself feels solid and doesn’t have the cheap feel that many American manufacturers have gone with to keep costs down.
The third row is adequately comfortable for two adults, and overall the Enclave will seat six adults comfortably with room for children in between. The second and third row seats can be folded down to allow a generous amount of cargo space due to its large size.
This impressive size is on display in the way the enclave handles; the Enclave drives the way its width and length would imply, but to its credit the ride is very comfortable. As is the standard for vehicles under the General Motors parent company, the Buick comes with Onstar service and a variety of plug-ins and connections for various devices, and optional navigation for its standard center-mounted infotainment screen.
The Enclave is a safe vehicle as well, receiving ”good” crash ratings in all categories. Additional air bags in the front provide protection from side-impact collisions, and optional extra airbags can be added to increase the risk of harm in the event of a crash. Both all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive models can be purchased, with the former reaching a combined 17 mpg fuel efficiency and the latter rated at 18 mpg.
Overall, the 2016 Buick is a complete, well rounded package for the mid-level large SUV buyer, and excite many buyers looking for a comfortable family commuter for ever day use and long road trips.
2016 Chevrolet Suburban – $49,700
The oldest SUV name in existence, the Chevy Suburban has undergone many changes since its first inception decades ago. One of the largest vehicles on the road today, the 2016 Suburban continues the tradition of its line by providing its owner’s with some of the largest interior space available on the market today.
With seating for up to nine with Chevrolet’s optional front bench seat, its impossible to find a more passenger oriented vehicle without moving to a full-size van. The third row is spacious enough to almost seat three adults in perfect comfort over long trips; as usual with eight or more seats its best to keep these rides short. Even so, the Suburban clearly understands the family need for a lot of room, and even with nine adults the space in the interior will suit most over short distances.
Cargo capacity with the second and third row seats folded down is immense, and the ride quality doesn’t suffer from the Suburban’s large size. Its handling does, however, so potential buyers should not expect a sporty and agile vehicle; the Suburban feels like a massive giant on the road, rolling in the corners and with a wide turning radius.
Standard equipment is sparse and optional extras are plentiful; a fully equipped Suburban will compete with many luxury manufacturers’ models both in price and features. Four-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive trims are available and both powertrains have Chevy’s 355hp 5.3L V8. The 2016 Suburban has not been rated by the IIHS, but received a four-star crash rating from the NHTSA.
Both powertrain variants are rated for a combined 18 mpg, a respectable amount for its large V8. The 2016 Suburban hits hard, as it should for its size and weight, and is an excellent choice for anyone in need of a large passenger/carrying capacity vehicle.
2016 Ford Expedition – $45,435
An ever-changing Ford Expedition has slowly evolved from a gas-guzzling V8 monster into the refined, turbo-charged 365 hp V6 seen today. The 2016 Expedition has retained its massive size and superior towing capacity from its previous model years, but comes around in 2016 with improved fuel economy, engine performance, and suspension.
The new suspension provides an exceptional ride quality, while the vehicles large length and width provides seating for eight; the second row can even comfortably sit three adults in a squeeze and the third row is almost identical to the second.
Handling has been improved by leaps and bounds over previous years, and the new V6 engine is rated at an estimated combined 18 mpg in the rear-wheel drive model.
Crash data from the IIHS isn’t available at this time, but the Expedition received a five-star crash rating from the NHTSA.
The Ford Expedition’s frame may be an aging implementation that could be on its way out for next year in favor of an all-aluminum alternative, but it’s still one of the best choices available for a complete package full-size SUV.
2016 Lexus LX 570 – $88,880
Buying a Lexus is never cheap, but neither is the quality. The 2016 LX 570 is a powerhouse large SUV with a big V8 and the same off-road underpinnings of its Land Cruiser cousin from parent company Toyota.
Sporting 383 horsepower and a sophisticated suspension, the LX 570 is much more agile than its bulky frame suggests, and the ride quality is sublime. The third row seats leave a little to be desired, but six adults can still be seated comfortably for long trips. The standard Lexus luxury perks are all on display here, with a host of optional extras to fit any drivers’ needs.
The downside to all this power and weight is the vehicles tragic fuel economy, coming in at a combined 15 mpg. This vehicle has yet to be rated by the IIHS and NHTSA.
Drivers looking for the complete luxury full-size SUV package have a lot to love in the LX 570, and anyone willing to spring for its high price tag should seriously consider doing so.
Over to You
Which of these SUVs are you leaning towards? Leave a comment and let us know what you like about it!