I would like to find a relatively fuel efficient vehicle that I can seat 7 people in, has all 4 wheel drive and can accomodate 4 bikes on a rack in the back? Are there options other than the Toyota Highlander? It is pricey. I see an older discussion from 2008 but I’m wondering if others can share their ideas and suggestions.
Highlander would be tight for 7 adults. Ford Flex or Chevy Traverse would be at the top of my list if you don’t want an AWD Sienna.
Yes. I agree the highlander is tight for 7 adults - the third row is narrow and not comfortable. We will typically have 2 kids and 2 adults, sometimes add two kids or 2 grandparents.
You want a large SUV. The one that gets the best mileage is the Chevy Tahoe hybrid. You could get one now for about $46,500 with incentives included. You could get a regular Tahoe LT for about $37,600. There’s only a 4 MPG difference on average. I’d go with the non-hybrid Tahoe. Bonus! It seats 8 and still has room for cargo, unlike the Highlander. If you really want to go big, the Suburban LS will cost about $36,700 and gives you an extra 10" of cargo length. It also averages about 17 MPG - and seats 9.
I’m looking for the same thing and I’ve come up with:
07-09 Hyundai Santa Fe (new one dropped the 3rd row seat)
New Kia Sorento
I’m leaning toward an 05-06 Highlander.
The RAV4 has a third seat option, but I wouldn’t want to sit in it. Fuel efficiency, awd and 7 passenger comfortably is an impossible combination unless you go $$$$$$ for hybrids. Then, where’s the savings ? Pilot would be my top choice !
The Highlander would be uncomfortable for 7. But it’s not really all that expensive among 7 seaters out there if you want 4WD. A 4WD base Highlander stickers for about $31.5k. Most of it’s competitors are about the same. And if you’re going to take 7 people regularly, you’d be better off with a full sized SUV.
Ford Flex SEL AWD = $33.7k
Mazda CX-9 Sport 4WD = $30.2k ,probably pretty cramped with 7 people
Chevy Traverse base AWD = $31.2k
Nissan Pathfinder 4WD =$30.5k for the stripper model, truck based so mileage is a little worse
Honda Pilot LX AWD = $30k
Hyundai Veracruz GLS AWD = $30.8k
Dodge Journey SXT AWD w/3rd row seats = $28.2k
Jeep Commander Sport 4WD = 34.4k
Subaru Tribeca AWD = $31.2k
Kia Borrego LX 4WD = $29k poor MPG, but decent room.
They used to be badged under Dodge for a few years
Definately roomy enough for 7 and pretty thrifty at the pump with the diesel. But no 4WD, and they are rather pricey. I don’t think the OP is going to find a vehicle that fits all of his/her critera.
A few folks here have talked about high repair frequency in their fleet Sprinters, too.
How critical is AWD, how soon do you need the vehicle, and how often are you carrying 7?
If you can do without AWD (the overwhelming majority of people really do not need it), then you have the option of a 2012 Mazda5 when they come out. It’ll be tight for 7, but it would be possible (they’re adding a seat in the second row)… they’re also adding room in the 2nd and 3rd rows from the current model.
You’d probably be looking ~$19,500 for one when they’re available, and it’d beat the pants off any SUV for mpg.
There’s also the Ford Grand C-Max available next fall, if that seats 7.
Note that these vehicles should only be considered if you are normally driving with 4-5, not 7 people, but they’re good options if you want to fit 7 every now and then. I’m guessing that you might normally be going with just 4 people, since you mention 4 bikes, not 7?
Apart from those, I’d be tempted to go Sienna or Flex…
My vote goes to AWD Sienna, I have a 2005 and you can seat 7 or 8 people, still have a huge trunk space, and put your bikes on the back. Mine gets anywhere from an honest 22mpg hwy worst to 26-27 hwy if the conditions are right.