What suv with 7-8 passenger capacity is best

we are in the market for a new car. We want 7 or preferably 8 seats (flip up seat in back fine) to accommodate extra friends and family members. We would like a newer used vehicle (2009 and up), $20,000 max, good fuel efficiency. We currently drive Nissan and Honda sedans both 15 years old. we want the new one to last at least this long. We don’t care about the fancy stuff (I have manual everything in current car). I’m overwhelmed by all of the options. Any advice?
ps: I’m scared to buy american given the good luck we have had with our Japanese cars!

You will have a hard time with your criteria of $20k and 2009.

However excellent SUV’s are Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot. American ones like GMC Acadia/Chevy Traverse are very good but back in 2008/2009 they had teething problems. They now are more reliable with kinks worked out.

Another decent choice is the Mazda CX-9.

2005 or newer Honda Odyssey or Pilot.

Bought a Traverse this spring and have been very happy. 23 mpg and seats 8. We got the ls version with very few extras. Still had electric locks, electric windows, bluetooth and trailer towing package. With rebates it cost 25600. With my gm card savings came to 22450 plus tax. And built in the usa with 80 % domestic content.

I’m not sure you can get any two year old 8 passenger SUV for $20k or less. You might have to try a minivan to get in that price range. A minivan will not only cost less, but ride and drive better, be more comfortable, and get better gas mileage. Most of them can also tow as much as most SUVs, with the exception of full size truck based SUVs such as the Suburban or Tahoe.

Tell us what “best” means to you. I might like one car and you might like another. WIthout knowing what you really want, (like smooth ride or a quiet ride, or easier entry and exit or ……

Well you should get the idea. You really need to answer these questions first and even then, your concept of comfort seats etc. may be far different than mine.

With regards to MPG don’t expect more than 18-19MPG with a decent SUV or minivan if you mostly drive short trip and around town. I have a very comfortable AWD Acura MDX that is rated worst in MPG than its same chassis but FWD Honda Odyssey. However I ask owners of the Odyssey and not sure why they only manage the same MPG I do if not worst.

If you go on the highway the minivans do better than SUV’s by a small bit.

The biggest piece of the puzzle that people forget is…
– a place for your stuff --.
They spend their effort counting seat belts but somehow seem to forget that
along with those people comes their stuff !
where ya gonna put it ?

If you need that many seats often enough you must compromise for mpg.
or get a mini van.

My 06 Escape hybrid fits my family of 5 in seatbelts.
Sports bag, back packs, and add a trip to WalMart and it’s wall-to-wall in there and the kids don’t dare bring any friends.

– So we jump in the 08 Expedition EL., seats 8 plus three feet more cargo space behind the third row seats ( six feet with third row folded…I can lay a sheet of ply wood flat with the second row folded )
All three kids can bring a friend, bags, games , cooler, AND a full trip to Costco !

I would concur with ken green - The “stuff” is what is often overlooked. Many minivans have gotten creative with storage under the seats, etc. looking at your criteria I personally would look at an older model of a larger vehicle with lower mileage. I drive a 2003 Ford Expedition, which seats 5 comfortably with all their gear for a camping weekend. If I am just transporting, then it will seat 7-8 with the third row. The expedition is reliable and gets reasonable gas mileage for its size. I have had the car since 2007, and have put 180k miles on it and it still runs without a problem. I plan on keeping it until 300K miles as long as it runs fine (and I have no reason to believe it won’t). So perhaps looking at an older model of one of the larger vehicles will get you in the size and price range you are looking for.

I have two neighbors who require the same as you. One has a Pilot, the other a Traverse. They each like their vehicles very much. Used, I would give the Pilot the edge, only because the choice is greater.

My wife and I rented a Traverse on a recent trip to California. My wife requested a large SUV. (On our honeymoon, I rented a Chevy Vega with a manual transmission–since that time, she has reserved the rental cars). We drove it about 1200 miles. The gasoline mileage averaged about 19 mpg. We were impressed with the vehicle–it compared favorably with our own 2003 Toyota 4Runner. I would certainly consider buying one if this is the type of vehicle I needed.

Unfortunately ONE car rental is tough to actually tell how well the vehicle is will last…I’ve rented a couple of Renaults when they first came out…GREAT rental cars…And turned out to be HORRIBLE reliability.

It’s difficult to predict how well any vehicle will last. All I did was give my impressions of using the Traverse for about 10 days. From my first month’s experience with our 2003 Toyota 4Runner, which was purchased new, I would have declared its reliability to be terrible. However, with the threat to the dealer of buying the vehicle back under the lemon law, it was finally repaired and I have had no problems from that point forward.
I have driven rental vehicles and had vehicles from my university’s motor pool that I have driven distances of 300 or more miles. I have no idea how long these vehicles will last. The vehicles for which I had negative impressions included a Buick Century, Dodge Stratus, Hyundai Sonata, and Honda Civic Hybrid. I was favorably impressed with the Ford Fusion, Ford Taurus, Nissan Sentra, and Ford Escape Hybrid. Going back 30 to 35 years, I thought that the 1981 Dodge Aries K-car was a nice car, but the later version of that car that I had seemed to me to be a terrible vehicle. Going back even further, when I was first employed by my institution, I drove to a convention in a Studebaker Lark. I thought that car was great.
I have no idea how any of the above vehicles stood up over time.