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Sometimes even the biggest and comfiest of family sedans just can't cut the mustard when it comes time to transport the entire family - or soccer team, or sailing crew - from point A to point B. This is where 8 passenger vehicles come in, people-moving behemoths that offer a variety of designs and driving experiences but which all share the common goal of maximizing interior space and cramming in as many occupants as possible.
We've put together a brief list of the best 8 passenger vehicles currently on the market to help you try to decide which one might fit best in your driveway.
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Best 8 Passenger Vehicles - 01 - 2013 Chevrolet Suburban
The 2013 Chevrolet Suburban is a perennial people-moving leader, as this enormous truck-based SUV can haul not just eight, but up to nine passengers if desired. Three rows of seating define the Chevrolet Suburban's passenger compartment, with second-row captain's chairs available if desired. One thing to keep in mind - you have to lift out and remove the third row to free up additional cargo space, as it doesn't fold completely into the floor. The Suburban's 320 horsepower, 5.3-liter V-8 makes more than enough power to motivate the full-size sport-utility vehicle, and four-wheel drive is available to transport passengers off the beaten path.
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Best 8 Passenger Vehicles - 02 - 2012 Honda Pilot
The 2012 Honda Pilot is a big, rectangular crossover that makes the most of its squared-off design in order to deliver eight passenger seating. One of the advantages of opting for the Honda Pilot is that its final row of seating doesn't lop off as much leg room as some of the vehicle's competitors, which means that it's more than possible for a couple of adults to spend time out back without any complaints. The Pilot's 3.5-liter V-6 delivers an adequate 250 horsepower, and front-wheel and all-wheel drive versions of the crossover can be ordered. Fuel economy for the Honda checks in at 25-mpg on the highway, which puts it near the front of the pack amongst high capacity haulers.
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Best 8 Passenger Vehicles - 03 - 2013 Buick Enclave
Redesigned for the current model year, the 8 passenger 2013 Buick Enclave features more refined styling than ever before, as well as a few interior updates such as the Intelllilink touchscreen interface. What most buyers will appreciate most about the Buick Enclave is its cavernous interior, which delivers much of the space provided by a traditional full-size SUV without the ride comfort penalty or terrible fuel mileage that a body-on-frame design dictates. The Enclave's luxurious environs are matched with an equally capable 3.6-liter V-6 engine that generates 288 horsepower, sent to either the front or all four wheels (if optional all-wheel drive is specified) via a six-speed automatic transmission.
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Best 8 Passenger Vehicles - 04 - 2013 Toyota Sequoia
The 2013 Toyota Sequoia borrows its underpinnings from the full-size Toyota Tundra pickup truck to great effect, creating a big sport-utility vehicle that can hold its own against American competitors. The Toyota Sequoia's three rows of 8 passenger seating are made that much more comfortable by the fact that the SUV comes with an independent rear suspension system, which sets it apart from many other large offerings in its class. A pair of V-8 engines are available with the Toyota, including a 310 horsepower 4.6-liter unit and a 5.7-liter mill that churns out 381 horses. Like the Tundra, a six-speed automatic transmission is standard and four-wheel drive is optional.
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Best 8 Passenger Vehicles - 05 - 2012 Infiniti QX56
The 2012 Infiniti QX provides luxury shoppers with a plus-size family hauler that manages to cram as much premium gear as possible into its capacious confines. Although the vehicle's third row of seating might not be as comfortable for adults as it could be, the second set of accommodations - plus, of course, the first two positions - are opulence defined. At least that last set of seats folds down into the floor at the touch of a button in order to provide additional cargo space. All versions of the QX are powered by a 5.6-liter V-8 that churns out 400 horses, and available four-wheel drive gives the Infiniti suv a modicum of off-road capability.
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Best 8 Passenger Vehicles - 06 - 2013 Honda Odyssey
The 2013 Honda Odyssey has carved out a loyal buyer base thanks to its ability to satisfy even the most demanding family shoppers. It's necessary to step up to the Honda Odyssey's EX trim level in order to benefit from eight passenger seating, but seeing as this edition of the minivan also brings with it three zones of automatic climate control, alloy wheels, and power sliding doors, it's well worth the price bump. Honda has outfitted the Odyssey with a 248 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6, and fuel economy ranges from 27-mpg to 28-pg on the highway, depending on which model is selected.
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Best 8 Passenger Vehicles - 07 - 2012 Ford E-Series
The 2012 Ford E-Series means serious business when it comes time to transport a crowd. The Ford E-Series offers eight passenger seating, but with so much room regardless of what row one find's oneself in that the first impression made by the full-size van is that it could pull double duty as a school bus. The E-Series is rear-wheel drive, and offers a 4.6-liter V-8 engine that generates a healthy 225 horsepower. Need more grunt? Ford can also install a 255 horsepower 5.4-liter mill under the hood of the van. Naturally, a rig like the E-Series isn't the most frugal eight-passenger vehicle on the market, with fuel economy showing as 17-mpg on the highway at its best.
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Best 8 Passenger Vehicles - 08 - 2013 Toyota Sienna
The 2013 Toyota Sienna competes hard against the Odyssey for the title of America's most popular minivan. Like its Honda rival, the Toyota Sienna provides eight passenger seating. It also comes with a traction advantage that is worth noting for those who dwell in the nation's snow belt: the Sienna can be ordered with optional all-wheel drive. Recent versions of the Toyota minivan have dropped the entry-level four-cylinder engine, which means that all models are now powered by a more-than-adequate, 266 horsepower 3.5-liter V-6. Fuel economy for the Toyota isn't quite as strong as that for the top-level Odyssey, but the Sienna still posts a respectable 25-mpg highway.
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Best 8 Passenger Vehicles - 09 - 2012 Nissan NV
The 2013 Nissan NV is another relatively recent effort on our list of the best 8 passenger vehicles. The Nissan NV represents the Japanese automaker's attempt to tap into the semi-commercial market that has traditionally been served by vehicles like the previously-mentioned E-Series. The NV can, in fact, handle up to 12 passengers across four rows, but that's because it only comes in a full ton version, unlike Ford's lighter quarter-ton entry-level full-size van. Nissan makes a couple of engine choices available with the NV, including a 261 horsepower, 4.0-liter V-6 or a 5.6-liter V-8 that can produce 317 ponies, and a five-speed automatic transmission is matched with both.
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Best 8 Passenger Vehicles - 10 - 2012 Ford Expedition
The 2012 Ford Expedition can be thought of as the Blue Oval's answer to the Suburban, and while it can't match it in total seating capacity it does offer accommodations for as many as eight passengers - thus satisfying the requirements of our list. The Ford Expedition EL edition provides 15 inches of additional body length, which translates into a more comfortable ride for those riding in any of its rear two rows. Under the hood, the Expedition delivers 310 horsepower from a 5.4-liter V-8, and of course four-wheel drive is also available with the full-size SUV.
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