The best 8 passenger SUVs are those that let you leave the minivan behind at home while still carrying a full complement of family and cargo from point A to point B. Vans aren't for everyone, and if your daily driving needs call for regularly packing your vehicle to the rafters with people or gear, then it's hard to go wrong with an 8 passenger SUV. Keep in mind that these behemoths typically consume more fuel than the average van, but the tradeoff is styling you don't have to bury in the back of the parking lot, along with the availability of four-wheel or all-wheel drive for when the weather turns rough.
Let's take a quick look at 10 of the best 8 passenger SUVs currently on the market.
10 Best 8 Passenger SUVs - 2015 Toyota Highlander
The Toyota Highlander has been around for a while, and for good reason. This sport utility vehicle can be configured to seat eight occupants in a minivan-like arrangement, and also features an adequate amount of cargo space. For 2015, the Toyota Highlander provides plenty of safety features, and it’s powered by either a 2.7-liter four-cylinder that provides 185 horsepower, or a V6 that yields 270 horsepower and towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. The V6 can be ordered in either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, but the four-cylinder only comes with front-wheel drive.
10 Best 8 Passenger SUVs - 02 - 2015 Nissan Armada
The 2015 Nissan Armada's imposing nameplate informs you right off the bat that it's not messing around when it comes to size. Indeed, the enormous Nissan Armada SUV delivers an unsurprisingly roomy cabin that takes its eight-passenger seating seriously (although the third row is better left to the younger crowd). You get 97 cubic feet of total cargo space with the second and third set of accommodations folded forward, while 317 horses and 385 lb-ft of torque are on tap from the Nissan Armada's standard 5.6-liter V8. Four-wheel drive is optional with the SUV, but a tow rating of 9,1000 lbs is included free of charge.
10 Best 8 Passenger SUVs - 03 - 2015 Lincoln Navigator L
The 2015 Lincoln Navigator L is an often-overlooked member of the luxury SUV crowd, and while it might ride on an older platform this bruiser is one of the few body-on-frame trucks left that can provide premium accommodations for as many as eight passengers. The Lincoln Navigator L rides on an extended wheelbase, which means 128 cubic feet of total cargo space accessible by way of a trick power folding third row seat that stows flat into the floor at the touch of a button. Lincoln has also stuffed the SUV with wood, leather, and a decent array of high tech gear, and an air suspension can be also added for further smoothness out on the road. Lincoln dropped the V8 engine for 2015, replacing it with a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost, which increases power, fuel efficiency, and towing capacity. Paired to a six-speed automatic transmission, the EcoBoost-powered Navigator puts out 370 horsepower.
10 Best 8 Passenger SUVs - 04 - 2015 Honda Pilot
The 2015 Honda Pilot is another people mover that hasn't been extensively updated in a number of years, but it doesn't seem to matter: this eight-passenger SUV gives families what they want, and as such it enjoys healthy sales numbers and a good reputation amongst owners. The Honda Pilot's square shape provides the kind of interior volume one doesn't often find in an SUV of its size, and the availability of all-wheel drive gives the Honda the kind of four-seasons capability that is de rigueur for the segment. Power is modest (250 horses) from the Pilot's 3.5-liter V6, but 4,500 lbs of towing capacity are there for when the Honda's 87 cubic feet of internal storage space just aren't enough.
10 Best 8 Passenger SUVs - 05 - 2015 Chevrolet Suburban
The long-running Chevy Suburban has been totally redesigned for 2015. The updated Suburban still features great towing capacity and a spacious interior, made even more accommodating by new third-row seats that finally fold flat. There’s also a new powertrain, based on a 5.3-liter V8 engine that produces 355 horsepower and provides improved fuel economy over the outgoing model. The 2015 Chevrolet Suburban is available standard in rear-wheel drive, or can be upgraded with a four-wheel drive system that provides plenty of off-road capability.
10 Best 8 Passenger SUVs - 06 - 2015 GMC Acadia
Though GMC stakes its reputation on its work and utility vehicles, the 2015 Acadia boasts pure comfort for up to eight occupants. It’s a capable crossover, available in front-wheel-drive and all-wheel drive, powered by a 288-horsepower V6. The third-row seat folds flat to provide additional cargo space, enhancing the flexibility of the Acadia’s already-spacious interior. The Acadia provides a well-balanced ride and safety scores that rank it among the safest vehicles on the market, thanks to plenty of standard safety features such as blind-spot monitors and curtain airbags throughout.
10 Best 8 Passenger SUVs - 07 - 2015 Ford Expedition
The Ford Expedition, which got some cosmetic and interior updates for the 2015 model year, offers accommodations for eight over three rows of seating. The Expedition’s hefty size makes the first and second row plenty comfortable, and though adults are best off avoiding the third row in most SUVs, the Expedition provides more room in the back than many competitors. The sliding second row helps considerably with interior comfort. For 2015, the Expedition’s V8 engine option is gone, as Ford concentrates instead on the EcoBoost turbo V6, which maintains the vehicle’s previous towing capacity while improving drivability and fuel economy.
10 Best 8 Passenger SUVs - 08 - 2015 GMC Yukon XL
The GMC Yukon XL offers the same general package as the Chevrolet Suburban 2500, only on a lighter chassis that rides smoother and is better suited for daily driving. Totally redesigned for the 2015 model year, the Yukon XL’s wheelbase is about a foot longer than the regular Yukon, offering seating for up to nine. The base Yukon XL is powered by a 5.3-liter V8 that provides 355 horsepower; the high-end Denali version boasts a 6.2-liter V8 with 420 ponies. Both versions are available in rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.
10 Best 8 Passenger SUVs - 09 - 2015 Lexus LX 570
The 2014 Lexus LX 570 is an eight-passenger luxury SUV with a twist. Unlike most of its rivals, the Lexus LX 570 offers a third row of seating that folds down from the walls in the cargo compartment - compromising practicality somewhat, but offering additional people moving capability in a pinch. Better yet is the LX 570's extensive range of off-road-oriented features, including crawl control for maintaining forward momentum across challenging terrain and an unstoppable permanent four-wheel drive system shared with the outstanding Toyota Land Cruiser. The Lexus also offers 383 horsepower and 403 lb-ft of torque from its smooth 5.7-liter V8 engine.
10 Best 8 Passenger SUVs - 10 - 2015 Toyota Sequoia
The 2015 Toyota Sequoia represents a Japanese take on the traditional full-size American SUV archetype. The eight-passenger Toyota Sequoia dumps 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft to the rear wheels (or all four wheels if optional four-wheel drive is selected), and it rides on the same platform as the well-received Toyota Tundra pickup truck. This ensures plenty of room inside the three-row SUV for people as well as 121 cubic feet of cargo space. Like its U.S. rivals, the Sequoia's tow rating of 7,400 lbs ensures that you can bring a boat - or a camping trailer - along with you on vacation without having to worry about hills (just gas stations).