While there are many three-row SUVs on the market, only a small subset of them can seat eight passengers or more. To save you time, the expert editors at Autobytel have done the research for you and come up with a list of the ten best eight-passenger SUVs, no matter what your needs. Some SUVs are car-based crossovers while others are truck-based traditional SUVs; some are giant and some are more manageable; and only a few are truly luxurious. So if you’re looking for a minivan alternative that can also tow a large camper, a truck that can hold your whole family; or a four-wheel-drive vehicle that can carry a load of cargo, read on to see which SUVs meet your requirements.
10 Best 8 Passenger SUVs
10 Best 8 Passenger SUVs
Photo Credit: Lexus
10) 2017 Lexus LX
As a fancied-up version of the Toyota Land Cruiser, the mid-size Lexus LX is the most expensive vehicle on our list of the Ten Best Eight-Passenger SUVs. You and your 7 family or friends get a very nice interior and surprisingly impressive off-road capability, though, in reality, only a small number of SUV owners go off-road. The LX towing capacity is a maximum of 7,000 lbs, but combine that with the LX’s 6,000-lb curb weight (plus passengers and cargo) and the total might seem too much for a normally-aspirated V8 to move. As for fuel efficiency, the LX is in a three-way tie for the least efficient fuel economy on our list.
Photo Credit: General Motors
9) 2017 Cadillac Escalade ESV
The Cadillac Escalade bills itself as a full-size luxury suv, and while it does have an attractive exterior and a luxurious interior, some trims are price challenged when compared to its General Motors relatives the Tahoe and Yukon. Step up to Platinum trim level, however, with its semi-aniline leather, massaging seats and center console cooler, and the Escalade shines. All models feature a maximum towing capacity around 8,000 lbs (depending on drivetrain configuration), but only the extended Escalade ESV offers seating for eight. If you need to carry lots of passengers in style while towing their sleeping accommodations behind you, the Cadillac Escalade ESV might be the SUV you’ve been looking for.
Photo Credit: Nissan
8) 2017 Nissan Armada
The Nissan Armada is a full-size SUV, though one that could use a bit more interior space, especially in the third row where it seems considerably smaller than some of its rivals. Redesigned for 2017, the Armada is tied for the worst fuel economy on our list of the ten best eight-passenger SUVs, but the V8 engine is strong and maximum towing capacity is second-best on our list at 8,500 lbs. It’s also the most affordable of the full-size body-on-frame SUVs on our list. The interior is very pleasant, and the Armada has a good level of standard features. A more upscale version is available as the Infiniti QX80, but everything you need (and almost anything you could want) is available on the Armada.
7) 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser
The mid-size Toyota Land Cruiser is the second-most expensive SUV on our list, and also in a three-way tie for the worst fuel economy. But the Land Cruiser also has its high points, including a towing capacity of 8,100 lbs, a nice interior, a decent ride and impressive off-road ability (there’s a reason why you see so many Land Cruisers in news footage from countries where roads are less prevalent). There is a more upscale version available in the Lexus LX, but the Land Cruiser comes fully equipped and should be enough truck for just about anyone. If you need a larger vehicle, Toyota also offers the Sequoia, which is less expensive (though also less comfortable) than the Land Cruiser.
Photo Credit: Honda
6) 2017 Honda Pilot
The mid-size Honda Pilot is one of the more affordable entries on our list of the Ten Best Eight-Passenger SUVs, and also one of the more economical (when equipped with the nine-speed automatic, even though it isn’t nearly as smooth as the standard six-speed unit). The Pilot is one of the best riding eight-passenger SUVs, with comfortable seats and a nice interior with plenty of storage. Maximum towing capacity is competitive for the mid-size class at 5,000 lbs. A normally-aspirated V6 engine powers the Honda Pilot and that is more than sufficient for everyday driving, though it may struggle when moving a fully-loaded Pilot plus a trailer.
Photo Credit: General Motors
5) 2017 Chevrolet Traverse
The Chevrolet Traverse is the lowest-priced vehicle on our list of the Ten Best Eight-Passenger SUVs, yet it still offers plenty of interior room and the third row is even usable by adults (at least those of a smaller stature). Towing capacity is 5,200 lbs when properly equipped, which is the most of any of the mid-size car-based crossovers on our list. Despite being mid-size, fuel economy is challenged with a combined rating of only 17 miles per gallon, which is less efficient than some of its more capable truck-based competitors. An all-new 2018 Chevrolet Traverse will be arriving later this year. Until then, if you’re looking for an affordable SUV with seating for eight, the current model is worth a look.
Photo Credit: Lincoln
4) 2017 Lincoln Navigator
The full-size Lincoln Navigator is essentially a Ford Expedition in a nicer suit and tie, but when compared to some of its luxury and near-luxury rivals it’s a bargain. Like in the Expedition, power comes from a turbocharged V6 that produces enough power to make the Navigator one of the quickest vehicles on our list of the ten best eight-passenger SUVs. The EcoBoost engine also has no problem pulling all of the Navigator’s 9,000-lb towing capacity (assuming you can afford the gas), making it the ultimate tow vehicle for larger families. A new more powerful aluminum-bodied Navigator should be out soon for the 2018 model year, but if you can’t wait that long, then the current model shouldn’t disappoint.
Photo Credit: Chevrolet
3) 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe / Chevrolet Suburban / GMC Yukon
The Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon (as well as the extended Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL) are full-size SUVs that are available with seating for seven, eight or even nine passengers (the only vehicles on our list of the Ten Best Eight-Passenger SUVs that can exceed our required quorum). Towing capacity is also near the top of list, with all models having a towing capacity of around 8,000 lbs, depending on which options are selected at the time of purchase. Fuel economy isn’t great, but when you factor in the size and weight of these SUVs it isn’t terrible, especially for a model that is still using a tried-and-true pushrod V8.
Photo Credit: Ford
2) 2017 Ford Expedition
It might only be powered by a V6 (though it is the only vehicle on our list to use turbocharging), but if you need an eight-passenger SUV that can also tow, then the full-size Ford Expedition with its maximum towing capacity of over 9,000 lbs, when properly equipped, is worth checking out. Despite the EcoBoost engine, fuel economy is fairly poor due to the Expedition’s size and weight, but the power is there. An all-new Expedition with a lighter aluminum body and an even more powerful version of Ford’s EcoBoost V6 (and hopefully eventually a diesel option) should be arriving soon, but the current model still has a lot going for it and earns itself a place on our list of the Ten Best Eight-Passenger SUVs.The 2016 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 V-8 engine, and comes with a new eight-speed automatic transmission for 2016.
Photo Credit: Toyota
1) 2017 Toyota Highlander
The mid-size Toyota Highlander is the only vehicle on our list of the Ten Best Eight Passenger SUVs that is available with a hybrid powertrain (rated at 29 miles per gallon overall, and 30 mpg in the city). But even the non-hybrid V6 models are more economical than the rest of the competition. A four-cylinder is available, but we’d recommend avoiding it at all costs, as it’s less economical than the V6 and anemically slow. The ride is Lexus-smooth, the seats are superbly comfortable, and the interior seems as quiet as a vault. Versions of the Highlander powered by a V6 are capable of towing 5,000 lbs, while hybrids can tow a max of 3,500 lbs (and four-cylinder models are limited to just 1,500 lbs).The 2016 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 of torque 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).
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10 Best 8 Passenger SUVs
- 2017 Lexus LX
- 2017 Cadillac Escalade ESV
- 2017 Nissan Armada
- 2017 Toyota Land Cruiser
- 2017 Honda Pilot
- 2017 Chevrolet Traverse
- 2017 Lincoln Navigator
- 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe / Chevrolet Suburban / GMC Yukon
- 2017 Ford Expedition
- 2017 Toyota Highlander