If your family is growing and you need a new set of wheels to accommodate everyone, but you’re trying to avoid sacrificing the kids’ college fund to put then in a reliable new car, this list of the cheapest 7 passenger SUVs for 2016 should hold considerable interest for you. The SUV has become the de facto family car of late, thanks to its versatility, comfort, and convenience. With more carlike features than ever before, the crossover suv has a lot going for it in this regard. When you start talking about seating seven passengers, they can also get pretty pricey in a hurry. Happily though, as this list of the cheapest 7 passenger SUVs for 2016 demonstrates, a cavernous interior needn’t always be accompanied by an astronomical price. In fact, everything on this list can be had (and be nicely equipped) for less than $35,000.
Cheapest 7 Passenger SUVs for 2016
Photo Credit: Benjamin Hunting
Mitsubishi Outlander - $22,295
The Mitsubishi Outlander SUV got a makeover for the 2016 model year. New front and rear styling, alloy wheels, LED running lights, a reworked navigation system, and a more easily managed folding process for the second row seat are among the changes. That Mitsubishi put this much effort into updating an entry after only two years shows how competitive this segment of the market has become. It also says Mitsubishi realized its flagship model was a bit less than competitive (but hey, we’re being diplomatic—OK?). In addition to seating seven, the Mitsubishi Outlander offers heated mirrors, full power accessories, voice controlled phone and audio functions, as well as Bluetooth. Power comes from a choice of two engines; the 2.4-liter four—paired with a continuously variable transmission—makes 168 horsepower and 162 ft-lbs of torque. Front-drive is standard; all-wheel drive is optional. The 224-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 uses a six-speed automatic, all-wheel drive, and makes 215 ft-lbs.
Kia Sorento - $24,900
Completely redesigned for the 2016 model year, the Kia Sorento has moved up a class to now compete with mid-size crossovers while (in typical Kia fashion), low-balling them on price. To give the Sorento a fighting chance as one of the cheapest 7 passenger SUVs for 2016, standard features include LED running lights, three drive-mode settings, Bluetooth telephony and audio streaming, as well as satellite radio. Three engines are offered; starting with a 185-horsepower 2.4-liter four with 178 ft-lbs of torque. The middle offering is a 240-horespower turbocharged 2.0-liter four with 260 ft-lbs. Meanwhile the V6 makes 290 horsepower and 252 ft-lbs from 3.3-liters. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive are standard; all-wheel drive is optional.
Photo Credit: Christian Wardlaw
Nissan Pathfinder - $29,360
In addition to being one of the cheapest 7 passenger SUVs for 2016, the Nissan Pathfinder offers standard features such as blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, hill descent control, and a 360-degree parking camera. In other words, the Nissan Pathfinder is quite comprehensive in terms of the equipment it offers. Further, Pathfinder is quite spacious, rides smoothly, and is powerful. Other features include keyless entry and ignition, tri-zone automatic climate control, a roof rack, and a reclining third-row seat. Easy to handle and quiet too, the Pathfinder derives power from Nissan’s renowned 3.5-liter V6, which is good for 260 horsepower and 240 ft-lbs of torque in this application. A continuously variable transmission and front-wheel drive are standard; four-wheel drive is optional.
Toyota Highlander $29,765
As one of the cheapest 7 passenger SUVs for 2016, Toyota’s Highlander crossover SUV offers capaciousness approaching a full-size SUV, but still manages to be a bit more economical to operate than traditional full-size truck based SUVs. Two engine choices are offered. The base engine is a 2.7-liter four with 185 horsepower and 184 ft-lbs of torque. The larger engine is a 3.5-liter V6 with 270 horsepower and 248 ft-lbs of torque. A six-speed automatic feeds either the front wheels or all four if you get AWD. Standard features include automatic headlights, heated exterior mirrors, cruise control, a rearview camera, a touchscreen interface, a sliding and reclining second-row seat, a voice controlled audio system, and Bluetooth telephony and audio streaming.
Photo Credit: Benjamin Hunting
Mazda CX-9 - $29,985
Driving enthusiasts in need of one of the cheapest 7 passenger SUVs for 2016, who also appreciate admirable dynamic capabilities would do well to take Mazda’s CX-9 out for a turn. They’ll find entertaining handling, a responsive engine, a spacious interior, and a third-row seat capable of accommodating grown folks. Standard features include three-zone automatic climate control, a 5.8-inch touchscreen interface, Bluetooth telephony and audio streaming, and Pandora radio capability. Power comes from a 3.7-liter V6 with 273 horsepower and 270 ft-lbs of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift function feeds either the front wheels or all four—if all-wheel drive is preferred. The second row seats recline as well as slide fore and aft, and the large rear doors make accessing the third row quite easy. With both rows folded, the CX-9 will carry 101 cubic feet of cargo.
Photo Credit: Honda
Honda Pilot - $29,995
For the 2016 model year, Honda is introducing an all-new version of the highly regarded Pilot SUV. The new Pilot is so nice, it’s a shame to call it one of the cheapest 7 passenger SUVs. A better way to say it would be one of the most affordable 7-passenger… The truly commodious Pilot comes to market with a smaller footprint than most of its rivals. Also, rather than a traditional SUV, the new Pilot looks more like its crossover siblings CR-V and HR-V than it did in the past. Pilot also offers more economical motoring, with its 3.5-liter V6 making 280 horsepower and 262 ft-lbs of torque. A six-speed automatic and front drive complete the standard powertrain, but all-wheel drive is an option. Upper trim level models get a nine-speed automatic. All wheel drive is offered as an option.
Photo Credit: Christian Wardlaw
Hyundai Santa Fe - $30,400
If you stand near the Hyundai Santa Fe’s rear liftgate with the key on your person, it will open its rear liftgate automatically. No button pushing, no foot waving, no effort at all on your part—just stand there and the Hyundai will do it for you. Among the cheapest 7 passenger SUVs, the Hyundai Santa Fe is a handsome, well thought out addition to the three-row mid-size crossover SUV category. The interior treatment is handsome and also offers features such as Bluetooth and satellite radio, along with HVAC vents for both the second and third rows. Power comes from a 290-horsepower 3.3-liter V6 with 252 ft-lbs of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and front-drive are standard; all-wheel drive is optional.
Dodge Durango - $30,495
Smaller than a full-size SUV, but a larger than a mid-size SUV, the Durango ranks among the cheapest 7 passenger SUVs and offers the hefty towing capabilities of its larger competitors, while remaining smaller, more maneuverable, and thus easier to handle. What’s more, the Durango offers a very nice interior treatment—with a sizable 8.4-inch touchscreen interface for infotainment functions offered as an option. For 2016, Durango features tri-zone climate control, automatic headlights, foglights, and heated exterior mirrors as standard. Power comes from a choice of two engines. The 290-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 makes 260 ft-lbs of torque, while the 360-horsepower 5.7-liter V8 makes 390 ft-lbs. An eight-speed transmission and rear drive are standard. The V6 gets all-wheel drive as an option, while the V8 gets four-wheel drive with low range gearing.
Ford Explorer - $30,700
The Ford Explorer has justifiably earned its status as a genuine American icon. For the 2016 model year, the Explorer has been treated to refreshed interior and exterior styling, revisions to its suspension system to improve ride and handling, more contemporary safety features, and a new high-end trim package. The Ford Explorer’s powertrain offerings include three engines. A 290-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 with 255 ft-lbs of torque is the baseline. Front-drive is standard for one of the cheapest 7 passenger SUVs; four-wheel drive with hill descent control and a terrain management system is optional. The next rung up is a new 270-horsepower normally-aspirated 2.3-liter four-cylinder with 300 ft-lbs of torque. This engine is also offered with a choice of front-drive or four-wheel drive. The top offering is a 365-horsepower turbocharged V6 with 350 ft-lbs of torque, mated solely to the four-wheel drive system. A six-speed automatic is the transmission choice, regardless of drivetrain configuration.
Photo Credit: General Motors
Chevrolet Traverse - $31,205
While the Chevy Traverse is numbered among the cheapest 7 passenger SUVs for 2016, it is also a miracle of packaging efficiency. Actually, the Traverse can seat up to eight, but to do so, you’ll forego second row captain’s chairs in favor of a bench. Traverse’s standard feature set includes automatic headlights, Bluetooth telephony, OnStar with 4G LTE WiFi, a rear view camera, and a 6.5-inch touchscreen interface. The base engine is a 3.6-liter V6 with 281 horsepower and 266 ft-lbs of torque. The upgrade uses the same displacement, but is configured to produce 288 horsepower and 270 ft-lbs of torque. A six-speed automatic feeds the front wheels; all-wheel drive is offered as an option.