The definitive list of SUVs built to carry lots of humans.
Many SUVs these days claim to offer seating for up to 7 occupants but more often than not the rearmost passengers are relegated to two cramped fold-down seats that even the cheapest domestic airline wouldn’t stoop to. Or at least we hope. It comes down simply to a matter of size, to fit two decently proportioned seats in the third row you need a vehicle big enough to fit them in. Our list covers some of the best big SUVs on the market that can carry at least 7 occupants without having to make excuses for those sitting in the third row.
Cadillac Escalade The Escalade shares its underpinnings with its Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon siblings but if luxury is a priority then this is the full-sized SUV for you. The big 420-hp 6.2-liter V8 now gets a 10-speed automatic transmission for 2018 and is as effortless as ever. Tons of luxuries such as power-retracting side steps and an overhead-mounted rear passenger display help it stand out from the crowd although the ride quality is not always as serene as you would expect. It comes pretty well equipped although the starting price of $73,990 is still a bit steep, you can spend over $100k by the time you have done ticking all of the options.
Kia Sorento The Sorento is a mid-sized SUV that can take on the task of ferrying 7 occupants thanks to clever packaging, and will appeal to people not wanting to pilot a massive rig around town while still having more space than a conventional SUV. There's not too much space behind the third row though. Stick to the more powerful 290-hp V6 which starts at $34,200, you can also add heated second row seats and a 10-speaker infinity audio system that can drown out even the rowdiest of teenagers.
Volvo XC90 When it comes to effortless style, the XC90 has just about every other SUV beat. The Scandinavian minimalist design language looks best on the higher trim levels and if you opt for the Inscription you get upgraded leather, rear side window shades and real wood ascents on the dashboard and door panels. The ultimate Excellence trim raises the game even further with an adaptive air suspension, rear center console with refrigerator and folding trays and footrests. Sadly, this trim level replaces both rear rows of seats with a set of captain’s chairs. At $59,450, the Inscription offers a massive saving over the Excellence’s $104,900 price tag.
Range Rover Sport The Land Rover range has been expanded recently with a range of new offerings but the Range Rover Sport is still one of the most compelling options. There is the option of a fuel-sipping diesel but the 340-hp supercharged V6 is quicker and smoother, and at $66,750 it also costs $2,000 less. The available powered third row seats may not be quite commodious enough for adults but if you need to get 7 people up the side of a mountain in the lap of luxury then the Range Rover Sport is the one for you.
Volkswagen Atlas The Atlas is the biggest car Volkswagen sells and while you can get sportier and more technologically advanced offerings like the Touareg, if space for 7 is a priority above all else, then the Atlas is your SUV. The base 2.0T Atlas S is priced at a very impressive $30,750 but you can go the whole hog and get the V6 SEL Premium with 4Motion which is $48,740 and includes a digital cockpit, touchscreen nav system and a full range of advanced safety systems. Those wanting to stay in the VW fold but want the latest technology should also take a look at the very capable and very pricey Audi Q7.
Toyota Sequoia Named after a giant tree you might expect Toyota’s full-sized SUV to be a big one. And you would be right; this huge load-lugger can seat up to 8 passengers in comfort. While updates for 2018 include lots of standard safety features and a slightly pointless TRD sport trim, this 381-hp 5.7-liter V8 SUV has not had a major redesign since 2008. Still, it is luxurious, the Platinum trim offers comfy second row captain’s chairs and you can get a rear-seat entertainment system with a Blu-ray player. The $48,300 base price is pretty reasonable for this size of car too.
Lincoln Navigator The Navigator has always been an imposing piece of kit and the completely redesigned 2018 version now adds some modern styling and technology in to the mix. Power now comes courtesy of a 450-hp 3.5-liter turbocharged Ford EcoBoost engine and while the $72,055 price may seem a bit steep but you do get a huge amount of space for your money, up to 8 people can travel long distances in comfort. Of course, you can always opt for the extended wheelbase Black Label L trim. At $96,905 it competes with some top European SUVs and offers the kind of luxuries you would expect at this price.
Ford Expedition The Expedition offers the same 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 as the Navigator, albeit with slightly less power, and is aimed more at the family man than the business executive so the starting price of $51,695 is a lot more palatable. You may not get quite the same level of luxury but there are still acres of space for up to 8 people and all of their luggage. The MAX extended wheelbase versions are among the largest SUVs around, the rear row passengers can also benefit from the available rear-seat entertainment system and auxiliary climate controls.
Nissan Armada The Armada SUV offers a sumptuously clad interior and effortless performance from its 390-hp 5.6-liter V8. Available in AWD, it can tackle the rough stuff and the ride quality is pretty impressive on the road. The array of available equipment can make for a very luxuries SUV although at $46,090 for the base model it can be good value too. So are there any negatives? Well, the third row of seats is not as spacious as in some rivals and that smooth V8 can be pretty thirsty in town.
Tesla Model X The fully electric Model X is an impressive new entrant into the SUV segment from Tesla and offers one of the largest cabins of any car in its class. There is ample space for 7 passengers and there are tons of impressive tech and gadgets to keep the family busy on long trips. The base 75D offers a 237-mile range and air suspension as standard, at $79,500 though it is up against some stiff competition. The top P100D model is the quickest SUV on the market but you will have to pay $140,000 for the privilege of being able to blast sports cars into the weeds at will.