Talk about a 7-passenger SUV and you’re looking at a third-row seat, for starters. But that’s not the only requirement for most families who want room, space, comfort and a decent value for the money. Fortunately, there are a number of good values out there – even though you may need to scour the market for available products that others haven’t already snapped up.
Our Top 3 Best Used 7-Passenger SUVs aren’t necessarily the top-of-the-line models, but do offer families a baseline from which to start. They have plenty of family-friendly attributes, good SUV fuel economy, and garner some praise from automotive experts such as Edmunds and Consumer Guide.
- Buick Rendezvous (2004-2006) – Originally debuting in 2002 as Buick’s cross between an SUV, luxury sedan and minivan, and available in 5-, 6-, and 7-passenger configurations (with fold-flat third-row seat), Rendezvous was discontinued mid-way through the 2007 model year. Edmunds notes consumers were generally “pleased with its combination of interior space, ride comfort, fuel economy and overall value,” calling Rendezvous an “affordable, practical choice for a family vehicle.” Edmunds advises buyers to “zero in on 2004 to 2006 models with the 3.6-liter V-6 engine.” Consumer Guide likes the interior space, passenger and cargo room, but knocks the base 195-hp engine acceleration, fuel economy and steering/handling. Edmunds True Market Value pricing runs from $7,375 (2004) to $16,952 (2007).
- Ford Freestyle (2005-2007) – Consumer Guide says of the car-type SUV , “This recommended choice excels as a family wagon… providing… utility, space and comfort that match any rival…. Ride and handling are agreeable, as are prices.” Only a 203-hp V-6 engine is available, so acceleration and power could be better, but fuel economy is “quite good for the size and weight.” Edmunds says “Freestyle is the real deal: a crossover that gives you all the flexibility you’d expect from a vehicle in this category.” Produced from 2005-2007, Freestyle seats up to 7 passengers, has front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, but no stability control, and excellent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) scores. Edmunds TMV used car retail prices run $11,010 (2005) to $18,595 (2007).
- Subaru Tribeca (2006-2008) – Tribeca (originally B9 Tribeca) is Subaru’s first midsize SUV, seating up to 7 passengers and the 2008 model (with new front-end treatment) has better acceleration than earlier years with a 256-hp horizontally opposed 6-cylinder engine. Edmunds says Tribeca’s “highway ride is smooth and the cabin remains quiet.” Consumer Reports gives Tribeca the nod in Best of the Best “Other good choices” for midsized and large SUVs. Consumer Guide hails Subaru’s “fine handling, versatile interior accommodations, and a generous list of standard equipment,” but acceleration is “lackluster,” although “pricing is competitive.” The 2009 Tribeca is an IIHS Top Safety Pick and 2006-2009 models have excellent NHTSA scores. Edmunds TMV pricing is $18,658 (2006) to $25,874 (2008).
Also worth considering are the Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer (XLS, 7-passenger seating with third row), GMC Envoy XL and Nissan Pathfinder. In addition to these SUVs, see a related article on Top 3 Best Used SUVs with Third Row Seats.