7-passenger vehicles are the sweet spot for MPVs; more accommodating than 6-passenger vehicles, but not necessarily as gargantuan as 8+ seaters.
There are dozens of choices on the market. Some offer three seats in the middle row and two in the third row, while others come equipped with captains chairs in the second row and a three-person bench in the back. Some are smaller vehicles just squeezing in seven seats while others are larger vehicles that could be equipped with even more seats. What’s right for you depends on you priorities. preferences and planned usage.
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Granted, there are vehicles that can offer more seats for the same money, but we already covered those in our 8 Seater SUV article. What we want to focus on here are the lowest priced vehicles configured for seven seats – no more and no less. Here are the top 10 most affordable 7-passenger vehicles currently on the market today.
10. Chrysler Pacifica
We kick the list off with the latest evolution of the original minivan. The Chrysler Pacifica is notably fancier than the Grand Caravans of old, up to and including its standard second-row captain’s chairs. There is an eight-seat setup available, not to mention AWD and—separately—a plug-in hybrid option. In Grand Touring form, the Pacifica rings in at $38,690 USD, including destination. The ol’ GC lives on in Canada, a decontented, pre-facelift Pacifica that nonetheless starts at $47,990 CAD.
9. Chevrolet Traverse
What an overachiever the Chevrolet Traverse is. This big Bow Tie family hauler undercuts the Pacifica at $38,440 USD for a front-drive LT model ($47,548 CAD with standard AWD). But if we’re talking base trims, the LS is several thousand cheaper. The catch is that it’s actually an eight-passenger layout. Available with a smooth and powerful V6, the Traverse is one of the most spacious three-rows you can get unless you want a body-on-frame, old-school SUV.
8. Ford Explorer
The Ford Explorer is a bit of a unique entry on this list now. It’s rear-drive, while every other model here is front-wheel drive. (They’re almost all available with AWD too.) It features standard seven-passenger seating too, with only a pair of seats in the way-back, not a trio. A 2.0-liter turbo engine is standard, but there’s also an available hybrid, as well as a sporty ST. New for 2022, an off-road-oriented Timberline joined the fleet. Pricing for the mid-sized Explorer starts from $38,255 USD ($50,935 CAD for the XLT AWD).
7. GMC Acadia
Back when it debuted, the GMC Acadia was little more than a badge-engineered buddy to the afore-mentioned Traverse. For the current generation, however, GMC went its own way, crafting a shorter, stubbier model with a greater focus on a more premium feel and potential off-roading. To that end, the Acadia comes standard with three rows of two seats, but there’s a seven-seat setup available as a no-cost option, adding a perch right in the middle of the cabin. Seven-versus-seven, the GMC undercuts its Bow Tie sibling by a small amount, with the entry price set at $38,195 USD ($44,748 CAD).
6. Volkswagen Atlas
It may come as a surprise that the Volkswagen Atlas only seats seven passengers. This is a large three-row crossover, so one can be forgiven for assuming the third row seats three people. But in fact it is only the domain of two passengers.
By limiting space to just two people, the Atlas has one of the largest, most accommodating third rows of any vehicle currently on sale—SUV or minivan. If consistently carrying six to seven adults is a must, take a look at the Atlas. The FWD SE trim level features a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and starts at $36,445 USD ($43,945 CAD).
5. Kia Carnival
Kia is insistent that the Carnival is not a minivan, but instead refers to it as MPV (Multi-Person Vehicle) in the United States and a LUV (Life Utility Vehicle) in Canada. Regardless of what labels are put on it, the Carnival is a three row, front-wheel drive box on wheels with sliding doors.
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We do give Kia credit for making the vehicle more stylish and crossover-like in appearance, as even the entry-level LX is quite attractive. Pricing for the seven-seat Carnival starts at $34,235 USD ($37,695 CAD).
4. Ford Transit Connect
The final van on our list is the Ford Transit Connect, a vehicle hard to categorize. It isn’t really a minivan, as it was designed more for commercial use. But it’s not a utilitarian metal shell like its cargo siblings either; in fact, the Titanium trim level is quite posh and well equipped.
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So what is it? They best we can come up with is a sort of mini-minivan. It’s a 9/10ths scale version of a traditional minivan, but still with seven seats. And it is also quite affordable, if not lacking a bit for power. The 162-hp entry-level XL model starts at $33,255 USD ($36,710 CAD).
3. Kia Sorento
Despite the Carnival and Telluride stealing the headlines as Kia’s latest and greatest three-row vehicles, the company still offers the smaller Sorento with an optional third row. Seven-passenger seating is standard on the base LX trim, starting at just $31,285 USD ($36,895 CAD for LX+). At this price point, think of the LX as more of an occasional-use seven passenger vehicle as it lacks the power and space of some of the more expensive choices listed above.
2. Mitsubishi Outlander
We finish our list with a pair of three-row compact crossovers. Not as popular as they once were, the three row compact crossover still has a market, and Mitsubishi has been a serious player here for years. The Outlander received a heavy refresh recently and continues to offer a lot of value for the money. Pricing for the ES 2.5 2WD starts at $28,940 USD ($34,598 CAD) and includes 18-inch alloy wheels, a full suite of advanced safety systems, and of course seven passenger seating.
1. Volkswagen Tiguan
It appears that Volkswagen really took the criticism to heart that the original Tiguan was too small. When the second generation appeared in 2017, it had grown significantly and came equipped with a third-row seat. As one of the smaller vehicles in this list, the third row is obviously more the domain of children than adults.
Standard on every Tiguan is a torque-rich 2.0-liter turbocharged engine paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The front-wheel drive S trim level undercuts all other three-row passenger vehicles with a starting price of $28,245 USD ($36,445 CAD).
December 27th 2022: Dropped Durango, CX-9, and Odyssey; added Pacifica, Traverse, and Acadia. Updating pricing.
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