When you’ve got kids, your vehicle quickly becomes a second home. You’re driving to soccer practice one minute, picking them up from music lessons the next. It’s go-go-go, all the time. That’s why the vehicle you buy for your family needs to be perfect; comfortable, accessible, entertaining and spacious. After all, you’ll be spending a lot of time in it.
Here are five affordable seven-seater vehicles that do a great job of blending utility — the most important element of a family vehicle — with the right amount of features. Ranging in style and price, this list is a great place to start the search for a new family ride.
MSRP: Starting at $23,145
Engine and Transmission: 3.6L Pentastar VVT V6 | 6-Speed Automatic Transmission
Fuel Economy: 13.7, 9.4 L/100km City, Highway
Cargo Capacity: 143.8, 4072 (Cu.ft, Liter)
Standard Features: 17-inch steel wheels, air conditioning with front dual-zone manual temperature control and air filtering, luxury steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, power front windows, power locks, cloth front bucket seats, 2nd-row bench seat and 3rd-row Stow ’n Go 60/40 split-folding seats with tailgate seating, remote keyless entry and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with All-Speed Traction Control and Trailer Sway Control
Trims: Canada Value Package, SE Plus, SXT, SXT Plus, SXT Premium Plus, Blacktop, Crew, Crew Plus, GT
Highlights: When you think of a minivan, the Grand Caravan is probably the first one that comes to mind and, rightfully so. For a minivan that’s been on the market for over 30 years, it still manages to best the competition in some of the most important ways.
When it comes to the Caravan, it’s all about the Stow n’ Go functionality. It gives owners 81 possible interior seating and cargo configurations, meaning there’s room for even the most awkwardly shaped types of gear.
In terms of fuel economy, the Caravan’s not just good on gas, it’s great on gas… Dodge estimates it can go up to 800 kilometers on the highway before it needs a fuel up. And thanks to its 3.6L Pentastar VVT V6 engine that puts out 283 horsepower and 260 ft-lb of torque, it’s easily most powerful van in the segment.
MSRP: Starting at $27,995
Engine and Transmission: 3.3L V6 | 6-Speed Automatic
Fuel Economy: 13.2, 9.7 L/100km City, Highway
Cargo Capacity: 142, 4020 (Cu.ft, Liter)
Standard Features: Rearview camera, 5-inch display audio, Bluetooth, stain-resistant cloth seats, steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls, Traction Control System (TCS), Traction Control System (TCS), and Hill Assist Control (HAC).
Trims: L, LX, LX+, SX+, SXL, SXL+
Highlights: Kia’s made sure the 2017 Sedona is as safe as possible, pairing each trim with a respectable range of safety features that includes things like traction control and brake assist.
The Sedona L seats seven comfortably, while all other trims offer 8-passenger seating thanks to a removable second-row middle seat. Things get pretty luxurious as the trim levels get higher; the SXL sports premium leather seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and tri-zone automatic climate control. Finally, all Sedona’s come with Kia’s YES Essentials fabric technology which protects your vehicle’s interior from spills and stains.
MSRP: Starting at $39,890
Engine and Transmission: 3.5-Liter 24-Valve v6 | 6-Speed Automatic Transmission
Fuel Economy: 12.4, 8.8 L/100 km City, Highway
Cargo Capacity: 83.9, 2375 (Cu.ft, Liter)
Standard Features: Intelligent Traction Management System, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, heated front seats, remote engine starter, a rearview camera, tri-zone automatic climate control, Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Lane Departure Warning (LWD) system and Lane Keeping Assist.
Trims: LX, EX, EX-L, EX-L RES, Touring
Highlights: The 2017 Honda Pilot is about $15K more than the other options on our list, but there’s certainly reason for it. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a van with more standard features. Included on this exhaustive list are Honda’s Safety Sense technologies, which features everything from Lane Departure Warning to Adaptive Cruise Control.
All Pilot trim levels feature standard second-row, three-person, 60/40-split seat for eight-passenger seating. While a 6-speed automatic transmission comes standard, there’s an optional nine-speed automatic transmission as well.
MSRP: Starting at $33,420
Engine and Transmission: 3.5L V6 | 6-Speed Automatic
Fuel Economy: 13, 9.5 L/100 km City, Highway
Cargo Capacity: (Cu.ft, Liter)
Standard Features: 6.1 Touch Panel display audio, backup camera, power windows and locks, tri-zone automatic climate control, Split & Stow 3rd Row, folding 60/40 split rear bench seat w/fold-down seat back, Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) 9 & Smart Stop Technology (SST) and variable intermittent wipers, intermittent rear window Wiper/Washer, windshield wiper de-Icer
Trims: 7-Passenger, SE 8-Passenger, XLE AWD 7-Pass, FWD Limited
Highlights: The 2017 Sienna is the first minivan in Canada to offer two all-wheel drive models, so those of us living in colder climates can enjoy a more confident drive. The Sienna also has one of the most modern-looking interiors you’ll find in a minivan. In a segment where aesthetics are often sacrificed for comfort, Toyota has does an excellent job of making sure the Sienna is able to blend the two together nicely.
The features that make the Sienna a worthy candidate, though, are most definitely the intercom for easy communication with the third-row and a Blu-Ray entertainment display that keeps the kids engaged on longer trips.
MSRP: Starting at $37,790
Engine and Transmission: 3.6L V6 | 9-Speed Automatic
Fuel Economy: 13.4, 10 L/100km City, Highway
Cargo Capacity: 140.5, 3978 (Cu.ft, Liter)
Standard Features: 5-inch touchscreen, air conditioning with tri-zone manual temperature control, Bluetooth, power windows and locks, Stow’n Go 60/40 split-folding bench seat, Electronic Stability Control with Hill Start Assist, Keyless Enter ‘n Go
Trims: LX, Touring, Touring-L, Touring-L Plus, Limited
Highlights: Think of the new Pacifica as a larger-looking crossover with the classic minivan Stow n’ Go accessibility. Chrysler also makes sure Active Noise Cancellation is standard on all models, turning the Pacifica into one of the smoothest seven-seater rides on the market.
While the base model comes with a respectable amount of standard features, there are also dozens of available luxury features meaning owners can modify their Pacifica to be as posh as they like; a built-in vacuum, LED lights, and Nappa leather-faced seating all come standard on the Limited model. The Pacifica is also the only vehicle in the segment that offers a hybrid model. Its total driving range is estimated at over 850 kilometers to a full tank… Yeah, you read that right.
The Pacifica has lots of storage throughout while the back row offers loads of legroom for older kids. It’s a spacious, comfortable ride and when equipped with the middle-row entertainment system with those handy touch-sensitive screens, it’s the perfect vehicle for any family.
Which seven-seater is your favorite? Let us know below!