7 Seater SUV - A Balanced Family Vehicle

Just because you have a large family doesn't mean you have to settle for a plain vanilla minivan. Of course, this is not to denigrate minivans. A minivan can be a great choice for some families. In fact, many women prefer minivans because they are great for hauling kids all over town. You could almost put an entire soccer team of 8-year-olds in some of today’s minivans and still enjoy a comfortable ride.

However, if you just don't want to be seen driving to a friend’s house, football game or even the nearest mall in a minivan, a 7 seater SUV is a great alternative.

Today, a 7 seater SUV can be pretty cool and luxurious and yet something you could take fishing or use to haul a boat or trailer without feeling as if you were driving a mommy wagon.

A number of choices

Did you know that 7 seater vehicles have been around since the 1920s? They were called depot hacks and were used to transport people and their luggage to and from railway stations. In the 1940s, Jeep actually had a 7-passenger wagon called of all things, the Jeep Wagon.

In recent years, almost every vehicle manufacture has introduced a 7 seater SUV. This means 7 seater SUVs are available at a wide range of prices. Depending on your budget, you could choose a Hyundai Veracruz with its base price of $29,250. While the Veracruz is considered to be a crossover vehicle and sort of in the “bargain basement” of SUVs, it does have a lot going for it. It is handsomely trimmed inside, has a soft ride and includes a ton of standard features.

A nice mid-priced 7-seater SUV is the Mazda CX-9. It is a very spacious vehicle that's well designed and has a nicely appointed interior. It too offers a large array of standard features. The base price of the CX–9 is $30,180. Another good choice in this price range is the Subaru Tribeca. Because this 7-seater is not built on a truck platform, it has the feel of driving a car. The Tribeca is said to have a smooth ride. It is also said to move down the road quietly but rather deliberately. The Tribeca’s base price is $31,370.

Stepping up to luxury

Even the luxury car manufacturers have gotten into the 7-seater SUV act. GM’s Cadillac Division has the Escalade/ESV with a base price of $64,120. It is described as a big and capable SUV with a rich-sounding V8 that excels on highways. BMW’s X5/X5M come in at a sticker price of $48,075 and have comfortable interiors. Both models drive like really tall car. The M version is said to offer sports car like levels of performance.

A more recent entry into the field of luxury SUVs is Buick’s Enclave. It offers what is described as glitzy styling with chrome galore and a quiet ride. The Enclave has a base price of $37,410 making it sort of on the low end of the luxurious SUV category.

The QX56 is Infiniti’s most expensive entry in the luxury SUV category. It has a sticker price of $59,690 and is said to offer a lot of power and refinement with lots of safety and luxury features. Mercedes-Benz won’t be left out of this category either. It's GL-Class seats 7, has a respectable towing capacity and the moves of a much smaller SUV. The GL-Class has a base sticker price of $62,455.

They're not just for off-roading anymore

The idea behind the original SUVs was to be a sort of station wagon that you could take off-road for fishing or camping trips. Most would accommodate only 5 people and had a relatively stiff ride. However, today's 7 seater SUV offers comfort, a quiet ride and, if you're willing to spend the bucks, a lot of luxury. Most have a good towing capacity and, while you could take them off road, it's something you might want to think about – given their size.