Tuesday, July 22, 2008
What is the Best 7 Seat Crossover
There are a lot of families who want a safe and roomy family vehicle that can fit 6 or 7 people. Many of them find a minivan, like the Honda Odyssey too boring and a big off-road SUV, like the Ford Explorer too truck like. That leaves crossover SUV's or car based SUV's, they all sit lower than off road SUV's, but still have a high driving position. They also drive more like cars than the off road SUV's and have more interesting looks than minivans. They have all wheel drive and are higher than most cars, so they're usually safer too. The first crossovers were just raised station wagons, the AMC Eagle was the first, Subaru came up with the Outback in the 1990's and there was also the Lexus RX300. Those all had 5 seats, but in 2001 the Acura MDX was brought out with 7 seats. Now there are lots of them, but they aren't all good. The Acura MDX is still one of the best, with 300hp and a great chassis, but it is expensive and doesn't have a lot of space. The new BMW X5 has 7 seats, but the third row is useless and there's less cargo space than a Honda CR-V. The Volvo XC90 was one of the first 7 seat crossovers and it was by far the best one when it was brought out, but now it's 5 years old and the competitors have passed it in space, comfort, and safety. The updated 2009 Honda Pilot drives well, has 8 seats, and a lot of cargo space for a 188 inch long SUV, but it's overpriced and the new competition is better even where the Pilot is good. The new Toyota Highlander is another very good crossover, it's a Top Safety Pick, it drives well, and is nicer than it's Lexus sister, the RX350. The problem with the Highlander is it has a third row that doesn't split fold, the hybrid is very overpriced and the hybrid still doesn't get much better gas mileage than the normal highlander. The Hyundai Veracruz is one of the best of these crossovers, it's a Top Safety Pick, drives well, and beat the Lexus RX350 in a Motor Trend comparison. The best crossover SUV for space are the Buick Enclave/GMC Acadia/Chevy Traverse/Saturn Outlook. Each one has its strengths, the Enclave looks the best and is the most luxurious, the Acadia has a useful modern design and is quite luxurious, the Outlook is the best value, but the Traverse has the most power, still has the 117 cubic foot cargo space, the large third row seat, and looks very good. The best overall crossover is the Mazda CX-9, it has a lot of cargo space, drives very well, is a good value, and has a roomy third row seat. The best value of these is the Suzuki XL-7, it has a large 97 cubic feet of cargo space, lots of family friendly features, and great safety all for under $27,000. This 7 seat crossover segment is very good, but the Chevy Traverse and Mazda CX-9 tie as the best ones overall, depending on what you need from a family crossover.