Believe it or not, 7-passenger vehicles are not new inventions. In fact, they date back to the 1920s, when there were vehicles called depot hacks used to transport people and their luggage to and from train stations. In the 1940s, Jeep introduced a 7-passenger vehicle called the Jeep Wagon.
There have also been numerous 7-passenger vehicles over the years that were called vans. Some of these were even capable of accommodating 9 people. However, pickup trucks have evolved into SUVs and minivans and nowadays it’s hard to buy something called a pickup truck.
Today’s 7-passenger vehicles
Pickups began to decline in popularity in the 1970s mainly due to the 1973 oil crisis. It created something of a turning point from the classic American pickup with its vinyl bench seats and sluggish V8 engine. Some people referred to these as “heavy benchmarks”. The last full-size models made in America were the Chevrolet Caprice and the Buick Roadmaster. Both were discontinued in 1996.
As mentioned above, two types of 7-passenger vehicles have replaced vans. The first of these is the minivan as mentioned above. Chrysler Corporation introduced it in 1984. Minivans quickly became popular because they could seat 7 passengers (or 4 people with a lot of cargo) and because they offered much more interior space than relatively low family vans.
The second type of vehicle that helped do away with the pickup truck is the 7-passenger SUV. There are now many of these vehicles available in a wide range of prices. This includes high-priced luxury vehicles like the Cadillac Escalade, Lincoln Navigator, Mercedes-Benz GL 450, and Lexus LX 570, all of which can cost up to $70,000. Lower-priced 7-passenger SUVs include the Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, and Honda Pilot. However, it is important to understand that “lowest priced” vehicles mean that they cost between $25,000 and $35,000. In short, they just come at a lower price compared to luxury models.
What to look for in a 7 passenger vehicle
If you decide to buy or lease a 7-passenger vehicle, the first thing you’re likely to look at is its sticker price. Beyond this, it is important to consider security, stability and reliability. In minivans, the Honda Odyssey consistently rates well, as does the Toyota Sienna. The Odyssey is not only safe and reliable, but also, according to Car & Driver, “has long been our favorite minivan, going beyond utility and practicality to inject a veneer of driving pleasure into the segment.”
Some other 7-passenger vehicles that rank well for safety include the Chevy Traverse, Subaru Tribeca, and Ford Explorer. In minivans, the Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country, and Nissan Quest also rank well.
If you need a 7-passenger vehicle, you have many options. You can choose a minivan from Honda, Chrysler or Toyota or an SUV from Ford, Lincoln, Cadillac and many other manufacturers. And if you have more than $80,000 to spend, there’s always the Land Rover Range Rover.