Big Family, Big Cars, Big Prices

family car decal

You’ve seen the stickers on the back of Suburbans everywhere. You know the ones, the little caricatures of each family member happily bouncing soccer balls or petting a puppy.

There’s usually a mom, a dad, 4 kids or more and two pets. Presumably they are all in the vehicle at the same time, and I’d almost guarantee they aren’t nearly as happy as their sticker-selves represent.

A lot of crying and yelling happens in the back of those Suburbans, I’m just sayin’.

For large families in need of a 7+-passenger vehicle, the choices are surprisingly ample. Expensive, but ample.

I really do miss the days of the traditional station wagon. The long and low vehicles with room for 6 people before even accessing the rear-facing “way back” seats were a staple of my childhood. I wish my kids could experience them. Instead, we have modern SUVs with cramped front-facing third-row seats that position children close enough to bite each other’s ears off.

I find myself in the position of maybe needing a car that can hold 6-7 people, but I really don’t want to buy new. I need something that can handle winter weather and keep kids comfortable enough that they don’t pass the time by pinching one another.

A Suburban might make sense, but 13 miles per gallon does not. Plus, the affordable ones I find have 150,000 miles or more. That’s a lot for an older Chevy engine!

I’m a huge fan of Subaru, and I like the Tribeca, but only the 2008 model year and up, which makes them more expensive.

A minivan is out of the question, mostly because I require all-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive. I also require not having a minivan.

I’ve owned a Honda Pilot in the past, and I’d consider getting another if the right used deal came along.

So far in my research, I’ve found that it’s hard to find a used AWD 7-passenger vehicle with under 150,000 miles and priced below $10,000. So that’s where you come in:

What’s your favorite AWD 7-passenger vehicle? 


Find Used Cars in Your Area at CarGurus

Used Chevrolet Suburban
Used Subaru Tribeca
Used Honda Pilot


  1. An older Diesel suburban might fit the bill. Still not cheap, but they seem to last forever if taken care of, can tow a house (trailer), and get pretty good mileage. With dual tanks, being able to go 700 or 800 miles on a big gulp of Diesel isn’t bad, either. Also, don’t forget those full-size vans. You can get a big family inside, all their stuff, tow a trailer, and still get that Diesel mileage.

  2. Ford Flex I have a 2009 seats 7 with good gas mpg you can pick one up for around 20,000 or less I tow a dual quad trailer with the 3.5L no problem or opt for one with the eco-boost if you want to do some heaver towing.

  3. I have an 11 chevy traverse and love it. they started making them in 08 so that may be a good option for you. reliable and 20-22 mpg. I can tow with it and it’s great in show.

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