If you often carry a crowd in your vehicle, chances are your budget to buy new wheels is tight. Fortunately, despite rising price tags for autos, there are capacious vehicles available that cost significantly less than the current average purchase price for a new car, which is around $50,000.
Here are some recommendations for vehicles that can carry seven or more people in relative comfort — for both their occupants and your budget. Drawn from Money’s new Best Cars package, the picks span two main vehicle types: SUVs and minivans. (Even the roomiest among our picks in large cars and pickup trucks cars maxed out at a capacity of five seats.)
If crowd capacity is a priority in your next vehicle, it’s especially important do more than just kick the tires on the prospective choices. While Jaclyn Trop, the expert autos writer who prepared our package, judged all the picks below to be big enough for (at least) seven, they may not be roomy enough for your seven, depending on their respective sizes. So it would be wise to not only check the specs on passenger space of your shortlist of vehicles, but also assemble your full crew for test drives before buying anything.
Best 7-passenger vehicles at most affordable price
Price: $35,100 Mileage: 19/26 mpg
This Kia stands out for its cabin size, boasting 145.1 cubic feet of space to make it the roomiest choice (holding up to eight people) on our list of best minivans. It also boasts a low cost of ownership — based not only on its purchase price but on other cost factors, too, such as likely repair bills. (Fuel economy is typical for a gas-powered minivan, and EVs and hybrids in this vehicle type have significantly higher purchase prices.)
Price: $36,690 Mileage: 39/35 mpg
With three rows of seating, the Kia Sorento Hybrid is one of the largest entries on our list of the best hybrid SUVs. Given that it runs a third or so farther on a gallon of gas than the Kia Telluride and Toyota Sienna, it should be markedly less expensive in the long run. Even the base EX model features a near-luxury feel with leather upholstery and more.
Price: $37,790 Mileage: 20/26 mpg
This three-row SUV can accommodate up to eight people. However, we recommend swapping the bench seat that’s standard in the back for plush, second-row captain’s chairs. That will reduce this Kia’s capacity to seven, and up the price, but passengers will appreciate the extra elbow room.
Upgrading one level from the base model to the S trim, as priced above, also gives you luxury features such as leatherette upholstery and power-adjustable and heated front seats.
Price: $41,445 Mileage: 36/36 mpg
The Sienna boasts the best fuel efficiency among our minivan picks with a low price — even for the step-up XLE trim, whose starting price we list here. It can hold up to eight people, but it’s not the best choice if those occupants will be toting gear with them, since the Sienna has the least cargo space of any of our minivan picks.