Family-Friendly Finds: 10 Reliable 7-Seat SUVs Under $40,000 - SUV VEHICLE

Family-Friendly Finds: 10 Reliable 7-Seat SUVs Under $40,000


While many things around us might change, the demand for SUVs doesn’t seem to ever be letting up. If you have a family, it really is a no-brainer getting a bigger car with enough space for everyone. The demand for three-row SUVs is at its peak, and we can see why. Unwavering practicality and room is something that some people just can’t compromise on.




For many families though, buying a brand new three-row SUV is just way too expensive. Buying a used SUV can also be a tricky game, having to determine the condition of the car and how well it’s been taken care of. That’s why reliability is such an important factor to consider when buying used.

For those of you looking for a car that can fit the whole family at a used price that isn’t going to break the bank, we’ve put together a list of the most reliable SUVs that feature seven seats. From least expensive to most expensive, we break down what you get with each SUV and detail just how reliable it’ll be.

In order to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, the data used to compile this article was sourced from various manufacturer websites and other authoritative sources, including Edmunds and J.D. Power. Edmunds was used for all average pricing information.


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10 2009 Ford Explorer

Average Used Price: $7,628

Front 3/4 action shot of the 2006 Ford Explorer
Ford

The 2009 Ford Explorer is a brilliant car with a rich history perfect for anyone looking for a capable SUV that can go anywhere. When looking to buy one, make sure that it has the optional third row seats if it’s a lower trim model as it is only standard on Limited trims.

Performance Specifications

Model

XLT

Engine

4.0-Liter Naturally Aspirated V6

Transmission

5-Speed Automatic

Horsepower

210 hp

Torque

254 lb-ft

Driveline

RWD/AWD

Towing Capacity

5,205 lbs

Payload Capacity

1500 lbs


(Data was collected from Ford and Edmunds)

The 2009 model of the Ford Explorer is particularly desirable. It gained standard trailer sway control and was considered to be much more reliable than other model years.

Pros

  • 85 out of 100 for quality and reliability (J.D. Power)
  • Capable tow rating
  • Above average ride height

Cons

  • Somewhat outdated powertrain
  • Low quality materials on the inside
  • Poorly-aged interior and exterior design

9 2008 Honda Pilot

Average Used Price: $7,933

Front 3/4 action shot of a 2007 Honda Pilot EX-L
Honda

Honda is a name that almost instantly comes to mind when you think about reliability and the Pilot embodies this fully. This SUV comes standard with three rows of seating. The Pilot remains a nameplate associated with reliability to this day, and is one of the 20 most reliable SUVs, according to Consumer Reports.


Performance Specifications

Model

EX-L

Engine

3.5-Liter Naturally Aspirated V-6

Transmission

5-Speed Automatic

Horsepower

244 hp

Torque

240 lb-ft

Driveline

FWD or AWD

Towing Capacity

4,500 lbs

Payload Capacity

1,322 lbs.

(Data was collected from Honda and Edmunds)

The 2008 Honda Pilot has three-row seating across all models that can fit up to eight passengers. The model lineup was shifted for 2008, essentially offering you more features without having to spend more, meaning that the used Pilot you pick up will likely feature these packages.


Pros

  • 85 out of 100 for quality and reliability (J.D. Power)
  • Great towing capacity for its class
  • Smooth powertrain

Cons

  • Third-row is smaller than some of its rivals
  • Slightly outdated look
  • Used versions may lack entertainment or navigation systems

8 2010 Toyota RAV4

Average Used Price: $10,911

Front 3/4 shot of a 2010 Toyota RAV4 Limited parked
IFCAR via Wikimedia

While a newer RAV4 may seem like a more attractive proposition, if it’s reliability that you’re after, then you can’t get better than the 2010 model year. You’ll sacrafice some modern technology but you’ll find yourself in one of the most robust SUVs that has ever been sold.


Performance Specifications

Model

Base

Engine

2.5-Liter Naturally Aspirated Inline-Four

Transmission

4-Speed Automatic

Horsepower

179 hp

Torque

172 lb-ft

Driveline

FWD or 4WD

Towing Capacity

1,500 lbs

Payload Capacity

1,041 lbs

(Data was collected from Toyota and Edmunds)

Toyota’s RAV4 is one of the most robust vehicles they have ever built. While it has never been particularly fancy, it has always been able to tackle any task you put in front of it. You’ll want to look for a four-wheel drive model that has the optional third-row of seating when picking out your RAV4.


Pros

  • 88 out of 100 for quality and reliability (J.D. Power)
  • Excellent V-6 option that is powerful and economical
  • Massive cargo area for its class

Cons

  • Interior materials are low quality
  • Headroom throughout the vehicle is low
  • Lacks modern features

7 2015 Chevrolet Traverse

Average Used Price: $12,463

Front 3/4 shot of a parked 2013 Chevrolet Traverse
Chevrolet

Chevrolet’s Traverse is a full-size SUV that comes standard with three-rows of seating and enough space for the whole family. The 2015 Traverse is an excellent blend of technology, comfort, and practicality and was designed to make you feel at ease whether you’re cruising down the highway or sitting in the carpool lane.


Performance Specifications

Model

LT

Engine

3.6-Liter Naturally Aspirated V-6

Transmission

6-Speed Automatic

Horsepower

281 hp

Torque

266 lb-ft

Driveline

FWD or AWD

Towing Capacity

5,200 lbs

Payload Capacity

1,764 lbs

(Data was collected from Chevrolet and Edmunds)

The Traverse is a brilliant urban crawler. It has one of the biggest cargo holds in its segment and has a brilliant interior that is both roomy and surprisingly upscale. Its standard V-6 and three-rows of seating means you can tow whatever you need to whilst also fitting up to eight people inside. It’s also just as reliable as the newest models hitting the market.


Pros

  • 88 out of 100 for quality and reliability (J.D. Power)
  • Massive cargo capacity, even with the third row of seats up
  • High quality interior materials

Cons

  • Feels large and heavy to drive
  • Media and climate controls are outdated even for 2015
  • Infotainment system can be glitchy

6 2011 GMC Yukon

Average Used Price: $12,563

Front 3/4 shot of the 2007 GMC Yukon
GMC

The GMC Yukon, alongside its twin the Chevrolet Tahoe, is a full-size SUV with tons of space and tons of power. With a V-8 engine under the hood, the Yukon is great if you’re looking for something that doesn’t compromise on space or capability.


Performance Specifications

Model

Denali

Engine

6.2-Liter Naturally Aspirated V-8

Transmission

6-Speed Automatic

Horsepower

403 hp

Torque

417 lb-ft

Driveline

RWD or AWD

Towing Capacity

9600 lbs

Payload Capacity

1,616 lbs

(Data was collected from GMC and Edmunds)

The GMC Yukon is a brilliantly reliable SUV that offers a spacious interior and raucous engine with a particularlty large cargo area. If you’re looking to save money at the gas tank you also have the choice of a hybrid model, however, you’ll likely sacrifice reliability.

Pros

  • 86 out of 100 for quality and reliability (J.D. Power)
  • Can seat nine people
  • Great for those who tow regularly


Cons

  • Third-row doesn’t fold flat
  • There is no telescoping steering wheel
  • Guzzles gas

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5 2017 Kia Sorento

Average Used Price: $15,469

Front 3/4 shot of the 2015 Kia Sorento
Kia

The 2017 Kia Sorento is the perfect balance between affordability and modernity, having tons of features that we expect on new cars while also being an absolute bargain. While the new model has been deemed fairly unreliable, the 2017 model stands out as being cheap to own and maintain.The third row of seating is optional so be sure to look out for models with this extra when securing you’re Sorento.


Performance Specifications

Model

LX

Engine

2.4-Liter Naturally Aspirated Inline-Four

Transmission

6-Speed Manual or 6-Speed Automatic

Horsepower

185 hp

Torque

178 lb-ft

Driveline

FWD or AWD

Towing Capacity

2,000 lbs

Payload Capacity

1,322 lbs

(Data was collected from Kia and Edmunds)

The 2017 Kia Sorento followed a full overhaul for the 2016 model by including more smartphone integration and more advanced saftey features. Its excellent reliability paired with its value for money makes it a great choice for families looking for a seven seat SUV.

Pros

  • 87 out of 100 for quality and reliability (J.D. Power)
  • Cabin is filled with impressively good quality materials
  • Tons of standard features


Cons

  • The driver’s seat isn’t particularly comfortable
  • Third-row is too small for adults
  • Turbocharged engine variant isn’t as good as it sounds

4 2011 Toyota 4Runner

Average Used Price: $17,835

Front 3/4 shot of the 2010 Toyota 4Runner

Perhaps one of the most legendary off-roading SUVs of all time, the Toyota 4Runner is a brilliant choice for those who frequently travel off the beaten path. Not only does it off no-compromise off-road capability, but its handsome exterior and stout reliability earn it points in our book.


Performance Specifications

Model

SR5

Engine

4.0-Liter Naturally Aspirated V-6

Transmission

5-Speed Automatic

Horsepower

270 hp

Torque

278 lb-ft

Driveline

4WD

Towing Capacity

5,000 lbs

Payload Capacity

1,625 lbs

(Data was collected from Toyota and Edmunds)

For the 2011 model year, Toyota dropped the four-cylinder from the lineup. This means that if you pick up a 2011 4Runner its guaranteed to have the V-6 engine. You’ll have to check for the optional third row when buying to ensure that your off-road monster has enough space for the whole family.

Pros

  • 86 out of 100 for quality and reliability (J.D. Power)
  • Powerful and smooth V-6 engine
  • Unbeatable off-road capability


Cons

  • Third row of seating is too cramped for adults
  • Fewer creature comforts than rivals
  • Low quality interior materials

3 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe XL

Average Used Price: $23,085

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe three-quarter front view
Hyundai

The Hyundai Santa Fe is excellent value for money whether you’re buying it new or used. However, the 2019 model goes on average for $10,000 dollars less than the MSRP of a new one and still offers tons of features and a third-row of seating as long as you go with the XL. Its one of the best mid-size SUVs you can get for large families.


Performance Specifications

Model

SE

Engine

3.3-Liter Naturally Aspirated V-6

Transmission

8-Speed Automatic

Horsepower

290 hp

Torque

252 lb-ft

Driveline

FWD or AWD

Towing Capacity

5,000 lbs

Payload Capacity

1,444 lbs

(Data was collected from Hyundai)

When looking for your 2019 Santa Fe make sure that its the XL as the regular Santa Fe does not come standard with three-rows of seating. This mighty SUV had the highest output of any vehicle in its class at the time of release and will offer you an adundance of comfort features along with the convenience of a third row of seats.

Pros

  • 86 out of 100 for quality and reliability (J.D. Power)
  • A ton of standard features regardless of trim level
  • Powertrain should still be under warranty


Cons

  • Small cargo area compared to rivals
  • Not many of the highest trim levels were sold
  • Below average fuel economy

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2 2020 Toyota Highlander

Average Used Price: $32,989

Front 3/4 shot of a 2020 Toyota Highlander
Toyota

For those with a little more stretch in their budget, the Toyota Highlander offers modern features alongside its cavernous interior. The newest model is dominating the mid-size SUV segment. It was fully redesigned in 2020 and this model is nearly identical to the most recent one. This means you get a huge discount on a super reliable modern three-row SUV if you go with a used one.


Performance Specifications

Model

XLE

Engine

3.5-Liter Naturally Aspirated V-6

Transmission

8-Speed Automatic

Horsepower

295 hp

Torque

263 lb-ft

Driveline

FWD or AWD

Towing Capacity

5,000 lbs

Payload Capacity

1,565 lbs

(Data was collected from Toyota)

With an eight-passenger seating capacity and a slew of modern safety features, the Toyota Highlander is great for those looking for a fairly new and reliable SUV. When shopping for a used Highlander you can also be put at ease knowing that some of the cars powertrain warranty will still be covered.

Pros

  • 86 out of 100 for quality and reliability (J.D. Power)
  • High quality and modern interior
  • Great suite of safety features


Cons

  • Third-row is only big enough for kids
  • Cargo space is below average behind the third row
  • Not particularly fun to drive

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1 2018 Lexus GX460

Average Used Price: $33,057

Front 3/4 shot of the 2014 Lexus GX
Lexus

If you’re looking for Toyota levels of reliability, a third-row of seating, and you want your SUV to feel luxurious then there isn’t a better choice than the 2018 Lexus GX. This affordable seven-seat SUV blends luxe features and interior design with reliablity that is second to none.


Performance Specifications

Model

460

Engine

4.6-Liter Naturally Aspirated V-8

Transmission

6-Speed Automatic

Horsepower

301 hp

Torque

329 lb-ft

Driveline

4WD

Towing Capacity

6,500 lbs

Payload Capacity

1,470 lbs

(Data was collected from Lexus)

While some aspects of the Lexus GX are definitely a little on the older side given its age, it is a brilliant all-rounder. With a new GX on the horizon, the price of older models will only drop. It also offers great off-road capability, and interior fitted with high quality materials, modern saftey features, and a desirable third row of seats as standard.

Pros

  • 91 out of 100 for quality and reliability (J.D. Power)
  • Impressive off-road ability, especially for a luxury SUV
  • Luxe interior well above anything else at this price


Cons

  • Cargo space and third row are smaller than rivals
  • Fuel economy is below par
  • Seats become uncomfortable on longer journeys



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