Comfortably seating for more than five people requires three rows of seats, so that means either an SUV or a minivan. The only cars that can seat six or more are the Chevrolet Impala, Mercedes-Benz E350 wagon and Tesla Model S. None of those seats more than five comfortably, and depending on the size of the passengers, maybe four is the practical limit. Some four-door pickups seat six, but there goes your hope for “good mileage.”

2013_highlander_hybrid

You didn’t drop any hints about your fuel economy expectations, but three-row vehicles aren’t among the mileage leaders, so you might have to adjust your thinking.

The best fuel economy we could find in a three-row vehicle (excluding the electric Model S) is the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, which has EPA ratings of 28 mpg city/highway. However, the third row is cramped, so it may not meet your comfort requirement. The Ford Explorer with the optional 2.0-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine has EPA ratings of 20/28 mpg city/highway, but it has a cramped second row and tight access to the third row.

The Dodge Journey SUV can seat seven — not necessarily comfortably — and has EPA estimates of 19/26 mpg with a four-cylinder engine. The seven-seat Honda Odyssey minivan (18/27 mpg) and eight-passenger Honda Pilot (18/25 mpg) might also fill your space needs and possibly be economical enough.

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Answered by Rick Popely on February 20, 2013 in What Car Should I Buy? | Permalink

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