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Economical Vehicle for 8?
June 10, 2014 6:59 AM   Subscribe

I need to find a safe vehicle that can seat a family of 8 comfortably and still have enough room to haul backpacks and school sports equipment.

In my dreams it would get decent city gas mileage (ha) and doesn't cost an arm / leg and one kidney.

Used is fine. Needs to last at least the next 5 years.

And I'm OK with a VAN, I've accept this position in life as chauffeur.
posted by bleucube to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Check out a Nissan NV or a Ford E series. These are both in the $20K neighborhood. If you want something a tad more upscale, the Mercedes Sprinter is in the $30s.

A mini-van is okay for 7 (someone will be sitting 'bitch') but 8 is too much of a squeeze, let alone with gear.

No good gas mileage I'm afraid. But you'll get folks to hockey, ballet and school without drama.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:16 AM on June 10


We have the Honda Odyssey. It seats 8. It very comfortably seats 7 adults and one kid or 5 adults and two car seats. We love it.
posted by saradarlin at 7:20 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


I grew up being hauled around in a Chevy Suburban (learned how to drive in one, too!). They are great! Seats 8, though 8 adults might be a bit cramped. And still has room for a bunch of hockey bags in the back! Gas mileage is pretty awful, though.
posted by Grither at 7:36 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


Go look at a Honda Odyssey and see if that would work for you. It seats eight, and it's surprisingly roomy inside (you can easily fit a 4' x 8' sheet of plywood flat on the floor with the seats out/flattened). There's a "pit" behind the rear seats that offers a lot of storage. If you don't have a full passenger load, you can fold the rear seats down into the pit for more cargo room. Mine generally gets around 23 MPG around town and 26 or so on the highway.
posted by Ostara at 8:23 AM on June 10


Apparently not all Odysseys come with seating for 8, so if you're shopping for a used one make sure it has that option-the EX does.
posted by mareli at 8:36 AM on June 10


Go look at a Honda Odyssey and see if that would work for you. It seats eight, and it's surprisingly roomy inside (you can easily fit a 4' x 8' sheet of plywood flat on the floor with the seats out/flattened). There's a "pit" behind the rear seats that offers a lot of storage. If you don't have a full passenger load, you can fold the rear seats down into the pit for more cargo room. Mine generally gets around 23 MPG around town and 26 or so on the highway.

This also applies to the Toyota Sienna. There's a removable seat that fits between the captain's chairs in the second row. It's a snug fit for that 8th passenger, but my teenaged son fits there between a car seat and booster seat, so it should fit a small to average sized eighth passenger.
posted by hhc5 at 9:07 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


Dodge caravans with 3 row seating fit 8 and have plenty of storage, and brand new in that config will run maybe 20k New, and gets "reasonable to not bad" fuel economy.
posted by chasles at 9:36 AM on June 10


Toyota makes a hybrid version of their Highlander SUV. It has the option for seating 8 people. On the fuel efficiency front it is probably as good as it gets for something that size but likely pricier than getting a minivan (whether this evens out due to better gas mileage would depend on how much of your driving is on city roads).
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 9:41 AM on June 10


We have no problems seating eight comfortably in our Odyssey, with plenty of room for gear. If you have racks and a top box you can extend your gear-hauling ability even further.
posted by padraigin at 10:26 AM on June 10


Watch your payload rating with the minivans. The Odyssey for example is only (for 2013 I couldn't find 2014 info) 1340 lbs and the Caravan is 1560lbs (these values change quite a bit depending on options). Depending on the size of your occupants and how heavy their gear is it's pretty easy to exceed that amount. 8 150 lb occupants with 50lbs of gear each is going to put you wildly over the Odyssey's weight rating.
posted by Mitheral at 5:34 PM on June 10


An 11 passenger van will give you 3 seats for equipment. It won't give you what most people would consider great gas mileage, but if you consider it in terms of miles per gallon per passenger it's not bad at all.
posted by yohko at 1:00 PM on June 12


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