The number of eight-passenger vehicles on sale has grown considerably in recent years, and these large family carriers have become common on the roads. There has never been a better time to be a car shopper when it comes to family- and people-hauling vehicles.
The 2021 and 2022 models offer the latest safety and entertainment technology, and automakers add more standard features to several of their most popular models. The tougher competition is good news for buyers because already competent SUVs and minivans keep getting better, and new models bring more choice.
All of the vehicles on our list are available with eight-passenger seating. Most of the few minivans available in the US now are represented, but the rest are three-row SUVs. And the SUVs are truck-based, car-based, or offer diesel or hybrid powertrains. This represents the amount of choice consumers have.
Here is our list of the best eight-passenger vehicles for 2021.
2021 Chrysler Pacifica
Minivans are a hard sell in 2021, but that hasn't stopped Chrysler, Kia, Toyota, and Honda from cranking out some of the best family-haulers yet. The Pacifica is an excellent example of this. It was recently updated to include an option for all-wheel drive, along with the addition of modified styling and a plush new Pinnacle top model.
As a minivan, the Pacifica is expected to carry eight people and their gear or some combination, and it does that just well. There's plenty of cargo space, even with the third-row seats upright, and the passenger space is excellent. And both the second and third rows fold into the floor, meaning there isn't much work required to make a vast space. A power tailgate and power sliding doors also make it easy to get in and out.
Eight-passenger Pacifica models come with a 3.6-liter V6 with 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Standard features include 17-inch wheels, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, tri-zone climate controls, LED interior lighting, a remote start system, an eight-way power driver's seat.
Tech features include a 10.1-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, voice controls, wireless Apple CarPlay, wireless Android Auto, HD radio, and Amazon Alexa compatibility. Other features include a rear entertainment system, 18-inch wheels, and a panoramic moonroof.
2021 Kia Telluride
The Kia Telluride is one of the most popular three-row SUVs on the market today. It carries enough luxury and standard features to compete with premium vehicles costing thousands more. The Telluride's interior space is gorgeous and manages an upscale feel even in lower trim levels. This midsize car-based SUV posts an impressive cargo capacity of up to 87 cubic feet with the second and third-row seats folded down.
Its 3.8-liter V6 engine helps it achieve a towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds. Though it shares much of its underpinnings and engineering with the Hyundai Palisade, the Telluride's sporty looks and upscale personality help set it apart from other vehicles in its class.
Telluride comes standard with 18-inch wheels, third-row seating, an eight-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, Bluetooth, voice recognition, and a six-speaker audio system. Driver assistance technology includes blind-spot monitoring, a driver attention warning system, forward collision avoidance with pedestrian and cyclist detection, forward collision warnings, lane departure warnings, lane following assist, lane-keeping assist, a parking distance warning system, rear cross-traffic alerts, and a smart cruise control system with stop and go.
2021 Chevrolet Suburban and Chevrolet Tahoe
The Chevrolet full-size SUV siblings got a complete overhaul for 2021, giving them new technology, updated standard features, and plenty to like, inside and out. Chevy offers both models with a handful of engine options, including two V8 engines and a diesel. There's enough horsepower and ground clearance to make some Tahoe and Suburban versions unexpectedly accomplished off-road.
But many buyers pick the Tahoe and even larger Suburban for interior space. The second and third rows are more spacious than ever, and there are great storage solutions up front. The GMC Yukon and Yukon XL and Cadillac Escalade offer similar features with different styling — and prices. And the Chevrolet Traverse also offers up to eight seats, but it doesn't have the Tahoe and Suburban's ability to haul items like boats.
The 2021 Suburban comes standard with a 5.3-liter V8, a ten-speed automatic transmission, with a 6.2-liter V8 or 3.0-liter turbodiesel six-cylinder also available. A 10.2-inch infotainment touchscreen, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, Bluetooth, a six-speaker audio system, a cargo management system, forward collision alerts, a following distance indicator system, and front pedestrian braking.
2021 Toyota Highlander
While Toyota also makes the new, hybrid-only Sienna, its Highlander three-row SUV is also excellent. The Toyota Highlander complete redo last year, which brought a host of updated tech, a new upscale interior, and performance updates. The Highlander can be had as a seven- or eight-seater and offers comfortable accommodations across all of its seating. Even the second-row bench seat manages a level of support and comfort that not many others can. Toyota equips every Highlander with an excellent standard suite of advanced driver-assist tech and has dramatically improved its infotainment system in recent years.
The 2021 Highlander is available with either a 295-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 or a 2.5-liter four-cylinder paired with electric motors to produce a total of 243 horsepower. The Sienna isn't available with a V6, so the Highlander has an advantage here. The EPA estimates that the Highlander Hybrid is capable of returning up to 36 mpg combined. Gas models come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, while hybrids get a continuously variable transmission.
Standard features include remote keyless entry and push-button start, an eight-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, Bluetooth, a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alerts, lane tracing assist, automatic high beams, full-speed radar cruise control, road sign assist, and cyclist detection.
2021 Honda Pilot
The 2021 Honda Pilot is an eight-passenger SUV and offers all of the interior space that a minivan does without being a van. The Pilot manages excellent legroom and headroom across all of its rows of seating, but in its eight-passenger seating configuration, reaching the third row can be a bit tight with seats folded down. Like Toyota, Honda also offers a minivan, but the Pilot has slightly different styling and personality.
The Pilot comes standard with a 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 and a nine-speed automatic transmission. And the Pilot offers all-wheel-drive, too. It also comes with a long list of standard features that includes 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, a collision mitigation braking system, road departure mitigation, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keeping assist.
While it's been around in its current form for several years, the Pilot is still an accomplished three-row SUV. Storage solutions are everywhere, the ride is compliant, and most controls are easy to use. Most of all, it's easy to live with.
2021 Hyundai Palisade
Though it's functionally similar to the Kia Telluride, the Palisade has an identity all of its own. It's powered by the same 3.8-liter V6 engine and eight-speed automatic, and optional all-wheel-drive. The Palisade features different interior styling than the Kia, but it also has the quality that would blush many luxury brands. Higher trim levels get plush leathers with quilting, top-level audio and infotainment systems, and enough safety equipment to keep everyone safe for the long haul.
The Palisade isn't light on the things that make a big SUV appealing, though. Inside, it's got 45.8 cubic feet of space behind the second-row seats and up to 86.4 cubic feet with both the second-and third-row seats folded down.
Standard features for the Palisade include an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, eight-passenger seating with a second-row bench seat, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, a parking distance warning system for the rear, rear occupant alerts, a forward collision avoidance system with pedestrian detection, smart cruise control, lane following and lane-keeping assist, and a driver attention warning system.
2021 Subaru Ascent
The Subaru Ascent is the only vehicle on our list that comes standard with all-wheel drive, making it an excellent companion for people who live in areas with regular, measurable snowfall. It has plentiful standard technology, a solid infotainment system that can run Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, and seating for the whole family.
Every Ascent is powered by a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 260 horsepower through a continuously variable transmission. Standard gear includes a pre-collision system, throttle management, lane departure and sway warnings, adaptive cruise control with lane centering, tri-zone climate controls, eight-passenger seating, all-wheel drive, a 6.5-inch infotainment screen, and six speakers. Subaru's crossover also features 8.7 inches of ground clearance, a towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds, and up to 27 mpg on the highway.
2021 Ford Expedition
Though not as recently updated as its General Motors competition, the Ford Expedition is one of the best all-around passenger vehicles, especially for people who need to tow. With seating for up to eight people, a towing capacity of up to 9,300 pounds, and plenty of tech and safety goodies, the Expedition can hold its own against fierce competition. It's also more sophisticated than older competition such as the Nissan Armada and Toyota Sequoia.
Every Expedition model is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6, which produces 375 horsepower in the XLT and Limited trims and 400 horsepower in the Platinum model. It's paired with a ten-speed automatic gearbox and either rear- or all-wheel drive.
Ford adds a load of standard features to every expedition model, including power-folding seats, cruise control, an eight-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 4G LTE hotspot, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. Adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, and more features can be added through options and packages.
2021 Honda Odyssey
The Honda Odyssey brings eight-passenger seating with a load of innovative tech in an attractive package. Honda also packed the van with great standard tech and entertainment features. On top of that, the Odyssey is capable of towing 3,500 pounds, which is plenty to pull a small boat or trailer on a family road trip.
Every Odyssey is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. Power reaches the front wheels through a ten-speed automatic transmission. There's still no all-wheel-drive, though. The Odyssey comes standard with 18-inch wheels, a collision mitigation braking system, road departure mitigation, forward collision warnings, lane departure warnings, a lane-keeping assist system, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, auto high beam headlights, a five-inch LCD screen, Bluetooth, and a 160-watt audio system with seven speakers.
Honda also offers family-friendly upgrades that include an in-cabin camera system to show the driver what rear passengers are doing. A built-in microphone system that allows the driver to communicate with other people in the vehicle, even if they are using the van's entertainment system with headphones.
2022 Kia Carnival
The Carnival MPV steps into the Kia lineup to replace the old Sedona minivan and does so with muscular styling that leans much closer to the SUV side than it does to that of a minivan. Even so, Kia has outfitted the van with enough entertainment and comfort gear to keep the whole family happy. Various seating options and configurations allow combinations for more people or more cargo.
Every Carnival model comes equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 290 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. It is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Unlike the Chrysler Pacifica, all-wheel-drive isn't an option, though. That gives the Kia Telluride an advantage over the Carnival. The powertrain combines to deliver a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.
The Carnival is well-equipped out of the box. It comes standard with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, forward collision avoidance assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, a parking distance warning system, high beam assist, and a driver attention warning system.
Kia offers several appealing options for the Carnival, including a Bose premium sound system with 12 speakers, wireless smartphone charging, multi-device Bluetooth connectivity, a blind-spot-view camera, a navigation-linked highway driving assist system, and a surround-view monitor.