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Best 7-Seater SUVs in Canada: Our 10 Top Picks

It’s no secret that three-row, mid-size sport utilities have become the quintessential vehicles for modern Canadian families. These 7-seater SUVs are so popular that they’ve rendered the midsize sedan almost obsolete.

The reason they’re so loved is thanks to a wide range of attributes: they’re large, high off the ground, and can typically seat up to 7 or even 8 people. They can tow more than a minivan, and most, if not all, come with the option of all-wheel drive to take on Canadian winters. 

Here, we’ve picked seven models to keep on your radar, followed by three luxury 7-seater models for those looking for something more premium. You can also find these SUVs in our used inventory here, where every vehicle is certified before delivered to your door, and comes with a 7 day return policy.

Top 7-seater SUV models for your shopping shortlist

Subaru Ascent

2023 Subaru Ascent | Photo: Subaru 

Who is this for? Adventure-ready families who appreciate the sure-footedness of a Subaru on slippery icy roads.

Why we like it

  • Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive system is still unbeaten during a tough Canadian blizzard.
  • Massive cabin room with up to 19 cup holders and plenty of storage allow this SUV to be a worthy companion.
  • Punchy turbocharged four-cylinder engine that’s more fuel efficient than most V6s in this class.

It’s fair to say Subaru learned a few lessons from its failure with the B9 Tribeca. The Ascent is a much more serious affair. For starters, it still drives like a Subaru, which should please the brand’s faithful. 

The Ascent is a jack of all trades: it’s roomy enough for the kids, the dog, and their gear, but it’s also sporty enough to carve out a winding road during family getaways. Its four-cylinder engine pumps out a healthy 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque, which competes with most V6s in this class, but without the expensive gas bills. 

Subaru’s big guy is also a strong hauler, capable of towing up to 5,000 pounds when adequately equipped. It boasts one of the best cargo spaces in its class, yielding up to 2,449 litres of total room. The two smaller Ascent options include the Subaru Outback and Subaru Forester.

Here is our full review of the 2023 Subaru Ascent, which does get a hefty price increase. 

Nissan Pathfinder

2023 Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek | Photo: Nissan 

Who is this for? Families who have towing needs, but who also need a dependable year-round workhorse.

Why we like it

  • Class-leading towing rating means the entire family can tow the boat up to the cottage no sweat. 
  • Proven reliability from its naturally aspirated V6 engine.
  • The Pathfinder is spacious, with plenty of storage and an easily accessible third row.

Update: For 2023, Nissan offers the first-ever Pathfinder Rock Creek with more aggressive style, off-road tuned suspension, and other adventure-ready features.

The Nissan Pathfinder has been a staple of family transportation for over three decades. One of the reasons it’s currently among the best sellers in its class is due to its fantastic value, proven reliability, and year-round usefulness. 

After being unchanged for almost a decade, the Pathfinder finally got a full model overhaul for the 2022 model year. While riding on the same platform as its predecessor, it was updated in the areas that matter, with improved sound deadening and chassis stiffening for improved handling and safety. There’s also a lot more technology thanks to a fully digital gauge pod and over-the-air updates, as well as onboard WiFi. 

Yet, under the hood lies the same tried and proven 3.5-litre V6. It’s now paired to an all-new 9-speed automatic transmission, allowing the Pathfinder to tow up to 6,000 pounds, one of the highest ratings in its class.

Read our full 2022 Nissan Pathfinder review here.

Ford Explorer

2022 Ford Explorer ST-Line | Photo: Ford 

Who is this for? Families who have towing needs, but also want their family shuttle to be fuel efficient and quick off the line. 

Why we like it

  • A wide variety of available engines, including a fuel-sipping hybrid.
  • Even base models are plenty capable and come well equipped.
  • It looks the part, handles like a sports sedan, and can be had in a 400-horsepower ST version.

The Ford Explorer has gone a long way since it first arrived on the automotive scene back in 1991. It’s now loaded with technology and comes in more flavours than ever before. Base models are powered by a tried and proven turbocharged 2.3-litre four-cylinder that not only pumps out a class-competitive 300 horsepower, but can also tow up to 5,000 pounds. 

Looking for something a little more fuel efficient, but just as capable? How about a hybrid that’ll average 9.5L/100 km and will tow 5,300 pounds?

But perhaps you seek more performance from your midsize SUV? Ford has that covered too with the Explorer Platinum and stellar 400-hp ST trim. Both are powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 good between 360 and 400 horsepower. These bad boys will tow up to 5,600 pounds. You can really choose your poison with the Explorer.

The Explorer also makes our list of the Best Mid-Size SUVs in Canada.

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Toyota Highlander

2022 Toyota Highlander | Photo: Toyota 

Who is this for? Families looking for some piece of mind, low running costs and stellar resale value.

Why we like it

  • Tried and proven powertrains with stellar resale value.
  • Fuel-sipping hybrid Highlander won’t cost you more at the pump than a midsize sedan.
  • The expected Toyota value, build quality, and low running costs.

Update: For the 2024 model year, Toyota has revealed a first-ever 3-row Highlander, dubbed the Grand Highlander, for families seeking more passenger space and cargo.

On paper, the Toyota Highlander doesn’t necessarily do anything better than its competitors. But it’s the product’s overall execution that allows it to rank among the best in its class. If the Toyota Camry is a no-brainer midsize sedan due to its legendary reliability, low running costs and high resale value, then the Highlander is its SUV equivalent.

Consumers can choose between a silky smooth 3.5-litre V6 that churns out 295 horsepower and tows 5,000 pounds, or a highly fuel-efficient hybrid four-cylinder that’ll return an impressive 7.5L/100 km combined!

What the Highlander lacks in total cargo space, it makes up for it by being incredibly smooth on a bumpy road, immensely quiet inside and built with the same attention to detail as an expensive Lexus. Consumers can choose from a wide variety of trim levels all the way to a luxurious Limited AWD equipped with ventilated leather seats and an 11-speaker JBL premium sound system. It’s just a darn good SUV, even older Highlander models between 2008-2019.

Kia Telluride / Hyundai Palisade

Kia Telluride Nightfall Edition | Photo: Kia 

Who is this for? Families looking for the best bang for their buck in a three-row midsize SUV. 

Why we like it

  • Loaded with value, they both come with a long list of standard equipment.
  • Will tow up to 5,000 pounds without having to pay extra for a towing package.
  • Both are spacious, practical, and very well put together.

Nobody expected the Kia Telluride and the Hyundai Palisade to be this good when they both hit our market back in 2020. While mechanically identical, both vehicles harvest their unique design language, interior, and overall experience.

Underneath their bespoke sheetmetal lies a 291-horsepower 3.8-litre V6 that yields a 5,000-pound towing rating. The great thing is that this rating is achievable without having to pay for an additional towing package.

There lies the Kia Telluride and the Hyundai Palisade’s magic: value. Consumers get a lot of SUV out of the box, but don’t need to sacrifice quality. There’s standard all-wheel drive and a slew of neat creature comforts. These SUVs are well put together, loaded with technology and so far, have proven to be just as, if not more reliable than their Japanese counterparts. What’s not to like?

Here's a look at all the Kia SUVs and crossovers currently on the Canadian market.

Honda Pilot

2023 Honda Pilot | Photo: Honda 

Who is this for? Families who want it all and aren’t afraid to pay for it. 

Why we like it

  • Reliable, fuel-efficient, and powerful V6 engine.
  • The largest cargo hold in its class.
  • Honda common sense and mechanical brilliance encapsulated in a family friendly package.

Update: The 2023 Honda Pilot is completely redesigned with a more powerful i-VTEC V6 engine, a new exterior look, and more cargo space than before with a 3rd-row option. 

While the three-row SUV segment now includes a wide variety of highly capable offerings, the Honda Pilot somehow manages to still sit comfortably at the top. Although it’s been on the market since 2016, it’s that formidable blend of attributes that have allowed this Honda to tower the entire segment.

For starters, it’s powered by a gem of an engine: a tried and proven naturally aspirated 3.5-litre V6 that not only sounds like an Acura Integra as it climbs through the revs but delivers fantastic acceleration and superb fuel economy. 

The Pilot is large – the largest in its class if we compare the numbers – yet it feels small, nimble, and light on its feet when attacking a corner. Add to that Honda’s expected reliability, low running costs and stellar resale value and it’s fair this is the best of the best. But be aware, all that greatness comes at a price. The Pilot is considerably more expensive than its rivals.

Mazda CX-9

2022 Mazda CX-9 | Photo: Mazda 

Who is this for? Young families looking for a stylish, fun to drive and well put together family shuttle.

Why we like it

  • Beautifully designed with build quality that’s on par with some luxury vehicles.
  • Even if it’s large and heavy, the CX-9 is a fun SUV to drive quickly on a winding road. 
  • Mazda’s turbocharged four-cylinder not only packs serious punch, it’s also reliable.

Update: Important to note Mazda is replacing the CX-9 with the first-ever, 3-row CX-90. Here's our closer look at the new 2024 Mazda CX-90.

The CX-9 is a sharp-looking SUV that’s fun to drive, well put together and reliable. CX-9
owners have witnessed very little mechanical issues from their three-row SUV, with
lower-than-average running costs as well.

But while it’s good enough to be on this list, there’s a reason why the CX-9 comes last.
For instance, it’s outgunned by the competition in towing. While most vehicles in this
class will haul up to 5,000 pounds, this one is limited to 3,500 a pound rating. It’s also
down on cargo space compared to its main rivals, with only 2,016 liters of available
room with all seats folded flat.

Finally, to extract all 250 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque from its turbocharged 2.5-
liter four-cylinder, the CX-9 needs to be fed 93 octane fuel, which can’t be found
everywhere. On regular, 87-octane gas, it develops 227 horsepower and 310 lb-ft.

Luxury 7-Seater SUVs to Consider Buying

Acura MDX

2022 Acura MDX | Photo: Acura 

Who is this for? Families looking for a more sensible and affordable luxury SUV.

Why we like it

  • Tried and proven V6 engine packs a punch.
  • SH-AWD system is highly effective on icy roads. 
  • Massive cargo space, low running costs and stellar resale value.

The Acura MDX ranks among one of the best-selling midsize SUVs in Canada precisely for the same reasons as its corporate cousin, the Honda Pilot: it’s highly capable, reliable, quick off the line and very spacious inside. It also sells for a considerably lower price point than several European alternatives. See it as the more attainable luxury SUV.

While it’s true that the fourth-generation model, introduced for the 2022 model year, doesn’t change much from a technical standpoint, it gets important updates in the areas that matter. An all-new ten-speed automatic transmission leads to better acceleration and improved fuel economy, while an entirely revamped infotainment system brings the MDX into the modern age thanks to the integration of over-the-air updates and a WiFi hotspot. 

The MDX’s Super handling all-wheel drive system remains one of the best in the segment thanks to actual torque vectoring on the rear axle. Its V6 engine is strong, but also fuel efficient. And when properly equipped, this Acura will tow 5,000 pounds. It’s a win-win formula in our books.

How does the MDX peform? Here's our full 2022 Acura MDX Platinum Elite Review.

Genesis GV80

2022 Genesis GV80 | Photo: Genesis 

Who is this for? Families looking for a different kind of luxury experience.

Why we like it

  • Stunning styling and a lot of luxury at a reasonable price.
  • The base engine is great, the optional twin-turbo V6 is fantastic.
  • Genesis’ online and all-inclusive business model is witty, innovative and in tune with modern consumer trends. 

Genesis has been its own brand for just over five years, yet it’s already disturbing high-end luxury brands. With the GV80 introduced in 2021, Genesis shows us that it can also manufacture a proper seven-seater SUV capable of taking on the industry’s finest.

No matter which model you choose, you’ll be getting a lot for your money. At $65,000, a base 2.5T Select comes very well equipped and powered by a 300-horsepower 2.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. All GV80s come standard with all-wheel, and all of them come with a 5-year valet service. This means that Genesis will come pick up your vehicle for maintenance or repairs wherever it’s located and drop off a courtesy vehicle in exchange. 

Finding the four-cylinder a bit underpowered? How about trying the 375-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 on for size?

The GV80 made our list of the Best Luxury SUVs in Canada, along with 11 other upscale SUV models.

Audi Q7

2022 Audi Q7 | Photo: Audi 

Who is this for? Families looking for a classy and sophisticated luxury SUV. 

Why we like it

  • Stylish and loaded with technology. 
  • Agile handling, punchy and fuel-efficient engines, highly effective all-wheel drive system.
  • Built like a Porsche with the expected refinement and sophistication of a high-end German vehicle.

While the Audi Q7 faces serious rivals from both BMW and Mercedes-Benz, it simply does a better job at being a family-oriented machine. Both engines, whether it be the 248-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder, or the 335-horsepower turbo/hybrid V6 are silky smooth, loaded with power and highly fuel efficient.

The Q7 harvests a beautiful interior, fantastic build quality and plenty of room for the kids and their gear. Some will accuse it of having a tight third row, and it’s true, but it’ll make up for it in the twisties thanks to one of the best sorted out suspension setups in the business. It’s also rock-solid over road imperfections and its cabin is as quiet as a library. Did we mention the Q7 can tow 7,700 pounds when properly equipped? 

Verdict: Which 7-passenger sport utility should you buy?

Of course, that all depends – aside from the fact you’re looking to haul a large group of people. Each model in this list offers something a little different from the others. From higher towing capacity to pull the family boat to the lake cabin, to larger SUVs offering a long list of standard features (i.e. no extra charge!) many families value. 

Overall, these 7-seaters all sport sharp looks, abundant cargo space, and impressive cabins loaded with tech and features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. For those looking for something more premium, the Japanese Acura MDX, Korean Genesis GV80, and German Audi Q7 are a luxury trio to keep on your shortlist.

Buy a used 7-seater SUV delivered to your home

One thing is clear, however: there is no shortage of 7-seater SUV options on the market today. We’ve highlighted 10 we believe are some of the best, and you can find these used SUV models here, if you're in the market for a pre-owned 3-row family hauler.

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