When it comes to road trips, the right vehicle can make all the difference. None can guarantee against family bickering along the way, but space, comfort, convenience and entertainment options can distract the travelers toward their natural tendencies when the boredom of mile after mile or too much togetherness sets in. When it comes to multi-passenger vehicles, the choices are many and varied. Will you choose a minivan, a large crossover, or an SUV?
The roomy, comfortable Toyota Sienna minivan is available with 8-passenger seating and all-wheel drive. A far-sliding second row with reclining lounge seats and foot rests will save the “I called shotgun first” fights. The 2015 model added revised suspension, stronger body structure, and upgrades to the interior design and materials.
The KIA brand l has transcended to stand for refined and aspirational vehicles. The 2016 Sorento will only further its rise, with a premium look outside and inside creating a nice balance of utility, style and value. A three-inch stretch in length to the 2016 model allows this mid-size crossover to offer more inches of third-row legroom than some of its competitors. Ride comfort is a top priority for its designers while it’s no slouch on driving dynamics either.
The Honda Pilot offers a third seating row comfortable enough for adults. Its designers put passenger comfort, clever storage areas and cargo space at the top of their list. This contender in the large crossover segment is quiet at highway speeds and the ride pleasant and cushy. The 2016 Pilot will be all-new and promises 27 / 19 MPG and many aesthetic enhancements while keeping comfort and cargo space as top priorities.
If it’s a big dog SUV that seats eight that you’re seeking, Lexus’ LX 570 is fully-loaded interior with creature comforts and delivers a smooth ride while being fully capable off-road. A Luxury package adds heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, heated second-row seats, a cooled storage bin between the front seats, wood and leather upgrades and “SmartAccess”--a slim, cardlike key fob that fits in your wallet.
If you’ve got the extra money for its price tag and gas bill and plan to travel with four or five passengers at the most, the top dog in big SUV opulence is Range Rover’s LWB (Long-Wheelbase). A “Semi-Aniline Rear Executive Class” seating package can transform the standard three-person bench to a pair of reclining bucket rear seats divided by a full length center console. The rear buckets are also heated and cooled and massaging just like the front seats. Occupants will seldom ask “Are we there get?” with dual TV screens mounted on the front seat head rests to entertain as they glide down the road in sheer luxury. Even the tallest passenger can fully stretch out with a behemoth of legroom space. The 8-speed supercharged V8 launches while retaining Range Rover’s off-road capability. Rover has introduced a third seat option on some models and will do so hopefully soon on the LWB.