Sure, they were safe enough, but other than that it seems like there was nothing about them that made them fun or attractive to drive.
The good news? Technology has come a long way since then, and now there are a ton of choices out there.
This means that if you’re in the market for a new minivan or SUV, this is a great year to check out what’s new and hot.
With that being said, it’s time to look at ten of the best 7-passenger vehicles (minivans, SUVs, and crossovers) of 2017.
1. Honda Odyssey
The 2017 Honda Odyssey is a great choice that’s packed with features.
Its luxurious interior can easily and comfortably seat eight.
Standard features include brake assist, a rearview camera, a rear entertainment system complete with SiriusXM Radio, power sliding doors, tire pressure monitoring, and a power lift gate.
In addition to these standard features, six levels of available trim allow you the chance to score extra features such as a noise-reducing windshield (a new feature for the 2017 model), lane departure warning, and forward collision warning.
Under the hood, the Odyssey boasts a 3.5-liter V6 engine, and a smooth, 6-speed automatic transmission for a powerful ride.
Unfortunately, the 21-mpg overall rating is a little heavy on the wallet, and all-wheel drive isn’t available.
2. Toyota Sienna
The 2017 Toyota Sienna is another great minivan choice.
Like the Odyssey, this model boasts a powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine, but the 8-speed automatic transmission delivers an impressive 296 horsepower.
Even with this power, the Sienna is able to average 24-mpg on the highway in all-wheel drive, which is not a bad number for a vehicle that can easily accommodate eight.
Much of the changes between the previous year’s model and this one are improvements that take place under the hood (literally and figuratively).
The 8-speed transmission mentioned above is one new innovation, but it’s not the only one.
Other improvements and upgrades from the 2016 Sienna include better fuel economy (the front-wheel drive models were rated as high as 27-mpg highway), reduced friction, and expanded gear ratios.
The all-wheel drive mentioned above is a unique feature among minivans, but it’s not the only thing that makes the Sienna stand out.
The interior boasts an impressive 87.1 cubic-feet of space (with the second and third row seats folded down) and a dual-view entertainment center, which allows passengers to watch more than one movie at the same time.
Another interesting feature is the “Driver Easy Speak”, which lets parents deliver instructions to children in the back of the van through the sound system.
One downside to this model is that the third row is notoriously difficult to maneuver and set up, which can make it difficult to realize all of that cargo space!
3. Chevrolet Traverse
The 2017 Chevrolet Traverse is an SUV that comes packed with features.
Standard items include a 6-speed automatic transmission, SiriusXM, a powerful 3.6 liter V6 engine, a comfortable interior that can easily hold 8 people, a rear vision camera, tire pressure monitoring, remote keyless entry, and a ton of other items you would expect from today’s modern vehicles.
Also included standard are several safety and convenience features, such as OnStar (which has many, many features included) and a touch radio system.
Extra trim features can get pretty nifty, with a host of on-board audio options (such as Bose or MyLink radio systems).
Also available in the trim packages are many safety items, including forward collision alerts and lane departure warnings.
New for 2017 is the addition of CarPlay, which allows you to sync and control your iPhone through the stereo system.
On the downside, the 2017 Traverse is low in fuel efficiency, coming in at a mere 15 mpg city and a not-much-better 22 mpg highway.
4. GMC Acadia
The 2017 GMC Acadia was a completely redesigned model for GMC, almost completely different from its 2016 predecessor.
The end result? A smaller, leaner crossover SUV that GMC hopes will put it back in the large-passenger vehicle market.
This smaller design both helps and hurts the Acadia.
As you can imagine, a smaller frame means less weight, which helps with fuel efficiency.
In fact, the 2017 scores very high in this department, with the base engine model reaching an impressive 28 mpg highway.
Other positives include many features that you would expect from a larger vehicle, depending on the trim package you opt for, including automatic braking, forward collision alert, lane assist, lane change alert, and parking assistance.
The Acadia even offers a few unique design elements, such as a handy pull-out drawer from the back of the center console, giving second and third row passengers more storage options for electronic devices and other gear.
The downside in making the Acadia smaller for 2017 is exactly what you’d expect: a smaller vehicle means less room inside.
While it can fit three rows of people, the third row is certainly not meant for adults, and even large kids could feel cramped in there.
In fact, everything has a slightly more cramped feel to it, with even the driver and passenger seats feeling a bit on the snug side.
5. Kia Sedona
Kia is known for offering high-quality vehicles at more affordable prices, and the 2017 Sedona is no exception.
While it might not come with every conceivable bell and whistle that the more high-end vehicles offer, what you get is a good, solid vehicle that’s still packed with state-of-the-art features, all in a much more budget-friendly minivan.
The engine is a 3.3 liter V6 that’s decent, if not as large as some other comparable models.
This slightly smaller engine yields a respectable 18 mpg in the city, and 24 mpg on the highway.
The technology in this minivan is definitely up to industry standards, as well, offering such things as a touch screen audio system (and new in 2017, the ability to integrate the system with your smartphone), voice-activated navigation, a surround view monitor, and a powered lift gate.
One new feature for the 2017 model is the availability of a technology package that includes high-end safety features such automatic emergency braking, and enhanced HISD headlights that bend in the direction you steer to help you navigate corners more effectively.
6. Nissan Pathfinder
The 2017 Pathfinder did not undergo a complete redesign like the Acadia.
But it did experience a rather hefty update from its predecessor, with minor changes to the exterior and interior, and rather significant changes under the hood.
Exterior changes included a slight change to the front grill and headlights — small things like that.
Interior changes included extra tech options at certain trim levels, including forward-collision warning, auto braking, and a motion sensor for the powered lift gate that responds to a foot wave.
The touch screen audio and navigation system gets added features, too, including a bigger screen, more connection options, and pinch-to-zoom features.
Updates were made to the engine, as well, giving it increased fuel efficiency, more power and towing capacity, and a more responsive driving experience.
All in all, the redesigned Pathfinder remains a good, solid option when it comes to larger, passenger-focused vehicles.
7. Ford Flex
The 2017 Ford Flex might be the most unique-looking model in this list, which for many people is a plus.
Whereas most other minivans and crossovers go for sleek lines, the Flex is all right angles and boxes, which definitely gives it a bit of a retro look, hearkening back to the days of the station wagon or the surf-mobile.
It’s heavy, as well, coming at over 4,500 pounds.
Why mention this? Well, a heavy car needs a powerful engine, and the Flex doesn’t disappoint.
Base models tout an impressive 288 hp, but trim packages can include an even heftier engine that delivers up to 365 hp.
What you get in power, though, you lose in efficiency, as the Flex averages somewhere between 17 and 20 mpg, depending on conditions.
Inside, it’s a very spacious ride, with plenty of room for kids and adults alike in all three rows.
Industry standard features are available, including Ford’s SYNC infotainment system (which, of course, can also be upgrade to an 8-inch touchscreen marvel that’s sure to please the tech geek in all of us).
8. Hyundai Santa Fe
If you’re looking for a vehicle that seats seven, names are important when it comes to the 2017 Santa Fe.
Different packages come with different seating options.
You want to make sure you are looking at the SE model, which is the 7-seat version.
Other versions include the 6-person “Limited” and the two-rowed “Sport” so make sure you know what you’re looking at!
The SE is a very good addition to this large passenger-car lineup.
Between 2016 and 2017, the exterior to the SE was given a minor facelift, with only minor changes added to give the vehicle a similar aesthetic to other Hyundai models.
Much more has been done on the inside with a nice 7-inch touchscreen infotainment standard on all models that nicely integrates with your Android device.
Depending on your options, many safety features are also available, including blind-spot monitoring and pedestrian detection.
The engine delivers 290 hp while giving you decent fuel efficiency (24 mpg highway).
9. Mazda CX-9
Since 2016 was the year the CX-9 underwent a complete redesign, not much has been changed since then.
Instead, this particular crossover SUV delivers an elegant driving experience that Forbes calls “luxury without the brand.”
And this is a good description, too.
The CX-9 is designed to give you the look and feel of a luxury model, complete with luxury-standard features to boot.
In short, you get more than you pay for with the CX-9, which makes this an excellent entry on this list.
One of the standout features of this car is the Active Driving Display, which is a heads-up display that is projected on the windshield so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road.
Other optional features include lane assist, blind spot monitoring, heated seats, a premium Bose sound system, power lift gate technology, and a rear backup sensor.
Under the hood you get a 2.5 liter four-cylinder turbocharged direct injection engine that produces a modest (but more than adequate) 250 hp while also saving you money at the pump.
Compared to other models, the CX-9 is quite efficient, clocking in at 28 mpg highway.
In addition, sound-dampening insulation produces an extremely quiet and pleasant ride.
10. Ford Explorer
The Ford Explorer is possibly the best-known vehicle on this list.
Over the years, it has garnered a reputation as being a solid, dependable, and convenient vehicle.
The 2017 does nothing to harm that reputation.
With this model, Ford went with the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy.
There’s very little difference between this and its 2016 predecessor.
Five levels of trim give you plenty of options to choose from.
These options include such things as a blind spot information adaptive cruise control, and collision warning.
Higher-end models come with even more features, such as lane departure warning and lane keep assist.
An interactive touchscreen infotainment system is standard, with higher trim packages featuring Ford’s updates SYNC3 system, which allows you to integrate personal devices for a complete experience.
The base model starts with a 3.5 liter V6 engine, which can be upgraded in higher-end models to give you unmatched performance and power.
As you can see, there are plenty of great options to choose from with this lineup.
All ten of these models give you a great mixture of safety, convenience, and luxury.
If you feel like splurging, the higher trim packages go even above and beyond and really make these vehicles something to check out.
Regardless of what you end up with, these vehicles are sure to turn any boring road trip into an adventure that’s fun and entertaining for the whole family (and whoever else you might have in there!).