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Top 9-Seater SUVs: Discover GM’s Leading Range of Full-Size SUVs

If you often transport a big group and don’t like minivans, a 9-seater SUV could be perfect. These SUVs have three rows of seats, accommodating three passengers on each bench.

Top 9 Seater SUVs 

The 9-seater SUV scene is pretty niche, and right now, only GM’s got the big players with four full-size SUVs offering that sweet 9-seating capacity.

Now, hold up before you start yawning because GM’s been killing it in the full-size SUV game for a good while.

Let’s break it down – here are the four GM SUVs giving you that 9-seater goodness –

Chevrolet Suburban

Chevrolet Suburban

The Chevrolet Suburban stands tall as the OG of all SUVs, making its debut back in 1935 as the pioneer of metal-bodied truck-based wagons. Fast forward to today, and it’s still the top choice for families seeking an escape from the minivan monotony, while still carrying passengers comfortably and bringing a trailer along.

Robust truck-based platform, comfortable seating for up to nine passengers, gutsy V8 engines, stout towing and 4WD capability – probably reveals the secret sauce. 

For those eyeing a 9-passenger Suburban, the 12th gen (2021 – Present) and the preceding 11th gen models (2015-2020) stand out for their wealth of modernities and advanced family-friendly features. The 2021 Suburban, in particular, marked a milestone by adopting an independent rear suspension, greatly enhancing interior accommodation and road manner.

However, the nine-seater configuration, complete with a front bench seat, is exclusive to the LS trim.

The good news is that even the base Suburbaeven the base Suburban offers flexibility with rear-wheel or 4-wheel drive options. A choice between a potent V8 gasoline engine and a torquey inline-six turbo diesel engine is also on the menu, promising fewer pit stops at the fuel station. 

And let’s not forget the array of standard tech and driver assistance features, elevating the base 9-seater Suburban far beyond a mere Spartan model.

Check out high-quality used Chevrolet Suburban models for sale

Chevrolet Tahoe

Chevrolet Tahoe

Rolling onto the scene in 1995, the Chevrolet Tahoe is essentially the Suburban’s compact cousin. It packs all the perks of its full-size counterpart but in a more parking-friendly package.

Boasting a commanding presence on the road, a cabin with an insatiable appetite for passengers and cargo, and a generous serving of V8 power paired with 4WD capability, the Tahoe has emerged as best-selling full-size SUV in the U.S. It’s ability to navigate rutted two-tracks as effortlessly as eight-lane expressways, has made it quintessential American vehicle.

Following suit with the Suburban, the latest generation Tahoe debuted in the 2021 model year. Not only larger and more spacious, but it also ushered in a myriad of enhancements. Thankfully, Chevy retained the 9-seater configuration, available in the equally well-equipped LS model.

While the Tahoe’s wheelbase falls 14 inches short of the Suburban, there’s still ample room for a grown adult to comfortably occupy the third row. Chevy doesn’t skimp on refinement either. The cabin not only offers vast space but also boasts high-quality materials and a plethora of creature comforts. On top of that, every model comes equipped with cutting-edge tech and entertainment features, complemented by an array of standard driver assistance safety features.

Read more: 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe Buyer’s Guide

GMC Yukon XL

GMC Yukon XL

When the task at hand involves transporting up to nine individuals and their belongings or towing a substantial trailer, the GMC Yukon XL is another worthy choice. 

Positioned as a slightly pricier counterpart to its corporate sibling, the Chevrolet Suburban, the GMC Yukon XL shares the same frame, employs identical engines, and rolls off the assembly line at the same factory.

Debuting back in 2000, the Yukon XL underwent its latest redesign in 2021, aligning with its GM twins for a bigger, plusher, and more technologically advanced version.

A notable upgrade was the shift to an independent rear suspension, a first for the full-size GMC. This revamped suspension system and improved proportions do wonders for interior accommodations, especially benefiting third-row passengers.

For those eyeing the nine-passenger setup, it’s a similar deal. The Yukon XL offers optional three-row bench seats exclusively in its base SLE trim. Much like the Suburban,  there’s no shortage of amenities and ample space to stretch out throughout the SUV.

And if you’re not carting around a full load of passengers, simply fold down the second and third rows to unveil a staggering 144.7 cubic feet of room.

GMC Yukon 

Another contender in GM’s lineup, offering a 9-seating capacity, is the Yukon—essentially the corporate twin of the Tahoe and the more compact version of the Yukon XL 

Introduced in 1991, the Yukon has continually elevated the experience of highway cruising and off-road exploration. 

Currently, the Yukon is in its fifth generation which was introduced for the 2021 model year. GM made sure that being truck-based doesn’t mean lagging behind the times. This massive body-on-frame SUV, as rugged and capable as ever, is now distinctly sophisticated and loaded with the latest tech.

Just like its GM counterparts, the Yukon also offers an optional 9-passenger seating with a front bench seat, exclusively in the base SLE trim. But fear not, powerful engine options, available 4WD, and a host of standard amenities mean you’re not settling for a bare-bones base trim.

Also read: Best Used Large SUV’s for 2023

9-Seater SUV Features

Here’s what the GM Full-Size SUVs offer in their nine-seater version: 

Engine Specs

EnginePowerTorqueMPG (City / Highway)
5.3-liter V8355 hp 383 lb-ft15 MPG / 20 MPG
3.0-liter I6 Turbodiesel277 hp460 lb-ft21 MPG / 28 MPG

*MPG Data is sourced from US EPA’s website.

Note: GM also offers a more6.2-liter V8 option in their full-size SUVs, however, it isn’t available in the nine-seater models.

Interior Space  

Front Head Room 42.3 inches
Front Leg Room44.5 inches
Second Row Head Room38.9 inches
Second Row Leg Room42.0 inches
Third Row Head Room38.2 inches
Third Row Leg Room36.7 inches

Cargo Area Dimensions  – Suburban / Yukon XL 


Cargo Space Behind Third Row 
41.5 cubic feet
Cargo Space Behind Second Row 93.8 cubic feet
Cargo Space Behind Front Row 144.7 cubic feet

Cargo Area Dimensions  – Tahoe / Yukon


Cargo Space Behind Third Row 

25.5 cubic feet
Cargo Space Behind Second Row 72.6 cubic feet
Cargo Space Behind Front Row 122.9 cubic feet

Features

Here are the common standard features in all the GM full size SUVs with nine-seater capacity:

  • LED headlights
  • Keyless entry and Remote start
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • 10-way power driver’s seat
  • Eight-way power front passenger seat
  • 10.2-inch infotainment touchscreen
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Onboard Wi-Fi Hotspot
  • Three-zone automatic climate control
  • Eight USB ports
  • Limited-slip rear differential
  • Rearview camera

Standard safety features include:

  • Automatic high beams
  • Front and Rear parking sensors
  • Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking
  • Teen Driver system

There are plenty of options including:

  • 4-wheel drive with two-speed transfer case
  • Lane departure mitigation 
  • Blind-spot monitor 
  • Rear cross-traffic alert 
  • Max Trailering package

Alternatives to 9-Seater SUVs

When you’re aiming for more flexibility in seating, and probably looking at squeezing in more than nine folks, those big SUVs just won’t do. It’s time to consider a full-size passenger van.

And the good news is, you don’t have to sacrifice all that rugged SUV vibe because the options on our list still bring some capabilities to the table in one way or another. Check it out:

Chevrolet Express Passenger

The Chevrolet Express Passenger Van stands out as a reliable workhorse, comfortably accommodating up to 15 passengers.

Yes, it’s a no frills full-size Van not much different from the original version that rolled out in 1996, however, there are two very solid reasons to get the Chevy Van over others. Firstly, it’s the most affordable full-size option in the van market, and secondly it has a stout towing capacity of up to 10,000 pounds (the most in the segment).

Built on a full-length ladder frame with boxed forward frame rails, the Chevrolet Express Passenger offers diverse powertrain options, including an efficient diesel choice (available until the 2022 model year).

In 2018, a 276-hp 4.3-liter V8 was introduced as the base gasoline engine. The 6.0L V8 was succeeded by a robust 401-hp 6.6L V8 (L8T) starting in 2021. Notably, post-2016, the 6.6L Duramax diesel V8 was phased out, making way for a new 2.8L inline-4 Duramax as the diesel engine offering.

For model years 2003–2014, an all-wheel-drive option was available for 1500 and light-duty 2500 vans (with a GVWR below 8,500 lbs). AWD variants exclusively featured a 135″ wheelbase and GM’s robust 5.3L V8.

Ford Transit Passenger van

With seating for up to 15 individuals and a range of wheelbase and roof height options, the Ford Transit’s adaptability caters to van shoppers requiring maximum people-carrying capacity.

Adding to its appeal, the Ford Transit offers all-wheel-drive capability and can tow up to 7,500 lbs.

Introduced to the American market in 2014 as an early 2015 model (fourth generation), the Transit remained largely consistent until 2020, when a mid-life facelift was introduced. This update included a refreshed front fascia, interior design, and the incorporation of new features, including advanced driver assistance technology.

During this 2020 update, all-wheel drive became an available option for the Transit. Additionally, a new base 275-hp 3.5-liter V6 replaced the previous 3.7-liter V6, paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission for improved fuel efficiency. Ford’s reliable 3.5L twin-turbo V6 with 310 hp remained an alternative option. The lineup also featured a 185 hp, 3.2L inline-5 Duratorq diesel until 2020.

Nissan NV Passenger Van

For those in need of nine or more seats without compromising the SUV virtues, the Nissan NV Passenger Van comes with solid credentials. It boasts a body-on-frame construction borrowed from the Nissan Titan pickup and a robust V8 powertrain capable of pulling up to 8,700 pounds, all while offering seating for up to 12 passengers.

Admittedly, the NV shows its age, especially when compared to newer competitors like the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Ford Transit. Both of these rivals offer all-wheel drive and fuel-efficient diesel engines. Despite this, the NV Passenger Van holds its ground with a compelling mix of rugged practicality, capable engines, good road manners, and attractive pricing.

While the NV doesn’t provide a 15-seating capacity, its multi-configurable seating options give owners a great deal of flexibility in setting up their van for seating. And when we say a lot, Nissan claims a whopping 324 different combinations to suit various needs.

Powering the NV is a base 261-hp 4.0-liter V6 paired with a five-speed automatic transmission, delivering power to the rear wheels. Alternatively, there’s a larger 5.6-liter V8 that received a power boost from 317-hp to 375-hp for the 2017 model year, coupled with a seven-speed automatic transmission.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Passenger Van

If you’re looking for something beyond the basic utility of vans, Mercedes-Benz has a compelling answer. While the Chevrolet Express might outdo it in sheer capability, the Mercedes Sprinter aims not only to transport a full basketball team but to do so with a touch of sophistication.

Standing at over 9 feet tall, the Sprinter van may not squeeze into most garages or parking structures, but this height translates to ample room inside. Most people can stand up without worrying about hitting their head on the ceiling. The Sprinter offers seating for up to 15 individuals, complete with the convenience of sliding doors on each side.

Redesigned in 2019, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter incorporates some of the most modern tech available today, delivering the utility expected from a large, boxy vehicle. What might surprise you is how easy it is to drive and how comfortable the experience can be.

The standard engine 188-hp 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder. On 2500 models and standard on 3500 and 4500 models, there’s an optional 188-hp 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6, Notably, the Passenger Van 2500 model, capable of seating 12, is the sole option available with four-wheel drive.