Best Deals on Carpool-Friendly Cars for Back-to-School

CarGurus Names Top Picks for Cars That Fit Family, Friends and Budget

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., August 16, 2011 -- For families in need of a larger car that can accommodate the kids (and all their friends), this back-to-school season is an opportune time to go big. Auto research and shopping site CarGurus ( reports that while most used car prices are up overall since January 2011, larger used vehicles have seen some of the least dramatic price hikes this year, making it possible for consumers to still find great deals. Average prices on used SUVs, in fact, dropped 1.3% between January and July according to CarGurus data.

To help families looking to upsize their vehicle on a downsized budget, CarGurus today released its top picks for safe, well-priced, carpool-friendly used models to consider. The list includes two large SUVs (GMC Acadia and Chevrolet Traverse), several crossovers (Honda Pilot, Hyundai Veracruz, Toyota Highlander and Ford Flex) and two minivans (Honda Odyssey and Kia Sedona) - all available in low-mileage used models for under $25,000.

To arrive at their recommendations, CarGurus editors considered 2008 and newer used models that offer seating for seven or more passengers and are widely available for $25K or less. CarGurus also limited the list to vehicles that had received "Top Safety Pick" ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ( for the model year. Furthermore, CarGurus took into account owner satisfaction based on User Reviews and ratings from the CarGurus community at MPG is noted in the chart below to give guidance to consumers on fuel costs, however it was not a consideration in the analysis, since there is minimal advantage model to model. The CarGurus Instant Market Value (IMV) prices noted below are based on a price analysis of current and historic listings with mileage that is typical for currently available cars. Pricing guidance below is for base trims, however consumers can use CarGurus' free DealFinder to view IMV prices for other trims and to find great deals on listings in their area.

CarGurus' Top Picks for Carpool-Friendly Used Cars

Body Style Year/Model (Trim) Seats Typical mileage on currently available cars CarGurus' Instant Market Value MPG (cty/hwy) Notes from CarGurus' Editors
SUV 2008 GMC Acadia (SLE-1) 8 48,134 $23,349 16/24 We love the ample cargo storage behind comfortable third row: If you have many kids to seat and a lot of gear to stow, you'll appreciate its size. '09 Acadia also an IIHS Top Safety Pick (cost is typically >$25K).
2009 Chevrolet Traverse (LS) 8 44,670 $21,371 17/24 Like its twin the Acadia, '09 Traverse offers ample storage behind the third row.
Crossover 2008 Honda Pilot (VP) 8 47,789 $19,434 16/22 We love that the third row of this crossover SUV can fit 3 kids. The '09 Pilot also an IIHS Top Safety Pick. ('09 cost is typically >$25K).
2008 Hyundai Veracruz (GLS) 7 41,113 $20,797 16/23 We love the interior styling and the fact that the third row folds flat to maximize cargo space when not in use.
2008 Toyota Highlander (Base) 7 48,672 $22,149 18/24 We love this model's "center stow" 40/20/40 second-row split, which allows for great configurability. Moderate cargo storage when third row is in use. '09 Highlander also an IIHS Top Safety Pick (>$25K).
2009 Ford Flex (SE) 7 37,637 $21,398 17/24 You will either love or hate the exterior styling, but if you are looking for a vehicle that fits kids and cargo, check this out. Third-row seat splits 50/50, maximizing configurability.
Minivan 2008 Honda Odyssey (LX) 7 (Other Odyssey trims seat 8) 40,521 $19,507 16/23 The Odyssey offers excellent configurability for passengers and cargo. '09 Honda Odyssey also an IIHS Top Safety Pick; expect to pay $21K for an '09 with 39,000 miles.
2009 Kia Sedona (Base) 7 32,573 $17,227 16/23 With many family-friendly features, this minivan offers great value at a lower price point. '08 Sedona also an IIHS Top Safety Pick, and with typical 50,000 miles sells on average for $15K.

"SUVs have lost some popularity points of late, however the reality is that these vehicles are often the only fit for large families with busy kids and the associated carpooling responsibilities," said Langley Steinert, founder and CEO of CarGurus. "If you are looking to upsize your car and save money, now is a good time to be shopping for used cars and specifically for SUVs, crossovers and minivans, which have not seen the dramatic price increases of many compact models. Our CarGurus DealFinder tool will help you quickly search across local listings for these specific cars to figure out how asking prices stack up, giving you an instant view on whether a listing is a good deal - or one to avoid."

About CarGurus' DealFinder

CarGurus' free DealFinder ( shopping tool offers consumers a transparent online car shopping experience, giving them instant guidance on the best deals in their local area. Shoppers plug in their zip code and desired car and get an instant view of available vehicles, ranked from great deals to listings that are overpriced. For each listing, DealFinder also provides a detailed price history, so consumers can see how long a car has been on the market as well as any price drops it has had - information that can be used during a negotiation.

About CarGurus

CarGurus ( is a leading online automotive destination focused on making the online car shopping and research experience more transparent for consumers. Located in Cambridge, MA, the company was founded by Langley Steinert, co-founder and former Chairman of TripAdvisor, the largest travel site in the world.

Amy Mueller