2010 Mazda Mazda5Enlarge Photo
Although the 2010 Mazda5 has one of the lower Overall Ratings of these five budget-priced third-row vehicles, it has a lot going for it. If the editors of High Gear Media could pick one vehicle of this lot, it would likely be the Mazda5, which has excellent handling, a responsive small-car feel, and excellent sliding side doors that open easily without power assistance. You can even fit six adults in a pinch. And did we say it's the only one in this group that offers a manual transmission?
2010 Kia SedonaEnlarge Photo
The 2010 Kia Sedona is offered in two lengths—including a short-wheelbase (SWB) model that stickers at less than $23k and a long-wheelbase (LWB) model that sells for less than $25k. Between the two, unless you have some very tight parking-space requirements, we'd recommend the LWB model as you get a superior third row arrangement that folds flat into the floor. Otherwise, the Sedona is an aging design relative to more modern rivals like the new 2011 Toyota Sienna and of course the Dodge Grand Caravan, but pragmatists won't mind.