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Best 3-Row Mid-Size SUVs

7 minute read

By Hayley Harrison

Key Takeaways

  • The best 3-row SUVs include U.S. and foreign-made models.
  • Starting prices for the best 3-row SUVs range from $33,895 to $42,795.
  • Cargo space, standard features and fuel efficiency are key considerations when comparing models.

If your family has outgrown your current SUV or you’re frequently traveling with friends and extended family, moving to an SUV with a third row of seats gives you the ability to fit everyone more comfortably and still have space for all of your stuff. Many U.S. and foreign automakers now offer third-row seating. Read on to learn which ones rank highest in terms of standard features, price, cargo space, fuel efficiency and other specs.

2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L

Introduced in 2021, the Jeep Grand Cherokee L can accommodate six or seven passengers. Designed with comfort in mind, its elegant interior is roomy enough to ensure everyone has enough space, and a long wheelbase absorbs the bumps of the road for a smooth ride. An impressive 6,200-7,200-pound towing capacity makes the SUV ready to haul that camping trailer or boat, and its off-road performance means you can take your adventures off the beaten path.

With a starting price of $42,795, this third-row SUV is costlier than some competitors. Still, its luxury-grade standard features, numerous driving aids and increased cargo space of 17.2 cubic feet for this model year place it among the best third-row SUVs.

Source: Jeep

2023 Kia Telluride

In 2019, Kia expanded its SUV options with the Telluride, and it’s earned rave reviews from critics and drivers ever since. The 2023 Kia Telluride follows in the footsteps of its predecessors, continuing to provide a luxury experience at a value price. This SUV puts a lengthy list of standard features, such as a 12.3-inch-screen infotainment center, a 12-way adjustable driver’s seat and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, at your fingertips, all for a low starting price of $35,690.

Responsive handling and a quiet cabin mean your passengers can ride and chat comfortably whether you’re headed out for dinner or on a cross-country trip. Numerous driver assistance features, such as lane assist and blind-spot monitoring, improve safety but can sometimes interfere with driving.

Source: Kia

2023 Mazda CX-9

Since 2006, the Mazda CX-9 has vowed to deliver the fun of a sports car in a family-ready size. The 2023 Mazda CX-9 makes good on that promise with zippy, responsive performance inspired by the beloved Miata. A turbocharged four-cylinder engine allows for impressive performance and gives the CX-9 a competitive highway fuel economy of 26 mpg.

Starting at $38,750, the third-row crossover is reasonably priced, yet its cabin and exterior bring to mind the sleek sophistication of a luxury vehicle. Compared to many competitors, the SUV has less legroom and a smaller cargo area. As a result, the CX-9 is best for those who prefer a sportier, more playful ride and only need the extra seating for occasional trips.

Source: Mazda

2023 Hyundai Palisade

With room for eight passengers and a starting price of just $35,250, the 2023 Hyundai Palisade gives you more room for less money. Now in its second model year, the Palisade boasts a host of handy standard features, including multiple connectivity options, lane departure and assist monitoring and adaptive cruise control with semiautonomous driving mode. Intuitive controls ensure you can access all of them without taking your eyes off the road.

Delivering up to 27 mpg on the highway, this third-row crossover is one of the best in terms of fuel efficiency. The drawbacks of the vehicle are minor flaws. Despite plenty of cargo space, the door bins are too small to be useful, and the cabin noise is slightly above average.

Source: Hyundai

2023 Toyota Highlander

If you need the extra seating space but don’t want to compromise your green principles, the 2023 Toyota Highlander could be the best 3-row SUV for you. The vehicle has an optional hybrid powertrain that gets 35 to 36 mpg on the highway, and its starting price of $36,420 makes owning a hybrid accessible.

To rival the size of the infotainment screen found in many other models on this list, you need to upgrade the interior, but all models come standard with SiriusXM satellite radio, a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot and multiple connectivity options. Available since 2001, the Highlander is well known for its reliability, and the 2023 edition rivals its predecessors, although its handling is less responsive than some competitors.

Source: Toyota

2023 Kia Sorento Hybrid

Another option for the green-minded, the 2023 Kia Sorento Hybrid delivers 37 mpg combined fuel efficiency and can travel about 655 miles on just one tank of gas. The SUV features second-row captain’s chairs and third-row bench seating to accommodate up to six passengers. USB and wireless charging stations are available for each row of seating, so everyone onboard can keep their devices powered.

For safety, the vehicle offers blind-spot detection and auto emergency braking technology as standard features. The price of the Kia Sorento has increased significantly since its introduction in 2002, but the starting price of $36,590 is still competitive, especially with the reduced cost of fill-ups factored in. Limited cargo space stands out as the vehicle’s only major drawback.

Source: Kia

2023 Nissan Pathfinder

For the frequent traveler, the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder offers a wealth of benefits. The seven-seater vehicle can tow up to 6,000 pounds, and the EZ FLEX Seating System makes removing the third row to haul large loads an effortless task. An abundance of interior cubbies and compartments gives every passenger space to stash their essentials. Manufactured since 1985, the Pathfinder has a solid reputation and was named an IIHS Top Safety Pick in 2022.

The starting price of $36,295 is competitive, but to get the upscale look that comes standard from some competitors, you’ll end up paying more than $50,000. Another downside is limited off-road capability, which makes this third-row SUV better suited to road trips than outdoor adventuring.

Source: Nissan

2023 Ford Explorer

As of October 2022, Ford hasn’t released the details of its 2023 Explorer, but the iconic status of the vehicle makes it already worthy of a place on the list. The SUV has offered three rows of seating since its debut in 1990 and historically accommodates up to seven people.

Previews of the latest edition reveal that the 2023 model shares its driver rear-drive platform with the luxury Lincoln Navigator and will be available with both hybrid and non-hybrid powertrain options. Likely, the price of the SUV will be slightly above that of the 2022 version, which started at $35,510.

Source: Ford

2023 Volkswagen Atlas

For buyers who want to maximize space as much as possible, the 2023 Volkswagen Atlas is a solid choice with an accessible starting price of $34,600. With the rear seats folded down, the third-row crossover provides 96.8 cubic feet of storage space and still has plenty of room for luggage and gear, even when packed with passengers.

The boxy interior may reduce the visual appeal of the Atlas in some peoples’ eyes, yet the ample headroom and legroom the design provides are strong selling points. With its 50,000-mile limited warranty, the Atlas gives you the peace of mind that it will last through countless road trips. Plus, Volkswagen provides complimentary maintenance for 2 years or up to 20,000 miles.

Source: Volkswagen

2023 Subaru Ascent

Subaru introduced its third-row SUV in 2017, and the Ascent has been a popular choice with families ever since. Although the vehicle seats up to eight, the cramped back row is really only suitable for kids. However, everyone in the cabin benefits from the cushy, smooth ride with all-wheel drive as a standard feature.

Multiple safety features, such as forward-collision and lane departure warnings, provide added peace of mind, and the starting price of $33,895 makes for an affordable family vehicle.

Source: Subaru

2023 Toyota 4Runner

Boasting rugged craftsmanship and a roomy interior, the 4Runner revolutionized the automobile industry when it debuted in 1984. The 2023 Toyota 4Runner continues to be a good choice for anyone who wants to take the whole family off-roading. Multiple safety features protect you on all types of terrain, and a 5,000-pound towing capacity makes the third-row SUV ready to haul.

The starting price of $38,805 is also highly competitive, particularly when you don’t have to upgrade to enjoy features such as LED lighting and a power rear liftgate window.

Source: Toyota

2023 Chevrolet Traverse

Packed with multiple standard features and starting at $34,520, the 2023 Chevrolet Traverse is a top pick for families who travel frequently. The three-row SUV welcomes up to eight people and gives adults plenty of room, regardless of where they sit in the cabin. To keep everyone entertained on long trips, the vehicle has an intuitive infotainment system.

Highly responsive acceleration ensures smooth merging on crowded highways, and every model offers the protection of automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert and front pedestrian braking.

Source: Chevrolet

Hayley Harrison


Hayley Harrison is a freelance writer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After receiving a degree in the History of Art and Architecture from the University of Pittsburgh, she changed gears and pursued a career in banking. In 2002, she began producing financial literacy articles, and eventually moved to writing full-time on a wide variety of subjects.



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