SUVs offer immense practicality and performance, which make them ideal for buyers looking to haul a lot of passengers and cargo. It is one of the most popular segments among new car buyers, and manufacturers are introducing several new models at almost all price ranges.
SUVs are generally equipped with two rows (seating for 5 adults), but nowadays you can find 3rd row seating SUVs as well. The third row serves as an additional passenger area and comes in handy especially if you have children. If you’re on the lookout for the best 3 row SUV in the current market, you are at the right place.
A 3-row SUV is good for big families for sure, but the only area they compromise on is the cargo space. But it does offer convenient seating space for kids. In most vehicles, the third row is not large enough to accommodate a grown-up, as there is hardly enough legroom.
So in case you’re eyeing this particular segment, and wondering what is the best 3 row suv to buy, this article will help you find the right choice. Here we have listed our top 10 picks ranked according to lowest to highest price. So read on, and get a step closer to owning the ride of your dreams!
What is a 3rd-row seating SUV, exactly?
As we were discussing, three-row SUVs have an additional row at the back of the car aside from the standard two rows that are found in almost all cars. There are two types of three-row SUVs– midsize and full size.
Mid-size SUVs are a bit smaller than full-size SUVs. As a result, the third row in mid-size SUVs is not the most comfortable for adults. But they can easily accommodate children, and they provide decent cargo space as well. They are a good alternative if you do not like the styling of a minivan. They offer almost the same level of practicality in a much sportier package.
Full-size SUVs are bigger and powerful than mid-size SUVs, but they are a lot more expensive to buy and maintain. Quite naturally, the third-row seats in these vehicles are more comfortable than that of midsize SUVs. They also offer better off-road capability, so you should choose based on your needs and preferences.
Now without further ado, let’s take a look at the best 3 row SUVs you can get your hands on.
1.2022 Kia Sorento
Price: $29,420 – $43,090
Sorento is a three-row SUV from Kia, with a much smaller footprint compared to the Telluride. But it is a bit cheaper and has more powertrain options, making it a potential substitute for the Telluride.
Why We Picked It: The Kia Sorento offers both a hybrid as well as a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain to choose from. The hybrid powertrains promise good fuel economy. And irrespective of the powertrain you choose, all of them are well refined and operate quietly.
They also have a long list of advanced features to offer, and many of the important ones, such as lane keep assist and automatic emergency braking, come as standard across all variants. The interior looks upmarket with the all-digital instrument cluster and solid build quality. The seats are also very comfortable and provide adequate bolstering at the necessary spots.
- Engine- It is powered either by n>2.5-liter inline-four engine producing 191 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque or a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-four engine producing 281 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque.
- Fuel Economy- It has an>EPA estimated rating of 24 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway for the base 2.5L engine. Thn>turbocharged engine has a rating of 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.
- Cargo- With all the rows up, it has a cargo volume on>12.6 cu-ft, and with the third row down, it has a volume of 38.5 cu-fn>
2. 2022 Kia Telluride
Price: $32,790 – $42.690
The Telluride is one of the best SUVs that are currently on sale. It has received multiple awards since its launch, and it has managed to continuously impress automotive connoisseurs with its capability. The exterior design of the car is also very well executed.
Why We Picked It: It offers a plethora of advanced safety and driver-assist features at a really attractive price point. The interior of the is made out of very high-quality materials. And as a result, it feels very premium and upmarket. It is also equipped with ventilated seats, and the infotainment system is easy to use.
The handling is also pretty good in comparison to many of its rivals. Body roll is restrained, giving it a stable ride even at higher speeds. The engine is not particularly fuel-efficient, but its performance is commendable. The AWD version will easily pull a 5000 lbs trailer without breaking a sweat.
- Engine- It is powered by a naturally aspirated 3.8-liter V6 engine producing 291 hp @6000rpm and 262 lb-ft of torque @5200rpm. It is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission that powers the front wheels in the standard variants and sends the power to all the wheels in the AWD variants.
- Fuel Economy- The front-wheel-drive (FWD) version of the Telluride has an EPA estimated rating of 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. In the all-wheel-drive (AWD) variants, it drops to 19 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.
- Cargo- It has a total cargo volume of 21 cu-ft behind the third row. With the third row down, it increases to 46 cu-ft.
3. 2022 Hyundai Palisade
Price: $33,150 – $46,690
The Palisade shares its platform with the Kia Telluride and is undoubtedly one of the best-equipped three-row SUVs in this price range. It offers plenty of luxurious features inside the cabin, and the materials are so premium that you might mistake it for the interiors of a German luxury SUV.
Why We Picked It: The Palisade offers a plethora of advanced features as standard. It gets the autonomous driving system from Kia, which is one of the best in the industry. The ride is extremely comfortable, and the cabin feels roomy and well refined.
The V6 engine under the hood is incredibly smooth, and it is barely noticeable at the lower RPMs. But it is immensely powerful and can tow heavy objects with relative ease. It has a long list of features including blind-spot collision avoidance, rear traffic collision avoidance, and adaptive cruise control. Also, the 12-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system provides incredibly detailed audio.
- Engine- It is powered by a naturally aspirated 3.8-liter V6 engine producing 291 hp @6000rpm and 262 lb-ft of torque @5200rpm. It is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, and AWD is available as an optional extra.
- Fuel Economy- The FWD variants of the Palisade have an EPA estimated rating of 19 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. In the AWD variant, it drops to 19 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.
- Cargo- It has a volume of 18 cu-ft behind the third row, and with the third row down, it increases to 45.8 cu-ft.
4. 2022 Ford Explorer
Price: $33,245 – $54,115
The Explorer is a mid-size SUV, and it is one of the best SUVs in Ford’s lineup oriented towards families looking for a sporty and versatile SUV. It offers a variety of trim levels to choose from, based on your requirements and budget.
Why We Picked It: It has one of the best in class towing capacities. Here you get big and sporty engines, which is a good option if you value performance over fuel efficiency. And you can also opt for hybrid powertrains if you prioritize fuel efficiency.
The interior is simple but functional. Most of the materials are of premium quality, and look sophisticated. And the build quality is solid, which is in line with what you can expect from Ford. Most variants are equipped with a good amount of standard features. However, only the higher-end models get the 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen system, 20-in wheels, and adaptive cruise control.
- Engine- The twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter engine produces 400 hp @5500rpm and 415 lb-ft of torque @3500 rpm. It is paired with a ten-speed automatic transmission.
- Fuel Economy- The 2.3L engine has a rating of 24 mpg combined in the RWD variant and 23 mpg combined in the AWD variant. The 3.0L engine has a combined rating of 24 mpg.
- Cargo- With all the rows up, it has a cargo volume of 18.2 cu-ft, and with the third row down, it increases to 47.9 cu-ft.
5. 2022 Chevrolet Traverse
Price: $33,700 – $51,200
The Chevrolet Traverse is a mid-size SUV that looks a lot like a minivan from certain angles. It offers a good balance between the practicality of a minivan and the styling of an SUV.
Seven or even eight adults can comfortably sit inside the Traverse, so if you are looking to carry a lot of people at a low cost, you might want to consider it.
The V6 engine provides plenty of power, but it also returns a good fuel economy. So it maintains its performance quite well, and also gives a good mileage. The interior is conveniently designed, and looks tasteful.
- Engine- It is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine producing 310 hp @6800rpm and 266 lb-ft @2800rpm. It is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission.
- Fuel Economy- The FWD variants have a rating of 18 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. And it reduces to 17 mpg and 25 mpg respectively in AWD variants.
- Cargo- With all the rows up, it has a volume of 23.0 cu-ft, and it increases to 57.8 cu-ft once the seat is folded down.
6. 2021 Mazda CX-9
Price: $34,160 – $46,805
The Mazda CX-9 is one of the best three-row crossovers in the market. It has managed to gather plenty of awards since its launch and has consistently found a spot in the top ten lists put out by various outlets.
Why We Picked It: The CX-9 offers car-like driving dynamics and the practicality of an SUV. It gives the CX-9 sharper handling than any of its rivals. The turbocharged four-cylinder engine has a sporty characteristic and puts out a decent amount of power.
The cabin is also simple and premium, made of high-quality materials. The infotainment is highly impressive and easy to understand and use. The top trims get wood and aluminum inserts, and the overall build quality is quite amazing.
The second and third rows can easily fold away to accommodate bigger objects in the boot, so the lower space in the cabin is not a worrisome problem.
- Engine- It is powered by a 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four engine which can produce 250 hp @5000rpm and 320 lb-ft of torque @2500rpm.
- Fuel Economy- The FWD variants have an EPA estimated rating of 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. And the AWD variants have a rating of 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.
- Cargo- It has a cargo volume of 14.4 cu-ft with all the rows up, and with the third row down it has a volume of 38.2 cu-ft.
7. Volkswagen Atlas
Price: $33,475 – $50,645
The Atlas is a mid-size three-row SUV, and it is the largest vehicle in the current Volkswagen lineup. For 2022, Atlas drops the base trim level and adds more features to the rest of the variants.
Why We Picked It: The Atlas is equipped with a whole suite of advanced features at a really attractive price range. It offers a good balance between comfort, cabin space, and road feel. The car feels robust, and it has the typical Volkswagen build quality. The suspension soaks up most of the imperfections on the road, maintaining a stable ride.
The reliability scores are quite promising, and Volkswagen also offers a comprehensive warranty to put your mind at ease. The cargo space in the Atlas is one of the best in class, and it also has several smaller storage compartments spread throughout the cabin.
- Engine- It is powered by a 2.0-liter inline-four engine producing 235 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. It can also be equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 producing 276 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque.
- Fuel Economy- The inline-four has an estimated rating of 21 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. The V6 has a rating of 18 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.
- Cargo- With all the rows up, it has a cargo volume of 20.6 cu-ft, and with the third row down, it increases to 55.5 cu-ft.
8. 2022 Honda Pilot
Price: $36,830 – $50,620
The Honda Pilot is a good choice for people who value practicality but do not want to buy a minivan. The Pilot will not be as spacious as a minivan, but it makes up for it in terms of the added capabilities.
Why We Picked It: The Pilot is a very practical and comfortable SUV. It may not be the sharpest handling of the bunch, but offers a lot of features at a reasonable price range. It can also tow up to 5000 lbs which is pretty good.
The interior does not have the upmarket look you might notice in a Kia Telluride, but it is very utilitarian. All the controls feel tactile and are neatly laid out, so it is very easy to use. The V6 engine provides plenty of power, and at the same time, it is adequately fuel-efficient.
- Engine- It is powered by a 3.5L engine producing 280 hp @6000rpm and 262 lb-ft of torque @4700rpm. It is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission.
- Fuel Economy- The FWD variant has a rating of 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. The AWD has one mpg less for both.
- Cargo- With all rows up, it has a cargo volume of 16.5 cu-ft. With the third row down, it increases to 46.8 cu-ft.
9. 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L
Price: $39,220 – $64,395
The Grand Cherokee L is the newest addition to Jeep’s already existing Grand Cherokee lineup. It is dimensionally larger than the standard Grand Cherokee, which allows it to add a third row of seats to the mix. As a result, it comfortably accommodates up to seven passengers.
Why We Picked It: It is available with both V6 and V8 engine options, and both of them produce an impressive amount of power. It comes standard with rear-wheel drive, but it offers an optional AWD system. The top variants also boast additional off-road prowess.
Jeep has equipped the Grand Cherokee L with plenty of advanced driver assistance features including adaptive cruise control and pedestrian detection available across the whole lineup as standard. The mid variants offer a good balance between price and features. The interior has a very classy and elegant look with wood inserts on the dashboard. The quilted leather upholstery also adds to the premium feel of the interior.
- Engine- The 3.6-liter V6 can produce 290 hp and 257 lb-ft of torque. The 5.7-liter V8 can produce 357 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. Both the engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
- Fuel Economy- The V6 engine has an EPA estimated rating of 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. And the V8 engine has a rating of 14 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway.
- Cargo- It has a cargo volume of 17.2 cu-ft with all the rows up. With the third row down, it increases to 46.9 cu-ft.
10. 2022 Chevrolet Tahoe
Price: $49,700 – $70,500
The Tahoe is a large full-size SUV. It is a versatile piece of machinery that can accomplish a lot of tasks. It underwent a complete redesign in 2021 and added several modern features.
Why We Picked It: It is the second-largest three-row SUV being sold by Chevrolet. It can accommodate a lot of passengers, and it has enough space to have them sit comfortably and also store their luggage in the boot.
The V8 eight engines are immensely powerful, and their towing capacity is higher than many pickup trucks. Chevrolet also offers a Z71 package, which gives the Tahoe a rugged makeover enabling it to tackle rough terrains off-road.
The interior of the Tahoe is more spacious than ever. There are loads of headroom and legroom in all of the three rows.
- Engine- The base 5.3-liter V8 engine produces 355 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. The 6.2-liter V8 produces 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. And the 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 produces 277 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque.
- Fuel Economy- The 3.0L V6 has an estimated rating of 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway in RWD variants which reduces to 20 mpg and 26 mpg respectively in the 4WD variants. The 5.3L engine has a rating of 16 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway in both RWD and 4WD. The 6.2L engine has a rating of 15 mpg in the city, and 20 mpg on the highway in the RWD variant, and both are reduced by one in 4WD variants.
- Cargo- With all the rows up, it has a cargo volume of 25.5 cu-ft and with the third row down it increases to 72.6 cu-ft.
Overall, what is the Best 3 Row SUV to buy for your money?
The Kia Telluride is probably the best option if you want a midsize SUV. And the Chevrolet Tahoe is the best option if you are looking for a full-size SUV.
What 3-row SUV is the most reasonably priced for the money?
The Kia Sorento probably offers the most features for the lowest cost. It is equipped with several advanced driver assistance features, but it is still priced very competitively.
Which SUV has the lowest maintenance cost?
Usually, brands like Mazda and Jeep have the cheapest maintenance costs. So it is safe to assume that the Mazda CX-9 and the Jeep Grand Cherokee L will cost the lowest to maintain.
Which 3-row SUV is the most fuel-efficient?
The 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid happens to be the most fuel-efficient 3-row SUV in recent times.
Which 3-row SUVs have the highest boot space?
Kia Telluride, Buick Enclave, and Chevy Traverse are the top 3-row SUVs with a great deal of boot space.
Which is the most spacious 3rd row SUV?
Chevrolet Tahoe is the most spacious 3rd row SUV.