If you have or plan to have a growing family, then having a vehicle with ample interior space is a must have, as it gives you and your passengers enough room for cargo and comfort. Thankfully, third-row SUVs are the perfect vehicles to accommodate your family’s needs, both now and into the future. What’s more, there’s more variety now. SUV manufacturers are thinking bigger is better with their production strategies. Due to this, there is a bevy of new models springing up from non-luxury and luxury manufacturers. In addition to spacious interiors, you have the option of upgrading to a powerhouse engine or choosing more refined styling features to match your needs. Best of all, the diverse selection of models results in a wide variety of price points, making a 3-row SUV affordable to many families.
Best 3-Row SUVs for Families
To assist you in finding the best third-row SUV for your family, US World & News Report created its annual list of the “2017 Best 3-Row SUV for Families” award, where the publication examines in-depth each offering and compiles the list based on affordability, safety performance, initial quality, interior space, and other factors. We’ll start with the runner-ups, then move on to the award winner: the Honda Pilot.
2017 Buick Enclave
The Buick Enclave isn’t the most affordable offering in its segment--its starting price of $39,065 is on the higher end of the spectrum for midsize SUVs. However, you do receive what you pay for to a point.
Buick tags the Enclave as “Luxury Worth Sharing,” and the manufacturer is right in this regard. The SUV possesses refined styling. Some of its most impressive features include:
Tri-zone automatic climate control
The second-row features SmartSlide seats, giving easier access to the third-row for passengers
Thicker glass and aerodynamic body reduces drive noise
Second and third-row seating fold flat to create a maximum cargo capacity of 115.2 cubic feet
Leather-appointed seating--easier to clean up accidents that might occurWhile the Enclave offers a full complement of luxury features, the performance is less than stellar. Moreover, the SUV could be a budget buster too. Not only is its starting price high, the SUV earns only 15 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway, meaning you’ll become familiar with your local gas stations.
2017 Kia Sorento
The Kia Sorento delivers exceptional value. US News & World Report gave the Sorento its “2017 Best 3-Row SUV for the Money” award. The SUV offers many perks such as a full range of safety features to inspire confidence; with the optional third-row seating it can seat seven passengers comfortably. Tech savvy owners love the Sorento thanks to features such as smartphone integration, a 360-degree camera system, and an infotainment system with an eight-inch touchscreen, giving you the ability to access all your entertainment options with ease. Most important, the Sorento touts excellent reliability as J.D. Power gave the SUV a four out of five score, and with a 10-year, 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, Kia backs this SUV with one of the best warranties you’ll find.
2017 Ford Flex
The Ford Flex earns a spot on this list thanks to its outstanding performance. It comes equipped with a 3.5-liter V6 engine, generating 287-horsepower. This will add some kick to your drives. Passengers find the Flex’s interior comfortable, spacious, and amenable to their needs with excellent tech features--if you don’t mind upgrading from the base package. Though its exterior design isn’t for everyone, the interior packs plenty of convenience and entertainment features to make it a gem.
2017 Chevrolet Traverse
If you haven’t been looking, Chevrolet is one manufacturer to keep your eyes on. They have been producing an astounding level of quality vehicles, and the Chevrolet Traverse is an embodiment of this. With it, you’ll receive the following benefits:
Spacious seating for eight passengers
The best-in-class cargo space (with rear seats folded)
Built-in 4G LTE WiFi with unlimited data plan through AT&T--if you are an AT&T customer
Five-star overall safety rating with the NHTSA
A towing capacity of 5,200 pounds
Innovative safety features such as the Front Center Airbag, which is an industry first
Choices like the Graphite Edition where you can add stylish touches like dual exhaust and rare paint colors
Ultimately, the all-around performance the Traverse delivers make it an appealing choice.
2017 Toyota Highlander
The Toyota Highlander is the perfect mix of versatility and capability. The interior comes with five USB ports to connect and power your devices; there’s seating for eight passengers; with foldable seating in the second and third rows, you can store your bulkiest items with ease, and the available panoramic moonroof offers amazing views on your drives. The Highlander doesn’t offer the best performance in its class with its standard engine offering (2.7-liter, four-cylinder) but If you crave more power, you can upgrade to the 3.5-liter V6 engine. The engine powers your drives and keeps efficiency high with a 27 mpg output on the highway. Overall, the Highlander’s many benefits make it a suitable runner-up in a competitive segment.
2017 Honda Pilot
The Honda Pilot earned the “2017 Best 3-Row SUV for Families” award because it offers everything the modern family wants. Here is a sampling of what the Pilot offers:
Comfortable, leather-trimmed seating
Tri-zone automatic climate control
Multi-angled camera with three views: normal, wide, and top-down
Entertainment system with Bluetooth audio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Sirius XM Radio, and HD radio capabilities
Five USB ports, three 12-volt outlets, two headphone jacks, and an 115-volt outlet
An available rear entertainment system with nine-inch screens
109 cubic feet of cargo capacity
Honda Sensing--a suite of safety features such as accident avoidance technologies
Your choice of five trim options
While its initial price is high--the base model starts from $30,745, with the Honda Pilot you get what you pay for.