When you need to move a big family (or a basketball team) from place to place, these vehicles are worth checking out.
Vehicles with third-row seating have plenty of features for nearly every type of driver. For families that need a great family-friendly vehicle, SUVs, crossovers, and minivans with third-row seats give passengers roomy interiors and still have enough power to haul plenty of vacation equipment or moving supplies. For people who want a used car with more space and utility than the average sedan or truck offers, we recommend considering the following 15 vehicles — they’re popular searches with CarMax customers.
Check out 15 cars and SUVs with third-row seats to help you get started on choosing the one that’s right for you!
The Chevrolet Traverse debuted in 2009 and combined the best traits of two vehicle types; it has the passenger and cargo capacity of a minivan, and the sturdy frame and power capability of an SUV. This crossover seats eight passengers, and it shares its platform with the Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia, which gives it a firm ride quality. The 6-cylinder engine provides a good mix of power and economy (up to 24 mpg highway). Newer models have refreshed exterior styling, upgraded cabin materials, and the new MyLink electronics interface, which works with your mobile device to let you place calls and play stored music.
Escalades stand out in a crowd. They’re big, bulky, and bold. This iconic SUV comes decked out in chrome trim and looks like it could handily transport a family of giants. Subtlety isn’t part of the Escalade’s repertoire. The newest, third-generation Escalades offer improvements in both performance and economy. They’re pricey, sure, but they’re unmistakeable on the road, and their comfort and entertainment features read like a laundry list. The 400-horsepower V8-optioned Escalade has a towing capacity of more than 4 tons.
The Yukon has received a number of facelifts since its introduction in the early 1990s. It began as a two-door 4x4 built on a truck platform that could sit six people; now it’s a full-size, four-door SUV that comes in two-wheel or four-wheel drive and seats up to nine people. Newer Yukon models offer plenty of comfort and amenities, especially the decked out Denali version. The Yukon used to be a bit rough-edged on city streets and the highway, but the latest models sport improved ride quality. However, the best elements of that truck platform remain; the Yukon features a strong, nearly-400 horsepower V8 engine, which gives plenty of acceleration and towing power.
The first Chrysler Town and Country models were memorable for their wood-grain decals, leather seats and a standard V6 engine. The wood grain is no longer an option, but they still include classic options like full leather and Stow n’ Go seating for seven passengers. The Town and Country comes with new features and amenities like navigation, multi-zone automatic climate control, double powered sliding side doors, parking sensors, and a power liftgate.
The Pathfinder started off as a pickup truck, and then transitioned from a truck-based platform to a car-based platform. This move converted the Pathfinder to a more spacious, comfortable, and fuel-efficient vehicle. The latest-model Nissan Pathfinders may not have the same towing capacity, but their three rows of seats, pleasant interior comfort and features, moderate off-road capabilities, make them great family movers. The Pathfinder has room for seven.
The Chevrolet Suburban began life in 1936 as a truck, and after nine decades it’s been transformed into one of the most popular extra-large SUVs around. The Suburban is well known for its strong engine and powertrain, capable towing capacity, and nine comfortable seats. This large SUV is the only one in its class that offers two power versions: the relatively economical 1500 and the heavy-duty 2500. The 1500 is a solid choice when you’re looking for a large SUV that can second as a truck — and still deliver more than 20 mpg on the highway.
The Dodge Durango is just the right size for buyers who need more interior room and towing capability than a typical midsize SUV can deliver, but who don't want the oversized dimensions of a true full-size family-mover.
The Durango offers three rows of seating, a choice of V6 and V8 engines and rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. Over the years, the Durango has been known for its confident handling and composed, comfortable ride. Inside, the Durango offers an attractive and upscale design, with class-competitive quality and features. The second and third rows offer enough room (seating for seven) for most families. And if you’re pulling a boat or trailer, The Durango’s 5.7-liter hemi V8 (Citadel and R/T models) is right for the job — the Citadel and R/T models’ towing capacity is more than 3 tons.
Aimed at families needing an abundance of passenger room, the GMC Acadia is a large crossover SUV with three rows of seating that hold up to eight passengers in relative luxury. Mechanically, it's similar to the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse. But thanks to its spacious interior, capable engine (close to 300 horsepower), and competitive pricing, the Acadia is one of the better choices for a larger family vehicle when you’re not looking for a minivan.
The Acadia's handling is respectable, and its smooth, quiet ride is impressive. The Acadia is one of the roomiest crossover utility vehicles in its class. There's room for adults in the second and third rows, and with the seats folded down, the Acadia's substantial cargo space is topped only by minivans and extra-large SUVs like the Chevy Suburban.
The Honda Pilot made a splash in the SUV marketplace when it launched in 2003. Some of its innovations are third-row seats, a powerful V6 engine with respectable fuel economy, a comfortable ride that makes it feel more like a sedan than a truck, and an abundance of well-thought-out interior space. The Honda Pilot is ideal for families who want the extra space of a third-row seat, plus some modest off–road capability. The Pilot may not be luxurious inside, but it does come with trim options that can add bells and whistles like a blind-spot monitor and DVD entertainment system. The newest models will transport up to eight passengers comfortably.
Toyota has earned the reputation for making vehicles with lots of versatility and plenty of features. The Sienna is no different, and it’s beloved by families everywhere.
Customers report the Sienna has a smooth, refined ride that’s comfortable for up to eight passengers. Most Siennas come with all-wheel drive, which make them a more practical, fuel-efficient alternative to larger, three-row crossover SUVs. If you’re looking for a more luxurious, if not downright plush, driving experience, expect the most recent Sienna models to meet your needs. If you’re looking for a sportier ride, choose the specially-tuned suspension package option. The Sienna’s third-row seat folds away when not in use; when this seat is occupied, all rear passengers have their own heating and AC controls.
The Toyota Highlander is one of the most popularly-searched crossovers on CarMax’s website. This SUV has an excellent reputation for pleasant aesthetics, smooth handling, and good gas mileage compared to similar crossovers. It’s also known for its quiet cabin at highway speeds and solid crash test ratings.
The newest Highlanders have grown large enough that their interiors are quite upscale and roomy, with plenty of cargo space, and seating space for eight.
No matter what anyone says, the Honda Odyssey is more than a ‘soccer mom car’ — it’s an all-around favorite in the minivan class. The Odyssey is easy to drive and comes loaded with plenty of family-friendly features, including one of the most consistently strong crash test scores among minivans. The latest models are known for having a smooth engine and agile handing, along with above-average interior quality. Judicious drivers can realize up to 28 mpg on the highway. And with its three rows of spacious seating, The Odyssey can carry eight passengers in comfort.
The Ford Explorer is arguably the best-known and most popular SUV in the United States; some even say it was instrumental in sparking the SUV renaissance of the last decade. Much like the initial models, the modern Ford Explorer is a mid-size crossover SUV with third-row seating that offers a combination of comfort, utility, and aesthetic appeal that minivans, small trucks, and station wagons struggle to match. The newer models ride comfortably and have good combined fuel economy compared to vehicles in its class, plenty of utility, and great looks. With its third row in use, the Explorer seats up to seven passengers.
The Chevy Tahoe is a full-size SUV that’s built on a truck platform and has room for up to nine passengers. This makes it an excellent option for large families who need a powerful engine plus all-wheel-drive and towing capabilities. The Tahoe is well-known for its pleasant driving experience and a comfortable interior design. The newest models are equipped with modern technology and lots of features, a quiet highway ride, and healthy braking and steering responsiveness.
Looking for more? Check out our 2017 list of the 20 Best SUVs with 3 rows and other related articles below:
- 10 Best Compact SUVs
- AWD vs. 4WD: Which to Choose
- SUV Buying Guide: Top Compact, High-Mileage, and Third-Row Seat Models
- Top 10 4WD and AWD Cars of 2016
- Top 10 Cars & SUVs for Winter
- Top SUVs of 2016
- Which Car Type is Right for Me?
- The 16 Most Popular Used Cars for Families on the Go
- Top 7 Trucks for Towing
- Top 10 Minivan Features for Families