Why do YOU Need a SUV with a 3rd Row?
Have to take the kids to soccer practice? Got a large family? Need extra cargo space for Costco runs? There are many reasons you might need an SUV with 3rd row seating. If so, you’re in luck: SUVs with 3rd row seating are the trend right now and one of the most popular types of vehicle on the road.
After reviewing many SUVs with a 3rd row we came up with a list of our top 5 favorites. From luxury vehicles to trusted American brands: these SUVs are all top safety rated and stylish. Yes, you can haul cargo around safely and capably and still feel like you’re driving around enveloped in a luxurious silk scarf.
If you are in the market for a 3rd row vehicle–take a look at the A Girls Guide to Cars top picks.
Our Top 5 Picks for 3rd Row SUVs
1. Nissan Armada
The Armada has gotten a fresh new look–while the SUV kept its truck-like exterior, it now sports a more muscular, military-chic exterior. Inside, the amenities and comforts go from good to great. While the Armada does fall on the luxury end of the 3rd row SUV market, it can still be affordable if you don’t add all the bells and whistles.
What we love:
- Great for families who love to road trip
- Works for drivers who need space for passengers and cargo; the space behind the third row is large for an SUV
- You can take it off-road: Armada is available in all-wheel or 4-wheel drive
- With 390 horsepower, the Armada can tow up to 8,300 lbs
- Decent fuel economy at 14MPG city and 19MPG highway, but probably best for buyers for whom fuel economy is not a huge concern
Read our full review of the 2017 Nissan Armada and decide if this is the right car for you.
2. Infiniti QX80
If you’re looking for the ultimate in SUV luxury, the Infiniti QX80 is for you. As stylish on the inside as it is on the outside, this SUV has a 15-speaker Bose Premium audio system, truffle brown leather and ash wood finishes. The exterior features Infiniti’s distinct muscular shape accented with side chrome air intake vents, LED headlights that wrap from front to side, a chrome grille and windows that are framed in chrome.
The Infiniti QX80 is a full size SUV that seats seven or eight: with two bucket seats in the middle row and a 60/40 split three-passenger row in the rear. There is a center row bench seat option that increases seating to eight.
Most families want DVD players in their vehicles and the Infiniti QX80 has 7” color monitors on the back of the headrests of the front seats. They are large enough for third row passengers to see them and the sound can be heard on the sound system or on wireless headphones-just in case you can’t handle listening to the kids’ movies over and over and over again.
Take a look at our full review of the Inifinit QX80, and see why this luxury vehicle might be a good fit for you–you know, like the soft cashmere sweater you’ve had your eye on.
What We Love:
- The driving experience: a powerful 400-horsepower engine makes driving fun and confident
- Luxury leather details, beautiful ash wood trim and suede ceiling headliner (on Limited Model)
- Heated steering wheel and heated front and center seats
- Good seating configuration for larger families
- Easy to access third row
- Comfortable ride with good lumbar support and reclining second and third row seats
- Theater system with two screens and wireless headsets
- Snow and tow drive modes enhance the all wheel drive capability
3. Dodge Durango
I drive a Durango and LOVE it. With ample space and tons of cargo room I happily traded my minivan for this practical and affordable SUV. The front grille, muscular styling and a truck-like appeal give the Durango a bad-ass feel. It’s available in all-wheel drive which gives you capability to handle most challenging roads. But if you live in an area with a lot of troublesome roads, keep in mind the Durango is not available in 4-wheel drive, so it might not be ideal for you.
Read our full review of the Dodge Durango, and weigh the pros and cons. Oh and it’s a Dodge so be sure to get one with a HEMI, you will want the power!
What we love:
- Works for families who need seating for six or seven passengers
- Room for teens or taller backseat passengers
- Easy to use touchscreen functions
- Offers the height and space of a large SUV but the maneuverability of a midsize SUV
- Offers top features, conveniences and safety at a good value
4. Yukon Denali
When you need room for the whole family, plus a friend and even a pet, the Yukon Denali is a great option. The Yukon Denali is extremely spacious and has a full size 3rd row. On many new vehicles, lane keep assist isn’t really necessary, but with a vehicle as large as the Denali, it is really useful, particularly when driving down streets with double parked cars. The huge mirrors and rear cross traffic alert, blind spot monitor and forward collision alert all play a part in keeping you safe on the road. And in an SUV as large as the Denali, the safety features are important along with those huge mirrors you will be relying on.
The full review of the Yukon Denali goes into every detail, and what you need to know before committing to a SUV of this size.
What We Love:
- WiFi hot spot
- OnStar or easy to use navigation system
- Apple CarPlay
- Qi wireless charger
- Automatic running boards
- Tons of storage, including a huge place to stash a purse
- Third row that is comfortable for adults
- Fold flat seats
5. Mazda CX9
The 2016 Mazda CX-9 is a premium third row family crossover that gives you style AND space. Mazda believes in the details when it comes to cars and the CX-9 is not lacking, from Nappa leather seating to head up display to 12 BOSE speakers for optimum surround sound. As a crossover vehicle, the CX-9 has third row seating but is not a full size SUV. It’s tough to make a 3rd row SUV look sleek and sporty when trying to accommodate both passengers and cargo room, but Mazda didn’t seem to have any trouble at all.
The CX-9 features Mazda’s SKYACTIV technology that gets a little more oomph from a smaller engine. Every aspect of the vehicle is engineered to maximize driving dynamics and efficiency. I didn’t notice any difference between the SKYACTIV technology and a traditional V-6 engine, if anything it performed much smoother.
What We Love:
- Distance recognition support: once you reach 19 mph the sensor will ensure you are at a safe distance. If you are too close you will be alerted.
- Seating for 7 passengers
- Stability Control
- Traction Control
- Adaptive front lighting helps you see around corners at night, with headlights that adjust with the steering
Style, Space and Safety Matter
No matter if you are in the market for a 3rd row SUV to get the kids and their friends around town–or if you restore vintage furniture and need cargo space, these are our favorite picks. We chose a selection that vary in price, but offer the ultimate in style, space and safety features.
We’d love to hear what you think of our choices and what other 3rd-row SUVs you like.