Waiting for an Electric 3-Row SUV? Here’s What You Can Buy This Year

Finally the wait is over. The few electric 3-row SUVs on the market, made by Rivian and Mercedes-Benz, now have some very capable, luxurious and novel competition.

Sara Lacey With The Kia Ev9
Sara Lacey with the Kia EV9. Photo: Sara Lacey

Finally, There Are (Very Nice) Choices

You want to go electric but you need a 3rd row. But the choices have been slim.

Until now, there were three: Rivian R1S, Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV and Mercedes-Benz EQB. But each is so distinctly different that cross-shopping them doesn’t really make much sense; the only thing they have in common other than the 3rd row is that they are electric.

But this year, you’re in luck. 2024 is a turning point for electric 3-row SUVs. Kia just released the EV9, Volvo’s EX90 is on the horizon, and the Cadillac Escalade IQ is in the works with Lucid Gravity and Hyundai Ioniq 7 to follow shortly after. And for those who want their 3rd row both electric and eclectic, the VW ID Buzz will make its market debut this year, too. Here’s what you need to know.

Me With The Rivian R1S. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Me with the Rivian R1S. Photo: Scotty Reiss

The Adventurous Rivian R1S Electric 3-row SUV

For adventurers who want to bring everyone along, the Rivian R1S, priced from $78,000 is designed to crawl across rocks, over sand dunes and through creeks. It’s so capable it won top place at the 2023 Rebelle Rally.

With all wheel drive and up to 400 miles of range, the Rivian R1S gives owners the range needed to get to the the adventure, and then has a charging network available at national parks and other popular outdoor destinations so you can fill up once you arrive.    

Then, the R1S is nicely equipped for families; there are two full LATCH sets in the center row outboard seats and upper tethers in the 3rd row. The 3rd row is better suited for small to medium-size passengers; even though it has 33” of legroom, with the center seats pulled into place it may feel cramped to taller passengers. But your kids will love the multimedia system graphics — especially the animated Gear Guard.

The Mercedes-Benz Eqb

The 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQB. Photo: Scotty Reiss

The Best Kept Secret: Mercedes-Benz EQB

This is the hidden gem in the electric 3-row SUV world. The Mercedes-Benz EQB is compact, the 3rd row is a $1,250 option and captains chairs are not available. But if you can get past that, this is a fun, capable little SUV and, it’s all Mercedes-Benz, with the lovely engineering, technology and design that the brand is known for. We especially love the MBUX multimedia system with voice activation; just say “Hey Mercedes” and the system caters to your (nearly) every need.

Despite this SUV’s compact size, the interior is roomy. The center row is spacious and seating is flexible; seats can be moved forward to accommodate 3rd row passenger legroom.

With a 245 mile range and options for front or all wheel drive, buyers can configure the EQB to best fit their lifestyle, and it has a very approachable starting price of $52,750.

2023 Mercedes-Benz Eqs 580 Suv

The edges are so rounded. Photo: Nya Peters

The Ultra-Luxe Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV

A true luxury SUV, the Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV features incredible technology and design, much of which may be over the heads of the little ones. Though they, like everyone else, will be obsessed with the available hyper-screen that spans the dashboard and includes a passenger  screen for streaming video or navigation.

With more than 300 miles of range and a choice of all wheel drive or front wheel drive, the EQS SUV, which has a starting price of $125,000, is not a huge SUV. The optional 3rd row reflects that; it may be considered more of a convenience than a daily use 3rd row. Like the EQB, the center row is a bench, and captains chairs are not a thing, so using the 3rd row requires passengers to squeeze past them to get settled in. Once there, though, they, like everyone else in this super luxe SUV, will feel pampered.

Kia Ev9 At The Eritage Resort. Photo: Sara Lacey

Kia EV9 at the Eritage Resort. Photo: Sara Lacey

The Family-Focused Kia EV9

This may be the electric SUV to get: it’s Kia’s electrified version of the uber-popular Telluride, and it does all the things the Telluride does so well: the Kia EV9 has lots of space for everyone, flexible seating, novel features that will make everyone happy, from air vents and USB ports to lots of places to put a water bottle.

We also love the Kia approach to interior materials; they are renewable, recycled and even recaptured ocean plastics, all designed into lighter-weight and for families, highly resilient leatherette and soft materials. Everyone will feel spoiled and you’ll also not suffer the guilt of putting kids car seats and smashed juice boxes on fine leather seating.

The fast-charging, long-range capable EV9, which can go up to 300 miles on a charge, started rolling out to dealers in late 2023. Unlike the Telluride, which had waitlists and MSRP markups, there is plenty of inventory readily available.

The 7-Passenger Volvo Ex90 Seen At The Electrify Expo

The gorgeous 7-passenger Volvo EX90 seen at the Electrify Expo. Photo: Kim S.

A Futuristic Volvo EX90

We got a glimpse of Volvo’s new design language in the EX30 and it’s pretty exciting: A large screen operates most of the car’s functions, upholstery and surfaces are made from renewable and recycled materials, and a new multimedia system is operated by Google.

With a starting price of about $56,000, expect the Volvo EX90 to have seating and safety that are top notch with a choice of captains chairs or a center bench and seats for 2 in the 3rd row.

But probably the biggest bonus is the “luxury” of the powertrain: Volvo has consistently made their electric cars more powerful and with a longer range than its competitors, and the EX90 should too: it’s estimated to have more than a 350 mile range and deliver 402 HP. When it hits dealerships in mid 2024, it will be fun.

The 2025 Cadillac Escalade Iq

The 2025 Cadillac Escalade IQ. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Cadillac Escalade IQ

In this electric SUV, the luxury is in all the fun and innovation it promises. Parent company GM has dedicated itself to not just developing great electric power systems, but innovating all that these cars can do.  When the Hummer EV was introduced , the company showed off some incredible features: wheels that can drive at an angle (Hummer calls this crab walk), a fast charging system, a long driving range and a lot of power.

Expect the Cadillac Escalade IQ to feature those things and then some: a spacious 3rd row, evolved front and rear seat technology and entertainment, all the plush comforts Cadillac’s interiors are known for and an even longer driving range of up to 450 miles. And expect top-notch luxury with a commensurate price: It’ll start at $130,000.

Coming Soon: Hyundai Ioniq 7

We have yet to spend time with the Hyundai Ioniq 7, but we expect that it’ll deliver much of what the Kia EV9 does: Fast charging, 300+ mile range and an innovative, flexible interior, combined Hyundai’s “pixel” design philosophy seen in the Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6. Hyundai has said it’ll make its marketplace debut in 2024 and auto spies have seen it on the road testing, so it should be soon. We expect pricing to start at about $55,000

The 2025 Lucid Gravity 3-Row Electric Suv

The 2025 Lucid Gravity 3-row electric SUV. Photo: Lucid

Luxury and Power Defined: Lucid Gravity

The long-awaited luxury SUV from elite electric car brand Lucid Motors, the Gravity promises 3 roomy rows of seating, each with luxury details. We love how Lucid re-interprets what we want and need in a car, and how these vehicles are designed in California and built in Arizona.

We got a quick look at the Gravity when it made its debut at the LA Auto Show; the model on display showed impressive interior and storage space, over the top materials and Lucid’s innovative technology. As the company gets closer to production they will add display models to their retail locations so buyers can sit in the seats and try out the tech. We expect pricing to start at about $80,000.

The Id.buzz In Cabana Blue

The ID.Buzz in Cabana Blue. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Back to the Future: Volkswagen ID Buzz

While not an SUV, this may be the most iconic electric vehicle to hit the market this year and it will no doubt make a splash. Buyers have been waiting for years as VW teased a comeback of this retro darling.

The 2025 VW ID Buzz long wheel base model, as they’re calling the 3-row version, is filled with fun design details, wide open space and a 3rd row that even your tallest friends can fit into. It’s simply huge. And, it has a nice large cargo area to accommodate all your gear.

Expect to see this 6 or 7 passenger van (not a minivan, VW implores) around town and road tripping; it’s the ideal pod for long hauls as its vintage sibling has proven again and again. With a range estimated to be up to 300 miles, ample horsepower and all wheel drive thanks to a dual motor setup, this one is destined to turn heads in driveways and on highways this year.

Right now, none of these SUVs qualifies for the federal tax credit. When Kia begins manufacturing the EV9 in Georgia and Lucid Gravity hits the market in late 2024, they may qualify, but it’s a question for your accountant; qualification is a tricky equation that considers battery materials, vehicle price caps and a buyer’s income.

But what you can do right now is get on the list for updates and put down a deposit for the electric SUV you want. Consider this the first gift of 2024: Finally, you have choices in an electric 3-row SUV.

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Journalist, entrepreneur and mom. Expertise includes new cars, family cars, 3-row SUVs, child passenger car seats and automotive careers... More about Scotty Reiss

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