Some of the Our Favorite 3-Row Family SUVs and One Minivan, And Why We Love Them

2023 Texas Auto Roundup Family Vehicle Of Texas
Just a small sampling of the vehicles available to drive at this great event.

We hit the Texas Auto Roundup to discover winning features for families.

We love automotive events with multiple brands and lots of options to look at and evaluate new cars. Like an auto show, we get to put them side by side, see which features work best for us and which we might pass on.

Recently, the Texas Auto Roundup, held by the Texas Auto Writers Association, gave us the chance to check out some really great cars and drive competing models back to back. There was a wide variety of cars, crossovers, SUVs, and even a minivan to choose from.

We test drove all the 3-row family cars that can accommodate 6-7 passengers. Because of the wide range of brands and appearance packages, it wasn’t an apples-to-apples comparison, but we did find a few great things about each of these vehicles!

9 of the Best 3 Row SUVs – From Luxury to Affordable

2023 Volvo Xc90 Recharge

Volvo fans will appreciate the quality and stability of the XC90 Recharge

Volvo XC90 Recharge

The XC90 Recharge is a solid SUV, and now, it has a plug-in hybrid motor that allows owners to drive on all electric for up to 32 miles. Even so, it has that heavy, firmly rooted feel we’ve come to expect from Volvo, and the quality interior materials makes this a true luxury SUV.
The XC90 Recharge seats 7 with center row captains chairs and a 3-across bench in the third row. The seats all fold flat for some pretty extreme cargo space. The multimedia system is run by Google system and offers hands-free help – just say, ‘hey Google’ and the assistant will set up your navigation, tune the radio or change the cabin temperature. This is something a lot of families will like, especially if they are already familiar with Google devices and services. The Recharge is a 2023 top safety pick for IIHS. The model we drove starts at $84,495.

What We Loved the Most:

The Google multimedia system; it’s smart, intuitive and it brings many functions we already use in our daily lives to the multimedia system touch screen in the Volvo.

Related: 13 of Our Absolute Favorite Electric Cars, Hybrids, and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles

2023 Volkswagen Atlas

We got to drive both the Atlas and the Atlas Cross, but the original is the only one with a 3rd row.

Volkswagen Atlas

Being a huge fan of Volkswagen’s no-nonsense interiors, this 6-seater crossover is a personal favorite. No fancy bells and whistles here, just exactly what you need, right where it should be. The third row has decent head room and leg room for a more comfortable ride than some third row SUVs we’ve seen, and the advanced safety suite makes it an excellent choice for families. If the third row could seat 3 instead of 2, this would be on my short-list for our next purchase. This beautiful crossover catches the eye with its pleasing lines and affordable price tag. Starting at just $41,750, the VW Atlas is the most budget-friendly family car we test drove this week.

What We Loved the Most:

The third row; it’s easy to reach, comfortable even for tall passengers and in the top R Line trim, elegantly dressed in leather.

Related: The Ultimate Car Seat Challenge: 3-Row SUVs

2023 Honda Pilot Trailsport

From what we’ve seen, once a Pilot fan, always a Pilot fan. And it’s easy to see why when you sit in this roomy SUV.

Honda Pilot Trailsport AWD

Arguably the most rugged of the family SUVs on the list, the Pilot Trailsport has a powerful stance, all-wheel drive for stability on the road and capability, via skid plates and off-road suspension, for extra fun off-pavement. The all-weather floor mats are one of my favorite features because they’re both practical and beautiful due to their perfect fit and great design. This 7-seater starts at $49,695 and is one of the only mid-size 3-row SUVs that seats three across the third row.

What We Loved the Most:

This SUV’s off road chops; Pilot is great in snow and on hills, and now, it’s a natural for camping, hiking and trail riding.

Related: That Beautiful Line in the Sand? It Marks the Rally Jameel – the First All-Female Off Road Rally In Saudi Arabia

2023 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle

Is there anything that screams family like a minivan? This one is so nice you won’t even need kids or grandkids as an excuse to own one.

Chrysler Pacifica Hyrbid Pnnacle

The king of family vehicles remains a minivan. You just can’t beat the comfort and practicality of a 7-seater with entertainment options like rear seat screens pre-loaded with Amazon Fire TV and HDMI ports so you can bring your own videos and games. The Pacifica is unrivaled for cargo space, and sliding doors and wide pathways make for easy entry. The Pinnacle trim brings a level of chic luxury that no other minivan  can match – the caramel leather trimmed seats are buttery smooth and make you want to kick back and watch your favorite show. And, the Pacifica Hybrid is a plug-in hybrid, the only electric minivan on the market. With an all-electric range of 30 miles and a hybrid motor that averages about 30 MPG, buyers can average a total range of 500+ miles on a tank + a full charge, though many get many more miles with daily charging. This beauty runs $60,490.

What We Loved the Most:

This elegant interior. You’d never know you’re in a minivan if you didn’t already know, it’s that elegant.

It was eye-opening to drive these cars back to back and compare them. Now, the hard part: Which one to choose?

Related: Our Five Favorite Trucks, Minivans, and SUVs for Tailgating

Car Shopping

Need a new car? Whether shopping for a new car or a used car we recommend using our car shopping service

Tire Shopping

Need new tires? We recommend Tire Rack

Car Repair

Need to get your car repaired? We recommend Repair Pal. Exclusively just for Girls Guide to Cars readers, call (877) 323-1708 to speak to RepairPal Car Genius for FREE automotive repair advice and if needed to find the right shop for you!

A web developer, digital marketing consultant, auto journalist, truck expert, photographer and lover of gadgets, Erica is a textbook... More about Erica Mueller