Introduction: The Best 3rd Row Seating SUVs to Consider in 2017

If you’re looking for a vehicle large enough to comfortably seat your family, or if you need extra cargo space and towing power, chances are that you’ve looked at 3rd row seating SUVs.

Purchasing an SUV with 3 rows is a growing trend. Last year, Americans bought more SUVs and trucks than cars, a significant shift from the ever-popular four-door sedan.

This increase certainly makes sense. For those with big families, or who want options for increased storage, a larger vehicle is often the best choice. With gas prices becoming more manageable, an SUV with 3 rows is now an affordable choice as well.

Best 3rd Row Seating SUVs

Award Emblem: Top 6 Best 3rd Row Seating SUVs

With increasing popularity, the overall design of an SUV with 3rd row seat capability is changing. Today, 3rd row SUVs are versatile, ranging from affordable commuters to spacious family vehicles or high-end luxury vehicles.

When looking for SUVs with 3rd row seating, a good place to start is by finding the best 3rd row seating SUVs that are currently on the market. 

A vehicle is a significant investment, particularly for 3-row seating SUVs. The best 3rd row SUV models should keep passengers comfortable while addressing convenience and safety concerns while on the road.  

To help consumers find the best 3rd row seating SUVs, our review will cover all the basics of the top 2017 models of 3rd row SUVs. By looking at top-quality models, specifications, and features, each consumer will be well-equipped to find the best SUV with 3rd row seating.

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AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top 6 Best 3rd Row Seating SUVs

List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the SUV names below to go directly to the detailed review section for that 3rd row seating SUV):

Top 6 Best 3rd Row Seating SUVs | Brief Comparison & Ranking

3rd Row Seating SUVs

Seating Capacity


MPG City /

Chevrolet Traverse




Ford Explorer


$31, 660


Honda Pilot




Hyundai Santa Fe




LandRover Discovery (LR4)




Toyota Highlander




Table: Top 6 Best 3rd Row Seating SUVs | Above list is sorted alphabetically

SUV vs. Crossover: Is There a Difference?

While looking for a 3rd row seating SUV, prospective car buyers will face the decision between SUVs and crossovers.

3rd Row SUVs

Image Source: Pexels

At first glance, they look the same, making it difficult to tell the difference. Still, understanding the distinction between these two can assist in narrowing down your search for the best SUV with 3rd row seating.

Simply put, the difference lies in body construction. The body and frame of a crossover are built together in one fluid piece, similar to that of a car.

For an SUV, however, the body and frame are built separately and combined later in production. Some 3rd row SUVs may be referred to as crossovers, despite this difference in construction.

Because SUVs were commonly considered to be gas-guzzlers, the term “crossover” was created to imply that these vehicles were becoming more practical and fuel-efficient. Thus, “crossover” adopted a positive connotation, whereas “SUV” was considered negative. 

Today, the only difference between a crossover or an SUV with 3 rows comes from the construction, and not from performance. In fact, “SUV” is a much more common term and is commonly used to describe both types of vehicles.

The negative stigma of gas-guzzling, wasteful 3rd row SUVs has largely disappeared. Vehicle manufacturers have placed a keen focus on producing efficient, drivable, and practical SUVs with 3rd row seating.

Those who are looking for an SUV with 3rd row seat room can rest assured that specifying “SUV” will certainly provide the desired results. When it comes to function and performance, the best SUV with 3rd row room can easily match the best crossover.

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Detailed Review – Top Ranking Best 3rd Row Seating SUVs

Below, please find a detailed review of each SUV on our list of best 3rd row seating SUVs. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these SUVs with 3rd row seating to score so highly in our selection ranking.

Chevrolet Traverse Review

The 2017 Chevrolet Traverse is a formidable force among the best 3rd row seating SUVs. With a 5-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it’s also a best 3-row SUV option for long family road trips.

Best SUV With 3rd Row

Image Source: Chevrolet


As a best 3-row SUV model, the Chevrolet Traverse comes with standard seating for up to 8 people on the 1S and LT models. For those who don’t need quite so much room, the Premier models are equipped to seat a total of 7. 

Even with the third row in use, these 3rd row SUVs still have a significant amount of space for storage. A total of 24.4 cubic feet makes the Traverse one of the most efficient mid-size SUVs for those who need extra storage.

Vehicle Highlights

Although the seats themselves make the Traverse a best 3-row SUV for space considerations, the additional features make it one of the best 3rd row seating SUVs overall. Chevrolet Traverse 3rd row SUVs come with the following features:

  • Built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi
  • 116.3 cubic feet of maximum cargo space
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Side Blind Zone Alert
  • 3 USB ports
  • Chevrolet MyLink for seamless voice control
  • 5,200-pound towing capability

One of the best highlights is the integration of the myChevrolet Mobile App. This app allows drivers to lock/unlock doors, start/stop the engine, and even set parking reminders.

With enhanced connectivity and integration of multiple devices, the 2017 Chevrolet Traverse is certainly a best SUV with 3rd row space to consider in the new year.

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Ford Explorer Review

The 2017 Ford Explorer is a great example of a three-row crossover that performs just as well as an SUV with 3rd row seats. With quality and luxury at the forefront of production, it’s no wonder that it ranks as a best 3rd row SUV.

3rd Row Seating SUVs

Image Source: Ford


Depending upon model type and customization, the 2017 Ford Explorer can comfortably seat 6-7 passengers.

The second row can be customized into a bench or a set of captain’s chairs, and the third row can be set to power-folding. As an additional benefit, leather seats come standard, making every ride in this SUV with 3rd row seats luxurious and comfortable.

With plenty of variations, the 2017 Ford Explorer is the best SUV with 3rd row seating for drivers who want a personalized vehicle.

Vehicle Highlights

Those who are looking for the best 3-row SUV for heavy-duty adventures will be happy to see the 2017 Ford Explorer is well-equipped to tackle all terrain and towing needs. When looking for the best SUV with 3rd row seating, consider the following features:

  • Front 180-degree camera
  • Automatic lift gate
  • Terrain Management System™
  • 3.5L EcoBoost® in Sport & Platinum models
  • 5,000-pound towing capability
  • Trailer sway control adjusts power & braking

As an additional benefit, the Roll Stability Control™ feature now includes Curve Control. Drivers can maintain perfect balance and control on slippery, steep, or curvy terrain, making this the best 3rd row SUV for rugged terrain.

Honda Pilot Review

Marketed as the modern family SUV, the 2017 Honda Pilot combines elegance and sport to create a dynamic 3rd row seating SUV. 

3rd Row Seating SUV

Image Source: Honda


Each of the five models comes with a flat-folding third row of seating, making this one of the best 3rd row SUV options, regardless of model.

The EX-L, Touring, & Elite models feature captain’s seating in the second row, and the Elite even features heated seats.

Vehicle Highlights

As 3rd row SUVs are increasing in popularity, manufacturers are adding more desirable features to enhance convenience and efficiency. Some notable features include:

  • Tri-Zone Automatic Climate Control
  • Up to 5 USB ports
  • HDMI port
  • Up to 3 12-volt outlets
  • 9-inch rear entertainment system (EX-L, Touring, & Elite)

Another feature to consider is performance: reviews put the 2017 Honda Pilot as performing equally as well on mountain roads, slippery weather conditions, and leisurely drives.

With ample room, convenient features, and high levels of performance, the 2017 Honda Pilot has a solid ranking among the best 3rd row seating SUVs.

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Hyundai Santa Fe Review

Often overshadowed by competing 3rd row SUVs, the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe is steadily emerging as a strong contender as the best SUV with 3rd row seating.

With a limited-time offer of 0.9% APR for up to 60 months, this SUV with 3rd row seats is poised to provide ultimate value and affordability, making it one of the best SUVs with 3rd row space on the market.

SUV With 3rd Row

Image Source: Hyundai


Enhanced seating options in this SUV with 3rd row seats cover much more than just the back row. The sliding second-row seats have cargo-area releases, allowing for additional storage space inside the cabin.

Extra seating in these 3rd row SUVs comes in a split-folding bench seat, making for a total of 7 full-size seats.

As an additional benefit, the rear has HVAC ventilation to provide optimal comfort for those in the third-row seat.

Vehicle Highlights

The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe comes loaded with standard features that define what the best SUV with 3rd row seating should have. Consider the following standard features:

  • 5,000-pound towing capacity
  • YES Essentials® stain-resistant cloth seats
  • 6-speed automatic transmission
  • Rearview camera
  • Downhill Brake Control & Hillstart Assist Control
  • Remote keyless entry & alarm

With additional options for heated seats and a USB outlet in the third row, this is a best SUV with 3rd row seating for families of all shapes and sizes.

LandRover Discovery Review

Globally recognized as a powerhouse of performance and luxury, the 2017 LandRover Discovery (also known as the LR4) is poised to be one of the top 3rd row SUVs of the year.

With all-terrain, towing, and wading capabilities, this is the best SUV with 3rd row seats for drivers who need their 3rd row SUV to stand up to challenge and adventure.

SUV With 3rd Row Seating

Image Source: LandRover


The back row of seating in these 3rd row SUVs can fold flat into the floor, providing ample room for cargo when taking solo trips. When folded up, the full-size seats are roomy enough for adult passengers, making it ideal for group trips.

As an additional benefit, this 3rd row SUV has a total of 34.1” of legroom in the back, so crowding and cramping will never be an issue.

For those looking for a roomy cabin, this is a best SUV with 3rd row seats to consider.

Vehicle Highlights

The 2017 LandRover Discovery has four models to choose from, and each one comes with an impressive list of features and capabilities. Some of these include:

  • 190W sound system with 10 speakers
  • InControl Touch navigation
  • Three 12V auxiliary chargers
  • 90 cubic feet of cargo space
  • 8-speed automatic transmission

Another feature worthy of mentioning is the optional Intelligent Seat Fold, allowing drivers to configure seat position through mobile app.

With tons of innovative technology and plenty of space, this is one of the best 3rd row seating SUVs to purchase in 2017.

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Toyota Highlander Review

As a mid-sized 3-row seating SUV, the 2017 Toyota Highlander has received rave reviews from automotive experts. Built with a spacious interior and convenience in mind, the Toyota Highlander is one of the best 3rd row seating SUVs to consider in 2017.

Best 3 Row Suv

Image Source: Toyota


The Toyota Highlander is built with versatility and comfort in mind, two key factors when considering 3rd row SUVs. Adding passengers can certainly decrease space and increase discomfort, though the Highlander manages to avoid these issues.

With seating for 8 people and a reclining third row, this is one of the more spacious 3rd row SUVs. This 3-row seating SUV allows for the third row to fold down, creating the option for more cargo space when needed.

Additional options include captain’s chairs for the second row, allowing the vehicle to seat 7 people. 

Vehicle Highlights

Part of what makes this SUV with 3rd row seat capability so desirable comes from the upgrades and improvements that Toyota has made. Some of these improvements include:

  • 8-speed automatic transmission
  • Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle II Rating
  • 5,000-pound towing capacity
  • 5 USB ports for supreme charging capabilities

The 2017 Toyota Highlander also comes with a money-saving new feature, called the Stop and Start Engine System. When the car is at rest—stopping at a light—the engine shuts off to conserve fuel.

Not only is it spacious, but it is also highly efficient, making the Toyota Highlander a best SUV with 3rd row seating to consider in 2017.

Conclusion – Top 6 Best 3rd Row Seating SUVs

Whether packing up for a family vacation or a day at the beach, there is no doubt that 3rd row SUVs offer valuable advantages for space and storage.

3rd row SUVs may have received criticism in the past, but today, 3rd row seating SUVs are a competitive and worthwhile option for drivers to consider.

As the popularity of these vehicles increases, the best 3rd row seating SUVs continue to evolve, offering better features, higher MPG, and increased efficiency ratings.

Finding the best SUV with 3rd row space can be challenging, and our review aims to bridge that gap. By looking at each top-rated 3rd row SUV, drivers can gain valuable insight in finding efficient, spacious, and worthwhile 3rd row seating SUVs.

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