Watching car commercials, you might think you need a three-row SUV, even if your family isn’t large enough to fill it. But plenty of two-row SUVs have the seating, comfort, and space you need. The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe is a perfect example of a two-row midsize crossover that can accommodate a family’s needs.
The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe at a glance
The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe — the number-one midsize SUV per U.S. News — has plenty going for it. Though it seats only five, the base-model SE is a reasonably well-powered front-wheel-drive SUV. Its 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine produces 185 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque. The base model also gets decent fuel efficiency with 22/29 mpg city/highway. You can also purchase a Santa Fe with a 2.0 turbocharged four-cylinder making 235 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, plus optional all-wheel drive.
If you think you need a three-row SUV for cargo space, think again. The Santa Fe has an impressive 35.9 cubic feet of storage space behind the second row and 71.3 cubic feet with that row folded down. Even with a family of five, you’ll have plenty of room for luggage and vacation gear. Also, expect generous legroom and spacious seating. And you’ll enjoy plenty of infotainment features, including a 7.0-inch touchscreen, four USB ports, and Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Bluetooth integration.
Higher-level trims provide even more amenities. The SEL includes fog lights, a telematics system, satellite radio, and heated front seats, among other features. And the Limited comes with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, surround-view camera system, head-up display, and rain-sensing wipers.
If you’re looking to transport your family in style, the Hyundai Santa Fe is a great option. But it’s not your only choice.
2021 Nissan Murano, Chevrolet Blazer, and Jeep Grand Cherokee
U.S. News recently compiled a list of the best two-row SUVs for families this year. They excel for their reliability, perks such as cargo space and seating, and other family-oriented features. As impressive as the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe is, it ranks only sixth on this list.
The 2021 Nissan Murano ranks fifth thanks to its spaciousness, entertainment options, and predicted reliability rating. Its cargo room measures 36.4 behind the second row and 72.1 cubic feet with the back row down. The Murano also boasts a 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and plenty of advanced safety features. They include automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, and adaptive cruise control.
Number four is the 2021 Chevrolet Blazer, also earning a 5-star NHTSA rating. Its inclusion on this list stems from its excellent fuel economy, advanced safety features, and entertainment options. There’s less cargo space than the Murano — 30.5 cubic feet with the back row up and 64.2 cubic feet with it down. But Blazer owners get a 9.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Wi-Fi integration. Other family-friendly features include the Teen Driver safety system allowing you to set a maximum speed they can drive.
The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee gets points for its entertainment options, solid handling, and safety ratings. Advanced safety features, like rear parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring, that come standard also help. There’s more cargo room here than in the Blazer. With 36.3 cubic feet with the rear row up and 68.3 cubic feet with it down, you should have plenty of room for luggage.
2021 Ford Edge and Honda Passport
The runner-up, the Ford Edge, comes with a large 12-inch touchscreen and other entertainment options to keep everyone entertained. High safety ratings from the NHTSA and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, along with standard driver-assist features like rear parking sensors and automatic high beams, give you peace of mind. But the cargo capacity might be its most impressive perk. The Edge boasts 39.2 cubic feet behind the back row and 73.4 cubic feet with that row folded flat.
However, the winner is the Honda Passport, with high safety ratings and multiple standard safety features. They include adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking. Plus, the Passport has a solid reliability rating. It also offers a whopping 41.2 cubic feet of space behind the second row and 77.9 cubic feet with the back row down. If you need to haul boxes, equipment, or lots of luggage, the Honda Passport rivals some three-row SUVs for space.
If you don’t have a family larger than five, don’t be fooled into thinking you need a three-row SUV. All of the above vehicles, starting with the Hyundai Santa Fe, prove you don’t need one. Why pay extra for a three-row SUV if a midsize crossover fits your family’s needs?