3 of the Best Third-Row SUVs to Buy According to MotorTrend

While sedans have been the go-to vehicle for many decades, the past few years have seen the cars begin to leave the marketplace and get replaced with the SUV. Not many automakers are producing any more sedans as of late to meet the new demand for the sport utility vehicle. MotorTrend showcases what the publication feels are the top 3 SUVs to buy with a third-row seat. Which ones are they, and what makes them so unique?

1. Kia Telluride is an excellent SUV to buy

A Kia Telluride, which is one of the bet third-row SUV
Kia Telluride | Kia Media

Topping the list is the Kia Telluride. MotorTrend picked this three-row SUV for its refined driving experience, plentiful tech features, and superb styling. This model offers 21 cu-ft of space behind the third row of seats and 87 cu-ft maximum to the back of the front seats. 

The publication’s two most significant drawbacks with the Telluride was its average fuel economy, which offers only 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. Then there’s the fact that you only get one engine option to choose from. Powering this SUV up is a 3.8-liter V6 engine, which produces 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. 

The third row isn’t much to write home about, either. You only get about enough space to haul around young children. Adults are not likely to be very comfortable for longer than a few minutes. Pricing starts at approximately $34,500 and can go as high as $51,000 if you choose all the available packages.

2. Subaru Ascent makes a great third-row

The Ascent offers tons of storage cubbies and cupholders while taking on off-road terrain with stability and confidence, which drew MotorTrend to this SUV. It also has a large infotainment screen, a peppy turbocharged engine, and a standard AWD. But, it fell short in a few different areas as well. 

First, its third-row seat is a bit too small to be of use, styling features are a bit too bland, and you have to pay a large amount of money to get the leather seating that looks so nice with it. Powering it up is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder paired with a CVT, which is great, but it doesn’t help bring points for fuel economy. It gets the same as the Telluride. 

Pricing for the Subaru Ascent begins at $33,895 for the base model and can go as high as $48,195 for the top trim level with some added packages. As for storage, you can expect the same as the Telluride. 

3. Hyundai Palisade is a great SUV to buy

According to MotorTrend, Hyundai’s Palisade is built off the same platform as the Telluride, which has some of the same features in this SUV. Storage space behind the third row is 18 cu-ft, which you get with the Kia. The same 3.8-liter V6 engine also powers it, generating 291 hp. Paired with it is an eight-speed automatic transmission, which helps it get an acceleration time of 7.1 seconds for a 0 to 60 mph run.

MotorTrend liked the new upscale look the exterior now comes with, as well as the attractive interior features you now get as well. The tight third-row seat it has didn’t impress the reviewers, but none of the three on this list has a huge rear seat area, anyway. The fuel economy isn’t much better, either. You get 19 mpg on city roads and 27 mpg when traveling on the highway. 

When it comes to pricing, the Hyundai Palisade sits in the middle of these three SUVs. It begins at $35,000 (with destination fees) and can go as high as $51,100 with all the added features, which is much different than the other two models. 

All three third-row SUVs offer tons of space, average fuel economy ratings, and a decent engine. However, none of these models have much in the way of room for the third-row seats, so plan on letting the younger children utilize that area as much as possible.