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Midsize SUVs are some of the most popular vehicles you can buy. That’s because they’re versatile, being both large enough for many families without being overpoweringly large. If you’re looking for an SUV that’s both safe and spacious, you have a lot of great options. Here are three of the best and safest 3-row SUVs.

Front angle view of Star White 2023 Ford Explorer midsize SUV
2023 Ford Explorer | Ford

The 2022 Mazda CX-9 is an IIHS Top Safety Pick

The 2022 Mazda CX-9 is a great midsize SUV in part because of its size and safety. It has three rows and can seat up to seven passengers. The CX-9 comes with a host of standard safety equipment like adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and blind-spot monitoring. It also has lane-keeping assist. In addition, the 2022 Mazda CX-9 is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+, which is the highest safety award that a vehicle can win. It also has a good updated side crash test.

In addition, the CX-9 is loaded with features including heated front seats, a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are also part of the new Mazda SUV.

The 2022 Toyota Highlander is a top 3-row SUV

The 2022 Toyota Highlander price starts at $36,420 for the base model L. There are a total of six trim levels available, with the Platinum being the most expensive at $50,725. The 2022 Toyota Highlander wins the highest award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). This is the Top Safety Pick+ and it’s only given to the safest vehicles with the best crash test ratings, safety system scores, and headlights. It also has a good updated side crash test result. On top of that, it’s loaded with safety features. It comes standard with pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, and cruise control.

It comes with 18-inch wheels, LED lights, and heated mirrors. It also has keyless entry and ignition, an 8-inch infotainment system, and a six-speaker sound system. In addition, the Highlander is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and has a WiFi hot spot.

The 2022 Ford Explorer has a good updated side crash test result

The IIHS gives the new Explorer its highest safety award, the Top Safety Pick+ award. The Top Safety Pick+ award has been around since 2013, and it’s given only to vehicles that ace all the tests. These measure things like crashworthiness, crash prevention, and headlights.

The 2022 Ford Explorer gets a good or better in all major categories. It has acceptable headlights standard on both available trim levels. This is the minimum to qualify for the Top Safety Pick+ award. In addition, it has advanced or superior safety systems.

The Top Safety Pick+ award identifies the safest SUVs

The IIHS is a non-profit that tests vehicles and shares the results of their tests with consumers so that people can make informed decisions about what they buy. By issuing safety ratings and awards, consumers are more aware of potential issues with their vehicles, and car manufacturers have more accountability. The IIHS’ tests have evolved to keep pushing safety standards higher, which is a huge bonus for everyone.

Although a vehicle winning the Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ award is a definite positive when you’re car shopping, not all vehicles with these awards are equal. The IIHS says, “These awards identify the best vehicle choices for safety within size categories during a given year. Larger, heavier vehicles generally afford more protection than smaller, lighter ones. Thus, a small car that qualifies for an award might not protect its occupants as well as a bigger vehicle that doesn’t earn the award.”

If you’re looking for the safest and most spacious SUVs, the 2022 Mazda CX-9, 2022 Toyota Highlander, and 2022 Ford Explorer are some of your best bets. With their excellent safety scores and three rows of seating, these three SUVs definitely belong on your shopping short list.


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