Best 3 Row SUVs With Captain’s Seats, According to MotorTrend

If you don’t want a standard three-across bench seat for your rear passengers, look no further. The captain’s seat, or captain’s chair, is the single-occupant bucket seat for your second row. These come in SUVs and minivans alike but are usually found in options with three rows. Captain’s seats provide more comfort and space and personal armrests that don’t require sharing. Lastly, there’s enough space between them for third-row passengers to walk through the center to their seats easily. Not to mention the ease of access when moving the captain’s seats around. They’re usually relatively easy to slide, fold, or even remove from a vehicle altogether. What are the best 3 row SUVs with captain’s seats, according to MotorTrend?

The 2022 Subaru Ascent is one of the best 3 row SUVs with captain’s seats

A 2022 Subaru Ascent, one of the best 3 row SUVs with captain's seats, according to MotorTrend.
2022 Subaru Ascent | Subaru

Subaru’s midsize SUV offering comes with a 2.4-liter, 260 horsepower turbocharged I4 engine, AWD, and a very spacious interior. A contributing factor to all that interior space is the available captain’s seats. Although they’re only available as an option on the upper Premium and Limited trims, they’re standard on the Onyx Edition and Touring models. These seats turn the Ascent into a seven-passenger SUV instead of eight, but the chairs slide forward and backward, offering tons of legroom and easy access to the third row of seats when necessary.

2022 Kia Telluride: one of the best 3 row SUVs available

2022 Kia Telluride, one of the best 3 row SUVs with captain's seats, according to MotorTrend.
2022 Kia Telluride | Kia

If you haven’t heard anything good about the 2022 Kia Telluride, you haven’t been paying attention. The Telluride won many awards in the last few years, including prestigious ones like the best midsize SUV from KBB. Like the Ascent, it changes from eight to seven-passenger capability when adding the captain’s seats. The option comes standard with the S or SX trims, but adding them to the EX trim is also possible. Simply purchase the EX Premium Package, which swaps out the second-row bench for captain’s seats.

Captain’s seats are available in the 2022 Honda Pilot SUV

A blue 2022 Honda Pilot Elite, one of the best 3 row SUVs with captain's seats, according to MotorTrend.
2022 Honda Pilot Elite | Honda

Not only does the 2022 Honda Pilot come with a 3.5-liter V6 engine, but it’s also a spacious three-row SUV with available captain’s chairs. According to MotorTrend, even the space in the third row is adult-friendly. The Touring, Elite, and Black Edition trims come standard with the captain’s seats in the second row. The Elite and Black Edition models also come with heating and ventilating in the middle row. That’s enough to make up for the drop from eight to seven-passenger capacity with the captain’s seats inside.

2022 Chevrolet Suburban, a 3 row SUV with captain’s seats

2022 Chevrolet Suburban, one of the best 3 row SUVs with captain's seats, according to MotorTrend.
2022 Chevy Suburban | Chevrolet

Are you in the market for an SUV with plenty of interior space? Look no further than the Chevrolet Suburban, which provides generous amounts of room for passengers and cargo. It also has an available V8 or turbodiesel engine, making it one of the most potent 3-row options on the market. The Suburban’s captain’s seats slide forward and back, plus flip forward. This feature makes it easy to access the third row or cargo area, providing as much space as possible. Captain’s seats are available as options starting with the LT trim but are standard for the High Country, and Premier trims.

Chevrolet has you covered with the 2022 Tahoe, too

The Chevrolet Tahoe SUV used the same platform as its Suburban sibling. That includes the same benefits the Suburban gained from last year’s redesign. However, its smaller proportions make it easier to drive, handle, and own in general. Of course, that also means there’s significantly less room inside than with the massive Suburban. Choose the Premier or High Country trims to swap out the eight-passenger layout to seven-passenger with captain’s seats. The exact configuration is also available to start with the Tahoe LT trim.

2022 Ford Expedition: a large 3 row SUV with captain’s seats

A black 2022 Ford Expedition Timberline
2022 Ford Expedition Timberline | Ford

Every Ford Expedition model comes standard with a turbocharged V6 engine delivering strong torque for towing and acceleration. Additionally, it’s notably comfortable inside and very easy to drive for an SUV of its magnitude. MotorTrend noted that its interior is incredibly spacious for passengers and cargo alike. Starting at the Limited trim level, captain’s seats can replace the second-row bench. Upping your game to the King Ranch or Platinum trims will make captain’s seats standard equipment. Ford’s captain’s chairs also offer power-folding, making them easy to tip forward and slide around when necessary for rear access.

Did you know the 2022 Lincoln Aviator is a 3 row SUV?

Not only does the Lincoln Aviator provide midsize luxury, but it also has three rows of seats. Thanks to its recent refresh, this beautiful luxury vehicle stands out among other SUVs. It comes with a 400 horsepower turbocharged V6 engine as its base option, providing a premium ride and performance. Additionally, the Reserve trim and higher get a standard second row of captain’s chairs. This takes the Aviator down from seven to six-passenger capability, but the captain’s seats are the same as the Ford Expedition’s. Power tip and slide capabilities make these seats easy to configure and make your rear passengers and cargo easier to fit inside.

2022 Volvo XC90: an uderrated midsize luxury SUV

Volvo’s 3 row SUV is an excellent option for those seeking a stylish luxury vehicle. The XC90 comes with loads of safety features and a classy interior to match its sleek exterior. Every trim level of the Volvo XC90 can get the optional captain’s seats other than the T8 eAWD R-Design, which comes with a middle split-bench seat. Even the electrified versions of the Volvo SUV can have captain’s chairs.

The 2022 Acura MDX 3 row SUV has a unique captain’s seat configuration

The all-new Acura MDX came to impress for the new model year. With impressive features and technology, this SUV is an affordable option for the midsize luxury segment. It replaced a smaller, less roomy option with its spacious and high-quality interior. According to MotorTrend, “All versions of the SUV come with a ‘multi-functional’ seating design that delivers a removable center seat for a true captain’s chair experience.” Although, like many other offerings, it drops its seven-passenger capacity down to six when equipped with the captain’s seats.

Full size luxury SUV: 2022 Lincoln Navigator

2022 Lincoln Navigator Manhattan Green Black Label, MotorTrend says it's one of the best 3 row SUVs with captain's chairs.
2022 Lincoln Navigator Manhattan Green Black Label | Lincoln

Do you want a ton of size and interior cabin space? You’ve got it. The 2022 Lincoln Navigator is big and luxurious and is recently refreshed. Its turbocharged V6 engine power it better than most, and its beautiful interior tells the tale of its high price. Lincoln’s full-size offering has second-row captain’s seats as standard equipment. Additionally, between the two chairs sits a rear center console with storage and controls for each seat’s massage, heating, and ventilation features.

Does the 2022 Cadillac Escalade have captain’s seats?

Cadillac is one of many automakers that’s been hard at work the last few years. Many Cadillac models were refreshed or redesigned in light of the loss of many sales over the past decade. The Escalade is no different; it’s one of the premier options in its class and has a ton of new tech and design features to boot. It comes with a standard V8 engine and semi-autonomous driving capability via the Super Cruise feature. Second-row captain’s seats are the default choice for the Escalade, just like the Navigator. The seats also come with a power release, making them simple to fold flat when carrying a lot of cargo.

2022 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class: three row SUV with captain’s seats

You’d be hard-pressed to find a feature Mercedes failed to include in its GLS-Class SUV. That includes captain’s seats and multiple drivetrains, a high-quality interior, and more. It’s a seven-passenger model, but it can gain second-row captain’s seats and drop to six-passenger capability for no additional cost. Additionally, the right-side seat has power tilt and fold capability to make climbing into the third row a breeze.

Which 3 row SUV with captain’s seats is right for you?

RELATED: The 2021 Honda Pilot Is Consumer Reports’ Top Midsize Three-Row SUV

No matter which type of 3 row SUV you like, there’s one for you with captain’s seats. Most models offer them as a standard feature on higher trims but are also available options for cheaper models. Some automakers have second-row captain’s seats as the standard in their full-size luxury models. These include the Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade, some of the most luxurious in the market.

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