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Toyota is known for dominating SUV sales worldwide, but that doesn’t mean it always has the best value. According to one list, the Toyota Highlander failed to take the top spot among best 3rd row SUVs for the money in 2023. The winner might surprise you. 

2023 Toyota Highlander made the list of best 3rd row SUVs, but didn’t rank at the top

The Toyota Highlander is one of the most popular 3rd row SUVs in the country, but it landed at only 6th in the U.S. News and World Report ranking of best 3rd row SUVs for the money. 

That comes as a bit of a surprise considering the Highlander’s sales numbers. The three-row SUV typically sells well over 200,000 units per year and nearly reached 290,000 sales in 2022 according to GoodCarBadCar.

But popularity isn’t everything.

What’s the best 3rd row SUV for the money in 2023?

The Hyundai Palisade earned a ranking as the best 3rd row SUV for the money in 2023.
2023 Hyundai Palisade | Hyundai

According to U.S. News and World Report, the Hyundai Palisade is the best three-row for the money in 2023. 

  1. 2023 Hyundai Palisade 
  2. 2023 Kia Sorento
  3. 2023 Chevrolet Traverse 
  4. 2023 Mazda CX-9
  5. 2023 Volkswagen Atlas
  6. 2023 Toyota Highlander 
  7. 2023 Nissan Pathfinder
  8. 2023 GMC Acadia 
  9. 2023 Ford Explorer
  10. 2023 Buick Enclave

The Toyota Highlander may be a longstanding staple among midsize SUVs, but it appears the Hyundai Palisade has gained the upper hand in this instance. 

The 2023 Palisade is certainly eye-catching with its fashion-forward design. Plus, it offers a boat load of features and one of the industry’s best warranty programs. U.S. News estimates that its long-term cost of ownership is around $59,049 – less than the Highlander’s estimate of $64,212. 

It’s important to keep in mind that these are just estimates, however. Real costs of ownership for these 3rd row SUVs will vary considerably depending on climate, use case, maintenance history, and mileage. 

Is the Hyundai Palisade better than the Toyota Highlander?

It’s hard to say whether the Hyundai Palisade is truly a better three-row SUV than the Toyota Highlander. It’s more likely that the two models serve different roles with different intentions. 

On the one hand, the Hyundai Palisade is a part of the brand’s broader effort to punch its lineup upmarket. Hyundai’s emphasis on forward-looking design and premium-ish features show through in the Palisade. 

On the other hand, the 2023 Highlander continues Toyota’s mission to be the automaker for everyone. Its versatile trim levels, powertrains, and packages make it easy for buyers to find a Highlander that fits their specific needs. It’s less about impressing with premium aesthetics and more about being pragmatic. 

At the end of the day, determining the best third-row SUV of 2023 is up to each individual driver.


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