The list of three-row midsize SUVs is growing. That makes it more difficult to decide among all the choices, but it also makes the segment more competitive. Now when you’re car shopping, you can pick and choose which one offers the affordability, reliability, and fuel savings you want.
However, if you’re loyal to American brands, you might want to reconsider. In fact, Consumer Reports doesn’t recommend any 2021 three-row midsize SUVs from U.S. manufacturers.
3-row midsize SUVs Consumer Reports recommends
Consumer Reports recommends five 2021 three-row midsize SUVs. The first is the Kia Telluride, garnering a 97 out of 100. One of the main reasons it achieved such as high score is because of its perfect 5/5 predicted reliability and owner satisfaction ratings.
Next on the list is the Hyundai Palisade, earning 85 out of 100. This SUV scored well on the road test with an 88.
Coming in behind the Palisade is the Toyota Highlander, which received an 84 out of 100. It also excelled on its road test.
The Mazda CX-9 scored an overall 80 and boasts one of the highest overall EPA-estimated fuel-efficiency scores of 22 mpg. On the highway, the CX-9 can get 28 mpg, which isn’t all that bad compared to other three-row SUVs.
Bringing up the rear is the Honda Pilot with a decent 72 out of 100.
Where are the American SUVs?
Though no three-row midsize SUVs from American brands got a nod from Consumer Reports, one made it pretty close. The Chevrolet Traverse came in behind the Honda Pilot with a score of 69. The Chevy scored an impressive 95 on its road test, the second-highest on the list. But its predicted reliability is poor, as is its fuel economy.
The Dodge Durango and Ford Explorer rank last on the list. The Durango scored an overall 49, and the Explorer ended up with an abysmal 42. Both have the worst reliability ratings of 1 out of 5.
The Durango didn’t impress with its fuel economy, emergency handling, or its greenhouse gas emissions. Its 3.6-liter rear-wheel-drive model gets only 19 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway.
Ford’s Explorer isn’t much better. Consumer Reports found it can get only about 21 mpg overall, which is actually better than the Durango’s combined 18 mpg. But if you chose the hybrid Explorer, you could see 27 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. But acceleration times are on par with rivals.
What do these scores tell us about American midsize SUVs?
Looking at the areas plaguing the American models, you’ll notice a pattern. One item dragging down these three-row midsize SUVs is their predicted reliability: All three received poor scores. The Chevy Traverse got a better score, but not by much.
Another area hurting some of these models is owner satisfaction, specifically the value section. Overall, the Traverse and Durango received 51 and 49 out of 100 for value. The Ford Explorer was worse. It scored OK in most areas, but when it came to value, it dropped very low, to 34.
Their braking distances didn’t impress Consumer Reports either. The Durango and Explorer took the longest to stop completely from 60 mph, with 134 feet and 136 feet on dry pavement, respectively. The Traverse, however, managed a bit better than the other two at 130 feet.
It’s clear from these rankings that American automakers should concentrate on improving their three-row midsize SUVs’ reliability and value. With some much-needed updates, we might see these brands better represented on future Consumer Reports lists.