Consumer Reports’ Top Large Three-Row SUVs Face-Off

Large, three-row SUVs are family-friendly and spacious. They have loads of passenger and cargo space, and they’re super safe. Consumer Reports ranked the best large three-row SUVs out there. The 2021 Ford Expedition and 2021 BMW X7 top the lists. So which is better?

The rear of a blue 2021 X7.
2021 BMW X7 | BMW

What criteria does Consumer Reports use to rate cars?

Consumer Reports ranked three-row SUVs with a sizeable third row. This is especially helpful for families with kids who may regularly use the third row.  

All of the top choices are Consumer Reports recommended. Consumer Reports recommended means that they scored well in the road test and also have a good reliability rating. Consumer Reports prioritizes safety features, so the best three-row SUVs include these. They must also have good crash test ratings.

Both the 2021 Ford Expedition and 2021 BMW X7 have good ratings and safety features

Both the 2021 Ford Expedition and 2021 BMW X7 get a four out of five for acceleration. However, the BMW’s routine and emergency handling are better. While the X7 gets a four out of five in both of these categories, the Expedition only gets a two. Routine handling is measured by how agile Consumer Reports finds the SUV to be. Emergency handling is rated by several factors, including its max avoidance speed. 

Braking in the BMW is also better, at a four out of five. The Expedition only gets a three. 

Advantage = BMW X7

One of the best things about both the Expedition and X7 is the amount of advanced safety systems they come with. The X7 comes with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking at city speeds, and pedestrian detection. 

The 2021 X7 also comes with lane departure warning, as well as blind spot warning. It also comes with rear cross traffic warning, rear view camera, anti lock breaks, and traction and stability control. The X7 comes with daytime running lights, but you’ll have to pay extra for those in the Expedition. However, the Expedition comes with lane keeping assist and automatic emergency braking at highway speeds, which are optional in the X7.

Advantage = Ford Expedition  

Crash-test ratings are generally good in the Expedition. The IIHS hasn’t tested the 2021 Ford Expedition, but the NHTSA has. It gave it five stars for everything except for rollover. The 2WD rating is only three out of five stars. The 4WD rating is a little better, at three out of five stars. 

There aren’t any crash test ratings by the IIHS or NHTSA. This makes it hard to gauge how safe it would be in a crash.

Advantage = Ford Expedition

The reliability and owner satisfaction contribute to the 2021 Ford Expedition and 2021 BMW X7 being two of the best large three-row SUVs

A black 2021 BMW X7 on a wet groun.
2021 BMW X7 | BMW

Consumer Reports sends reliability and owner satisfaction surveys to people who have bought previous versions of the vehicles. Then they combine this data with what they know about the current model and this helps them predict how reliable a vehicle will be. 

The reliability score for both the Expedition and X7 are a three out of five. However, the owner satisfaction score for the 2021 BMW X7 is a five out of five, which is a little better than the Expedition’s four. 

Advantage = BMW X7

Overall, both the 2021 Ford Expedition and the 2021 BMW X7 are a fantastic choice for a large family. Both large three-row SUVs combine safety, comfort and style. Although it doesn’t have crash test ratings, its good ratings, safety equipment, and owner satisfaction, the 2021 BMW X7 is a slightly better pick. 

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