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Midsize SUVs are a hotly contested segment in the world of new cars, with a wide range of models vying for the attention of consumers and critics alike. However, it seems that when it comes to the 3-row SUV variant, there is a notable discrepancy between what experts and everyday drivers consider to be the best options on the market.

This raises an important question for anyone looking to purchase a midsize 3-row SUV: should you trust experts’ opinions or take the time to test drive new cars for yourself and make your own decision?

Front angle view of gray 2023 Hyundai Palisade midsize SUV.
2023 Hyundai Palisade | Hyundai

Top four 2023 midsize 3-row SUVs, according to consumer rankings

Based on Edmunds consumer ratings, the Hyundai Palisade is the top-ranked SUV among the four with a score of 4.3/5. It has a spacious and upscale interior, a smooth ride, a powerful V6 engine, and plenty of advanced safety and technology features. It also offers a hybrid option for better fuel efficiency.

The second-ranked SUV is the Honda Pilot, which has a rating of 4.1/5. The Pilot is a reliable and practical family hauler with a roomy cabin, a large cargo area, and a standard V6 engine. It also has a user-friendly infotainment system and a standard suite of driver aids. However, the Pilot lacks some of the refinement and style of the Palisade, and its handling is not very agile.

The third-ranked SUV is the Kia Telluride, which is closely related to the Palisade but has a lower rating of 3.8/5. The Telluride has many of the same strengths as the Palisade, such as a spacious and luxurious interior, a smooth ride, a potent V6 engine, and a generous list of features. It also has a more rugged and distinctive exterior design than the Palisade.

The fourth-ranked SUV with a 3.5/5 is the Volkswagen Atlas, which has the lowest rating among the four. The Atlas has some advantages, such as a roomy third row, a comfortable ride, and a choice of two engines: a turbocharged four-cylinder or a V6. It also has a lower starting price than the other three SUVs. However, the Atlas falls short in terms of interior quality, performance, reliability, and resale value.

Reasons why 2023 midsize SUV expert and consumer ratings may differ

It is interesting to note the difference in rankings between consumer ratings and expert ratings for the four best midsize 3-row SUVs. While the Hyundai Palisade is the top-ranked SUV in the consumer ratings, it comes in second in the expert ratings, trailing behind the Kia Telluride.

Similarly, the Honda Pilot ranks third in consumer ratings but ranks higher in expert ratings. The Volkswagen Atlas is ranked last in both consumer and expert ratings.

This difference in rankings could be due to the different criteria used by consumers and experts in evaluating these vehicles. Consumers may prioritize certain features such as comfort, interior space, and technology, while experts may focus more on performance, handling, and overall value for money.

Additionally, consumer ratings may be influenced by individual preferences and biases, while expert ratings are based on more objective and standardized evaluations.

Another factor that could explain the difference in rankings is that consumer ratings are based on a larger pool of reviewers who may have different backgrounds and experiences with the vehicles.

In contrast, expert ratings are based on a smaller group of reviewers who are professional automotive journalists with extensive knowledge and expertise in the field.

Tips for getting a comprehensive and accurate self-review of a new car

Consumer ratings are based on the experiences and opinions of individual drivers, who may have different priorities, preferences, and expectations than experts. On the other hand, expert reviews are based on a more comprehensive and objective evaluation of the vehicle.

To avoid confusion between consumer ratings and expert reviews, it’s essential to remember that each source of information has its own biases and perspectives.

It’s also essential to test drive the car yourself and pay attention to your own needs and preferences, such as comfort, handling, features, and fuel efficiency. By combining these sources of information with your own experience, you can make a more informed and confident decision when choosing a new car.


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