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A lot of car shoppers are looking at new cars, and those car shoppers have a lot to consider when they’re making their choice. One segment where many car shoppers with families are definitely taking a look at is the SUV with three rows of seats segment, as many families will need a lot of seating capacity to accommodate everyone. But as far as the three-row SUV segment goes, the most affordable option is not currently the most popular one.

This is the most affordable three-row SUV on the market right now

Edmunds didn’t have too much praise for the Volkswagen Tiguan, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that Volkswagen most recently redesigned the small SUV back in 2018. That makes the Tiguan outdated compared to many of its rivals, but the VW does have some advantages of its own, too. For example, it is a rare instance of a compact crossover SUV that can come with three rows of seats. Very few of its segment rivals have three rows of seats.

Another advantage is the Tiguan’s cost. Since the Tiguan is a compact crossover, it will naturally be cheaper than larger SUVs that come with three rows of seats. However, even when compared to other compact crossovers with three rows of seats, such as the Kia Sorento or the Mitsubishi Outlander, the VW is still the cheapest option.

Currently, the Tiguan has an MSRP that starts at around $27,000. That’s about $1,000 cheaper than the Outlander, and $3,000 cheaper than the Sorento. It’s an even bigger price difference when compared to larger SUVs. For example, the midsize Subaru Ascent goes for $33,000, while the full-size Chevy Suburban starts at $55,000. 

Despite being such an affordable three-row SUV option, the Tiguan is not a best-seller whatsoever. GoodCarBadCar has the sales data for the first half of the year, and the Tiguan is buried in that list. So far in 2023, Volkswagen has sold just under 39,000 units of the Tiguan. Compared to last year, that number isn’t that different as it’s only a 2.8% increase year-over-year.

The SUV’s sales numbers aren’t doing well on a month-by-month basis either. For example, in June 2023, the German automaker sold about 6,400 units of the Tiguan. That’s a 4.7% decrease from June 2022. Unsurprisingly, these lackluster sales figures mean that many other three-row SUVs sell far better than the Volkswagen does. 

The Toyota Highlander is the best-selling three-row SUV right now, as Toyota has sold over 113,000 units of the midsize SUV. That makes the Highlander the 13th best-selling car in America too. However, the Tesla Model Y could also be considered the best-selling three-row SUV. Tesla does offer a three-row option for the EV, but not every Model Y has it. Regardless, Tesla has sold over 190,000 units of the Model Y so far in 2023.

Car shoppers clearly have a lot to consider when they’re thinking of buying a new car

The fact that the $36,000 Highlander or the $53,000 Model Y are selling so well while the much cheaper Tiguan isn’t doing well illustrates the fact that price isn’t everything for car shoppers. After all, Edmunds gave the Tiguan a worse score than the other compact SUVs with three-rows of seats.

In particular, since the Tiguan is a small SUV, the three-rows of seats take away some of the cargo capacity that the SUV has to offer. Many families who are looking for a three-row SUV are also looking for good cargo capacity, so this may help explain the Tiguan’s unpopularity. 


Consumers and Critics Disagree on the 4 Best 2023 Midsize 3-Row SUVs