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Affordable three-row SUVs are great for families with small children. Adults find comfortable seating up front, the middle row is accessible for child safety seats or bigger kids, and the back row is perfect for smaller kids who love climbing into their own space. However, expensive third-row SUVs often exceed family budgets, so what are seven affordable options?

There are good choices among the most affordable three-row SUVs

A vehicle’s price isn’t the only consideration when calculating overall cost-of-ownership, says iSeeCars, but it’s an excellent place to start. Based on the starting MSRP of 27 base trim three-row SUVs, the average cost is $43,404. There are 17 less-expensive examples on the iSeeCars list.

So, let’s dig deeper into the top seven most affordable three-row SUV models. 

The Volkswagen Tiguan offers a ton of value, starting at under $30,000

The Volkswagen Tiguan starts at $26,950 for new base models and tops out at $38,000, with used models starting at around $19,000. The Tiguan provides above-average reliability, excellent resale value, and a high safety rating, earning an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ for 2022.

The Tiguan’s drivetrain features a 184-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 with front-wheel drive (FWD). You’ll get an EPA-estimated 24 mpg city and 27 mpg highway fuel economy rating. 

The Mitsubishi Outlander is one of the higher-rated options

The starting MSRP for the base-trim Mitsubishi Outlander is $27,595, and used models fall to $16,995. With superior reliability and safety scores, the Outlander received a higher overall iSeeCars score than the Volkswagen Tiguan. However, its higher MSRP hurt its affordability rank.

The Outlander gets an EPA-estimated 26 mpg in town and 27 mpg on the highway, thanks to its 181-hp 2.5-liter I4, continuously variable transmission (CVT), and FWD. 

Don’t skip over the Hyundai Santa Fe as one of the most affordable three-row SUVs

With even higher iSeeCars scores for reliability, safety, and overall, the Hyundai Santa Fe is hard to ignore. However, its MSRP breaks the $28,000 mark, and used models start at nearly $20,000. The Santa Fe also gets good fuel economy, but the EPA-estimated 24 mpg city and 26 mpg highway figures are lower than the previously mentioned SUVs.

However, it’s also more powerful, with 191 hp provided by the standard 2.5-liter I4, and it comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission instead of a CVT. 

You can find an affordable Kia Sorento

The Kia Sorento starts at $29,990 new, and used options dip under $18,000. In addition, the Sorento provides above-average reliability and safety, earning an IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2022. Unlike the Subaru Ascent and Chevy Traverse, its MSRP is much closer to the desirable range for the most affordable three-row SUVs.

Like the Santa Fe above, the Kia Sorento features a 191-hp 2.5-liter I4, eight-speed automatic transmission, and FWD to get an EPA-estimated 24 mpg city and 26 mpg highway rating. 

The Subaru Ascent is pricier but worth it

The $33,895 Subaru Ascent earned iSeeCar’s top score for safety, but used versions still start over $28,000, making it less budget-friendly than some other three-row SUVs. It also suffers from lower EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings at 21 mpg city and 22 mpg highway.

However, the Ascent provides features not found on other base-model SUVs, like a 260-hp 2.4-liter turbocharged horizontally opposed four-cylinder (H4) engine and standard all-wheel drive (AWD).

The three-row Chevrolet Traverse earns its praise and price tag

The Chevrolet Traverse also offers above-average reliability and safety, with new models starting at $34,520 and used model pricing falling to around $20,000. However, fuel economy drops to an estimated 20 mpg city and 21 mpg highway thanks to its setup. It has a 310-hp 3.6-liter V6, nine-speed automatic transmission, and FWD drivetrain.

The Hyundai Palisade is pretty huge

The Hyundai Palisade starts at $34,950, and used versions aren’t much lower since it’s a relatively new offering introduced for the 2020 model year. That means it’s not at the top of the list for the most affordable three-row SUVs. Also, its long-term reliability is unrated, but it gets iSeeCars’ top safety score and a 2021 Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS.

With its 291-hp 3.8-liter V6 and eight-speed automatic transmission, the FWD Palisade gets an EPA-estimated 21 mpg on city streets and 22 mpg on the highway. 


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