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With so many SUVs on the current market, it’s hard to know which one to buy. Subcompact SUVs are typically the most affordable due to their smaller sizes, but they can also have low-rent interiors and may lack all-wheel drive. Compact SUVs offer more utility but might lack the space for larger families.

Third-row midsize and large SUVs usually provide the biggest interiors with room for up to eight family members. A luxury model will have the most premium materials and likely some technology you can’t get on their cheaper counterparts. Would a third-row luxury SUV suit your needs?

Benefits of owning a third-row luxury SUV

A 2022 Lincoln Navigator, a third-row luxury SUV, parked in front of a modern building.
2022 Lincoln Navigator | Toyota Motor Sales

Upgraded interior dimensions are a given for all third-row SUVs, but MotorTrend highlights the luxury models for their buttery-smooth ride qualities. Most have standard or available adaptive suspensions to mitigate road imperfections. An active suspension will also enhance a large SUV’s handling response, despite its extra weight.

Some large luxury SUVs also share platforms with trucks so that they can tow more weight than your average SUV. The Land Rover Defender is one of the most capable luxury midsize SUVs with a maximum towing capacity of 8,201 lbs. 

Luxury SUVs also have better sound reduction technology to keep the cabin whisper-quiet even at highway speeds. The entire interior is typically constructed with soft-touch materials, along with woodgrain accents and shiny brushed metal.

The seats offer plenty of cushioning and leather upholstery with heating for the front seats often standard. It’s also not uncommon to find standard ventilated front seats with massage functions on the most extravagant third-row SUVs.

These SUVs typically have huge infotainment screens, with some available options stretching across the dashboard. In addition to your standard tech features like smartphone integration, luxury SUVs offer digital assistants and upgraded audio systems with studio-quality acoustics. 

Reasons why you might not want a third-row luxury SUV

While some drivers might appreciate all the extra gadgets and flashy exteriors on these SUVs, such features can be excessive. Additionally, all that extra flair only elevates the car’s base price, pushing some into the triple-digit range. 

If you’re shopping for a midsize model, be aware that many have cramped rear rows. While it’s not difficult to find a large luxury SUV with a spacious third row, parking them isn’t easy. Models like the Lincoln Navigator can work for you, but only if you find a space that can accommodate your vehicle. 

Here are a few great luxury SUVs

Even with all their available tech options and brawny powertrains, you still have to consider which luxury SUV yields the most value. The 2023 Audi Q7 and the 2023 Infiniti QX60 boast high overall scores on MotorTrend. The Audi Q7 features a stylish, high-tech cabin and surprisingly sporty driving dynamics.

However, the Audi Q7 has one of the smallest third rows in the segment. It also doesn’t have the highest maximum cargo capacity, and you can only utilize 14 cu-ft of space behind the third row. The Infiniti QX60’s third row has merely 29 inches of legroom, but its maximum cargo capacity of 75 cu-ft is decent.

The Buick Enclave’s third row is adult-friendly for shorter drives, and it has more than 97 cu-ft of cargo area available. It also offers a smooth, quiet ride, and the base trim can be purchased for just $44,800. 

However, MotorTrend recommends getting the highest trim if you want the best features. The Enclave Avenir’s interior still isn’t as well-adorned as some of its rivals, so keep that in mind while choosing your ideal SUV.


Midsize Luxury SUVs With 3 Rows to Seek out and 1 to Skip