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Some compact SUVs come with a third-row seat, either standard or optional, making them virtual unicorns in this vehicle class. The Mitsubishi Outlander is one such vehicle, and the Tesla Model Y is another. In the Model Y, the third-row seat is optional, costing owners an additional $2,000 on top of the vehicle’s cost. Is this added cost worth it in this compact electric SUV?

How much cargo space does the third row take?

Adding another row of seats in any vehicle reduces the available cargo space. The Tesla Model Y isn’t immune to this loss. The five-seat, two-row version has 30.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats and 72.1 cubes when folded. Comparatively, the three-row, seven-seat version provides 12.8 cubic feet of cargo room behind the third, 26.2 cubes behind the second, and 67.9 cubes overall. This means the Tesla Model Y loses four cubic feet when equipped with the third-row seat.

Does this third row create any driving issues?

Although Tesla claims the third-row seats can increase interior noise when folded, it might not be noticeable to most drivers. These seats don’t impede rearward visibility when upright with the headrests down, which might be the preferred position until they need to fold to open the available cargo space.

Overhead View Tesla Model Y Third-Row Seat
Overhead View Tesla Model Y Third-Row Seat | Tesla

Passengers better get cozy in a three-row Tesla Model Y

The Model Y is a compact SUV, meaning space is limited, no matter how often Tesla digs into Mary Poppins’s bag. The second-row passengers have:

  • 38.7 inches of headroom
  • 41.6 inches of legroom
  • 54.0 inches of shoulder room
  • 50.8 inches of hip room

This leaves the third-row passengers with:

  • 34.6 inches of headroom
  • 26.5 inches of legroom
  • 41.0 inches of shoulder room
  • 36.5 inches of hip room

These figures are small enough that most passengers in the third row should probably be under five feet tall.

Getting the seats in position can be tricky

When the Tesla Model Y has a third-row seat, a third function appears on the top of the second-row seat. This button allows the middle row to tilt and slide forward, allowing easy access in the rearmost row. Unfortunately, there’s a similar button on the side of the seat cushion that only folds the seatback, which can be confusing for some passengers.

Getting passengers and seats into the right position takes practice but could be worth it for some owners.

Is the third-row seat worth it in the Model Y?

Adding the third-row seat option to the Tesla Model Y gives owners seven seats when they need an extra seat or two. The reasonable cost could make this little EV a bit more versatile. When limited to only five seats, there’s no option to carry six or seven passengers across town. This could make the third-row seat option a good choice for many owners, but only for occasional passenger use and short drives.

Owners who need a third-row seat for a large family should consider the midsize SUV class and its options, which include the Kia Telluride, Kia EV9, Hyundai Palisade, and Toyota Highlander.

Source: MotorTrend