Which 3rd Row SUV is Best? (Solved!)


Your confidence in your family SUV matters. It is, after all, where you’ll end up spending a lot of your time. When all is said and done, what’s stopping you from getting the very best 3-row SUV that money can buy?

The Kia Telluride is the best 3-row SUV for those who want luxury for an affordable price, offering style, reliability, and comfort, all at a reasonable cost. For those who prefer the luxury SUV label, the Lincoln Aviator surpasses its competitors in a way only a Lincoln could.

In this article, we’ll discuss Kia and Lincoln’s masterpieces, as well as a few competitors that each bring something extraordinary to the 3-row SUV game.

Kia Telluride

With all the buzz going on about the Hyundai Palisade comes buzz about its sister car, the Kia Telluride. Released in the same model year as the Palisade, the Telluride instantly became a crowd favorite in every area. It’s technologically advanced, incredibly easy on the eyes, and makes for a wonderful ride in every way.

The Telluride’s price ranges from $32,790 to around $43,000 in its 4 trim levels: LX, S, EX, and SX. The Kia Telluride is estimated to get 26 MPG on the highway with front-wheel drive. Kia also offers optional AWD, and the fabulous warranty that Kia and Hyundai are known for: 10-year/100,000-miles.

Kia has got to be pleased with the way the Telluride has quickly become the best of the best, with lots of awards to back it up. The Kia Telluride was MotorTrend‘s 2020 SUV of the Year, with the 2021 model being rated 2nd on their 3-row SUV lineup.

Which 3rd Row SUV is Best?

In addition to this, the 2020 Telluride was the North American Utility Vehicle of the Year, an IIHS Top Safety Pick, and the World Car of the Year. To put it in the shortest way possible, the Kia Telluride is the absolute best choice for a 3-row SUV for your family.

Hyundai Palisade

The Hyundai Palisade‘s debut was in the 2019 model year, and since then, the buzz around this car hasn’t ever quite settled. Gorgeous inside and out, the Hyundai Palisade is said by some to be the best-looking 3-row SUV on the road. It is said to be roomy, comfortable, and elegant, but can also give some stiff rides.

The Palisade’s base price is $33,150, with the price rising in each of its 4 trim levels: SE, SEL, Limited, and Calligraphy. Hyundai estimates its gas mileage to reach up to 26 MPG on the highway with front-wheel drive. Hyundai also offers all-wheel drive on the Palisade.

One of the best things about Hyundai’s Palisade is its 10-year/100,000-mile warranty, which beats all competitors except Kia (who offers the same warranty).

The Hyundai Palisade has received many fabulous ratings, including NHTSA‘s 5-star overall safety rating, Autotrader‘s Best Car 2020, MotorTrend‘s #4 3-row SUV, and U.S. News‘ #1 Midsize SUV.

Honda Pilot

The Honda Pilot, a long-time family favorite, got a massive and much-needed makeover in 2016 and only looked back to bring the wonderful Honda reliability we’ve all come to rely on. Fully equipped with HondaSensing technology, the Honda Pilot redefines safety all-around camera views, collision warnings, and lane assist features.

Which 3rd Row SUV is Best?
2021 Honda Pilot Elite

The Pilot’s base price is $36,830, which price, even though it’s already the highest priced of its competitors, rises as you climb up its 7 trim-level ladder: Sport, EX-L, Special Edition, TrailSport, Touring, Elite, and Black Edition.

Honda estimates its gas mileage to reach up to 27 MPG on the highway with its standard all-wheel-drive, offering not only a more fuel-efficient journey but a safer one as well.

The Honda Pilot, while ranked 3rd on MotorTrend‘s 3-row SUV lineup, also received a 5-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA.

Subaru Ascent

The Subaru Ascent takes its name and runs with it, bringing expectations for 3-row SUVs to new heights. This car is another great option, with one of its most interesting and notable features being that it has 19 cup-holders.

The Ascent, like all the vehicles of the Subaru name, comes fully capable of any situation, able to tow up to 5,000 lbs.

The Ascent’s price ranges from $32,295 to over $45,000 in its 5 trim levels: Ascent, Ascent Premium, Ascent Onyx Edition, Ascent Limited, and Ascent Touring. Subaru expects the 2022 Ascent to get 27 MPG on the highway, and like the Honda Pilot, it does this on an AWD platform.

Subaru doesn’t leave families hanging for safety either, receiving a 5-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, and being named an IIHS Top Safety Pick+. MotorTrend ranks the Ascent 1st on its 3-row SUV lineup, and Parents Magazine rates the Ascent as a 2021 Best Family Car.

Luxury 3-Row SUVs

However, with that being said, we haven’t even breached the luxury 3-row SUV category, which also holds a couple of strong contenders. We’ll just mention a couple of them briefly, for those that prefer the guarantee of luxury from those luxury name brands.

The Audi Q7’s base price is $56,900, quite the jump from the vehicles we’ve just discussed. However, this car holds multiple display screens, gorgeous leather seats, and isn’t too bad on the eyes from the outside either. The Q7 isn’t just a pretty car—it can also tow up to 7,700 lbs.

The Volvo XC90 starts at $49,900 and comes standard with all-wheel drive. In addition to this, the XC90 is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+, and is, like the Audi Q7, gorgeous and comfortable. Volvo also offers several great safety features, including a 360° camera.

The very best of the best in the luxury 3-row SUV lineup is the stunning Lincoln Aviator. Starting at $51,465, the Aviator is cheaper than many competitors but offers a luxury that prospective owners won’t find anywhere else. Lincoln estimates the Aviator gets up to 26 MPG on the highway and offers several trim levels that can bring your luxury car to the next level, making every day lavishly comfortable in the extreme.

Will Turner

Will has an absolute passion for 4x4s and loves discovering all of the small details about each model. Will joined the Four Wheel Trends team in early 2021 and has been a valuable contributor ever since!

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