Best 3-Row SUV’s for Family, Friends and Fun

If space, comfort, and versatility are what you’re looking for in your next vehicle, the best 3-row SUV’s in 2021 will comfortably carry your clan and easily handle that hardware store load.

With everything from split bucket second row seats to in-seat entertainment systems and wi-fi, the best 3 row SUVs deliver superb comfort for short carpools and long road trips. We rated this year's top full size and midsize SUVs with three rows. We compared amenities such as driver assistance, basics like legroom, safety features, along with their capabilities such as off-road performance and fuel economy. 

There’s no shortage of options when looking at SUV’s with 3rd row seating these days.  Nearly every manufacturer offers one up in its fleet.  Finding the best 3 row SUV for you starts with knowing what you want to do in your new SUV and then comparison shopping for the features that matter most.

Honda Pilot 

  • Engine/Powertrain: 3.5L/280-hp/262-lb-ft SOHC 24-valve V-6, AWD 
  • MPG (City and Highway): 28 MPG city, 23 MPG hwy 
  • Trim Levels: LX, EX, EX-L, Touring, Elite and Black Edition

As a three-row SUV, the Honda Pilot actually shares a lot with the carmaker's popular minivan, the Honda Odyssey. The two models even share the same platform and certain mechanical specs. But for those looking for a Honda with more rugged appeal, you can't go wrong with the Pilot. This three-seater features split-folding third row seats, extra ground clearance, all-wheel drive capabilities, adaptive cruise control, and a whole suite of onboard features and amenities to keep all seven passengers entertained and comfortable. 

The Pilot also features a 9-speed automatic transmission and a V-6 engine that's standard across all trim levels.  

Honda Pilot Pros 

  • Automatic LED headlights
  • 60/40-split-folding third-row seats
  • Multi-angle rearview camera

Honda Pilot Cons 

  • High base MSRP for 2021 models
  • Mostly good visibility given its higher ground clearance but the thick B-pillars may give drivers a blindspot over the left shoulder. 

Kia Telluride

  • Engine/Powertrain: V-6, FWD base
  • MPG (City and Highway): 
  • Trim Levels: LX, S, EX, SX

With its luxurious exterior, plush cabin, and top-of-the-line range of safety, mechanical and tech features, any driver would be surprised at the relatively low base MSRP for a 2021 Kia Telluride. This three-seater SUV might be one of the best deals on our round-up. As of 2021, the Telluride features 4 trim levels, with the most expensive SX trim topping out at just $47,255. 

The Telluride comfortably seats seven passengers, and the LX base trim comes standard with an impressive set of features such as keyless access, push-button ignition, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with an 8-inch touchscreen loaded with Kia's latest driver safety tech features. And since this is a relatively new model on the market (introduced in 2019,) the Telluride features some of the most innovative and luxuriously comfortable interior styling for any midsize SUVs we've seen. 

Kia Telluride Pros

  • Standard V-6 engine 
  • Good towing power 
  • Spacious, comfortable interior 
  • Lots of standard tech and safety features 

Kia Telluride Cons 

  • No powertrain upgrades
  • Not as much small-item storage as other 3 row SUVs 

Toyota Highlander 

  • Engine/Powertrain: base 2.7L 4 cylinder, optional 3.5L V6, AWD
  • MPG (City and Highway): ranges from 20-21 MPG city, 27-29 MPG hwy 
  • Trim Levels: L, LE, XLE, Limited, and Platinum

The Toyota Highlander is a great balance of versatility, comfort, and practicality. This all-wheel drive three row SUV features an impressive use of interior cabin space for one of the smaller three-row SUVs on our list. 

Like the Telluride, the Highlander's base trim level features a wide range of user-friendly features from a 6.1-inch touchscreen display to a rear-view camera and rear privacy glass. Its seating is also pretty flexible, with a sliding and reclining 60/40-split second-row and a reclining 60/40-split third row. 

Across all 4 trim levels, the Highlander comes available with all-wheel drive, and all trim levels are outfitted with an 8-speed shiftable automatic transmission.  

Toyota Highlander Pros 

  • Optional V6 engine 
  • Comfortable and quiet ride 
  • Flexible second and third row seating configurations 

Toyota Highlander Cons 

  • Small third row; might not be comfortable for all adults 
  • Front passenger seat doesn't feature height adjustment 

Mazda CX-9 

  • Engine/Powertrain: 2.5 Liter, 4 Cylinder Turbo 6A, FWD standard, AWD optional 
  • MPG (City and Highway): ranges from 20-22 MPG city, 26-28 MPG hwy 
  • Trim Levels: Sport, Touring, Grand Touring, Signature 

Mazda definitely sets itself apart with streamlined, sporty vehicles in an impressive lineup of body styles from hatchbacks and sedans to three-row SUVs like the CX-9. With the second CX-9 generation introduced in 2016, this three seater has fast become a popular option for drivers nationwide, given its sleek, stylish appeal, sporty handling, and decent range of tech and safety features for the price. 

In its cabin, the CX-9 features a flexible seating arrangement, with second-row captain's chairs available as an option. The higher-end Touring and Grand Touring models also feature USB ports in the third rows. The CX-9 is also known for its intuitively-designed 9-inch touchscreen. The CX-9 also comes equipped with Mazda's top-of-the-line i-Activsense package that helps prevent and mitigate accidents. 

Under the hood, the CX-9 showcases Mazda's technical expertise, with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that's 227 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. While front-wheel drive is standard, all-wheel drive is optional on all trim levels. AWD drivers also get Off-Road Traction Assist, which can help drivers safely handle slippery roads. 

Mazda CX-9 Pros 

  • Premium interior for the price 
  • Sporty handling
  • Lots of standard tech and safety features 

Mazda CX-9 Cons 

  • Third row not as roomy as other competitors 
  • Not as much cargo space as the Honda Pilot or Kia Telluride 

Kia Sorento 

  • Engine/Powertrain: 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine base, V6 optional with S trim, FWD base, AWD on 4 upgraded trims 
  • MPG (City and Highway): ranges from 18-22 MPG city, 21-29 MPG hwy 
  • Trim Levels: L, LX, S, EX Sport 

If you're interested in Kia's lineup, particularly the new Telluride but put off by its higher price tag, then the Kia Sorento might just be for you. The Sorento's model L base trim starts at just $26,990, making it one of the most affordable three-row SUVs on the market. It's a great entry-level SUV for a growing family, especially with its options for two or three rows of seats. Its footprint puts it in between the compact and midsize SUV classes, making it a versatile option for any driver looking for a balance of practicality and style. 

 Kia Sorentos produced from 2015 onwards are part of the model's third generation, and feature refreshed bumper and exterior lighting design. While the base model features standard features such as rearview mirrors, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto folding third-row seats, and a 7-inch touch screen, the more premium trim levels feature luxe perks from heated front seats, noise-reducing windshields and automatic climate control to advanced safety features such as blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. 

Kia Sorento Pros 

  • Affordable base MSRP  
  • Stylish interior for the price 
  • Lots of tech and safety features for the price 

Kia Sorento Cons 

  • Not as much cargo space as other 3-Row SUVs 
  • Acceleration isn't as powerful

Find Your Next Three Row SUV With Help From EchoPark  

A three-row SUV is a worthwhile investment, especially if you've got a growing family who need all the space your car can manage. At EchoPark Automotive, you can shop SUVs for as low as $11,999.

Need help deciding between these SUVs or any other used vehicle? Get in touch with our team today and see how EchoPark goes the extra mile for drivers everywhere.