Best & worst three-row vehicles

These vehicles have the best comfort and access

Last updated: February 2015

The main appeal of three-row vehicles is their ability to carry up to eight people and cargo, as well.  They’re great for carpooling and carrying all types of gear. The list includes minivans and SUVs, although larger SUVs provide both better access and more cargo space, minivans have a better third-row seat for children as well as adults.

Our list highlights the best and worst of three-row vehicles based on seat comfort and ease of access to the third-row seat.

Best three-row vehicles

The Suburban is a huge, old-fashioned, truck-based SUV, the quintessential family truckster for large families who live beyond the suburbs. What sets it apart from other SUVs is that it provides three rows of seats--for carrying up to seven, eight, or even nine people--yet still retains generous cargo space.

Sharing its platform with the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Durango adds an available third row with seating for seven. Two adults can fit in the third row with adequate room and decent seating posture, but it's not the place for a long trip.

The Expedition competes with the Chevrolet Suburban in the "huge SUV" class. It's available in two lengths, with the extended-length EL offering massive cargo space and seating for up to eight. The roomy third-row seat folds flat into the floor and seats three adults with ease.

A minivan is your best bet in a three-row vehicle. The Odyssey can seat eight people with ease and the comfy second-row chairs and third-row split bench can be deployed numerous ways for varying cargo and passenger needs.

The Navigator is based on the Ford Expedition and also offers a longer version with increased cargo space behind the third-row seat. The power-operated third row folds flat into the floor and is as comfortable as the second row.

The GL SUV has one of the best rear seats in the business and it's even rarer to find a true three-row turbodiesel. Big families will really appreciate the third-row seat, which is one of a very few with room for two adults.  


The Quest is the most luxurious minivan on the market, but only seats seven, not eight due to the second row captain's chairs. However, three adults will fit comfortably in the third row, which also reclines.

The Sienna, like the Odyssey also seats eight people. The third row is acceptably comfortable for three adults, and not too difficult to access. The eighth seat cleverly stores in the back when it isn't installed in the center of the middle row.

Worst three-row vehicles

While it's an appeal for families, the optional third row in the Range Rover Sport can hold two kids, but it’s cramped and a chore to access.

Third-row seats have a bolt-upright backrest, tight headroom, and a low bottom cushion that forces your knees into the air. These seats are best reserved for kids. Second-row passengers can slide the seats forward to make more legroom for those banished to third-row steerage.

Best and worst new cars

See our best and worst section to help filter down your purchase considerations including best new cars under $25K, best and worst new car values, and most fun to drive.


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