Three-row SUVs have become the go-to family vehicle. Folks have become un-enamored with the minivan in large regard and want something a bit more rugged. That’s where these tall-standing people movers come into play, and boy is there some good ones out there for 2020.
While I’d advocate for a minivan over these midsize and large three-row SUVs in most cases, I can’t deny the appeal that many of these vehicles have. They can move the whole family, tow trailers and boats, off-road and handle inclement weather with ease, and provide you with great comfort, features, and amenities.
Here are the eight best three-row SUVs on the market for 2020.
The Kia Telluride has been making waves in the three-row SUV space since it debuted. The model is a burly looking machine that does almost all of the things that the segment leaders do but for a smaller price tag.
The vehicle has a good-looking exterior and interior, a top-notch infotainment system, comfy and supportive seats, and a strong 3.8-liter V6 that puts out 291 hp.
I reviewed the Telluride not long ago. I found it to be a fantastic entrant into the segment. It is right behind the segment leaders and for Kia to pull that off right away with the vehicle is truly impressive. It seats up to eight people, has more cargo room than many competitors, and has safety features like automatic emergency braking and blind-spot collision warning as standard equipment.
The Hyundai Palisade is the Hyundai mirror of the Kia in its own skin. The two vehicles are very similar, which is a very good thing. This means you get pretty much all of the same great things as the Telluride but with a little different spin on them.
The Palisade has an attractive and somewhat more elegant exterior than the Kia, which is a little more burly. The engine is the same—a 3.8-liter V6 that makes 291 hp. Hyundai calls the Palisade an upscale three-row SUV, and I believe it.
The company has been upping its game lately, and this model is the perfect example. It’s not a luxury vehicle, but it’s definitely a really nice machine that seats up to eight and has plenty of safety tech standards, including forward collision-avoidance assist as well as pedestrian detection.
The Toyota Highlander is a segment stalwart. It’s good and has been good for several generations. The latest version of the Highlander is no exception. The vehicle is a perfect family SUV that combines comfort and utility seamlessly.
The Highlander comes with either a 3.5-liter V6 engine that makes 295 hp or a 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid powertrain that puts out 243 hp. The vehicle has a comfortable and spacious interior with a 12.3-inch touchscreen, seating for up to eight, and some fantastic options, including Qi-wireless charging, panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated seats, and more.
The Highlander was recently refreshed and looks better than ever, too. It’s a little more square-jawed that previous versions of the SUV have been.
The Honda Pilot is one of those vehicles that people chose instead of a minivan. The Pilot is extremely family-friendly and is a go-to for anyone living in suburbia. It’s a fantastic SUV with three rows and room for the whole family.
The Pilot features a 3.5-liter V6 that puts out 280 hp. Pair that with a spacious and comfortable interior and a generous cargo space and you have an SUV ready for most of what you’ll throw at it.
The vehicle features automatic LED headlights, active noise canceling, adaptive cruise control, and a variety of safety features including frontal collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure mitigation, and lane-keeping assist all standard. The vehicle seats up to eight people. The Pilot isn’t the most extreme or rugged SUV out there, but it’s darn good all around.
Ford’s Expedition took the big-boy SUV segment by storm, putting vehicles like the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, and the GMC Yukon in their place. The Expedition is modern, truck-like and totally killer. It can tow and haul like a beast, and it also does family duties extremely well. If you need a full-size truck for some things but need seating for up to eight people, the Expedition is a killer vehicle.
The Expedition can be had in a regular wheelbase version or a long-wheelbase. The long wheelbase is a truly long machine and is great for big crews with lots of stuff. The vehicle gets the Ecoboost 3.5-liter V6 that puts out 375 hp or 400 hp in the top trim level. This vehicle is no joke and that’s why its sales have climbed dramatically in the last couple of years.
Some readers might expect the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban to feature on this list. I like those SUVs, but the Chevrolet’s Traverse is my go-to three-row from Chevy for the 2020 model year. The company has a new Tahoe and Suburban for the 2021 model year, but I’m not one to count my eggs before they hatch. For 2020, the Traverse is the SUV to get.
The sophisticated-looking SUV features seating for up to eight people plenty of room inside the cabin, generous cargo space, and a standard 3.6-liter V6 that makes a strong 310 hp.
The Traverse also comes with General Motors’ top-notch infotainment system with 4G LTE connectivity, and a variety of other great features available, including adaptive cruise control, heated and ventilated seats, and Onstar safety features.
I’m a huge fan of the Durango. I have reviewed it multiple times for various publications in numerous trim levels. Every time, I’m pretty impressed with the vehicle. Dodge has a knack for breathing new life into an old design, and it has done this perfectly with the Durango. There’s a lot to like here.
When it comes to power, you have choices. You can get the Durango with the basic 3.6-liter V6 that makes 293 hp, a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 that makes 360 hp, or the SRT engine, which is the 6.4-liter V8 that makes 475 hp. This is the most badass three-row SUV on the road.
If you’re more of an agility-over-muscle guy, then the Mazda CX-9 is the three-row SUV to get. I once drove one of these on a racetrack and kept up with a Nissan 370Z Coupe. The CX-9 is surprisingly agile and reasonably quick. Not to mention that it’s a very practical and genuinely overall lovely vehicle to drive.
The Mazda CX-9 comes with a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes a strong 250 hp. The vehicle is one of the best handling three-row SUVs out there. Inside, it feels far more upscale than you might expect from the vehicle’s relatively low price tag, and in the higher trim levels you can have things like premium Nappa leather, Santos Rosewood trim, and real aluminum.
The tech is equally sophisticated with things like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control. The CX-9 also has a good infotainment system with features like Apple CarPlay, but it’s not quite as sleek as the competition.