The best SUVs with 3rd-row seating are mostly the big bruisers. We’re talking about real body-on-frame sport-utility vehicles with full-size—or larger—dimensions. In other words, along with seating for up to nine, these SUVs can also carry massive amounts of cargo with most of those seats folded. And they can pull trailers with just as much ease. Of course, since all of these vehicles are focused on rugged power, none are exactly fuel efficient—which shouldn’t be surprising. What you might not expect is just how much upscale content is available in some of these vehicles—from high-end comfort features to advanced technologies to sophisticated safety measures. It’s not just the choices from brands like Cadillac, Infiniti, and Lexus, either. Even the mainstream entries can deliver their share of premium goodies.
10 Best SUVS With 3rd Row Seating
Photo Credit: Chevrolet
2018 Chevrolet Suburban
The best SUVs with 3rd-row seating include popular choices like the 2018 Chevrolet Suburban. This is the biggest of the Bowtie SUVs, with the ability to fit either nine people or almost 122 cubic feet of cargo. Yet rivals do offer more legroom for those third-row passengers, who can count on 34.6 inches in the Suburban. That’s a tenth of an inch more than in the second row of the compact 2018 Chevy Sonic. The Suburban checks in with notable benefits, though. The standard infotainment system is a prime example since it bundles an eight-inch touchscreen, mobile Wi-Fi, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. Customers can also enjoy lux equipment like heated and ventilated leather front seats, plus 8,300 pounds of pulling power.
Photo Credit: Ron Sessions
2018 Ford Expedition
The 2018 Ford Expedition brings an all-new design to our list of the best SUVs with 3rd-row seating. Unfortunately, engineers reduced the amount of legroom for third-row passengers by 1.6 inches. The good news? The Expedition still has a healthy 36.1 inches left. But now it serves up modern-day technologies such as mobile Wi-Fi, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay—and a standard EcoBoost V6. With that engine kicking out 400 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque, the Expedition can tow a hefty 9,300 pounds. It has top-notch luxury accommodations, too, complete with heated and ventilated massage-function front seats. For max cargo space, the Expedition Max rides on an extended wheelbase and can swallow 121.5 cubic feet of gear.
Photo Credit: Toyota
2018 Toyota Sequoia
One of the best SUVs with 3rd-row seating from Toyota is the 2018 Toyota Sequoia. Despite being nearly 20 inches shorter than the Ford Expedition Max, the Sequoia supplies a competitive 35.3 inches of rear-seat legroom and 120.1 cubic feet of overall cargo space. The Sequoia also provides a nice advantage in safety technology: It comes standard with a forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams and a rearview camera. The Platinum trim upgrades further with content like climate-controlled leather seats and a standard rear-seat entertainment system. Looking to go off-road? The TRD Sport shows off a multi-mode four-wheel-drive system, a lockable Torsen limited-slip differential, and a performance-tuned suspension with Bilstein shocks.
Photo Credit: Nissan
2018 Nissan Armada
Some of the best SUVs with 3rd-row seating have a more kid-friendly approach to back-row dimensions. Consider the 2018 Nissan Armada, which provides 28.6 inches of 3rd-row legroom. The Armada does have a big-boy standard engine, however. The 5.6-liter V8 makes 390 horsepower and 394 pound-feet of torque, for a maximum trailer rating of 8,500 pounds. The Armada boasts impressive safety technologies as well. One cutting-edge highlight is an automatic reverse braking system. It can detect objects behind the Armada when the vehicle’s backing up, then automatically apply the brakes in certain scenarios. Forward automatic emergency braking is also available, as are features ranging from climate-controlled leather seats to 95.4 cubic feet of cargo space.
Photo Credit: General Motors
2018 GMC Yukon
The 2018 GMC Yukon is a more uplevel choice among the best SUVs with 3rd-row seating, especially in its Denali trim. In that model, owners revel in premium cues such as heated and ventilated front seats, perforated-leather upholstery, a hands-free power liftgate, and eye-popping 22-inch wheels. The Yukon also offers the latest connectivity technologies across the lineup, including mobile Wi-Fi, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. As for safety technologies, the Yukon can be ordered with all the popular options and, as a bonus, a special driver’s seat that can vibrate to warn of a potential road hazard. A warning for shoppers: The Yukon isn’t as big as the Chevy Suburban or Ford Expedition, and that’s reflected in the GMC’s 24.8 inches of third-row legroom.
Photo Credit: General Motors
2018 Cadillac Escalade
Climbing a little higher on the luxury ladder, the 2018 Cadillac Escalade also joins our gallery of the best SUVs with 3rd-row seating. The Escalade is available in large and extra-large sizes, but it brings the bling regardless of length. A dramatic grille and signature lighting set the tone up front, while at the rear, vertical LED taillights reach almost from the bumper to the roof. The cabin builds on that style with exotic real-wood accents and supple leather surfaces. Next, the front seats raise the bar with heating and ventilation, and Cadillac caters to the driver with an added massage function. Third-row passengers aren’t quite as lucky. They make do with 24.8 and 34.5 inches of legroom, depending on the model.
Photo Credit: Lincoln
2018 Lincoln Navigator
The best SUVs with 3rd-row seating for larger passengers also include the 2018 Lincoln Navigator. The Navigator lets those folks stretch their legs in 36.1 inches of space—with both regular and extended wheelbases. That said, Lincoln really layers on the comfort of the front row. There, the driver and front-seat passenger can indulge themselves in 30-way power-adjustable seats with heat, ventilation, and a soothing massage function. Nor is it just your back that will thank you. The seats can also massage your upper legs. Meanwhile, if you carry a lot of cargo, you’ll be thankful for the Navigator’s maximum storage capacity of more than 120 cubic feet. Another high-tech touch for the Navigator is a standard mobile Wi-Fi hotspot.
2018 Lexus LX 570
Leading the best SUVs with 3rd-row seating from Lexus is the brand’s body-on-frame flagship, the 2018 Lexus LX 570. True, the vehicle’s third row is best suited for passengers who need less than 28.3 inches of legroom. But the LX 570 also has a welcome combination of premium comforts and rugged capabilities. In terms of luxuries alone, Lexus boasts features ranging from open-pore walnut-wood trim to lavish climate-controlled leather seating. Yet the standard 383-horsepower V8 is so strong it can pull a 7,000-pound trailer. To attract safety-minded customers, standard technologies include a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, automatic high beams, and a rearview camera. Prefer all that in a two-row package? The LX 570 is available in that configuration, too.
Photo Credit: Infiniti
2018 Infiniti QX80
The 2018 Infiniti QX80 brings a bold new style to our gallery of the best SUV with 3rd-row seating. Again, third-row legroom is somewhat limited—at 28.8 inches—but the brand pushes the envelope when you’re talking about upscale cabin environments. The starting point is a tailored, handcrafted appearance in the cabin, where owners can select from standard or semi-aniline leather upholstery, quilted and perforated surfaces, and design themes inspired by the world of “haute couture.” The QX80 also packs a hot engine for SUV-style capability. Leveraging 400 horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque, that unit is rated to handle up to 8,500 pounds worth of trailer.
Photo Credit: Dodge
2018 Dodge Durango
Although it doesn’t rely on body-on-frame construction, the 2018 Dodge Durango still competes well with many of the best SUVs with 3rd-row seating. In fact, with 31.5 inches of legroom for the third row, the Durango is more spacious back there than some of its rivals. The Durango also offers an interesting feature at the front end: Under the hood, the Durango SRT rocks a 392-cubic-inch HEMI V8 capable of 475 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque. This engine can blast from 0-60 in 4.4 seconds, but it’s robust enough to earn a maximum tow rating of 8,700 pounds. In addition, Dodge can deliver up-to-date infotainment technologies like Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Beats audio.