2023 Kia Telluride
The Kia Telluride has undoubtedly earned its spot as the top three-row SUV on the market today. Since its launch in 2020, the Telluride has consistently wowed us, earning an Edmunds Top Rated award each year. Its winning attributes include a silky-smooth ride, premium cabin, and adult-friendly third-row seating. Additionally, it offers excellent value for money and an impressive warranty. For 2023, Kia is sprucing up the Telluride by introducing two new subtrims: the X-Line and the X-Pro, designed to enhance its ruggedness. The X-Line is available on EX, SX, and SX Prestige, while the X-Pro is exclusive to SX and SX Prestige trims. In summary, the Telluride is a remarkable three-row SUV, complete with a plush, quiet cabin, cutting-edge tech, comprehensive standard features, and an enjoyable driving experience. Its few shortcomings are easily outweighed by its numerous strengths, making the Kia Telluride a top choice for anyone looking for a three-row crossover SUV.
2023 Hyundai Palisade
“First impressions last” may be an old adage, but it certainly rings true for both people and products alike. Hyundai seems to have embraced this notion when launching the 2020 Palisade SUV with its three-row seating capacity. The vehicle immediately wowed us with its practical passenger and cargo space, as well as its lavish and high-end finishes. Together with its corporate counterpart, the Kia Telluride, the Palisade disrupted the traditional expectations for three-row midsize SUVs and hasn’t looked back since. Fast forward to 2023, the Palisade seeks not to rekindle that initial impression but to evolve in a manner persuasive enough to warrant a double-take. Boasting a redesigned front-end aesthetic, Hyundai’s premier SUV now aligns more closely with the appearance of the marque’s other models. Most notably, the prominent new front grille entails a sophisticated reinterpretation of the Santa Fe and Tucson’s design language. Additionally, the LED daytime running lights now meld more seamlessly into the grille, and the headlight assemblies exhibit improved integration with the front bumper. Though a relative newcomer to the three-row crossover SUV segment, the Hyundai Palisade has already cemented itself as one of our top choices.
2023 Chevrolet Traverse
In today’s automotive landscape, a vehicle must go above and beyond to truly stand out. Mere competence isn’t enough for success, regardless of a car’s abilities. When the Chevrolet Traverse’s current generation hit the market in 2018, it was met with labels such as “utterly average” and “ungainly.” Hindered from the get-go, its substantial update the following year did little to enhance its position considerably. The 2023 Traverse remains largely unaltered, earning praise for its nimble acceleration, user-friendly infotainment system, and generous passenger and cargo capacity. However, these qualities fall short of matching its competitors. Hindered by limited rear visibility and an abundance of hard plastic in the cabin, the Traverse appears ill-fitted among rivals that border on entry-level luxury. Additionally, segment frontrunners offer more amenities and superior interior quality at a lower price point. The 2023 Traverse boasts a roomy interior and robust V6 engine, but falls behind in the fiercely contested midsize three-row SUV segment.
2023 Hyundai Santa Fe
The Hyundai Santa Fe has long been a well-regarded and sought-after midsize SUV, though its design was quite uninspiring until a few years back. In 2021, Hyundai revamped the Santa Fe with a new grille and refreshed cabin, elevating its appeal. Though not as striking as its sculptured sibling, the Hyundai Tucson, the Santa Fe boasts a roomy and stylish crossover you’ll enjoy driving. Opting for this SUV grants you a wealth of features for the price, and a zestful driving experience if you choose the turbocharged engine. However, rival contenders like the Honda Passport, Subaru Outback, and Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport are worth considering. To see if the Santa Fe fits the bill for you, peruse our test team’s Expert Rating below. Notably, the Santa Fe offers remarkable acceleration, fuel efficiency, and plush comfort at a competitive price point, with its roomy cabin and silky-smooth drive as key highlights.
2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee L
Historically, Jeep hadn’t provided ample options for buyers seeking a three-row SUV. However, this changed recently with the launch of the cavernous Wagoneer and the versatile Grand Cherokee L. The Grand Cherokee L is notably a foot longer than its two-row counterpart, and Jeep has effectively utilized this extra length by incorporating a third-row seat. If the thought of a spacious, seven-seater SUV with an adventurous spirit excites you, the 2023 Grand Cherokee L might just be the perfect pick. We find it an admirable contender in the three-row SUV segment, particularly for off-roading enthusiasts or those with heavy towing needs. Yet, highly-ranked competitors like the Honda Pilot, Kia Telluride, and Volkswagen Atlas have certain advantages over it. Read further to discover our test team’s comprehensive evaluation of the Grand Cherokee L. While offering ample space for passengers in all three rows and excelling in off-road and towing capabilities, the Grand Cherokee L’s on-road mannerisms may create a less pleasant daily driving experience than some of its rivals.
2023 Mazda CX-9
For 2023, the Mazda CX-9 remains a stylish, three-row midsize SUV and the largest in Mazda’s stable, positioned above the newly launched CX-50. With the upcoming CX-90 on the cards, the CX-9 may have a limited shelf life. This year’s model sees subtle tweaks, most notably the discontinuation of the base Sport trim, leaving the previously higher-tier Touring as the entry-level option. Consequently, the CX-9’s starting price is now slightly above most competitors in the three-row SUV segment. However, it’s a well-equipped vehicle that benefits from recent enhancements like standard all-wheel drive and an improved infotainment system, ensuring it stays competitive in a fierce market. The CX-9 distinguishes itself with its premium design and engaging driving experience, coming closer to matching luxury brands with its upscale cabin materials and aesthetics. Yet, it falls behind in terms of cargo space, utility, and third-row comfort, which are crucial factors for midsize SUV buyers. This shortfall explains why the CX-9 isn’t ranked higher in its class.
2024 Mazda CX-90
The Mazda CX-9, last revamped in 2016, quickly became a cherished contender in the midsize SUV category featuring three-row seating. However, as time progressed, its limited interior and cargo space became a drawback, especially with the arrival of more spacious competitors like the Kia Telluride and Volkswagen Atlas. But Mazda is back in the game with the all-new 2024 CX-90, battling for the top position once more. Although similar in stature to its forerunner, the CX-90 has an extended wheelbase by 7.5 inches, offering improved passenger comfort and storage capacity. Building on the CX-9’s reputation for a deluxe interior, the new CX-90 flaunts a refined ambiance that rivals entry-level luxury SUVs. With a turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine, it boasts robust, seamless acceleration, coupled with standard all-wheel drive and an optional plug-in hybrid version providing an impressive 26-mile all-electric range. The Mazda CX-90 is undeniably opulent and outshines competitors with its agile handling and swift acceleration. Although third-row space and cargo capacity could be better, the CX-90 comes highly recommended for those seeking a well-rounded, three-row SUV experience.
2023 Honda Passport
Searching for an SUV that hits the sweet spot between size and practicality? Look no further than the 2023 Honda Passport, our top choice in the two-row midsize SUV segment. Nestled between the compact Honda CR-V and the spacious three-row Pilot, the Passport is essentially a scaled-down yet more rugged version of the latter, beefed up with off-roading capability thanks to the recently introduced TrailSport trim. New for 2023, the entire Passport lineup now benefits from standard all-wheel drive, ensuring it remains the go-to competitor against rivals like the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Hyundai Santa Fe. While not completely devoid of imperfections, the Passport’s minor niggles with driver assist technologies are effortlessly outweighed by its athletic design, smooth performance, ample cargo capacity, and respectable fuel efficiency. Coupled with its generous array of standard features, seamless smartphone integration, and abundant interior storage options, the Honda Passport stands out as an incredibly versatile choice in the SUV market. Don’t just take our word for it though—explore our Expert Rating below for all the finer details.
2023 Honda Pilot
When the third-gen Honda Pilot arrived in 2016, it won our hearts as the top three-row crossover SUV, courtesy of its exceptional road and seat comfort, premium cabin design, and practical storage spaces. However, the Kia Telluride (and its mechanical sibling, the Hyundai Palisade) eventually dethroned the Honda. So, how did the fallen champ respond? By making a strong comeback with the fully revamped 2023 Honda Pilot. These upgrades address our previously mentioned concerns, including an extended wheelbase and overall length for enhanced passenger space, particularly in the second and third rows, to accommodate adults and large child safety seats more comfortably. The Pilot’s refreshed exterior and interior styling lend a more modern and rugged vibe. Furthermore, Honda introduces a trail-ready Pilot TrailSport to spice up an otherwise reliable but somewhat monotonous lineup. While the latest Honda Pilot offers ample comfort and space for front and middle-row dwellers, it falls short in rear-row room and cargo capacity and features slightly outdated technology. In terms of overall desirability, some rivals provide better value for money.
2023 Kia Sorento
In search of a compact SUV that can occasionally accommodate six or more passengers? Make sure to include the 2023 Kia Sorento on your must-see list. Boasting third-row seating, the Sorento is among the select few of its category to provide such a feature. Nestled between the smaller five-passenger Sportage and the larger Telluride, the Sorento offers the perfect balance by fitting up to seven occupants in a bind. Equipped with a generous array of standard amenities like wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, lane-keeping assistance, and multiple USB charging ports—its quality is unmistakable. Worried about compromising on comfort for the extra seats? The Sorento’s middle row is surprisingly roomy, and even the rear seats are reasonably cozy for adults, though access can be tricky. A total reinvention of its former self, the all-new Kia Sorento masterfully blends quality, practicality, and performance, making it an alluring choice for those who require a versatile small SUV. Only the steep price tag on the top-spec model might give you pause.
2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee
The 2023 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a stylish midsize SUV sporting two rows of seating. It underwent a significant makeover for the 2022 model year, drawing design inspiration from its high-end sibling, the Grand Wagoneer. The revamped interior now includes Jeep’s cutting-edge Uconnect 5 infotainment system, a fresh digital gauge cluster, and an optional auxiliary display for the front-seat passenger. While the V6 and V8 engines remain unchanged, a new plug-in hybrid option, dubbed the 4xe, joined the roster in 2022. Fully charged, this variant can cover around 25 miles on battery power alone before the gas-powered four-cylinder engine kicks in. Additionally, the 4xe boasts an impressive 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, surpassing even the potent Grand Cherokee V8. The rugged Trailhawk edition is now exclusively available as a 4xe plug-in hybrid. The Jeep Grand Cherokee has plenty to offer, including comfort, space, class-leading towing capacity, and genuine off-road prowess. The sophisticated driving aids further enhance the driving experience and safety. However, it falls short in terms of value, lacking standard features offered by competitors and carrying a hefty price tag when fully-loaded.
2023 Buick Enclave
The 2023 Buick Enclave stands out as a midsize SUV offering three-row seating for up to seven occupants. It garners accolades for its spacious cabin and cargo area, serene and cozy drive, and an extensive array of standard amenities. In 2022, the Enclave underwent a revamp, sporting updated styling, a refreshed interior, and expanded tech features. Consequently, the 2023 iteration sees only subtle adjustments. The Enclave resides in a precarious zone, straddling the line between luxury and conventional three-row SUVs. Because of this, competitors like the remarkable Hyundai Palisade and fashionable Mazda CX-9 deliver better value, while more opulent options like Acura MDX and Lincoln Navigator provide a lavish experience for a slightly higher price. To determine if the Enclave is the perfect fit for your three-row SUV requirements, don’t miss checking our Expert Rating below. The 2022 Buick Enclave features a revitalized and more cohesive exterior design, combined with an array of innovative tech additions. Although these improvements elevate its appeal, its comparatively high price tag continues to challenge the model, especially considering the fierce rivalry posed by Hyundai and Kia.
2023 Volkswagen Atlas
The 2023 Volkswagen Atlas, a three-row SUV that comfortably seats seven passengers, stands as the largest model in VW’s U.S. lineup. Since its introduction in 2018, the Atlas has consistently ranked among the top midsize, three-row SUVs, boasting ample space even in the third row. Its intuitively designed interior and comfortable drive score extra points. Volkswagen graced the Atlas with a design facelift and an upgraded infotainment system in 2021, so minimal changes were made for the 2023 variant. Indeed, we believe Volkswagen is already working on the next-generation Atlas, which means the current model will likely see out its life cycle with no significant updates. A spacious and cozy interior, alongside user-friendly tech features and driver aids, make the Atlas an enticing option for a family SUV. While the unimpressive acceleration from its available engines leaves room for improvement, the Atlas remains a strong contender in its category.
2023 Ford Edge
Midsize SUVs encompass a diverse selection of vehicles, from sizable three-row models to more spacious two-row options. If you’re looking for something larger than a compact SUV but without the need for a third row, the 2023 Ford Edge might just fit the bill. Boasting ample space, comfort, and a wealth of features – including standard all-wheel drive and a 12-inch touchscreen across all models – it’s an appealing option. Ford even offers an ST performance variant with a 335-horsepower turbocharged V6. However, the Edge isn’t without its drawbacks; the sleek fastback design reduces rear headroom, while bulky roof pillars obstruct visibility. Furthermore, it faces stiff competition from rivals boasting updated designs. Consider the Jeep Grand Cherokee or Subaru Outback for superior off-road capabilities, or the Honda Passport or Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport for a more spacious interior. As for the 2023 model, changes are minimal, involving only minor trim adjustments that don’t grant the Edge any significant advantage. However, its roomy cabin, generous cargo space, and user-friendly infotainment system make it an attractive choice for midsize SUV enthusiasts. Some may find the ride slightly unsteady, and the cabin quality on high-end trims doesn’t quite justify the near-luxury price tag. That said, the Edge is an accomplished vehicle that rightly earns its position among the best mainstream SUVs.
2023 Nissan Pathfinder
The 2023 Nissan Pathfinder has positioned itself as a roomy midsize SUV with three rows, competing with rivals such as the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, and Kia Telluride. Following a comprehensive revamp last year, the Pathfinder now offers enhanced ride comfort and cutting-edge tech features. It caters well to families, providing sufficient space for adults, or even particularly tall teenagers, to fit comfortably in the third row—a rarity among many midsize SUVs with three-row seating. For those in need of towing capabilities, the Pathfinder won’t disappoint, with a generous towing capacity of up to 6,000 pounds when aptly equipped—ideal for small to midsize trailers. Combining amenable cabin space, a smooth driving experience, and an array of in-car technologies and driver aids, the Nissan Pathfinder delivers a comfortable journey for both passengers and cargo.
2023 Subaru Ascent
Introducing the 2023 Subaru Ascent, Subaru’s most spacious offering in the form of a three-row midsize SUV. Borrowing traits from its siblings, the Forester and Outback, the Ascent boasts standard all-wheel drive and ample ground clearance, perfect for tackling harsh weather or off-road adventures. While lacking the rugged capabilities of off-road specialists like the Jeep Wrangler or Ford Bronco, the Ascent is a top contender when it comes to transporting up to eight passengers into the great outdoors. The 2023 model features a refreshed front and rear design, showcasing new lighting elements, bumpers, and grille. A larger 11.6-inch touchscreen now comes standard, finally adopting Subaru’s latest infotainment system. Additional enhancements comprise an upgraded forward collision mitigation system, a newly available top-down parking camera system, and an exclusive Onyx Edition Limited trim. These functional upgrades, paired with aesthetic refinements, elevate the 2023 Ascent’s allure as a contemporary family transporter, making it a strong competitor in the cutthroat three-row SUV arena.
2023 Toyota Highlander
The Toyota Highlander is a renowned midsize SUV, boasting three rows and an ideal pick for expanding families. Offering similar versatility to a minivan, it provides a more engaging driving experience and enhanced maneuverability. The 2023 Highlander builds upon the latest generation’s 2020 debut with a few updates, most prominently replacing the previous V6 engine with a new turbocharged four-cylinder. Though it has less horsepower, it produces more torque, making this smaller engine feel impressively powerful for a vehicle of its size. Additionally, the new four-cylinder boasts marginally better EPA-estimated fuel economy than the V6, contributing to the Highlander’s reputation as one of the most fuel-efficient three-row SUVs available. Praised for its economical engine, comfortable ride, poised handling, and numerous standard driver assistance features, the Highlander does have one drawback: its third row isn’t as spacious as that of some top competitors, which is worth considering if it’s a priority.
2023 Dodge Durango
Dodge emerged as an early pioneer in recognizing the family-friendly potential of SUVs with the launch of the Durango in the late 1990s. Now, deep into its third generation, the 2023 Dodge Durango battles for your attention among a vastly expanded selection of models, as almost every automaker boasts a three-row SUV in their lineup. The Durango certainly has its highlights. It possesses a more daring character than the typical family transporter, which goes a long way in making a practical vehicle feel less mundane. Additionally, when armed with an optional V8 engine – a key element of its charm – the Durango effortlessly tows small to medium-sized trailers. However, it’s worth noting that the current generation Durango has aged, and its fuel economy and overall design are somewhat outdated. While the Durango may not entice a wide audience, its performance and utility are undeniably remarkable. Few SUVs can reach 60 mph in under 5 seconds and tow up to 8,700 pounds. But this impressive capability comes at the cost of sophistication. Despite the Durango’s features, it’s hard to escape the feeling that it’s built on an older foundation in today’s market.
2023 Ford Explorer
The Ford Explorer has been a long-standing presence in the SUV world, igniting America’s passion for sport-utility vehicles over three decades ago. Today, our experts admire the modern Explorer for its potent engines, ample cargo capacity, and extensive safety aspects. However, the substandard interior materials often fail to justify the pricing, which escalates into luxury SUV territory for higher-spec models. Although the Explorer has its merits, competition within the midsize SUV segment has intensified since its inception, dethroning it from its class-leading position. Recently, the Kia Telluride and its sibling, the Hyundai Palisade, have captured our top recommendations, outshining the Explorer with their enhanced comfort and superior interior ambiance. Both models are set for a 2023 update, along with a revamped Honda Pilot, featuring an off-road focused TrailSport variant. The Ford Explorer boasts an impressive equilibrium and grace for a three-row midsize SUV, offering competitive tech and safety features as standard. However, its Achilles heel remains the inferior material quality and steep pricing.
2023 Chevrolet Blazer
Entering its next chapter, the 2023 Chevrolet Blazer sports a refreshed appearance. With a sleeker nose, a more aerodynamic front grille, and even narrower headlights, the updated design exudes modern sophistication. Inside, a 10-inch touchscreen now comes standard across all trims. Since its 2019 revival, the Blazer has earned a solid standing, but it faces stiff competition in the midsize SUV segment, lacking any distinguishing features or notable character traits. This isn’t the rugged, old-school Blazer from yesteryears; instead, it targets family-oriented buyers, putting it head-to-head with rivals like the Honda Passport and Volkswagen Atlas, while Ford’s Bronco impresses with its off-road prowess. The Blazer has its work cut out in such a competitive market, but there’s still plenty to appreciate. The contemporary Blazer may no longer be an off-road warrior, but it excels in on-road performance, offering agile handling and a smooth ride. However, its flashy Camaro-inspired design comes at a cost—restricted rear headroom and limited cargo capacity.
2023 GMC Acadia
Searching for a midsize SUV offering three-row seating and cozy driving experience? Check out the 2023 GMC Acadia, available in various trims: from the basic edition to the stylish Denali and the rugged AT4, catering to off-road enthusiasts. While GMC aims for the Acadia to outclass competitors in the midsize SUV market without breaking the bank, this second-generation model (since 2017) might not be the cream of the crop. Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride offer superior utility and cabin quality at a comparable price point, and other contenders like the revamped 2023 Honda Pilot, the trendy Jeep Grand Cherokee L, and the spacious Volkswagen Atlas shouldn’t be overlooked. Although our evaluation team deems the Acadia a fair option, chances are you’ll prefer one of these alternatives. It could be worth holding on to see what enhancements General Motors incorporates in the forthcoming Acadia generation, possibly launching as a 2024 model. With stiff competition in its segment, the current Acadia is overshadowed by several midsize SUV rivals.
2023 Nissan Murano
A cornerstone of Nissan’s collection since 2003, the medium-sized Murano has consistently boasted a striking design and cozy seating for a party of five. The present generation, established in 2015, should have undergone a revamp by now, in line with the standard lifespan of a vehicle. Instead, the Murano perseveres, largely unchanged from last year, and without any clues of an update in progress. Against the superb refresh of the smaller Rogue, the larger Pathfinder, and the comparably sized all-electric Ariya, the Murano not only appears outdated but feels it too. Oddly enough, the Rogue provides equal legroom as the more spacious Murano and offers superior cargo space, along with a more contemporary interior and advanced tech integration. For those requiring more space, the Pathfinder boasts three-row seating, impressive towing capabilities, and Nissan’s most current interior design. As for the Ariya, it closely matches the Murano’s dimensions but sets a sleeker tone for Nissan at a slightly higher price. Despite its eye-catching exterior and comfortable seating, the Nissan Murano falls short in certain aspects. Its distinctive design sacrifices rear visibility, making it feel bulkier than it actually is, and its towing capacity is subpar for its class. Although the midsize SUV presents value and a unique appeal, it lacks the versatility of its rivals.
2023 Toyota 4Runner
In the realm of contemporary, tech-loaded car-based SUVs, the Toyota 4Runner stands out as a sturdy, retro-styled body-on-frame midsize marvel. It may not top charts in fuel efficiency, comfort, or tech-savviness, but its robust exterior, off-roading legacy, and adaptability are undeniable. Like its truck-based peers, the 4Runner excels off-road, boasts impressive towing capacity, and ample cargo space. Attempts to replicate its tough persona with body armor and all-terrain tires fall short, as few can genuinely endure off-road escapades. As it turns 40 in 2023, Toyota revels in this milestone with an SR5-based 40th Anniversary Special Edition. Featuring striking bronze wheels and emblem, this 4Runner showcases a heritage-inspired graphics package, complete with red, orange, and yellow racing stripes reminiscent of the vintage Toyota pickups from which the 4Runner drew inspiration. While it’s not the most refined SUV, nor the most fuel-friendly, it’s hard to beat the 4Runner’s exceptional blend of capability, utility, and seating for up to seven. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but for some, it’s the perfect brew.