Let’s face it – there are few choices for consumers looking for Best Small AWD SUVs with 3rd Row. Small is small, and that’s all there is to it. Add in the requirement for all-wheel drive (AWD), along with a third row, and the available models are two:
- Mitsubishi Outlander – Offering a surprisingly fun and sporty driving experience, the 2010 also boasts optional AWD and a third-row seat – at an attractively low base manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) that begins at $29,250 for the AWD model. Outlander, one of the few compact SUVs to offer 7-passenger seating (with optional 3rd row), also has an exceptional 10 year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. New for 2010, the GT model offers an even sportier driving experience with a standard V6 engine (and it’s the only model available with AWD). Some reviewers knock Outlander’s noisy engine and subpar interior materials, but it is, overall, a quite competent and very affordable compact AWD SUV with a 3rd row. And, the 3rd row folds flat into the floor – another nice feature. Edmunds comments: “Get behind the wheel of the 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander and it quickly becomes clear that crossover SUVs can indeed be fun to drive. The steering is pleasantly weighted and the chassis is pleasantly tuned; it all comes together to produce a driving experience that’s a cut above that of your typical crossover…Overall, the Outlander delivers a sporty ride without sacrificing agreeable ride quality.”
- Toyota RAV4 (with optional AWD) – Toyota revved up the car-based small crossover SUV market 14 years ago with the debut of the RAV4 – and it hasn’t looked back since. Despite recent recall woes, expect the automaker to get back in the game with its popular RAV4 in the near future. All RAV4 models for 2010 can be equipped with AWD – standard 2.5-liter 4-cylinder or 3.5-liter V6. Normal seating is for 5, but the optional 3rd row seat bumps it up to 7. And that third row? It’s more spacious and comfortable than you might think, according to many reviewers. Consumer Guide notes: “Available with the most powerful engine in the compact-SUV class, seating for 7 and impressive cargo room, refinement, and road manners, RAV4 is an easy Recommended choice….Base models are reasonable, but sticker prices skyrocket with options, so choose carefully…Shop around, but don’t leave the RAV4 off your list.”
So, if you really want AWD and need that 3rd row in a compact SUV, make it a point to test drive these two Best Small AWD SUVs with 3rd Row.