Families often need more people and cargo-carrying space than sedans offer. That’s why SUVs with three rows of seating have become so popular in recent years. For consumers looking for a reasonably-priced SUV with third row seating, the best bet may be to look at used SUVs.

What should you look for? High safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), good reliability, passenger and cargo-hauling capability, roominess, amenities and standard or available safety technologies. Here are some of the best used SUVs with third row seating available today.

2008-2009 Audi Q7An expertly-designed and crafted interior, impressive array of features, and sporty handling make the seven-passenger Audi Q7 a solid choice for families looking for a little upscale driving comfort. The third row is a bit cramped, but passable. The 2008-2009 Audi Q7 earned NHTSA five-star overall safety rating and IIHS Top Safety Pick status.

2008-2009 Buick EnclaveAnyone needing to use all three rows on a regular basis should take a good look at the 2008-2009 Buick Enclave, considered by most in the automotive press as better packaged than any previous model Buick. Cabin is well-designed, good ride and huge cargo capacities are other pluses, along with NHTSA five-star rating and IIHS Top Safety Pick designation.


2009 Chevrolet TraverseExcellent safety ratings, maximum interior space, the ability to tow up to 5,200 pounds, reasonably good fuel economy for a seven-passenger SUV, one of the best accident avoidant systems in the industry and a high-quality interior – what’s not to like? Definitely check out the 2009 Chevrolet Traverse.

2010 Dodge JourneyEarning an IIHS Top Safety Pick and NHTSA five-star overall safety rating, the affordable 2010 Dodge Journey, with available third-row seating, offers the utility and storage space of a minivan without the minivan look. Family-favorite features include available Flip ‘n Stow compartment in the front passenger seat and Tilt ‘n Slide feature allowing third-row access via second-row seats folding upward and sliding forward.


2008-2009 GMC AcadiaThe more upscale version of the Chevrolet Traverse, the 2008-2009 GMC Acadia can accommodate up to eight people in three rows. It’s also roomy, versatile, uses high-quality materials and the third row is easily accessed with wide rear door openings and second-row seats that slide forward. Headroom and legroom is ample in all rows.

2013 Honda Pilot An IIHS Top Safety Pick and NHTSA five-star overall safety rating for the 2013 Honda Pilot eight-passenger SUV are compelling reasons to look at this full-size SUV that also gets the fuel economy of a midsize SUV. Many consumers find the Pilot offers just the right balance between value, performance and utility. For 2013, the Pilot features a standard rearview camera linked to an eight-inch display. Consumer Reports says the Pilot has the best shoulder room in the third row (at 58.0 inches) of any SUV, rivaling that of minivans.

2007-2009 Lincoln Navigator Ultimate – Consumer Reports lists the longer version of the Lincoln Navigator as one of its Best Three-Row SUVs. The Navigator L has more cargo space behind the third row and the vehicle is about 15 inches longer than the standard Navigator. Other pluses for family-friendly use are that the power-folding third row that folds flat into the floor, the third row is as comfortable as the second row, and a rearview camera is standard. Power-retractable running boards are also helpful.

2007-2009 Mazda CX-9Among large seven-passenger crossover SUVs, the 2007-2011 Mazda CX-9 stands out as a contender for a good used SUV with third row seating. In addition to the third row, the CX-9 is spacious in all rows, handling is steady and precise, and the ride is easy on all occupants. There’s also lots of cargo space for hauling kids and pets and gear and such.


2010-2011 Toyota HighlanderWith its pleasant driving dynamics, comfortable ride and loads of cargo capacity, the smart money could well be the Toyota Highlander midsize crossover SUV. Edmunds.com said that either of the two generations (2001-2007 and 2008-2013) are “solid picks,” but a third-row was offered from 2004 on. In 2008, the third row became standard, and in 2011 Toyota made it more useful with a 50/50-split folding design. The later model Highlanders have a larger cabin, more interior room – especially in the third row, a more powerful V6 engine and family-friendly features, like a 40/20/40-split second-row seat with a removable middle section that can easily be stowed for “walk-through” third-row access.

2010 Volvo XC90With abundant safety features and strong safety scores, power, cargo versatility and seven-passenger seating, the 2010 Volvo XC90 is another strong contender for best used SUVs with third row seating.

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