Car buyers are expecting more and more from their daily drivers. It’s no longer enough to get from point A to B, or to have enough cargo room to run errands around town. Even having enough room in the back seat for the kids doesn’t cut it anymore. Now, families expect to have all of this but supersized, with loads of features, top levels of safety, and comfort to boot. That is a tall order for any automaker, but quite a few are willing to take on the challenge. However, more get it wrong than right, while many, like the Kia Sorento, get quite close only to be overshadowed by those that excel, such as the Kia Telluride. Here are five three-row SUVs that are a cut above the rest.
#1 Cadillac Escalade
The name to beat in the full-size segment, the Caddy Escalade is an impressive piece of machinery. It more than meets every need, or rather exceeds them. The interior is spacious with a workable third-row, but even more room can be added by opting for the ESV – the extended-wheelbase variant. Regardless of which of the two configurations you choose, you are presented with an opulently appointed cabin. In the past, this was a weakness for the brand’s flagship, but now the quality of materials used are without reproach.
Naturally, this American beauty has all the latest tech. In fact, the entire dash is basically one giant LCD screen coated in glass. This includes a 16.9-inch touchscreen, a 7.2-inch control panel, and 14.2 inches of gauges and driver information. Standard creature comforts comprise heated front and second-row seats, tri-zone climate control, and a power-operated panoramic sunroof.
#2 Kia Telluride
For those who can’t afford the extravagant MSRP of the Escalade, the Kia Telluride is a great compromise. Not only does it come in a lot cheaper, but it also returns far superior mileage figures of 23 mpg combined in its most efficient guise. For those on a budget who need maximum practicality, it’s the leader of the pack, which explains its popularity in the USA.
While you shouldn’t expect the kind of premium interior you’d find inside most of the other entrants on this list, you may be pleasantly surprised. Not only is the cabin attractively styled, but the seats and upholstery are very comfortable. Back-seat capacity is also hard to beat, which is something that more prestigious brands actually struggle with. While far from disappointing, the Kia could do better in safety review reports since some competitors earn Top Safety Pick awards.
#3 Hyundai Palisade
The Palisade shares more than just a similar price tag with the Telluride; it also has the same 291-horsepower V6 engine and underpinnings. However, once you start looking closer, you will see a few cracks in the facade that show why it ranks slightly lower. Inside, it is marginally less spacious, both in terms of passengers and cargo, and even the materials are less impressive. Honestly, it should cost quite a bit less than it does, considering how much better the cheaper Kia is.
But, sometimes, close enough is still worthy of a cigar. The cabin is still practical for a full family and then some, and there is sufficient tech to keep everyone happy over longer drives. However, it does boast slightly higher safety ratings and a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS. Hyundai is also renowned for the quality and duration of its warranties, so this may be enough to sway a few more conservative buyers to its side, assuming the more racey exterior styling doesn’t scare them off.
#4 Genesis GV80
Once again in the territory of the luxury crossover, the GV80 is an attractive offering due to its remarkable affordable price tag. The brand has been losing some traction in the States over the last few years, but the new SUV models, comprising the GV70 and GV80, should help it curry some favor. The latter is the larger of the two, supplying seating for up to seven in a well-appointed cabin.
Inside, the design ethos is as sophisticated as it is outside. Supple leather coats most surfaces, while wood trim adorns the rest. A 14.5-inch display sits atop the dashboard rather than being embedded in the console, meaning you can operate it without averting your eyes from the road. Combined with a user-friendly menu system and loads of standard driver-assistance features, this helps to mitigate the possibility for any mishaps.
#5 Volvo XC90
Any number of luxury SUVs could hold a spot on this list, such as the Mercedes-Benz GLS or BMW X7, but the fact that the Volvo XC90 is cheaper than both and available as a hybrid, while offering comparable levels of luxury and performance means that it ekes through to steal the final slot. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the Swedish automaker is renowned for its high safety standards, and the three-row crossover doesn’t stray from tradition.
Stylish, both inside and out, it presents consumers with a spacious cabin fitted with all the latest tech. Those in the far back may get a bit cranky over longer trips, though. But what it lacks in space for a couple of passengers it makes up for in the trunk, with 15.8 cubic feet with all seats upright. Top Safety Pick award aside, it comes equipped with full smartphone integration and has access to a sublime Bowers and Wilkins sound system, as well as Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driving.