Three-row SUVs are one of the fastest-growing classes in the Automotive industry. Their versatility combines the best elements of a smaller compact segment and a larger full-size tier. More power and space compared to the first, and better mileage and price than the other, are advantages over other classes.
For larger families or longer trips, you will need more space. The three-row configuration offers seven or eight seating spots. However, if you don’t need so many seats, then you can fold the third row and increase the cargo space. Most of these vehicles are using V6 engines, but there are some entry-level models with four-cylinder units, while the high-end versions could offer V8s.
So, let’s see which are the best family three-row SUVs in 2020.
2020 Toyota Highlander
We are starting from the best-selling three-row SUV for the last two years. The 2020 Toyota Highlander is not at top of our charts by chance. The Japanese carmaker is making its vehicle so special with various options and updates. We were hoping the 2020 MY could get the TRD Pro upgrade, but the company sticks to the asphalt, at least with Highlander.
Under the hood of the SUV is a 3.5-liter V6 engine good for 290 hp and 23 mpg combined. If you need a better gas mileage, you don’t need to sacrifice power with a four-cylinder engine. The 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is getting a huge mpg boost. Now, it is rated at 34 miles per gallon combined, which is a 5 mpg improvement from the last edition. The bad thing is the Highlander is not an only three-row hybrid any more.
The price of the 2020 Toyota Highlander starts at $32,000. Hybrid is $6,000 more, while the Limited Platinum tops the class with the price over $50k both for petrol and hybrid configuration.
2020 Ford Explorer
The 2020 Ford Explorer is the all-new model. The US carmaker introduces some serious changes for its SUV class. Everything has started in the mid-size segment. The new Explorer challenges Highlander with the hybrid engine. Under the hood of the new model is a 3.3-liter V6 unit and it is combined with a battery to produce 320 horsepower. So, the Japanese SUV is not the only hybrid in the segment anymore.
However, there are plenty of other options that make the 2020 Ford Explorer so special. The base configuration is pretty different from its main rival. The Blue Oval company relies on the 2.3-liter turbo-four EcoBoost system that delivers 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. Optionally, you can pick a 3.0-liter twin-turbo model with the ST package. The total output of this one is 400 horsepower.
Depending on an engine and a trim level, the price of 2020 Ford Explorer starts from $33,000 and ends up over $60,000 for the Platinum model.
2020 Volvo XC90
We are moving to the premium segment. If you need an elegant approach with the posh interior, the Swedish company is one of the safest bet. The 2020 Volvo XC90 is another versatile model with plenty of options. Well, we like its T engines the most. T5 is the base configuration with 250 hp, while the T6 adds 65 ponies more. At the top of the range is a T8 plug-in hybrid with 400 hp and 480 lb-ft of torque, and 18 miles of an electric range. All configurations are based on a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine.
The Swedish company is also known for not saving materials for the interior. So, the three-row model is pretty comfortable. Although it belongs to the mid-size segment, the 2020 Volvo XC90 will offer 15.9 cubic feet behind the third row or nearly 42 cu.ft. if you fold it. The premium audio B&W system comes with 19 speakers. Volvo is still updating its Pilot Assist service, but it is one of the best in the class for the last couple of years.
The price of the base 2020 Volvo XC90 is just shy of $50,000. Well, that is something you expect from a premium model. Trim levels available for the SUV are Momentum, R-Design, and Inscription. The second-row bench can be converted to a couple of captain’s chairs and reduce the seating capacity to six.
2020 Dodge Durango
The new generation of the Dodge Durango is just around the corner. Still, the 2020 MY is one of the best family SUV in the market. Since the Grand Cherokee is not yet available with three rows, Durango remains the best family SUV by the FCA.
Changes are not big on the new model, and some enthusiasts would like to wait for the new generation. But, the 2020 Dodge Durango will draw your attention with plenty of options. Eight trim levels, three different drivetrains, and off-road oriented packages are not easy to skip when you choose a mid-size family SUV.
The cheapest combination is SXT with a 3.6-liter V6 engine ($31,000). The SRT is the most powerful version, with the famous Hemi engine. A 6.4-liter will produce 475 hp. A lighter V8 displacement is 5.7 and it crunches 360 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque. Unfortunately, rumors about the Trackhawk edition didn’t come true. However, this model wouldn’t offer a three-row layout for its 707 ponies.
Read a full review HERE
2020 Chevy Tahoe
The 2020 Chevy Tahoe is another outgoing model. The new generation of all GM’s full-size SUV is arriving in 2021. Still, Tahoe is the best-selling model in the full-size segment and we believe it will remain so in 2020. It makes it one of the favorite and most reliable three-row family SUVs.
The full-size SUV is out with the heavy artillery. Only V8 units are under the hood. A 5.3-liter is the base selection, which could be upgraded to a 6.2 (only for the Premier trim level). We can see spy photos of the Tahoe High Country, but the company is saving it for the new generation, which arrives in 2021.
By then, the 2020 Chevy Tahoe will offer either seven or eight seating spots. Fuel economy is not generous. Both engines will return around 17 mpg. On the other hand, the family SUV comes with 95 cubic feet of maximum cargo space (15.3 with all seats up and 51.8 behind the second row) and a towing capacity of 8,600 pounds. Until the new generation arrives, the 2020 Tahoe will cost under $50,000.
Read a full review HERE
2020 Honda Pilot
After the redesign, Pilot became one of the most popular mid-size SUVs. The vehicle offers eight seating spots and an option to add the captain’s chairs. That is not all, buyers can select one of the six trim levels, and the new 2020 Honda Pilot adds Black Edition. There are also eight color options and two transmission boxes.
The only thing you can’t change is a 3.5-liter V6 engine. But, not for too long, since the SUV is being caught testing the PHEV system. However, until it arrives, we can count on 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. The power is the same either if the engine is paired with a six- or nine-speed gearbox. Well, the other one comes with a better gas mileage, 23 mpg compared to 22 mpg. It is nearly 20 miles more with a full fuel tank.
The price of the 2020 Honda Pilot is not changed. The base LX still costs under $32,000. EX and EX-L are the mid-range offer and the price exceeds $40,000 if you want the Touring model. Top of the class versions are Elite and Black Edition, which are not too far from a premium offer.
Read a full review HERE
2020 Lincoln Navigator
If you want to posh up your ride, you will hardly find the better option than the 2020 Lincoln Navigator. Ford’s luxury department is again stunning the market with its premium options. The SUV is pretty expensive. The MSRP starts at $76,000 for the Standard trim. Reserve model is about $6,000 more. At the top of the lineup is the 2020 Lincoln Navigator Black Label. Special themes for this model is something you won’t find elsewhere.
Under the hood of the full-size luxury SUV is a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 powerplant. Unlike the most big rigs, engineers decided not to go with a V8 unit. It produces 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. This is enough for the class-leading 8,700 pounds of towing capacity.
The 2020 Lincoln Navigator can take up to eight passengers. The cargo space is 103.3 cubic feet. What’s more – Lincoln offers a special extended version, Navigator L, with a longer wheelbase and total interior volume of 120.2 cu.ft.
Read what’s new for the 2021 Navigator HERE
2020 Infiniti QX80
There are no too many models that can compete with Navigator’s offer. However, the 2020 Infiniti QX80 is one of the SUVs which we can call the best premium vehicles for families. Nissan is going to update the SUV soon, so in 2020 could be the last chance to get the current generation of this extremely safe model.
Having this in mind, the level of changes on the 2020 Infiniti QX80 are not huge. However, we love Nissan’s approach to the self-driving features. Drivers are praising the distance control assist, which we can call an upgraded version of the adaptive cruise control.
The 2020 Infiniti QX80 is using a 5.6-lite V8 engine. The fuel economy is not so poor for the vehicle of its size and weight, since the SUV reaches 20 mpg on highway. Towing capacity is 8,500 pounds, there is plenty of room in all three rows for passengers, leaving 16 cu.ft. The price, $66,500, is also below the average for this segment.
Read What’s new for 2021 Infiniti QX80 HERE
2020 Subaru Ascent
Ascent became one of the best-selling three-row models shortly after the premiere. The unique design and powertrain Subaru offers seem to draw a lot of attention. If the 2020 Subaru Ascent gets a plug-in hybrid system, then we will have to put this model significantly higher on our top ten list.
For the new season, the 2020 Subaru Ascent is safer than ever, earning top safety pick. Now, the SUV offers the power rear gate lock and a rear-seat reminder system.
Under the hood is the famous Boxer engine. A flat-four unit is turbocharged and returns 260 horsepower. No other model on this list can’t match the unique ride quality Subaru’s flat engines are offering. With a lower center of gravity, it makes the driving lighter and the vehicle safer.
The vehicle is available in four trim levels. The base 2020 Subaru Ascent costs $31,995 and top of the class Touring models starts at $45,045.
2020 Lexus LX 570
The 2020 Lexus LX 570 is available in two trim levels – Two and Three rows. The second one offers eight seating spots and cargo space up to 80 cu.ft. It is very similar to the Toyota Land Cruiser. So, you can expect superb off-road capabilities. Still, the LX is one of the best-looking models in the market, although its redesign is about to happen in the near future.
Under the hood of the 2020 Lexus LX 570 is a 5.7-liter V8 engine capable to produce 380 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque. Sales of the LX are dropping mainly because of its very poor fuel economy (16 mpg combined). Another reason could be the lack of Android Auto as one of the most popular features. The new SUV is now offering this service and Toyota previously added Apple CarPlay as well.
The price of the 2020 Lexus LX 570 is $91,500. If you don’t need a third row, you can save $5,000 by choosing a two-row model.