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10 SUVs With The Worst Third-Row Seats You’ll Want To Avoid

The ten SUVs listed in my report are not bad vehicles; they just have the worst third-row seats. Check out which models to avoid if you want the most room in the far back.

If you've ever sat in a third-row SUV seat for longer than a short ride and felt cramped, you know how important roominess is. Of course, no third row is as comfortable for passengers as a second row, but some SUVs are significantly better than others.

Consumer Reports (by subscription) sat for you in all midsize SUVs to evaluate third rows for ease of access and passenger comfort. I recently wrote about the midsize SUVs with the best third-row seats, which you can read about here

You Can't Camp Out For Long

Below are the ten models with the worst accommodations for adults in the third row, with the worst model at the top. If you value comfort for third-row passengers, avoid these models, or your passengers will not be happy campers.

Consumer Reports says, "Many are quite excellent vehicles, and the third rows may be well suited to children. But buyers looking for maximum versatility for the whole family should scramble into that rearmost seat before buying."

10 2024 model-year SUVs With the Worst Third-Row Seats

  1. Rivian R1S
  2. Volvo XC90
  3. Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV
  4. Lincoln Aviator
  5. Ford Explorer
  6. Audi Q7
  7. Land Rover Discovery
  8. Kia Sorento
  9. Acura MDX
  10. Cadillac XT6

Related Story: Consumer Reports says the Subaru Ascent is the best under-the-radar pick for families and that you should buy it and avoid the Ford Explorer. Check out my report here before you buy.

Do You See What I See?

I found it interesting that all but two of the worst SUVs for third-row comfort are luxury models. You'd think that when you pay so much for a luxury vehicle, you'd get more comfort. 

But the opposite is true. The luxury models from Rivian, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Lincoln, Audi, Land Rover, Acura, and Cadillac are among the worst you can buy for third-row passengers. 

The midsize SUVs with the most comfortable third-row seats are on the opposite side of the fence. And there's something that stands out with these models, too. 

CR's Midsize SUVs With the Best Third-Row Seats

  1. Honda Pilot - recommended
  2. Toyota Grand Highlander - recommended
  3. Volkswagen Atlas - not recommended
  4. Kia Telluride -recommended
  5. Nissan Pathfinder - not recommended
  6. Subaru Ascent - recommended
  7. Dodge Durango - not recommended
  8. Hyundai Palisade - recommended
  9. Mazda CX-90 - recommended
  10. Infiniti QX60 - recommended
  11. Jeep Grand Cherokee - not recommended
  12. Toyota Highlander - recommended

NOTE: Consumer Reports does not recommend every vehicle on the list above. I've listed which models CR recommends and which are not.

Did you see what I see here, too? Now, the opposite is true. Only one luxury model is listed in the top ten best models, and the Infiniti QX60 is the eighth best. The other nine models are all mainstream-brand vehicles. And they cost a lot less. 

Take the 2024 Subaru Ascent, for example. The least expensive Infiniti QX60 is more expensive than the least expensive Subaru Ascent. The Ascent's price range is $34,395 - $48,695, while the Infiniti QX60 ranges from $49,650 to $66,100.

The Moral Of The Story

You don't have to buy a luxury SUV to get the best third-row seats. There are seven mainstream models recommended by Consumer Reports that will give your third-row passengers the best room and access. 

Have you sat in an SUV's third row for an extended ride and wished you'd stayed home? Which vehicle was it? If so, click the red Add New Comment link below and let us know.

I am Denis Flierl, a top Torque News reporter since 2012. I’ve invested over 13 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role, working with every major car brand. I am an experienced Rocky Mountain Automotive Press member. You'll find my expert Subaru analysis here. Follow me on my X SubaruReportAll Subaru, WRXSTI, @DenisFlierlFacebook, and Instagram.

Photo credit: Rivian