3-Row Midsize SUV Comparability Check

Are you looking for a 3-row midsize SUV since you suppose you’re nonetheless too cool for a minivan or since you want the upper floor clearance and extra sturdy, extra broadly obtainable all-wheel drive (AWD)?

Both manner, you’re out there on the proper time. A number of compelling new, redesigned, and enhanced fashions have launched previously 12 months alone. However extra good selections can imply tougher selections. So we rounded up six of the very best and latest entries, drove them again to again on a 250-mile loop over two days, and are right here that will help you discover a favourite.

As you take into account the outcomes, remember we price and rank automobiles based mostly on which we deem your best option for the most individuals, not all of the folks. Meaning our top-ranked entry isn’t essentially the best choice for you. As an illustration, we discovered the refreshed Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade, the completely redesigned Honda Pilot, and the massive new Toyota Grand Highlander every excellent in its personal manner, and any of them might very nicely be the SUV we’d suggest for you over a cup of espresso.

And, in fact, we place further significance on monetary concerns like predicted resale worth and historic reliability. We’re Kelley Blue E book, in any case.

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1st Place: Kia Telluride

Kia hit a house run with the Telluride in 2019. It’s nonetheless rounding the bases in 2023.

Ranking: 4.8

The Kia Telluride has claimed the phase’s prime ranking and our Kelley Blue E book Greatest Purchase Award yearly since its introduction for the 2020 mannequin 12 months. That’s 4 straight wins in opposition to some significantly spectacular 3-row midsize SUVs.

However heading into our comparability take a look at, the massive query loomed: Does the 2023 Kia Telluride — with its mildly revised styling, new tech, and up to date inside with two massive digital screens built-in behind a curved glass panel — nonetheless have what it takes to stay on the prime of a category that now features a redesigned Honda Pilot and the roomy new Toyota Grand Highlander?

Sure. Sure, it does.

The 2023 Kia Telluride is a good SUV made even higher. Already a winner for its boxy and muscular presence, engaging and useful inside, and glorious tech, the Telluride upped its sport on all counts for 2023. It additionally delivers distinctive resale worth, and there’s no higher guarantee within the phase. It’s simply so good in so some ways.

Our testing began on the enterprise finish of those household haulers. We organized them facet by facet, and our seven reviewers put a magnifying glass on the rear seating lodging and cargo areas. The Telluride impressed the group and earned stable passing grades on all fronts. The Pilot and Grand Highlander took prime marks total — with design finesse and sheer dimension, respectively — however the Kia and Hyundai have been proper there.

Learn our full evaluate of the Kia Telluride

The Telluride started accumulating extra gold stars as soon as we hit the highway. Its V6 engine and 8-speed transmission delivered clean, responsive energy, and loads of it. It proved snug on the freeway and straightforward to wheel round city, with exemplary driving manners mixing glorious on a regular basis consolation with reassuring stability on curving roads. That the mechanically related Hyundai Palisade is a bit quieter on the freeway was maybe the harshest critique leveled in opposition to the Telluride’s driving manners.

Our tallest reviewer, coming in at 6 ft 4 inches, favored that the seating place provided an incredible ahead view with out leaving him feeling perched too excessive within the car. He thought it higher suited his body than the Palisade, even.

The Telluride impressed anew within the tech division, too. With two massive screens, engaging graphics, and intuitive operation, the driving force info and infotainment setup earned common reward from the group. It was additionally famous that the screens have been straightforward to learn in all mild situations.

And no different entry nearly drove itself higher than the Kia and Hyundai duo. With the newest model of Kia’s semi-autonomous driving system, Freeway Driving Help 2, we might drive for lengthy stretches — at freeway speeds and in stop-and-go situations — with our ft off the pedals and solely a lightweight hand on the wheel. It’s the smoothest, most responsive, most confidence-inspiring system within the phase.

Way back, Kias and Hyundais used to take pleasure in value benefits that couldn’t be ignored as compared exams or the showroom. Not a lot anymore. In reality, the Telluride SX Status X-Line was the costliest car in our take a look at, with a sticker value of $53,825. Even so, the 2023 Telluride, with trim ranges beginning at $35,990, took prime honors on this comparability, underscoring simply how far Kia has come for the reason that first little Sephia sedan of 1992.

—Andy Bornhop, Senior Editor

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2nd Place: Hyundai Palisade

The fashionable member of the midsize SUV class

Ranking: 4.7

The Hyundai Palisade is the marginally extra refined company cousin to the Kia Telluride. Sharing a platform, powertrain, and tech, the Palisade distinguishes itself with a extra urbane presence inside and outside. However there’s just one prime spot, and the Kia outranks the Hyundai right here based mostly largely on how consumers are voting with their {dollars}: The Telluride has outsold the Palisade this 12 months by about 40%. However the Hyundai is each bit nearly as good because the Kia — it has loads of area for passengers and cargo alike, the engine is each vigorous and refined, and the driving force help options work brilliantly — and this can be a case during which consumers can be at liberty to decide on based mostly on seems to be alone.

Learn our full evaluate of the Hyundai Palisade

Particularly within the range-topping Calligraphy trim, the Palisade is a luxurious SUV with out the badge, status, or — extra crucially — the worth. The perfect-equipped contender in our comparability, this Palisade boasts a therapeutic massage operate for the driving force’s seat, heated seats in all three rows, and a well-considered inside with extra-soft Nappa leather-based upholstery. All of us felt the Hyundai badges could possibly be swapped for Genesis logos — Genesis being Hyundai’s luxurious marque — and the Palisade would nonetheless impress.

One factor that isn’t so apparent however appreciated all the identical, is the acoustic glass for the facet home windows. We discovered the Palisade to be exceptionally quiet on the freeway, complementing its clean trip. Pretty much as good because the Telluride is, it doesn’t get this luxury.

The one function to attract grumbles from a number of reviewers was the button-based transmission selector. Shedding the lever helps streamline the inside, however all of us agreed it’s not as intuitive as a conventional setup and takes some getting used to. Some talked about a keenness for the column-mounted, twist-action stalk beginning to make its manner throughout the Hyundai lineup and would like to see it broaden into the Palisade.

From a features-for-Franklins perspective, we expect the Palisade is an absolute winner. Ought to it end up {that a} Calligraphy model would stretch the finances too far, even the bottom SE nonetheless has loads of normal gear, together with many security programs.

It doesn’t put on a luxurious badge, however the Palisade is the phase’s most luxurious SUV.

—Colin Ryan, Senior Editor

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third Place: Honda Pilot

Let’s all say it collectively: “The brand new Honda Pilot does all the pieces nicely.”

Ranking: 4.7

The Honda Pilot has been amongst our top-rated midsize SUVs for so long as we’ve been ranking automobiles, and our first comparability take a look at with the brand new mannequin solidified its standing as one of many class’s elites.

The Pilot made a robust first impression throughout testing. In our group analysis of rear seating and cargo areas, the Pilot was the clear favourite. The third row proved roomy and straightforward to entry — simply push a button, and the second-row seat folds and slides ahead — and all of us liked our tester’s detachable second-row heart seat. With the additional seat in place, the Pilot has seating for eight. When eliminated, the ensuing pathway makes it simpler for teenagers to scramble into and out of the third row, particularly when youngster automotive seats are anchored into the second row. However because it stows neatly in a devoted cubby beneath the cargo ground — as an alternative of gathering mud within the storage — the Pilot is all the time able to accommodate an eighth passenger. One in all our reviewers, Eric Brandt, owns a Honda Odyssey minivan with an identical function, and he validated its usefulness and the group’s enthusiasm.

Eric additionally judged the Pilot to have probably the most accessible youngster security seat anchor factors. He has 4 kids, together with a 1-year-old, so he’s the present material professional with regards to such issues. For its mixture of roominess, flexibility, and ease of use, the Pilot might very nicely be the family-friendliest 3-row midsize SUV in the marketplace.

Learn our full evaluate of the Honda Pilot

None of us have been shocked by the Pilot’s clean, refined driving manners, now a well-established Honda hallmark. A few of us liked the exceptionally mild, quick-ratio steering others weren’t so positive. There’s an adjustment interval, nevertheless it’s onerous to think about many Pilot house owners in the end eager for heavier, slower steering.

We additionally discovered the driving force help programs to be excellent. Over our 250-mile take a look at loop, a number of of us have been in a position to let the Pilot shoulder a lot of the gasoline, brake, and steering work in a spread of situations. The Kia and Hyundai took prime marks on this regard, however the Pilot additionally acquired an enthusiastic passing grade.

A smaller infotainment display screen and mediocre backup digital camera have been the one widespread critiques among the many group.

The Honda Pilot is a extremely useful 3-row SUV that’s straightforward and satisfying to drive and is backed by an extended lineage of sturdy resale worth and confirmed reliability. Whereas the Pilot sits third on this checklist — outranked by the equally rated Palisade solely due to the Hyundai’s decrease beginning value — a couple of editors famous the Honda would most probably get their hard-earned {dollars}.

—Jason Allan, Principal Editor

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4th Place: Toyota Grand Highlander

It’s sort of a giant deal

Ranking: 4.6

What’s a Toyota household to do when a Highlander isn’t fairly sufficiently big to accommodate their wants? Till this 12 months, transferring right into a Sienna minivan was the clearest reply. Now, there’s the roomy new Grand Highlander to contemplate.

Whereas the Highlander is among the many smaller entries within the 3-row midsize SUV phase, the 2024 Toyota Grand Highlander is likely one of the roomiest. It’s about half a foot longer than the Highlander, a few inches wider, and boasts as much as 97.5 cubic ft of cargo quantity behind the entrance seats, vs. 84.3 for its little brother. Most crucially, with 5 further inches of legroom, adults can now truly sit in its third row with out resorting to contortionist methods. 

Our testers instantly famous the beneficiant cargo area behind the Grand Highlander’s third-row seat but additionally famous the absence of any further storage below the ground. Definitely nothing just like the Pilot’s large bin that’s sufficiently big to swallow its pop-out second-row center seat.

Learn our full evaluate of the Toyota Grand Highlander

At 201.4 inches in size, the Grand Highlander was the longest in our take a look at, edging the Honda Pilot at 199.9 inches. The mom in our group appreciated the Toyota’s massive, daring presence. “Having a boxier exterior helps me preserve my identification and never really feel like I’m driving a minivan,” stated our division head, Tessa Nadik.

Inside, the Grand Highlander’s 33.5 inches of third-row legroom additionally turned out to be probably the most on this group, and people numbers translate to real-world consolation. Our resident linebacker, the 6-foot-4 Bornhop, confirmed the Toyota’s third row felt roomier than all of the others. So yeah, even your rising teen ought to be advantageous again there.

Out on the highway, the Toyota Grand Highlander was surprisingly pleasurable and fascinating to drive. The Grand Highlander’s normal 2.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine proved greater than succesful sufficient to energy this massive car with ease. And if you happen to’re in search of both extra effectivity or extra oomph, it’s obtainable. Greater than its grander dimension, the Grand Highlander’s different X issue is its selection of three powertrains. Past the usual turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, the Grand Highlander is obtainable with a gas-electric hybrid powertrain rated to return as much as 36 mpg in combined driving. These in search of critical energy ought to flip their consideration to the Hybrid Max powertrain that pairs the turbo 4-cylinder with an electrical motor to make a mixed 362 horsepower and a stout 400 pound-feet of torque.

The final however actually not least factor that stood out to us is the Grand Highlander’s security suite. It comes with the newest 3.0 model of Toyota’s Security Sense system (the common Highlander remains to be on 2.5), which brings anticipated options like adaptive cruise management and lane-keeping help.

Platinum trims just like the one we examined go even additional. It packs a implausible Visitors Jam Help system that made our time in Los Angeles’ notorious site visitors far much less disturbing. And it could possibly control you — actually. A skinny, nearly unnoticeable digital camera mounted atop the steering column — the Profile Face Identification driver monitor — will warn you if it sees you taking your eyes off the highway for various seconds or if you happen to appear distracted looking for a spot to park in downtown Santa Barbara (ask us how we all know).

The one nit a few of our editors famous in regards to the Grand Highlander is, paradoxically, its dimension. There’s no denying it’s a giant car that makes its girth identified in cramped parking heaps. In fact, if the Grand Highlander seems to be a bit bigger than you want, nicely, Toyota has a solution for that.

—Matt Degen, Senior Editor

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fifth Place: Nissan Pathfinder

Rugged individualism

Ranking: 4.1

With superior towing capability, a sturdy AWD system, and a trail-ready presence, the 2023 Nissan Pathfinder counts among the many extra rugged entries within the 3-row midsize SUV phase.

In our back-to-back testing, it got here up wanting the leaders with regards to passenger utility, know-how and total refinement, however to not the diploma that ought to dissuade buyers drawn to its distinctive mixture of strengths.

The place most 3-row midsize SUVs prime out at 5,000 kilos of towing capability, the Pathfinder is rated to tug as much as 6,000 kilos. Equally, the Nissan’s AWD system is a bit hardier than most, with a mechanical coupling much like conventional 4-wheel drive programs discovered on vans and off-roaders. And to our eyes, anyway, these strengths are mirrored within the Pathfinder’s engaging, ready-for-adventure styling.

Learn our full evaluate of the Nissan Pathfinder

However for buyers who don’t want the additional functionality, the Pathfinder turns into a harder promote. We discovered it accelerates in addition to any of the others, however with much less refinement. The engine is only a bit coarser and louder, most notably when merging or passing, as an illustration. Our reviewers additionally graded the infotainment and driver help tech towards the underside of the group. And apart from second-row seats that may pitch ahead for entry to the third row even with youngster automotive seats anchored into them, all of us judged the inside not as roomy or versatile — for folks or cargo — as many of the others in our take a look at. Certainly, by the producer’s measurements, the Pathfinder is the smallest entry on this take a look at by a significant diploma.

The Nissan Pathfinder is a stable and recommendable 3-row midsize SUV. However its distinctive set of strengths and shortcomings relative to the phase’s higher-rated entries make it the precise selection for a smaller set of consumers. And that’s mirrored in the truth that the Pathfinder is certainly the least widespread entry based mostly on whole gross sales up to now this 12 months.

—Russ Heaps, Senior Editor

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sixth Place: Ford Explorer

An growing older star

Ranking: 3.9

The Ford Explorer is the nation’s bestselling SUV of all time. In some ways, it’s the very embodiment of the style.

Nevertheless iconic, although, the sixth-generation Explorer is now among the many phase’s oldest entries. Its 2020 redesign acquired combined evaluations to start with, and as we discovered throughout testing, its shortcomings have gotten extra pronounced because the phase evolves.

However the Explorer isn’t with out significant strengths, too, beginning with the very best gas economic system in our take a look at. Its turbocharged 4-cylinder engine helped give our Explorer ST-Line tester the best mpg ranking, and certainly it bested the Pathfinder’s V6 by greater than three miles per gallon, ending with 23.4 mpg on the journey pc. But it surely was additionally probably the most highly effective engine within the group, boasting 300 horsepower in comparison with a extra typical 285-290. Not a giant distinction, however sufficient to assert the crown.

Learn our full evaluate of the Ford Explorer

A number of reviewers additionally appreciated simply how straightforward the Explorer was to function. The inside controls are uncluttered, with a shallow studying curve. The identical is true of the SYNC 4 infotainment system, even when our take a look at mannequin had the smaller 8-inch display screen reasonably than the optionally available 10.1-inch model. All issues being equal, we’ll take the bigger display screen, however for drivers who want little greater than a useful device to regulate issues like media, navigation, and cellphone connectivity, the Explorer’s setup introduced a welcome simplicity in comparison with the extra complicated interfaces discovered elsewhere within the phase.

On the freeway, the Explorer had an ace up its sleeve within the type of the Ford Co-Pilot360 Help+ suite of driver help options. It’s not as sturdy as Ford’s BlueCruise hands-free system, however we suspect it’s benefited from that effort’s developments and learnings.

The place the Explorer lagged was within the fundamentals. All of us judged the third row much less accommodating and never as simply accessed because the competitors’s. And whereas the two.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine impresses as one of the highly effective and most effective of its friends, we discovered energy supply comparatively unrefined. A number of reviewers famous disagreeable jerkiness within the stop-and-go of metropolis driving. We’re in search of clean, linear acceleration and braking, and the Explorer fell wanting the others. Even the automated engine begin/cease operate was probably the most jarring. In fact, you may all the time flip that off, nevertheless it was a notable annoyance.

From a driving perspective, we agreed the Explorer was at its greatest — higher than all of the others, even — when pushed with gusto. Loads of energy, nice steering really feel, and a rear-biased AWD system mixed to make the Explorer the sports activities automotive of the bunch. So if the day by day drive to soccer follow features a enjoyable, winding highway ….

The Ford Explorer is an effective SUV. However in a number of necessary areas, it’s simply not so good as many others.

—Eric Brandt, Senior Editor

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