If you’re in the market for a midsize three-row SUV, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explore the top five contenders in this category. Whether you’re a family on the go or just need extra space for your adventures, these vehicles offer a perfect blend of practicality and style. So, let’s dive into our list and see which SUVs stand out from the crowd.
1. Kia Telluride: A Stunning All-Rounder
Our top pick for midsize three-row SUVs goes to the Kia Telluride. This Korean cousin to the Hyundai Palisade has captured hearts with its striking design and well-balanced features. The Telluride’s rugged appearance and comfortable interior make it a true standout.
One notable advantage of the Telluride is the generous inclusion of features across various trim levels. For instance, a wireless phone charger and a large touchscreen display come standard on all models. While some competitors reserve these features for their top-tier trims, Kia offers them right from the base model.
The driving experience is also a highlight. The Telluride strikes an excellent balance between SUV capability and comfortable ride quality, making it a great all-rounder. It’s powered by a 3.8-liter V6 engine mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, delivering 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This powertrain provides ample oomph for your daily driving needs.
Kia has also earned high praise for its quality and reliability. With a JD Power score of 85 out of 100, the Telluride is an exceptionally reliable choice in this segment. The Telluride’s pricing starts at under $47,000 in Canada and just over $33,000 in the US, making it an excellent value for all the features and performance it offers.
2. Hyundai Palisade: A Touch of Luxury
Closely related to the Telluride, the Hyundai Palisade is another solid contender for a three-row midsize SUV. It’s no slouch in terms of design and comfort, offering a rich and upscale interior with a stylish center console. Hyundai has embraced a more luxurious approach with the Palisade’s aesthetics, and it certainly shows.
While the Palisade shares many qualities with the Telluride, such as a spacious cabin and a comfortable ride, there are some differences worth noting. The Palisade offers a digital driver display, which is not available in the Telluride, allowing drivers to customize their information display in a modern and convenient way.
As with the Telluride, the Palisade features a 3.8-liter V6 engine, an 8-speed automatic transmission, 291 horsepower, and 262 pound-feet of torque. Hyundai has also secured a JD Power score of 80 out of 100 for quality and reliability, showcasing its trustworthiness.
Pricing for the Palisade starts at just under $41,500 in Canada and just over $33,000 in the US. The top-of-the-line Calligraphy trim is priced at just under $55,000 in Canada and just over $47,000 in the US.
3. Toyota Highlander: A Choice of Options
The Toyota Highlander earns the third spot on our list due to its flexibility in powertrain options. This midsize three-row SUV offers both a traditional V6 engine and a fuel-efficient hybrid version.
The standout feature of the Highlander is the availability of a hybrid powertrain with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. This hybrid system delivers remarkable fuel economy, making it the go-to choice if you prioritize efficiency. It achieves an impressive 6.6 liters per 100 kilometers in the city and 6.8 on the highway, equivalent to 36 miles per gallon in the city and 35 on the highway.
However, if you need more power for highway driving or mountainous terrain, the Highlander offers a traditional 3.5-liter V6 engine with 295 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque.
One drawback to the Highlander is the fact that all trims come with an 8-inch touchscreen as standard equipment, and only the top trim includes a 12.3-inch touchscreen. It would be advantageous if Toyota offered a package to include the larger screen on more trim levels.
For quality and reliability, the Highlander scores 82 out of 100 according to JD Power, showcasing its trustworthiness. The base model starts at just over $35,500 in the US and just under $45,000 in Canada, making it an affordable and efficient option for families.
4. Honda Pilot: Reliable Performance
The Honda Pilot secures the fourth spot on our list with its reliable performance and strong V6 engine. The Pilot offers a 3.5-liter V6 engine paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission, providing 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque.
The Pilot’s strengths lie in its consistent performance and comfortable ride quality. However, it’s worth noting that the Pilot is beginning to show its age in terms of exterior and interior design, indicating that a refresh may be on the horizon. Honda plans to introduce new models, such as the CR-V and HR-V, in the near future, which could open the door for attractive deals on the existing Pilot.
One potential improvement for the Pilot would be the addition of a hybrid option, as Honda has been somewhat slow to embrace electrification.
Quality and reliability are solid, with a JD Power score of 79 out of 100. Pricing starts at just over $46,000 in Canada and just under $38,000 in the US, offering a good balance of value and performance.
5. Mazda CX-9: The Nimble Performer
Our fifth choice, the Mazda CX-9, stands out for its nimble handling and well-crafted interior. While it may not be as tidy as some of its competitors, the CX-9 offers a more enjoyable driving experience, especially in the city.
The top trims of the CX-9 come with an interior that rivals luxury brands, with a 10.25-inch display screen and a user-friendly center console dial. The CX-9 never feels like a large SUV, offering excellent maneuverability and a comfortable city driving experience. Despite having a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, it delivers sufficient power for most driving situations.
The CX-9 features a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a 6-speed automatic transmission, offering 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque on regular fuel. Opting for premium gas boosts power to 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque.
Quality and reliability for the CX-9 receive a JD Power score of 80 out of 100, indicating strong trustworthiness.
The pricing for the CX-9 starts at just under $41,000 in Canada and just over $35,000 in the US, making it a competitive option in terms of features and performance.
Before we conclude, let’s briefly mention some honorable mentions that didn’t quite make it into our top five but are still worthy of consideration.
Dodge Durango: A Powerful Towing Option
The Dodge Durango offers two engine options, including a Hemi V8, and boasts an impressive 8,700-pound towing capacity with the V8. While it may not have made it into our top five, it’s a strong choice if you need substantial towing capability and a vehicle with excellent handling.
Nissan Pathfinder: A Competent Choice
The Nissan Pathfinder is a well-rounded SUV, but it’s held back by a 9-speed automatic transmission that tends to linger in first gear during acceleration. However, it offers a comfortable interior and could be a suitable option for many drivers.
Volkswagen Atlas: The Family Hauler
The Volkswagen Atlas provides ample space and is priced competitively. It’s a great choice for families needing a spacious SUV that’s more fuel-efficient than traditional body-on-frame alternatives. However, its quality and reliability scores are average compared to our top picks.
When it comes to midsize three-row non-luxury SUVs, you have several excellent choices. Our top five picks, including the Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, and Mazda CX-9, offer a range of options to suit your preferences and needs.
Ultimately, the right choice depends on your specific priorities, whether it’s striking design, hybrid efficiency, reliable performance, or nimble handling. Take your time to explore these options and find the SUV that best fits your lifestyle and budget. And remember, with these midsize SUVs, you can enjoy the perfect blend of style, practicality, and versatility for your family adventures.