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Best SUV for 3 Car Seats in 2024 with Captain’s Chairs (Without Breaking the Bank)

SUVs now equal certain minivans in internal room and have a sportier, sleeker appearance. They are longer and typically larger than they were a few years ago.

However, choosing a three-row SUV requires weighing comfort against quantity of seats. If you’re all about the amount of seats, a lot of three-row SUVs can fit up to eight people with a second-row bench (some, like the base Suburban LS model from Chevrolet, can fit up to nine people with a front bench option).

Some models forgo the center seat in the second row in favor of the cozy and practical second-row captain’s chairs.

Unlock the perfect blend of safety and space with our guide to the Best SUV for 3 Car Seats. Elevate your family adventures with these top-notch vehicles, redefining on-the-go comfort!

Mercedes-Benz GLE

In search of a smaller SUV that has room for three seats in a row? Perhaps the Mercedes-Benz GLE is the best option for you! It should be easy to fit three of those car seats into the back row with the 60 inches of hip room in the second row! Naturally, the first thing you need is a car seat that can be used in a 3-across configuration. 

The Mercedes-Benz GLE’s removable headrests and sturdy buckles are two factors that make it a good car seat for three children. Headrests might become an issue when your child progresses to a booster seat or moves into front-facing mode.

It could be hard to get a safe setup If they protrude too far and are irremovable. However, they can be changed or eliminated in the GLE! Your child will find it easier to belt independently with the stable buckles, especially if they are in the middle seat.

Also, this tiny best SUV for 3 car seats a large 33.3 cubic foot load capacity.

But keep in mind that not every car seat is compatible with the GLE (find out where to put your car seat here). Car seats with harnesses that face forward cannot be used in the middle seat since there are only top tethers on the two outside seats. 

Acura MDX

A particularly family-friendly third-row SUV is the Acura MDX. We adore that every second-row seat has top tether anchors and lower anchors, to start. It implies that you are free to arrange your seats whichever you choose!

One cannot take out the headrests. However, they don’t seem to get in the way of most forward-facing car seats or high-back boosters if you lift them up.

Although the middle seat has a 57.8-inch width, it may be lowered down to provide simpler access to the back seat.  Rear-facing seats and belt-positioning boosters are the sole uses for the third row because it lacks top tethers.

Given that rear-facing seats in the third row are not optimal, it is undoubtedly a drawback. 

This is particularly true because installing a car seat obstructs the back-row access, making the entry into the third row quite small. Nevertheless, depending on which of the three car seat kinds you require—infant seats, convertible car seats, boosters, etc.—this might not be an issue.

Your groceries might not fit in the Acura MDX, even though it might fit all of your kids. With the third row up, the trunk only has 16.3 cubic feet of space.

This might not be the ideal option if you travel frequently or need to stow a wagon or stroller on a regular basis. Overall, though, if you’re searching for a car with enough for three passengers, the Acura MDX is a solid choice.

Volkswagen Atlas and Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport

Third-row seating in the Volkswagen Atlas is conveniently located, and it has a special feature that makes entering the third row a breeze! You can tilt the car seat forward to access the third row while the car seat is mounted if you install it using the lower anchors! Lower anchors and tether anchors are present on every seat in the second row.

Additionally, you may install a car seat in either of the second and third row seats because the third row features two top tether anchors and detachable headrests. While it’s not the largest, it’s also not the smallest!

There are two models of the Volkswagen Atlas: one with three sitting places and a bench seat in the second row, and one with captain chairs in second row.

Families will find the Volkswagen Atlas to be a flexible and useful option because it features sturdy buckles for independent seat belt use and a 20.6 cubic foot trunk! 

Families without a third row might find the Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport to be an excellent choice of best SUV for 3 car seats! In the second row, there are three seating places with lower anchors and top tether anchors.

It’s important to remember that both of these cars require narrow car seats for the second row center seating arrangement. See which narrow car seat is best for your family by looking through our selection.

Honda Pilot and Honda Passport

The Honda Pilot and Honda Passport are sibling cars; the Pilot has a third row while the Passport’s first and second rows are essentially the same.

The second row’s three sets of lower anchors, top tether anchors, and detachable headrests make it incredibly simple to install any style of car seat.

The rear seats in a Pilot have one set of lower anchors and two top tether anchors if you choose to purchase it for the third-row spot. The third row center seat is too small to fit a passenger or a car seat, and it’s a tight fit to get back there.

The floppy buckles on the Honda Pilot/Passport are another drawback. This implies that fastening requires two hands, and buckles have a tendency to slide behind kid seats. This means that if you have two additional kids in car seats, you might have to assist your booster-seat child in being buckled up as well.

With 48.5 cubic feet of storage space, you’ll have more than enough place to store a stroller and whatever else you need to tote around. Just remove the second row.

It is also just 22.4 cubic feet if the third row is positioned higher. When looking for a family vehicle that can transport your kids and all of their belongings, the Honda Pilot may be an even better choice for certain people because that is still more than the Atlas and Acura!



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