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3 Row Used SUV suggestions

We are thinking of upgrading from a 2014 Nissan Rogue to something large as the family has grown. We have two in carseats and two small dogs. We would like a 3 row SUV for trips where we bring the grandparents along. So the third row would preferably fit adults and have room behind if for a stroller. Also would like something reliable as I know I’m talking about vehicles nearing 100k in miles and with good rear visibility per my wife’s request.

I’m trying to not take on a new loan so price range max would be 15k. (Hoping I can get 10 to 12k for my car)

Any suggestions? So far pretty much everything is in the running: pilot, mdx (is it worth it to upgrade? Love how comfortable they are but havent driven a pilot), highlander, arcadia, enclave, or traverse( bad experience with chevy and an equinox reliabilty peior to the rogue).

Leaning towards mdx or pilot.

I realize minivan is the way to go for room and cargo but it’s off the table as far as my wife is concerned.

I’d go with Pilot over MDX because for the same money you’ll get a newer Pilot. You might look for the latest Consumer Reports, it’s the car buying issue, or buy their car buying guidebook. I’d also look at the Highlander.

I don’t understand that . Vans have sliding doors and lower to the ground making putting kids in car seats much easier. Most of them can have the second and third row removed for those times when you need cargo space. Also think of the Grandparents who may not be able to climb into an SUV as well as you can.


When we looking to replace my wife’s 98 Windstar we looked at 3 row SUVs. The third row was only fit for small children even in the Honda Pilot and the Toyota Highlander. We ended up with a 2006 Toyota Sienna which she is still driving. She really appreciated the 2nd row Captain’s chairs once our daughters were old enough to fight with one another.

If your Missus can get past her aversion to a minivan it will could be a godsend once your kids are older.

Best of luck,

Ed B.

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The Pilot and MDX are not large enough. You can fit passengers in three rows, but there will be very little space for cargo behind them. The Buick Enclave/Chevy Traverse/GMC Acadia are the largest in this category and will likely give you the cargo capacity you need if you carry 5 or more passengers in 3 rows. My favorite is the Enclave. It is quiet, comfortable, and roomy.

If you want room, it is hard to beat a Chevy or GMC Suburban. 2011 or so will fit into your price range. With 2WD. The engines lasts 300K if you take care of them, The transmissions last 200K or so. 17 mpg highway, 13 in the city and it is NOT a minivan. Anything else they will need won’t break the bank - window regulators, HVAC actuators, little stuff.

I’d also suggest that a mini-van would actually fit those needs better, however.

What about an Expedition?

I suspect this will be one unhappy family

The best solution for a vehicle with a 3rd row that is suitable for adults is a Suburban or a Minivan

but the wife seems to be against a Minivan for reasons which aren’t clear to us

And the vehicles that op is considering don’t have a 3rd row suitable for adults

If the reason that the wife is against the Minivan is because they’re somehow “unsporting” then this family will just have to settle for a vehicle which does not check all the boxes, so to speak

My brother’s family is in essentially the same situation

They wanted a vehicle with a 3rd row, with room for luggage and a dog

My brother had no problems with a minivan, but his wife did

So they got a Highlander, which has been extremely reliable

But the 3rd row has 2 massive problems

it’s very hard to get back there

and the 3rd row seats are only suitable for very small children and adults who you want to alienate

And once the 3rd row is in use, there’s actually very little room left over for luggage, let alone a dog

and if op’s family were to get a Suburban, I suspect that they would complain about fuel economy

As I said, I suspect a compromise will be made, hopefully one that they can live with


The Highlander is the best choice if you make its smallish size work for you. The Pilot is a close second, but be aware both the Pilot and the MDX have a very expensive 105k required maintenance, with both the spark plugs and the timing belt needing replacement. I would not consider the Traverse/Enclave/Acadia if you are looking at higher mileage examples. They don’t hold up particularly well as they age, and from my experience get lousy gas mileage. The Ford Flex is a unique choice with a roomy interior, although the styling is love it or hate it.

A minivan is your best option here.

Otherwise, you’re paying a premium for an SUV with less actual space and the privilege of burning more gas.

I too used to be too “proud” to drive a minivan. 10+ years and 2 kids later… we’re on our second Honda Odyssey. If we wrecked it tomorrow, I’d buy a third one. There’s simply no better, more useful, versatile vehicles for a family.

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