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What Is the Best SUV with 3Rd Row Seats, and Good MPG????

I need to purchase an SUV with 3rd row seats, that gets better mileage than my Suburban (14.5 mpg). I am looking for feedback on Saturn Outlook, Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, etc. Uggghhhhhhh! Please help.

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Hey there, I am an msn subscriber and they recently did a worst and best list of cars out there. It was a safety test, but I believe you may be able to find out more info. on each car listed. I know Nissan, Toyota, and Honda all had cars ranked in the top. For good gas milage though you may want to start looking at the hybrids. They have some really nice ones out now. Good Luck!

I love my Ford Freestyle - it is a "crossover" vehicle. My daughters call it a "mini SUV". I get about 21-22 mpg. It seats 7, but that middle seat really needs to be a kid.

We were looking at SUV's and ended up with the Honda Odyssey but I have 4 kids and run carpools my kids are bigger and they enjoy the extra room it can also seat up to 8 if I need it too but mostly I have it in the 7 passenger arrangement. It is easy to change between the two. gas mileage was disapointing maybe as high as 22mpg but mostly 20mpg which is lower than the sticker said.

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My husband is in the car business. Out of the three you mentioned. The Honda Pilot. It has better mileage and the safety rating beats the Toyota and Saturn. I'm in Miami, FL and just a heads up - they've closed all of Saturn companies throughout Florida possibly because they are part of GM and are going out of business. Not only that, we test drove a Saturn Outlook and I loved it. Then a friend of mine bought one and hates it because of the fuel mileage. Have you looked into MiniVans at all? I love my Odyssey and I'm young wouldn't ever think of driving a MiniVan - but it's the best car I've ever had and great with young children. I love it because it's easy to get them in and out of the car with the sliding doors. The fuel mileage I get on it for example is from Homestead to Orlando about 400+ miles all in one fuel tank without a fill up. There are no blind spots, the insurance is cheaper on a minivan as well. and the safety rating is #1 in it's class. I'm 27 and would probably prefer an SUV too because it makes you feel younger. But test drive one - you may be surprised!!

1 mom found this helpful

GMC Acadia We bought ours last summer for our big move from California to New Hampshire. We love it! It has plenty of room and is very comfortable. It has a 5 star rating is safety. The gas mileage is 14 to 22 MPG. It hadles very well, has side curtain air bags as well as air bags on the seats. It's cute and cool to look at too!! LOL :)

Happily Married SAHM of 3 wonderful kids, ages 13 1/2, 8, and 20 1/2 months


I too have three terrific children ages 7, 3 and 1. We drive around happily in our toyota sienna. I can fit all three car seats across the back seat comfortably. The entire car can fit approximately 8 people. I use the vehicle for errands around town and long distance trips.

Look at Edmunds.com Great reviews.

I love my GMC Acadia.

I have a Suzuki XL7 and it has a third row. Great on gas mileage and nice on your wallet.

I asked this about 1 1/2 yrs ago. I went with the Toyota Sequoia and I am very very happy. I had a Lexus SUV before that and looked at all of theirs-- trunk space was key. The Sequoia was the best for space. And we have all the bells and whistles- gps, dvd, headphones...
Great car so far. Go drive different makes/models at a carmax. Gives you a good idea or look at them there- seats and trunks.

just got a honda pilot and love it i have three kids in car seats and it fits us all great

I recently went through this same problem and ended up buying a Honda Odyssey. the reason is that everyone I spoke with who had more than two children in car seats said that it was very difficult to get in the third seat. You have to climb over the second seat to get to the third in an SUV. If your kids can do it on their own, I'd say it might not be a problem (other than putting the car seats in and out). I was not thrilled with the idea of a mini van at first. I have changed my mind though as it is so easy, comfortable, and has every comfort I could possibly want. If you get an SUV, I'd look for one with captain's chairs in the second row. I believe Chevy makes one.

We have a Honda Pilot & Honda Odessey. We love both! They drive great. I was hit while driving the pilot by someone running a red light. AND I can tell you they are VERY SAFE!!! Everyone in car was fine - even my 4 month old!!
The SUVs are harder to get a child into the 3rd row depending on the car seat you are using for the little ones in the second row. Some of them prevent you from being able to move the seat enough to get to the 3rd row. So I would recommend testing it out before you buy anything!!!
Good Luck!

I bought the Toyota Highlander in October and we love it!

I have a Dodge Durango SUV. I love it! I can fit three car seats across the center row and two seats in the third row. but! you have to put the kids in the third row first and then hook up the last car seat in the center row. It's not so good on mileage though only about 16 MPG :(

S. I have the 2008 Toyota Highlander and I love it. I currently have a 6 yr old stepson and a 11 month old dog who is 12o lbs, so I rarely have the third row up to make room for the dog. When the 3rd row is up the cargo area is very small just enugh room for a stroller. Not enough room for luggage for a trip or anything. I do love it. Recently I have had a lot of questions about MPG. I got about 300 miles to a take of gas which is about 16 when I fill up at close to "e". I think it works out to be about 18 mpg, but I do not have the four wheel drive. I hope this helps happy car shopping.

We have 4 kids an 2 dogs.Tried the mini vans,the cross overs.Ended up purchasing another Suburban.Can't beat the room,cargo capacity and power. Lousy mileage?I average 18 in city and up to 25 highway(when not towing a 28' travel trailer.Do that in a mini-van/cross-over.lmao!).How? I replaced my intake and exhaust w/a Banks kit.A bit pricey but in the long run,we're all comfortable,can haul a ton of stuff an have the power when needed.Learned my lesson.Never getting rid of my Suburban Z71.

We bought a Toyota Sienna because we needed better mileage and a car that wouldn't be an issue with our growing family. I asked my very trusted Mechanic who told me to get a Honda or Toyota. I just happened to know a family friend who worked for our local Toyota dealer. Hubby wanted NOTHING to do with a minivan and was leaning toward the Highlander. When he explained that it isn't so much like a minivan anymore and took him to the car and put the back windows down, Hubby declared, SOLD! So that is what we own. Friends did research and ended up buying the same because they found it was te best in all areas of the vehicle. We love it and when they come out with a hybrid we'll change to that. But I also know people with the highlander and absolutely LOVE it too. Good Luck!

Hey there, I am an msn subscriber and they recently did a worst and best list of cars out there. It was a safety test, but I believe you may be able to find out more info. on each car listed. I know Nissan, Toyota, and Honda all had cars ranked in the top. For good gas milage though you may want to start looking at the hybrids. They have some really nice ones out now. Good Luck!

After doing tons of research we almost went with the Pilot, it really is the best in it's class all around (although right witht the Highlander), BUT after checking out the Honda Oddyssey (mini-van), I fell in love! I was dead set not to ever be a "mini-van mom", but the comfort and convienience is SO worth it! With a push of a button the doors slide open and shut, the kids can easily get in and out, even in the back seat, which can be a hassle in SUV's. My kids are 10, 6 & 5 and have tons of after school activities and even with all the gear (and sometimes extra kids!), we never feel crowded. Just wanted to throw that out there, otherwise I would have gone with the Pilot.

I tried all of those when purchasing my car(with the exception of the Saturn). I bought the Honda Pilot, and I love it. Since day one I have not been dissappointed with it, from service at routine oil checks to driving day to day, even the day we purchased my car was nice and you know how car salesmen can be. I am a stay at home mom with two kids who doesn't drive that far but am more like "mom's taxi".

Love my '06 Dodge Durango. Have had no problems with it and gets 17 mpg around town and 19-20 on freeway. Can't put child seats in middle seats in 2nd or 3rd row. Will seat 8. Seats fold down very easily! I would be able to sit comfortably in 3rd row and have had friends and family in that row and they said it was comfortable. My husband doesn't fit comfortably in smaller SUVs, but loves my Durango too (he is a truck guy). Best part is that is was much cheaper than other large suvs out there (by 5-10 thousand)! I've had it a couple of years- bought it used because I refuse to buy new when you can get a 1-year old car for much, much less.

i own a 2009 outlook.....love it...gets 20.0 miles in the city 23.5 0n the road. synthetic oil, nitrogen in tires. love it... looking to make it sporty....also its a xr fully loaded dont waste your cash on the accadia. ron

we had an explorer and just traded in for a newer mercury mountaineer, they have the 3rd row seat and are very roomy and comfortable. they use id say about the same in gas as a minivan, but are a much more enjoyable vehicle! lol so theres an option...its hard with the recession, the gas is awful... good luck

I have a Highlander with the third row and love it. I have three children, ages 17, 10 and 16 months and am expecting our fourth. It's the best! It wonderful on gas.. and we have plenty of space.

My husband has an Expedition... also excellent for room but not for gas!!

We've got a 2004 Toyota RAV4 which gives us about 30mpg. We love it and I've been told the new ones have a 3rd row option and still get about 30mpg or better. I also believe the Toyota Highlander comes as a hybrid but I don't know what its mileage is.

One thing we love about the RAV4 is that the 2nd row seats recline which is great for long trips so that our son can sleep safely. We also have stick shift and just 2-wheel drive to improve the mileage. But a friend has the new one with 4WD and she said she is getting at least 30MPG.

The only criticism of our current car is that it is a little bumpy in the back seat. I suspect the longer wheel-base on the new one helps on that score.

i have 3 kids and had a highlander as a rental and hated it i love my suburban with captians chairs in the 2nd row and a full bench 3rd row and had a tahoe befor it but i also had rentals of a kia sedona that for a mini van type wasnt bad and a king cab truck which wasnt bad.

I have a toyota 4runner V6 with 3rd row. Although I hardly use the 3rd row my daughter loves to sit back there when she needs to. The leg room is small but big enough for kid legs...lol It gets pretty good MPG and I love to drive it. Have fun car shopping : )

We were looking at SUV's and ended up with the Honda Odyssey but I have 4 kids and run carpools my kids are bigger and they enjoy the extra room it can also seat up to 8 if I need it too but mostly I have it in the 7 passenger arrangement. It is easy to change between the two. gas mileage was disapointing maybe as high as 22mpg but mostly 20mpg which is lower than the sticker said.

I have a 2003 Honda pilot and I love it! For a car its size it does get pretty good gas milage (about 18 in the city and 22 on the highway. It is very comfortable and rides like a car not a truck. I have owned mine since 2003 and the only repairs I have had to make are standard like brakes, tires, battery, etc. The only thing I will say is that to access the third row you do have to fold one of the second row seats forward. This is not a big deal and is very easy to do unless you have a car seat in the space you want to fold forward. The third row does have 3 shoulder belts and has plenty of room, I have comfortably taken 8 adults in my car at once. I would not buy any othe car (except an Oddesy, but I love mini vans!).

The 2008 2009 Dodge Journey has optional 3rd row seating you can use or flip down for extra storage room.

I love my Mercury Mountaineer!!!!

I don't personally know about the other two, but when we were looking for the same, the Pilot was on the top of our list until we actually took it for a ride with teh entire family. Although it had great features and is a good quality vehicle, it had next to no cargo space in the trunk area; this would make my semi-monthly grocery shopping trips very rare due to not being able to fit everything in it.

I have heard the same about the Toyota, whereas I heard that the Saturn had the best cargo room.

I'm wondering - does it have to be an SUV, or perhaps you could try looking into mini-vans? That's what we ended up opting for and we got the Chevy Uplander. Large and roomy inside, wonderful features (although it didn't have the driver/passenger climate control), and had a massive cargo area. It was also great on gas.

I have a Chevy Trailblazer with 3rd row seat. It's a bit smaller than a suburban and I think it gets 18-21 mpg. Not great mpg, but after all it is an SUV.

I had a suzuki Grand Vitara and just upgraded to an XL7. I love suzuki. I like the way it drives and safety is great.
I had 3 kids also and we fit great.

I love my Ford Freestyle - it is a "crossover" vehicle. My daughters call it a "mini SUV". I get about 21-22 mpg. It seats 7, but that middle seat really needs to be a kid.

I was in your shoes a few weeks ago. Looked at Acura MDX (too much $, sm 3rd row w hard to move seats), GMC Acadia (lots of room, less $, but felt huge), and Mazda CX-9 (least expensive of all 3, classy, great 3rd row). We bought the Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring (really like the steering wheel controls, but the Touring model was awesome too!) and I LOVE it! Gas mileage is top 21 for AWD (Grand Touring), Acadia's was better, but takes regular unleaded whereas Acura is premium. CX-9 is amazing to drive, lots of pep and very smooth. Seating is generous in all rows, fold flat easily, and so easy to move 3rd row seats forward to get in. 4 cup holders in 3rd row. We added luggage racks as we like our roof pack for travel. I'd recommend looking at it.

I would stay away from the Saturn, the Honda and Toyota are going to be your best bet for reliability and longevity. As for MPG, both Honda and Toyota do rather well and the Highlander has the rather expensive hybrid. Personally, I like the looks of the Highlander better but that is my personal preference. I would compare the safety ratings of both and drive each of them to see what you like and what will meet your needs.

Hello -I don't think SUV and good MPG go together!

But, I have a Saturn Outlook and really like it. I have to believe that it gets better MPG than a Suburban, but not by much.

I got the Outlook that has two rows in the back, seating 3 each. I wish I had bought the one with the captain's chairs in the middle - just a little easier. But the seats I have slide and fold easily for people to get in the back.

When I was looking around last summer, I wanted an SUV (already had been through 2 minivans). I ended up getting another minivan! I did not want to give up the gas milaege (I get about 20 mpg). This is our 2nd Pontiac Montana and we really like it. We have better milaege than an SUV and the room we needed with 3 children.
Good Luck,

Check out www.autotrader.com. I check out this website all the time because we're looking for a new vehicle as well (pregnant with #3)! You can compare up to 3 vehicles. You can look at interior room, MPG, etc...
Personally, we've decided to go with a Toyota Sienna. I have a Toyota 4 Runner right now, with third row seat. The third row in most SUVs is tiny. My 5 year old in her booster seat is the only person who can really fit in the 3rd row. Anyone else and it's just too small. I am totally not a van person at all, but I figure I can suffer for a few years with a van until the kids get big enough so I can get a "cooler" vehicle! Good Luck!

Consumer Reports just came out with their annual car issue in April -- they rate everything from space in the 3rd row, mpg, comfort, handling, etc. As Best Three-row SUBs for families, they recommend the Hyundai Santa Fe, Honda Pilpt, Ford Taurus X, Saturn Outlook, and GMC Acadia. A Brief comment from the issue: "The Santa Fe is quiet and offers an optional third-row seat. The three-row Pilot is a roomier vehicle and seats eight. The wagonlike Taurus X has a relatively roomy third row. Both the Outlook and Acadia seat eight comfortably, are relatively nimble and quiet, and ride well."
There's a lot more info on each vehicle, and I would imagine your local library has a copy of this issue that you could check out or make copies of relevant pages.

i have to second the Pilot I have a 2005 EXL and actually just bought it out of my lease. I had a minor rear end car accident last summer with my pilot (which neither of us were injured) and they gave me a highlander for a rental, I hated it. It was much smaller inside than my pilot. I felt like the cargo room was better in the Pilot, head room much better. I'm 5'6 so I like the height over my head. I felt like I was going to hit the top of the roof in the Highlander. I don't know if this is something either but I felt like the inside was cheap... maybe just the model I had. The windshield also was alot smaller than my pilot so I didn't feel I had as good visibility. Anyway. Love it the MGP is about 20 for just aroud town, 22 with highway travel. Good luck, oh and if you are local to Manchester NH... AutoFair Honda was really good to me.

We own the the Mazda CX-9 which was awarded MOTOR TREND's 2008 Sport/Utility of the Year....we looked around at all sorts of SUV/crossover vehicles before this and we couldn't be happier with our decision - we absolutely love it! We owned a Grand Cherokee before this and had nothing but trouble with it.

Here is a list of the best 3rd row SUVs concerning Gas MIleage


The highlander, 4 Runner, and Pilot are all great. But alot of people like the Chevy Traverse too!


I compiled a list of 3rd row SUVs, their Gas Mileage Ratings and the price for each....check it out!

The Highlander and the 4Runner are at the Top as well as the Chevy Traverse!


I am married to a mechanic, so my perspective is a little different. Number 1: cost to fix the vehicle. Although a Honda Pilot is a great vehicle, when it IS out of warranty, you will pay a FORTUNE for parts.

I currently drive a Honda Element (I can seat 5 if I put a car seat with LATCH in the middle back). Great little car but before it is out of warranty, I am going back to Jeep and trading it in for a 4-door wrangler. They too seat 5, but you can add a "jump seat" to the back and make it a 7 seater.

I also love the Jeep Commander - nicely built, tank of a 4x4, reasonable to fix and part are much cheaper. It also seats 7 (but I used to own a Wrangler and miss it, so that is why I am going back to one).

Best of luck!

I have a Chrysler Aspen and I love it. It is the "parent" version of the Durango. I have the Captain's chairs in the middle row, and, the back row sits 3. My mother has sat in the back comfortably with 2 kids. At one time, I had 4 adults, 2 kids, and, one baby in the car all seated just fine.

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