At Chicago Auto Show, car companies show off increasingly popular family-size, three-row SUVs

Dave Kunz Image
Tuesday, March 14, 2023
Family-size, three-row SUVs gain in popularity, offer more choices
Car companies unveiled their newest models of family-sized, three-row SUVs that are spacious for both the kids and adults.

CHICAGO (KABC) -- At this year's Chicago Auto Show, Toyota unveiled the 2024 Grand Highlander.

It's larger than the popular Highlander model, with the emphasis on increased interior room. And in particular, the third-row seat, which Toyota says can hold actual adults in relative comfort.

The Grand Highlander will arrive in Toyota showrooms later this year, with prices to be announced closer to then.

Going even larger in the three-row category is Toyota's new Sequoia, introduced just last year.

Lots of room for up to eight adults here, too, but you will have to deal with a much larger vehicle on the outside. Under the hood, hybrid power is standard for a bit of extra efficiency. Prices for the new large Toyota model range from about $60,000 for a two-wheel drive SR5 trim, to nearly $80,000 for the new high-end Capstone trim model with four-wheel drive.

The Sequoia is partly taking aim at the big GM SUVs, from Chevrolet, GMC and Cadillac. The Escalade continues to wear the Cadillac crest, and is now available with another badge: the one denoting V-Series. That's Caddy's long-time performance line, but this is the first time an Escalade has been given the V treatment.

Over 680 screaming horsepower from a supercharged V8. As Cadillac and GM head to a future of electric vehicles, this may be a bit of a last hurrah for a gasoline-burning high-performance SUV, at a rather jaw-dropping starting price of $150,000. Other Escalade models start closer to the $80,000 mark.

If you need three rows in something both rugged and British, Land Rover recently expanded its Defender line, in quite the literal sense. Now, in addition to the Defender 90 and Defender 110, there's the new Defender 130. As its numerical designation suggests, it's longer, and roomier inside, with a starting price of about $70,000. Again, a third row for adults to not feel cramped in, while riding in a pretty rugged-looking vehicle that can handle any terrain. Or pavement, too.

As the new vehicle market continues to shift away from traditional cars to SUVs of all shapes and sizes, the selection of three-row models is growing accordingly. There's now more variety available than ever before.

Want to go electric, and carry people? Mercedes Benz's newest EV is the EQS SUV. Yep, there's a third row of seats, and a state-of-the-art electric powertrain to move your passengers along in quiet comfort. Not quite the interior room of the conventional GLS model, but their roomiest EV so far, and the first one built in the US. Battery range is up to 305 miles, and prices for this luxury electric SUV start at just over $105,000.

Not everyone uses all those seats in these various models all the time. Some buyers may never use them. But it's a selling feature for many, as one of those "just in case" things. Whether you're planning a night on the town, or a week on the road, with these three-row models you can put more people on your passenger list.