SUVs are a family person’s dream. But not just family persons, anyone who tends to carry a lot of stuff around would naturally be a big fan of SUVs. However, what are these new hybrid SUVs, and why is a hybrid SUV with 3rd row considered the new must-have, necessity?
SUVs are the ideal car for people who tend to have a lot of baggage. It is spacious and doesn’t have the horror of the minivan doors. The range goes from regular to luxury, so who would pass up on this? This model sounds like everyone’s dream car already. Except it gets better.
The introduction of hybrid SUVs changed the landscape on a pretty big scale. Alternate motors, a slight margin of sustainability, fuel saving, and the added space – all these made the consumer market flock towards this new trend like crazy. And when the manufacturers introduced the 3rd-row seating concept, you can imagine how things became.
Most new 3rd row SUV buyers come from mid-size or even large SUV users. This spike in 3rd row SUVs indicates the demand for family cars, and the manufacturers played right into the needs of the millennial consumer market.
What are some of the good ones, then? Well, there are plenty of options available. If you’re looking for the good ones, buckle up and keep reading. It is going to be a long ride.
- What Is A “Hybrid SUV”?
- What SUVs Have 3rd Row Seating?
- Why Are They A Millennial Necessity?
- Top Hybrid SUVs With 3rd Row Seating
- What Is The Best SUV Hybrid
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Is A Hybrid SUV
Think about how submarines operate. They use diesel when they’re on the surface and a battery for power when they’re underwater. Hybrid SUVs are pretty much that. A hybrid SUV is a vehicle that uses two (or more) different types of engines to operate.
A hybrid SUV utilizes two types of engines for power. One is the typical fuel-powered engine, and the other is a battery-powered motor. The car then recaptures energy using regenerative braking. These engines work better in different conditions and balance the car’s operations to create a win-win scenario.
The gasoline-powered engine is better at maintaining high speed, so when the car operates at high speed for a long time, the gasoline-powered engine takes over.
The electric engine is better at producing turning power (or, in other words, torque). So when the car needs more torque, the electric motor takes over. This isn’t always the scenario. Sometimes the combustion engine does all the work, and sometimes it is the electric one.
The engines sometimes work together when needed. This switch and save ensures maximum fuel efficiency, so the SUVs do better in energy efficiency.
The SUV market is already full of excellent vehicles like the new Cherokee SRT, but the hybrid concept changes the whole landscape. The cars are much more efficient, and the performance change is off the charts. Thus, it is no wonder consumers flocked to the hybrid ones instead of regular SUVs.
Hybrid SUVs come in different ranges. There is your regular mainstream hybrid SUV, the luxury hybrid ones, and then the hybrid SUVs with 3rd-row seatings for maximum space.
1. The Mainstream Hybrid SUVs
This model is the most affordable option of the bunch. Thus, the main goal here is to keep the cost low and affordable for the consumers. But with different car configurations, this is a pretty big challenge.
The manufacturers must find various designs and ways to fit the hybrid components. The battery packs and the cooling system are the most challenging components to fit with the combustion engine.
This design becomes even more challenging for all-wheel drive configurations. The manufacturers have to put a lot of time and thought into this. This factor is one of the reasons why there are so few affordable mainstream SUV options. Sure, companies like Honda are trying to change the landscape, but the day is still pretty far.
2. Luxury Hybrid SUVs
It is what it sounds like – luxurious. Most hybrid SUVs fall in this range, so you get many options for this category. One should expect a hefty price tag when you’re targeting luxury brands. Most hybrid SUVs of this category come from popular platforms that offer the most amazing combustion-only SUVs.
The luxury part of this category usually translates into the car’s interior. The car has heated seats, active driver safety aids, and advanced infotainments – all of the goodness offered in a dual engine setting. The benefits include fuel efficiency, which makes it a lucrative combo for any car user. This is why luxury SUVs cost thousands more than mainstream hybrid SUVs.
Some luxury hybrids even offer 3-row seatings, which makes it all the more attractive. Well, not everything is shiny and glam for the luxury hybrid SUVs. You’ll be paying a hefty amount, but there is no guarantee that these cars will perform better than the non-luxury options.
One thing is for sure; if you have the budget for a luxury hybrid SUV, you’ll be getting the best options available in the market.
3. Hybrid SUVs With 3rd Row Seats
Hybrid SUVs with additional seatings are the latest addition to the line, and they have taken the market by storm (more or less). Many options are available for this category in all price ranges.
This type of car balance the scale with extra interior space and hybrid components like batteries and cooling systems. Sounds very easy; placing all the hybrid components without compromising the interior space is challenging.
Are There Any Electric SUVs with 3rd Row?
Yes, two electric SUVs offer 3-row seating. The more familiar one of these two would be the Tesla Model X. With its three-row setting; the car can seat seven passengers and comes with all the latest features. This model is the only American EV that offers three-row seating.
The other vehicle is from Vietnam. Besides Tesla, only the VinFast VF 9 electric SUV offers three-row seating. The car is supposed to hit the market in late 2022, but it has already made enough splash to turn some heads. This car is a batteries-not-included model. The charging equipment for this will be available through subscription, and the vehicle will have two types of trims.
The initial price for VinFast is supposed to be $55,000. There is no ceiling price yet, but the announcement should be coming soon, considering it is a late 2022 release.
Another option is the Volkswagen ID. Buzz, but that is more like a distant plan. The car is about to hit the market at the end of 2023. Most of the features for this car are still under the wraps, but the company confirms that the vehicle will have three passenger rows. The problem is that only the US version of the car will have three passenger rows.
What Hybrid SUVs Have 3rd Row Seating
A lot of them. There are many SUVs with 3rd-row seating systems, electric or not. Most of these SUVs are in the luxury range, but there are some affordable, mainstream options too. Most of the 3-row seating SUV comes from more prominent companies like Toyota, Kia, and Mercedes.
Why Are They Called A Millennial Necessity
People call them the Millennial Necessity because most of the current 3-row SUV buyers are from that age range.
SUVs with additional seating have been a significant demand from the American consumer base for a long time, or as Jeffrey Lear from Volkswagen puts it, “families want three rows.” Due to the millennial family expansion, the current need for three-row SUVs has been high.
Most millennials are entering their peak income year, so family growth is a given. These extended family consumers comprise the most significant portion of 3rd row SUV buyers. Since most consumers are from the millennial age range, SUVs with 3rd-row seating systems are considered a “millennial necessity.”
Top Picks For Hybrid SUVs With 3rd Row Seating
Going for a hybrid SUV is a good idea, but the choice gets tricky when you’re looking for something with three passenger rows. Sure, there are many good options, but there are also many things you must consider before getting one.
With all that in mind, here are our top picks of hybrid SUVs with three passenger rows to make your research a little easier.
Hybrid SUV With 3rd Row #1: Ford Explorer
Seating capacity: 7
Let’s start with the least flashy one on the list. The Ford Explorer falls pretty far behind its rivals when it comes to looks. But what it lacks in appearance, it makes up for its performance. This car may not be the best option, but it is pretty decent.
The Ford Explorer comes with two energetic engine choices. The usual choice of engines is the 3.3-liter V-6 engine paired with an electric motor. The motor generates 318 hp power while the electric motor puts out a 322 lb.-ft. Torque power. This feature may not sound much now, but it sure does act like it when paired with the smooth 10-speed automatic transmission.
The engine power goes to the rear end (imagine the all-wheel-drive configuration), so the car performs well. Besides its engine, the Ford Explorer model offers some fantastic features.
The interior includes:
- Leather upholstery.
- Driver and front passenger seats with heating and ventilation.
- A second-row captain’s chairs with heat.
The steering wheels also have heating mechanisms. But the main attraction, of course, is the power-folding third row.
The fuel economy of this SUV may not be for everyone. The economy is decent, but nothing to die over. This car is rated 25 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway by the EPA. The combined rating stands at 26 mpg, barely measuring up against the price tag on its head.
Hybrid SUV With 3rd Row #2: Kia Sorento Hybrid
Seating capacity: 6
Kia is one of the most familiar names in the hybrid SUV world. You think hybrid SUVs, and there’s no way you can skip Kia. The Kia Sorento does good in holding up the brand even after its complete redesign. This car is one of the best entry-level options for hybrid SUVs.
Kia Sorento is a mid-size hybrid SUV with a fantastic performance output. The engine comes with two choices. The baseline choice is the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor. The combustion motor generates 191 hp, and the electric motor generates 181 lb.-feet of torque.
The other choice is a 2.5-liter turbo-four that produces 281 hp paired with 311 lb.-feet of torque. The upgraded option may sound better, but the fuel economy says otherwise.
The Kia Sorento has an 8-speed automatic transmission to distribute the power evenly. The other features are pretty impressive too. It has a rear blind spot collision avoidance feature and a cross-traffic collision avoidance feature. Both of these will look out for you while you drive. Another notable feature is remote start.
To put it in a way, the interior of the Kia Sorento is attractive. Unlike most hybrid SUVs, the Kia Sorento is a six-seater, holding six passengers. This kind of defeats the whole purpose of a third passenger row since the goal is to have more space. But this is a good choice if you’re looking for something entry-level and have no problem with that.
The fuel economy of this model is impressive compared to the Ford models. The engine is rated 39 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. The combined rating is 37 mpg which is pretty impressive for a vehicle of this price range. If you’re going for Sorento’s plug-in variation, you’ll get a combined rating of 34 mpg.
Another thing to note is that the base engine has better fuel economy than the upgraded one. So if fuel economy is your priority, go for the base engine.
Hybrid SUV With 3rd Row #3: Toyota Highlander
Seating capacity: 8
Let’s be honest: the Toyota Highlander is the face of hybrid SUVs. This model has drawn consumers in since its introduction in the market. The version is stylish, sleek, and somehow still spacious. All these combined, it is pretty hard to pass on the Toyota Highlander when considering hybrid SUVs.
The Toyota Highlander is like magic in a vehicle if you can afford the price. This model is as best as it gets – exterior, interior, and fuel economy-wise. This is a mid-size SUV geared towards the luxury end of consumers. There’s a reason why Toyota drivers are so loyal to the brand, and this car is a suitable materialization of the cause.
The Toyota Highlander comes with a V6 engine that generates 295 hp power. The car has a high-performing electric motor that produces 263 lb.-ft. Of torque power. The smooth 8-speed automatic transmission distributes this, so you can imagine how exceptional the performance would be.
This hybrid SUV has other pretty unique features too. It has all the modern features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, and the interior is more than impressive. The main attraction of this model is its storage space. It can carry eight passengers, which is the highest on this list. The cargo space is significant, too, though it might feel slightly cramped compared to its rivals.
The fuel economy is another key point of this vehicle. You’ll rarely see a hybrid SUV with such well-rounded figures for fuel economy. Toyota Highlander has a 35 mpg rating in the city and a 35 mpg rating on the highway. The combined rating is 35, a pretty impressive mpg.
The only user complaint for this model is that the all-wheel drive can stutter a bit, but other than that, this is the most all-rounded number on this list.
Hybrid SUV With 3rd Row #4: Lexus RX
The Lexus RX is one of the top hybrid options available in the market. The earlier versions didn’t have three passenger rows, but the latest version does, so it qualifies. The Lexus RX is a luxury model, so the pricing is slightly higher than the rest, but it is worth it.
Lexus RX has an impeccable build and is available in 6 trim levels. If you’re more feature-focused, then this is probably your ideal match. This car offers many luxury features; as a bonus, the performance is top tier.
Lexus RX has a gas-powered 3.5-liter V6 combustion motor. Unlike its rivals, it uses two electric motors for a combined 318hp output. The torque power in this is 247 lb.-ft, which is pretty impressive for a luxury car.
The cargo space is ample, but the cargo capacity is slightly less than expected. Even though it has three passenger rows, it carries six persons instead of the regular seven its rivals offer. For its price point, that can be a deal-breaker for some people.
The highlight of this car is its luxury features. It has a rear-seat DVD/CD player that complements a 12-speaker sound system. It also has a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, but that’s not all. The Lexus RX also has other modern features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.
The fuel economy in this is pretty impressive too. The car will give you 29 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. The combined rating stands at a solid 29 mpg.
What Is The Best Hybrid SUV With 3rd Row
When picking the best, everything comes down to personal preferences (for the most part, at least). There is no definite answer to this question. If you’re looking for a budget option and don’t mind a little less space, the Kia Sorento is the best SUV hybrid. The Toyota Highlander is a no-brainer pick if you’re looking for a more all-rounder option.
The Ford Explorer is a perfect fit if you want something less flashy but all the good hybrid SUV features. And if you’re more of a feature-oriented person with practically no cap on your budget, go for the Lexus RX. It doesn’t get more luxurious than that one.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
It is almost impossible to cover all about hybrid SUVs in one article, so, understandably, you might have more questions. To help you out, here are some questions related to a hybrid SUV with 3rd row…
Which SUV Has The Best Gas Mileage
That depends. Considering all hybrid and non-hybrid SUVs, the Tesla Model Y beats everyone else with a 129 mpg rating, granted an EV might be measured differently compared to a hybrid or ICE-only SUV.
Does The RAV4 Have The 3rd Row
That depends on the model you’re looking at. If it is the RAV4 2005-2012 version, there is a third passenger row option. The newer models, unfortunately, don’t have this option.
What Is The Gas Mileage On A Toyota Highlander
Toyota Highlander has a pretty well-rounded gas mileage. It goes 35 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. The combined gas mileage is 35 mpg.
Is 16 MPG Good
If you’re talking cars, then it is a no, unfortunately. A vehicle should get you around 50-60 mpg when it is new and shouldn’t fall below 20 mpg. So no, 16 mpg isn’t a good number.
What SUV Seats 8
A lot of them. Toyota Highlander will be the answer if you’re talking hybrid SUVs. Other than that, SUVs like Subaru Ascent, Kia Telluride, and Hyundai Palisade have eight-passenger seatings.
What Mercedes SUV Has 3 Rows
The Mercedes-Benz models GLB SUV, GLE SUV, and GLS SUV have three passenger rows.
Hybrid SUV With 3rd Row: In Conclusion…
Hybrid SUVs with 3rd-row seating systems are one of the most significant parts of the automobile industry. Most people with a family prefer a larger vehicle to move them around. While the mainstream SUVs get the job done, the hybrid SUVs are the better option if you’re worried about fuel economy.