Find the Perfect Used Three-Row SUV for Your Family

A grey 2020 Honda Pilot is shown kicking up mud after looking for used SUVs for sale.

You have many options available to you as you look at different used SUVs for sale and try to find the right one for your family. One of the best ways to narrow things down is to choose a key feature or two that you absolutely must have since that will eliminate a lot of models that won’t work for you. For example, we know many people with big or growing families who are concerned that an SUV with just two rows of seating inside won’t meet their needs in the future. Naturally, they’ll wanna look for a three-row SUV, but we’re not necessarily talking about full-size models since those can be a bit large for some of our customers. A great three-row SUV gives you a third row for extra passenger seating, but at a size closer to a midsize model, so you have something at a manageable size that’ll still give you the room you need. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite three-row SUVs so you can keep an eye out for them when exploring used models.

The Honda Pilot

First introduced for the 2003 model year, the Honda Pilot is the perfect example of everything you want in a family SUV. Big enough for everyone to load in before you hit the road but also able to fit into your lifestyle, a used Pilot is a terrific choice when you need a three-row SUV with great features inside and out. As one of the older three-row SUVs out there, the Honda Pilot has repeatedly proven itself over the years, and being a Honda model, you know that it’s a dependable option that’s perfect for growing families. The third generation of the Pilot kicked off with the 2016 model year, so that’s about as far back as we’d go, and the third generation received a gorgeous facelift starting in 2019. If you’re more interested in the latest features, the fourth-generation Pilot is a strong option, having launched in 2023.

The Subaru Ascent

While the Honda Pilot has been around for over two decades, the Subaru Ascent is a newer contender and a more recent addition to this popular SUV segment. First introduced with the 2019 model year, this means any pre-owned Ascent you find is going to have modern features and amenities inside it, which can be pretty convenient but can also mean you’re looking at a heftier price tag than a used Honda Pilot from before 2019, so keep that in mind when exploring your options. Do note that Subaru significantly improved the standard safety features on the Ascent for the 2021 model year, such as making the steering-responsive LED headlights with automatic high beams standard on all trim levels, making it an excellent baseline year to look for when exploring used options.

A maroon 2016 Toyota Highlander is shown from the front driving on a city street.

The Toyota Highlander

One of the oldest models we’ll look at today, the Highlander, launched in 2001 and helped kick off the modern design trends of midsize crossover SUVs. In its early years, it was available with either five seats or an extra row for seven-passenger seating (this option started with the 2004 model). Starting with its second generation and the 2008 model, the Highlander has exclusively been a three-row SUV, making it a terrific option when looking at used models. Look for a Highlander from 2017 if you want to enjoy an updated and restyled third-generation model or one from 2020 if you want a fourth-generation version with more modern tech features. Regardless of your choice, the Highlander is one of our favorites when looking at used options and is a vehicle you can count on for many years.

The Chevy Traverse

If you prefer a domestic brand for your next SUV, then the Chevy Traverse is a terrific three-row model that offers excellent performance and a spacious interior. While a bit of a bigger SUV, it’s not as large as the Chevy Suburban, providing you with plenty of room inside for your passengers and everything you need to bring along with you. First released for the 2009 model year, the Traverse has always been a comfortably spacious SUV, though it was refreshed and updated for 2013, with a second generation launching for the 2018 model year. Chevy refreshed the Traverse again in 2022 with new looks and notably improved standard safety tech to help protect you and your family.

The Ford Explorer

Surpassing the Toyota Highlander, the Ford Explorer has been around since the beginning of the 1990s, but it’s changed a lot throughout the years. Both compact and midsize models were originally available, but the compact version was discontinued in 2002. The launch of the third-generation Explorer that year also marked a complete redesign that included the addition of an available third row of seats, offering seating inside for up to seven passengers. This has remained an integral part of the Ford Explorer design, making it one of our favorite options among used SUVs for large families. We’d go with a fifth-generation Explorer at the earliest, preferably from 2016 or later when it received a substantial refresh.

The Kia Sorento

As an SUV that’s been around for over 20 years, the Kia Sorento has changed quite a bit, much like the Explorer. When it was first released for the 2003 model year, the Sorento was a compact SUV, but the launch of its second generation in 2011 saw it grow into a larger midsize model thanks to a complete redesign. This larger size allows for an optional third row of passenger seating, which means that a Sorento from 2015 and later can have seating for five or seven passengers depending on its interior configuration, so keep that in mind as you look at different used models. Starting with the 2019 model, which marked an update and facelift for the Sorento’s third generation, the third row of seats became standard in all models. That makes this a good one to look for if seven-passenger seating is key for you. Naturally, the fourth generation from 2021 onwards has the most up-to-date technology if you’re looking for something used but a little more modern.

A grey 2018 Mazda CX-9 is shown from the rear driving on a city street.

The Mazda CX-9

Another one of our favorites from overseas, the Mazda CX-9, has been available since its launch in the 2007 model year, and it quickly found many fans looking for a great family SUV. This has always been a three-row model with seating for seven passengers, so you don’t have to worry about finding a used vehicle that seems perfect only to discover it lacks seats. We suggest a 2016 model as the earliest model to look for since this year kicked off the second generation for the CX-9. However, 2018 models gained more standard active safety features, and more luxury tech was made standard for 2019. While the CX-90 has replaced this beauty here in the US, you can still find a pre-owned CX-9 that’s an excellent choice for getting your family where you need to go each day.

Find a Used SUV With Everything You Need

As you can see, you have a wide range of excellent options when looking for a three-row SUV for your family, and there are even more that we didn’t have time to get into today. This assumes that you’re not looking for something quite as large as a full-size model, which would give you access to even more great options. With so many terrific SUVs, it can be tricky to navigate them all, look at what they offer, and make sure you pick the right one with everything you want. Fortunately, that’s why we’re here at Klein Honda to help you find a used SUV that will work well for you so you can drive away completely happy in the perfect vehicle. All you have to do is decide which features are most important in your next ride, and we can help you get an SUV you’ll love.