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Old 12-09-2021, 09:39 AM   #1
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give me your thoughts on 3 row family suv

Hey all,

Looking to purchase a new 3 row mid-size family SUV. I need the configuration of seats to be 2-2-3 (so middle row is captain's chairs). Also trying to stay under 60-65k sticker.

So far have basically narrowed it down to:

Honda Pilot
Toyota Highlander
Lincoln Aviator
Cadillac XT6

My main considerations to get this list were:
-seat configuration
-AWD
-No CVT transmission

I see lots of positive journalist articles about the Kia Telluride/Hyundai Palisades, but I have misgivings about their long term reliability/build quality.

Has long term reliability for Lincoln and Cadillac improved? Do Kias still have transmission/engine issues? How would they compare to a Honda or Toyota? We tend to keep our cars well past 100k miles.

Thanks for any and all thoughts!
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Old 12-09-2021, 09:43 AM   #2
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While it's not exactly mid-sized, the Tahoe is pretty hard to beat in this configuration, especially the new model that is a little less truck-like. If we were replacing our Suburban I'd be looking at the Tahoe. Reliability, in my experience is not an issue. You may have already considered it, but if not it's worth a look.
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Old 12-09-2021, 09:55 AM   #3
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While it's not exactly mid-sized, the Tahoe is pretty hard to beat in this configuration, especially the new model that is a little less truck-like. If we were replacing our Suburban I'd be looking at the Tahoe. Reliability, in my experience is not an issue. You may have already considered it, but if not it's worth a look.
I was looking at the larger American ones for a bit, but we do a fair bit of downtown city parking so I eventually cut them out of the list. As an example the Pilot and Highlander are both 197 inches long and the short wheelbase Yukon comes in at 210
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Old 12-09-2021, 10:02 AM   #4
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We were shopping for just such a vehicle recently (I talked the wife down into what she already has though) and compared several of what you mentioned.
Here are my thoughts.

Both the Kia and Hyundai seem to have resolved their build and reliability issues but still feel "cheaper" than some of the other ones we looked at. That may not be a fair assessment though since I went into it with a bit of confirmation bias thinking that they would feel cheaper.

Only gave a quick glance at the Lincoln and Cadillac's due to price. They were simply more than we wanted to spend and the "imports" seemed to be better bang for the buck. Again some confirmation bias was probably at play.

Did not even look at Honda because every person I know that got any Honda product in the last 10 years or so had issues. And I have never been a Honda fan even when they were supposedly good.

The Highlander was number two of our possible selections. Can't go to far wrong with them but getting a top trim is a bit pricy.

The top of our list and what we would have got if we had moved forward was the Subaru Ascent. It is a very nice vehicle and great value for the money even at the top trim (her cars always MUST be top trim). It does have a CVT but trying to rule that out now really restricts your options. This new gen Subaru CVT is really good though. They have very little resemblance to the old type and it should at least be test driven to see that.
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Old 12-09-2021, 10:47 AM   #5
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I was looking at the larger American ones for a bit, but we do a fair bit of downtown city parking so I eventually cut them out of the list. As an example the Pilot and Highlander are both 197 inches long and the short wheelbase Yukon comes in at 210
Its that extra length that makes it useful for Team Hawk. We primarily use it for travel and often with all three rows occupied so the space behind the 3rd row can be critical.

That said, completely understand where you are coming from. It is a challenge sometimes for urban settings, although with top down views it would be much easier in the newer models. Then again, I'm not sure the Pilot/Highlander being 13 inches shorter will make that much of a difference.
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Old 12-09-2021, 11:08 AM   #6
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I'm currently waiting for the Outlander PHEV
https://www.edmunds.com/mitsubishi/outlander-phev/2023/

The Mazda large SUV PHEV also looks promising but basically no information about them yet.

Nothing currently in the market is really that interesting to me in terms of a family SUV.

IMO, if you want a real 3 row, get a van.
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Old 12-09-2021, 11:17 AM   #7
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Didn't @ichitaka05 just get a Highlander? Maybe he could give some insight about it.

I wouldn't take Hyundai/Kia out of consideration as their products have improved drastically with their SUVs being hot-sellers and are considered top 3, 3-row SUVs, according to Car and Driver, KBB, and Edmunds at least.
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Old 12-09-2021, 11:21 AM   #8
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I am very happy with my Cx9 if that ever makes its way into your comparison. Gas mileage has been exceptional for a vehicle of its size (~23mpg), it's an absolute monster in the snow with snow tires, and build/material quality is top notch (I have a signature). I want to say I paid ~41k for it two years ago. Driving dynamics are IMO best in class, but not sure how important this is for you. Third row size is likely the biggest issue but it is similar to the Highlander in terms of third row space. I have no issues sitting in the third row (I'm 5'8 beefy 230lb).
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Old 12-09-2021, 11:28 AM   #9
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I am very happy with my Cx9 if that ever makes its way into your comparison. Gas mileage has been exceptional for a vehicle of its size (~23mpg), it's an absolute monster in the snow with snow tires, and build/material quality is top notch (I have a signature). I want to say I paid ~41k for it two years ago. Driving dynamics are IMO best in class, but not sure how important this is for you. Third row size is likely the biggest issue but it is similar to the Highlander in terms of third row space. I have no issues sitting in the third row (I'm 5'8 beefy 230lb).

I forgot about the CX-9, being a big Mazda guy, even a fully loaded version is way below OPs budget and their reliability/comfort is top notch.
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Old 12-09-2021, 11:36 AM   #10
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CX9 is being replaced by the CX90. Not sure I'd get a CX9 knowing that.
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Old 12-09-2021, 11:44 AM   #11
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I forgot about the CX-9, being a big Mazda guy, even a fully loaded version is way below OPs budget and their reliability/comfort is top notch.
We absolutely love the CX-9, unfortunately the third row only seats 2, and the 7 seat version makes the second row a bench so that is a deal breaker. If CX-9 was 2-2-3, we would definitely just get that one.
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Old 12-09-2021, 11:44 AM   #12
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I'm currently waiting for the Outlander PHEV
https://www.edmunds.com/mitsubishi/outlander-phev/2023/

The Mazda large SUV PHEV also looks promising but basically no information about them yet.

Nothing currently in the market is really that interesting to me in terms of a family SUV.

IMO, if you want a real 3 row, get a van.
I would be down with a minivan, wife said no way haha
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Old 12-09-2021, 11:47 AM   #13
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CX9 is being replaced by the CX90. Not sure I'd get a CX9 knowing that.

I believe Mazda is starting with the CX-50 early 2022, with the CX-70 and 90 following, but it may not be later in the year since its when they'll be introducing their new Inline-6.
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Old 12-09-2021, 11:49 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Tcoat View Post
We were shopping for just such a vehicle recently (I talked the wife down into what she already has though) and compared several of what you mentioned.
Here are my thoughts.

Both the Kia and Hyundai seem to have resolved their build and reliability issues but still feel "cheaper" than some of the other ones we looked at. That may not be a fair assessment though since I went into it with a bit of confirmation bias thinking that they would feel cheaper.

Only gave a quick glance at the Lincoln and Cadillac's due to price. They were simply more than we wanted to spend and the "imports" seemed to be better bang for the buck. Again some confirmation bias was probably at play.

Did not even look at Honda because every person I know that got any Honda product in the last 10 years or so had issues. And I have never been a Honda fan even when they were supposedly good.

The Highlander was number two of our possible selections. Can't go to far wrong with them but getting a top trim is a bit pricy.

The top of our list and what we would have got if we had moved forward was the Subaru Ascent. It is a very nice vehicle and great value for the money even at the top trim (her cars always MUST be top trim). It does have a CVT but trying to rule that out now really restricts your options. This new gen Subaru CVT is really good though. They have very little resemblance to the old type and it should at least be test driven to see that.
That is very interesting regarding the Honda. We tend to be biased towards Toyota too, but I feel like the general consensus is that Toyota and Honda are equally reliable, but I guess that is not the case?

We do have a 2007 RAV4 with the oil consumption issue that irritates me.

I know Kia has improved in quality recently. But I just saw a series of TikToks by a Kia technician (which led to him getting fired) where he calls out how bad their engines are and shows tons of damaged new engines, so that has me spooked.
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