If you have a larger family, you know how important the third row can be in an SUV. Yet, these vehicles can also guzzle up a lot of fuel. That’s why it’s important to evaluate the best three-row hybrid SUVs to see how you can save money at the pump.
In this guide, we cover the top hybrid SUVs with a third row. We also look at what factors to consider and we answer some of your top questions.
If you are looking for a three-row hybrid SUV, consider the Toyota Sequoia, Ford Explorer Hybrid, Lincoln Aviator, Volvo XC90 and the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. There’s also the Kia Sorento Hybrid, BMW X5, Mazda CX-90 PHEV, Audi Q7 and Lexus TX 500h to consider.
Here are some of the specs to keep in mind.
1. Toyota Sequoia
For the 2023 model year, the Sequoia was redesigned by Toyota. The standard powertrain configuration is now hybrid, but it doesn’t lose any off-road capability that it previously had. Among the three rows, you can choose a seven- or eight-passenger configuration. Cargo capacity is among the top reasons to drive this Toyota SUV, with 22.3 cubic feet behind the back row, 49 cubic feet when the third row is folded down and 86.9 total cubic feet when both back rows are down.
The hybrid powertrain includes a 3.5L twin-turbocharged V6 gas engine with an electric motor and battery pack. There’s also a ten-speed automatic transmission and this powertrain is rated for 437 horsepower.
- MSRP: $58,300
- Fuel Economy: 21/24 mpg RWD or 19/22 FWD
2. Ford Explorer Hybrid
The Ford Explorer Hybrid is another top contender, especially if you want some mild off-road capability. While the base configuration offers room for six people, you can swap the second-row captain’s chairs for a bench seat and increase that capacity to seven. Plus, the cargo space measures 18.2 behind the back row, 47.9 cubic feet with the third row down and 87.8 total cubic feet with both back rows down.
The Hybrid Explorer has one powertrain option, a 3.3L V6 gas engine with an electric motor to create 318 horsepower. It also comes with a ten-speed automatic transmission.
- MSRP: $47,420
- Fuel Economy: 27/28 mpg RWD or 23/26 FWD
3. Lincoln Aviator
If you want something more luxurious, consider the Lincoln Aviator. While the third row is a little more cramped than other choices, this model has all of the top-notch features you are looking for. Just be prepared to pay the premium price for it. All hybrid models include standard leather upholstery and advanced technologies for an enjoyable ride.
The plug-in hybrid Aviator contains a V6 gas engine with electric motors to create 494 horsepower. This is paired with a ten-speed automatic transmission.
- MSRP: $70,190
- Fuel Economy: 54/58 mpge
4. Volvo XC90
There’s no argument that the Volvo XC90 is a comfortable option. It’s designed to hold seven people in the three rows but can also be equipped with second-row captain’s chairs, which decreases the seating room to six. Cargo space measures 15.8 cubic feet in the rear, 41.8 cubic feet with the back row down and 85.7 total cubic feet when both back rows are down.
The plug-in variant is called the T8 Recharge. It includes a combination of turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder engine with a battery pack and two electric motors to create 455 horsepower. This Volvo also gets 36 miles of all-electric driving, has standard all-wheel drive and includes an eight-speed automatic transmission.
- MSRP: $57,200
- Fuel Economy: 57 combined mpg
5. Toyota Highlander Hybrid
The Highlander Hybrid has been a fan favorite, even among the top automotive publications. There are only two downsides talked about. First, it’s a little expensive for a generic SUV without luxury features, and the third row isn’t equipped for full-size adults. However, you can squeeze in eight people if you have children. As far as cargo space, it’s rated at 16, 48.4 and 84.3 cubic feet, respectively.
The powertrain includes a 2.5L four-cylinder gas engine with two electric motors to create 243 horsepower. It also includes a CVT.
- MSRP: $40,620
- Fuel Economy: 36/35 mpg FWD or 35/35 mpg AWD
6. Kia Sorento Hybrid
The Kia Sorento Hybrid offers a standard or plug-in hybrid variant. The base model holds six people in the three rows, or you can choose to hold seven, but the layout gets more cramped. Cargo space is also on the smaller side at 12.6, 45, and 75.5 cubic feet, respectively.
The hybrid powertrain is a turbo-four with an electric motor to create 227 horsepower. With the Sorento PHEV, there’s also a lithium-ion battery pack included that helps increase output to 261 horsepower. With this model, expect 32 miles of all-electric driving. Yet, both include a six-speed automatic transmission.
- MSRP: $36,690
- Fuel Economy: 39/35 FWD or 36/33 mpg AWD (hybrid)
7. BMW X5
Are you hoping for a little more luxury? If so, the BMW X5 might be right for you. It’s among the most luxurious on the road but does have a cramped back seat. The xDrive45e PHEV doesn’t skimp on any feature, with its standard Merino leather upholstery and 20-way power front seats with massage and ventilation.
The powertrain includes a turbo inline-six gas engine with an electric motor to create 389 combined horsepower. It also features standard all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. You can also expect an electric-only driving range of up to 30 miles.
- MSRP: $65,700
- Fuel Economy: 50 mpge
8. Mazda CX-90 PHEV
The Mazda CX-90 PHEV should never be overlooked, even though it’s the new kid to the party. It can hold seven to eight people, depending on the configuration, and it guarantees a comfortable drive. The cabin is verging on luxury, but the price doesn’t show it.
Under the hood is a four-cylinder gas engine with an electric motor to create 323 horsepower. It comes standard with all-wheel drive but only has an electric range of up to 26 miles.
- MSRP: $47,445
- Fuel Economy: TBA
9. Audi Q7
Another luxury option is the Q7 from Audi. This crossover SUV drives like a sports car, even though it offers space for the whole family. Looking at cargo space, the dimensions measure 14.2, 35.7 and 69.2, respectively.
You have a couple of different hybrid powertrain options to choose from. The base model includes a turbo-four with a 12-volt hybrid system to create 261 horsepower. There’s also a Premium 55 model that has a V6 and 48-volt hybrid system to create 335 horsepower. Both models include standard all-wheel drive.
- MSRP: $59,200
- Fuel Economy: 19/25 mpg (base)
10. Lexus TX 500h
At the time of publication, the Lexus TX 500h hasn’t been released yet, but it’s going to be in the mix soon, so it deserved a spot on our list. This three-row hybrid SUV replaces the RX-L. It will be available in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid configurations.
The TX500h F Sport Performance model is set to produce 366 horsepower with a 2.4L turbo-four and electric motor. It can also be equipped with rear- or all-wheel drive.
- MSRP: $65,000 (est.)
- Fuel Economy: 24 mpg combined
What Should I Look For in a Hybrid SUV?
The color of the SUV isn’t what’s going to be most important when traveling with your family. Instead, you want to consider safety ratings, fuel economy, value, reliability and capacity before choosing a hybrid model to drive.
Here’s a closer look at these aspects.
When you travel with your family, the safety ratings should be among the most important factors. With all of the advanced safety equipment, many of today’s models are considered safe, but it’s still wise to look into the ratings. We recommend looking at the IIHS website.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) labels the top models so you can easily see which ones are recommended. If the model you want isn’t listed as a top choice, search for it by name to see how it compares.
Part of the reason for owning a hybrid SUV is to ensure you spend less on fuel. While some models are labeled as hybrid, the fuel economy ratings aren’t much better than the gas-powered variant, leaving you with little savings in the long run.
Take a look at fueleconomy.gov to get the ranking on any car you are considering. Even if you find a model that gets three mpg more than another, that’s a big savings with each tank of gas.
While looking at cost, you want to consider the overall value you receive. The manufacturer’s recommended retail price (MSRP) is important, but it’s not the only thing to look at. You must also consider what it may cost to maintain and repair this vehicle. The average cost of ownership can be found on sites such as Edmunds.
Additionally, you must factor in the insurance premiums. Luxury models are going to cost more to insure and repair, so that plays a big role in your cost of ownership.
Many of today’s hybrids are newer, meaning there’s not a lot of history to pull from. Yet, you can do some research to see what the top automotive publications think about the vehicle and its projected reliability.
Aside from that, it helps to stick to the most reliable car brands when choosing a hybrid. You also want a brand that offers a lengthy warranty, ensuring you are protected if something goes wrong.
If you are looking at three-row SUVs, it’s clear that you need extra space. It’s important to know how many people the hybrid SUV can hold, with some capable of hauling six and others accommodating seven.
The cargo area is another concern because you have plenty of gear to carry with all of those people. Examine all of the measurements before making a decision.
Are there any hybrid SUVs with a third row?
Yes, some of the top choices include the Toyota Sequoia, Ford Explorer Hybrid, Lincoln Aviator, Volvo XC90 and the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Otherwise, you may want to look at the Kia Sorento Hybrid, BMW X5, Mazda CX-90 PHEV, Audi Q7 and Lexus TX 500h.
What is the most affordable hybrid 3-row SUV?
The Kia Sorento Hybrid is one of the cheapest, with an MSRP of $36,690. However, for just a little more, you could get behind the wheel of a Toyota Highlander Hybrid. This Toyota SUV has an MSRP of $40,620. Aside from those, there are several hybrid SUVs priced under $60,000.
What are the disadvantages of a hybrid SUV?
The price tag of a hybrid SUV is usually more than the gas-powered variant. Additionally, there are normally more problems to deal with and the cost of maintenance or repair could be higher. This extra cost may be made up by the savings of fuel over time.
Is there a hybrid Telluride?
Despite being competition for the Toyota Highlander, the Kia Telluride doesn’t offer a hybrid powertrain option. All models include a V6 gas engine. The MSRP of the base model is $37,255, so for just a little more money, you could be behind the wheel of a hybrid three-row SUV instead.
It may seem that the options for a three-row hybrid SUV are limited right now, but manufacturers are jumping on board and starting to release more choices. Over the next few years, we expect to see an explosion of hybrid models, giving you even more options.
Yet, even with what’s available now, there are plenty of choices to pick from. Many of the top brands have earned a spot in this list, allowing you to stick to the automaker you trust and respect the most.