What are the best SUVs for passengers? We reviewed pages and pages of specs, comparing everything from luxury and legroom. Here’s what we found!
You always want to look at the big picture when purchasing a vehicle. What’s the overall best package? Power, safety features, and fuel economy are all factors to look at, but so is comfort. If you have a large family, give rides to your teenagers’ friends, or carpool, then passenger comfort is something that’s particularly important. Between mid-size and full-size SUVs, there are a couple of dozen options in all price points to choose from, but which ones have the most legroom? Which of them has the most passenger-friendly features?
Here’s a list to help find the best one for you and your entire pack of passengers. Unless they’re taller than most, front passengers won’t be suffering from lack of legroom in any of these options. If you are on the tall side, though, we have an entire list of the Best Cars for Tall People.
The 2022 Infiniti QX80 isn’t cheap. The Luxe trim has a MSRP of $71,100. Moving up to the Sensory moves the price up to $82,735. However, you also get a lot of SUV in return. Luxury is abundant. Leather-appointed seating is found on the lower two trims, while quilted semi-aniline leather-appointed seats are used in the 2022 Infiniti QX80 Sensory. Outboard-only heated second-row seats are only included in the 2022 Infiniti QX80 Sensory though.
The front-row passenger has an eight-way powered seat that includes two-way power lumbar support. Third-row passengers have power-recline ability with their contoured seats, too. Second-row passengers get 41 inches of legroom, which is a decent number for SUVs this size. The third row gets tighter with 28.8 inches of space. If there aren’t as many passengers in the vehicle, and there’s a need to transport a large object, the third-row seats can fold flat with a power 60/40-split, or recline.
When the base trim starts at over $70,000 you’d hope there are a lot of standard features. There are. Rear-seat reading lights are included with every model. So are screens on the back of the first-row headrests for second-row passengers to use and view. Second-row passengers also have a center console armrest of their own. That storage is in addition to the front seatback map pockets and door pockets. Although it’s not a necessity, there are second-row footwell courtesy lights for passengers trying to climb into the rear seats on a dark evening. With amenities like that, the second row isn’t a bad place to be!
Some typical features that you’ll find in other SUVs, too, can be found in the Infiniti QX80. Those features include four cup holders, eight bottle holders, wireless charging, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto wireless integration, a SiriusXM trial, and a WiFi hotspot. Passengers can enjoy music coming from a Bose Series 17-speaker sound system in the Sensory trim, too. Lower trims have a Bose 13-speaker sound system.
While a 2022 Ford Expedition still comes with a hefty price tag (starting at $52,620 and going all the way up to $80,805), it is considerably cheaper than luxury-branded SUVs. This Ford still has a lot of comfort and technology. The Expedition XL only seats five people, so you’ll need to go up to at least a 2022 Ford Expedition XLT if you want to seat up to eight. The 2022 XLT has optional power-folding second and third rows. There’s also an optional eight-way power front passenger seat with lumbar support. Finally, there is an optional synthetic seating material called ActiveX. It’s supposed to be easier to clean and resistant to staining. Passengers can settle into 41.5 inches of legroom and 64.8 inches of shoulder space in the second row. Third-row passengers have 36.1 inches of legroom and 64.2 inches of shoulder room.
There are six trims to choose from with a 2022 Ford Expedition, so standard features vary by trim level. You can compare all the trims in our 2022 Ford Expedition Review, but at the top is the Ford Expedition Platinum. Passenger comfort shouldn’t be hard to achieve in the Platinum. The seats are not only relaxing but they are also trimmed with leather. The front row passenger has heated and ventilated seats. Not to be left out, second-row seats are heated as well. The heat or air conditioning in the cabin can be increased or decreased with tri-zone temperature control.
For entertainment, the Ford Expedition Platinum has a WiFi hotspot, a 22-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, and smart-charging multimedia USB ports. An optional dual rear headrest entertainment system includes two screens, headphones, and plug-in connections. All the radio basics (SiriusXM, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto) are part of the deal, too.
At $33,600 MSRP on the base SE trim, the 2022 Hyundai Palisade isn’t as luxurious as some of the other SUVs on this list. Even the Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy, sitting at the top of the trim ladder, can’t quite compete when it comes to interior quality. It does have impressive Nappa leather upholstery, and the seats provide good support, but hard plastics aren’t hard to find in the Palisade.
The Hyundai Palisade still has a lot to offer though. It has some features that are harder to find with other makes and models. For example, the Palisade Limited and Calligraphy trims come standard with an in-car intercom so the driver can easily talk to someone in the third row. 12 speakers will play audio throughout the SUV, but if back-row passengers are exhausted and just want to get some rest, a Palisade driver can activate quiet mode, which mutes audio in the rear part of the cabin.
Like others on this list, the 2022 Hyundai Palisade includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and SiriusXM integration. Second-row passengers are given the ability to control the fan speed and temperature of their second-row HVAC vents. Third-row passengers have HVAC vents of their own, but can’t control them.
What makes the Hyundai Palisade even more appealing is that it has an entire inch of extra legroom than most of the other vehicles mentioned here. Second-row passengers are given 42.4-inches of legroom! Third-row passengers get more in the Hyundai Palisade than others, too. They have 31.4-inches to work with. The features of every trim level are detailed in our 2022 Hyundai Palisade review, so click over there to read more about that model.
Another SUV option that has a lot of comfort without being too costly is the 2022 Kia Telluride. It starts at $33,390. Like the Hyundai Palisade, the Kia Telluride is another example of an affordable SUV that can easily seat eight people. Anyone who has been in a Kia Telluride agrees that this SUV is a rising star. In our 2020 Kia Telluride Review, we mentioned how the vehicle blends value and features.
An accommodating 42.4 inches is reserved for second-row passenger legroom. Third-row passengers have 31.4 inches to stretch. Seats are SynTex on the LX and S trims, leather trimmed on the EX and SX trims, or Nappa leather for a little bit extra on the high-end SX trim. Regardless of the material, the seats are well-cushioned. First row seats are climate controlled. That option is available for second-row seats on the SX trim, too. Second-row passengers can adjust their temperature on all 2022 Kia Telluride models by using automatic rear passenger climate control.
The Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride are built on the same platform and have the same power under the hood, so it stands to reason that the two SUVs share some of the same features, too. Quiet mode, the driver intercom system, Android and Apple integration are all offered in a 2022 Kia Telluride. The Telluride does not have powered second or third-row split-folding seats, while the Palisade does. That’s a pretty small inconvenience to put up with though.
Another slight difference is USB ports. The Kia Telluride has one additional USB port. There are six charging USB ports and one for playing media. If you’re a front passenger in the Telluride, you can also benefit from a 10.25-inch touchscreen, slightly larger than the Palisade’s eight-inch touchscreen. Basically, the Telluride offers much of the same as the Palisade but it gives you another option when it comes to exterior styling. For a complete analysis of the 2022 model, be sure to look at our 2022 Kia Telluride Review.
The Lincoln Navigator really ups the ante when it comes to extravagance. We first mentioned some of the comfort-focused features in our full 2022 Lincoln Navigator review. While most front row passenger seats have eight or 12-way power adjustments, the Navigator takes it to a whole new level with 24-way front seats. 30-way adjustable seats are standard on the top-level trims! The Navigator has some of the best legroom with 41.1 inches for the second-row passengers and 36.1 inches for third-row passengers.
Seats are heated and ventilated in the front and second rows. The front row passenger seat has memory settings on all 2022 Lincoln Navigator trims except for the base. Both second and third-row seats have a power-folding function. Comfortable leather seats make long car rides, dare I say, enjoyable in the Navigator. The brandy-colored stitching helps give the vehicle a first-class feeling.
The Lincoln entertainment system includes built-in 10.1-inch screens, voice remotes, Bluetooth headphones, and Amazon Fire TV, which allows Amazon Prime TV content to be played without connectivity. The Amazon partnership includes the option of adding Alexa to the vehicle. The 2022 Navigator also includes a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, HD Radio with at least 14 speakers, and a 3D audio system. Front passengers can re-up their devices with a wireless charging pad. Whether it’s space, entertainment functions, or seat quality, the Lincoln Navigator is hard to beat.
The 2022 GMC Yukon and 2022 Chevrolet Suburban are similar since both are built on the same General Motors platform, but there are a few differences. The Suburban can seat up to nine people while the Yukon seats up to eight. The Suburban has three trim levels while the Yukon has four. Both vehicles have a generous 44.50 inches of front-row legroom. The second row only drops to 42 inches. If you want space to stretch, you’ll get it here! Third-row passengers have 34.90 inches of legroom. The 2022 Yukon and 2022 Suburban are nearly identical when it comes to features, but the 2022 GMC Yukon edges out the Suburban in that category.
The 2022 GMC Yukon comes standard with heated and ventilated front seats. Second-row outboard seats are also heated at the AT4 and Denali trim levels. 10-way power seats can be found in the first row of all trims, but 12-way power seats in the first row are available. Perforated leather-appointed seat trim is included in every GMC Yukon model. As we mentioned in our 2022 GMC Yukon review, the cabin is upscale even with cloth fabric. Map lights in front and second rows. The sill plate can be illuminated on all doors, too. Temperature can be adjusted with tri-zone automatic climate control.
Electronic devices can be connected using a 12-volt power outlet, 120-volt power outlets, or up to eight USB data ports for front and rear passengers. 12.6-inch dual rear-seat media touchscreens are available on all Yukon trims. A Bose 9-speaker stereo can be found in the 2022 GMC Yukon SLT and AT4 trims. The Denali has 14 speakers. The Yukon is WiFi hotspot capable. Wireless charging can be utilized in the front row. SiriusXM satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto are all standard offerings in a 2022 GMC Yukon.
The 2022 Subaru Ascent gives up some legroom when compared to others on this list, but it has a lot of user-friendly features that passengers should enjoy. Front-row passengers get 42.2 inches of legroom, which isn’t bad. Second-row passengers get 38.6 inches, less than a lot of others. The third row is comparable with 31.7 inches of legroom. The seats maintain plushness throughout the ride. Leather-trimmed upholstery is only available in the Ascent Limited and Ascent Touring trims, which price at $40,095 to $45,945. It’s on those two trims that the front-passenger seats are power-adjustable.
Tri-zone climate control is only offered on the base and Ascent Onyx Edition trims. The rest of the trims only offer second-row climate controls. Air vents in all three rows come standard with all 2022 Subaru Ascent models. 19 cup and bottle holders are spread throughout the cabin, so there should be a spot for any and all beverages in this SUV.
A 120-volt AC power outlet is available on the top Ascent Touring trim, but dual front and second-row USB ports are available on every trim. Most trims even offer third-row USB ports, which is a rarity. Most of the Subaru Ascent models have six speakers, but a Harman Kardon Quantum surround sound system with 14 speakers is standard in the Ascent Touring trim, and available in the trim just beneath that. Almost every trim has 4G LTE WiFi capability. HD radio, SiriusXM, a CD player, and Bluetooth streaming audio are available as part of Subaru’s STARLINK multimedia packages. Figure out just what trim is the most beneficial by reading our in-depth 2022 Subaru Ascent review.
Perhaps the most well-known modern luxury SUV is the Cadillac Escalade. With all those rap song references and Hollywood stars climbing out of Escalades, it’s no wonder the large SUV has become a status symbol. You’ll definitely drop some money if you choose the Escalade. The most cost-effective 2022 trim is the Luxury. It has a sticker price of $80,990. For that price, buyers get rear seat air conditioning, heated second-row outboard seats, WiFi hotspot, wireless phone charging in the front of the cabin, HD radio, a six-month SiriusXM trial, and 19 speakers. Higher trims get 36 speakers!
Other available features include two HDMI and USB charging ports on the back of the center console, dual rear-mounted 12.6-inch LCH HD screens, and two Bluetooth headphones. These features are standard on the Premium Luxury Platinum trim. The Escalade is one of a handful of SUVs here that come with screens that are included and already mounted for second-row passengers to use.
The top trim on the 2022 Lincoln Navigator also has leather seat trim, and a 12-way power front passenger seat that includes a massage feature. The seats are plush in the first row, the second row, and the third row. With 64.60 inches of second-row shoulder room and 62.80 inches of third-row shoulder room, the seating in the 2022 Cadillac Escalade is spacious. There’s 41.70 inches of second-row legroom, and 36.60 inches of third-row legroom. The 2021 Cadillac Escalade has those same measurements. Going back to the 2020 model will lower the second-row legroom to 39.0 inches, and the third row to 24.8 inches. Those aren’t bad numbers if an older model is more in line with your current budget.
While the cheapest 2022 Nissan Armada, which is the Armada S at $49,150, isn’t the cheapest SUV on the list, it is still affordable. Every 2022 Armada features four cup holders, eight bottle holders, rear air conditioning with rear seat controls, and second-and-third-row reading lights. A tri-zone entertainment system that includes dual eight-inch monitors, wireless headphones, a remote control, and USB/HDMI input also comes with every Armada, too. Of course, SiriusXM, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto are all also standard. If you’ve got an iPod or still have a CD collection, the Nissan Armada will play both of those formats, too.
Nissan keeps the Armada competitive with several other enticing features like five USB ports, a NissanConnect WiFi hotspot, and rear air conditioning with rear controls. Higher trims, like the Nissan Armada SL and Nissan Armada Platinum, have 13 speakers and a subwoofer. When it comes to legroom, second-row passengers have 41 inches of space to stretch out in. The third-row passengers are allotted 28.4 inches of legroom. That’s not a lot of third-row legroom, but the second row is pretty comparable.
If you want the most refined SUV, you’re likely better going with the higher-end Lincoln Navigator or Cadillac Escalade, but even without the finest quality materials and very best styling, the Honda Pilot is an SUV to consider. The 2022 Honda Pilot doesn’t disappoint in pleasing passengers. While the 2022 Pilot isn’t a full-size luxury SUV, leather-trimmed seats come on most trims. The 2022 Honda Pilot Sport comes with cloth seats, which will be easier to clean for those who bring mud and dirt into the cabin after outdoor activities. The second-row legroom measures 38.4 inches, which is lower than most other full-size options on this list. For a midsize SUV, it’s not bad. Third-row passengers have 31.9-inches of legroom.
Functionality was clearly in mind when Honda designers were plotting the vehicle out. The 2022 Honda Pilot has illuminated beverage holders in the first and second rows. In total, the Honda Pilot has 15 beverage holders. Map lights can be found in all rows on every trim. Front seats are heated on all trims, and so are second-row outboard seats. Rear-seat heater ducts can be found on all trims. The same can be said about the tri-zone automatic climate control. Multi-zone audio, which allows front passengers to listen to music while the rear passengers listen to something else, is part of the package on the top two trims: the Touring and Elite.
Entertainment options aren’t limited in a 2022 Honda Pilot. There are seven speakers on lower trims, while 10 speakers are included with the Touring, Elite, and Black Edition models. The Touring and Elite also have WiFi hotspot capability. Along with a 115-Volt power outlet, the Honda Pilot comes with HDMI, MP3, and USB connections. If you have a device, it will likely be able to be plugged in somewhere in this SUV. A centered 102-inch screen for rear passengers to use folds down from the ceiling. It’s not as ideal as screens on the back of the front seat headrests, but it does give third-row passengers some access to a screen, too. Built-in streaming apps, wireless headphones, and a built-in Blu-Ray player are all part of the entertainment system in the Touring and Elite trims, too.
If you’re looking for SUVs that deliver an enjoyable riding experience for passengers, those are some of the best. Your choices aren’t limited to newer 2022 models though. Some of the previous model years have slight variations, but a lot of these features are available in recent model years. None of these SUVs have had major overhauls in the past few years, so going the used route is an option that could get you what you’re looking for while also saving some money.