Combining the space of three rows with the benefits of hybrid power, this list of the best 3-row hybrid SUVs on the market breaks down the competition.

Hybrid Power with Ample Cargo Space

2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid - pressroom.toyota.com
2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid - pressroom.toyota.com

Anyone toting about kids on the regular is likely as concerned about features and safety as they are fuel economy and price, especially these days. Which is why we’ve put together this list of best 3-row hybrid SUVs. Vehicles on this list are here for their smart blend of comfort, cargo space, fuel economy, and of course price.

While fully-electric vehicles are making all the headlines these days, there’s no denying the appeal of hybrid power. Blending an internal combustion engine with a battery-powered electric motor adds the efficiency benefits of mild electric power without having to worry about charging as the hybrid system does that on its own. You can learn more about the differences between hybrids and EVs here.

Hybrids are especially useful when it comes to running around town as the electric side of the house can take on more work, thereby improving fuel economy. Combining that with three rows of seating is a home run for families. Additionally, hybrid versions of SUVs are less expensive than the current crop of fully electric SUVs and come in a wide range of sizes and specs. So, without further ado, let’s review the best 3-row hybrid SUVs.

2023 Kia Sorento Hybrid

2023 Kia Sorento Hybrid - kia.com
2023 Kia Sorento Hybrid - kia.com

The smallest 3-row hybrid SUV on this list, Kia’s 2023 Sorento trades on the Korean automaker’s trademark style of loading their vehicles with standard features without breaking the bank. The hybrid powertrain is made up of a turbocharged 1.6L inline-4 paired with an electric motor powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. Interestingly, the Hyundai Santa Fe that we review here, corporate cousin to the Sorento, is about the same size and does offer hybrid power, but does not offer a third row.

The Sorento’s powertrain combines for 227 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque that is sent to the front wheels via a 6-speed automatic. AWD is a $2,300 option. And boy is it thrifty. FWD models are rated for 39 mpg in the city and 35 on the highway, the latter of which translates to a 620-mile range. Adding AWD drops both figures by three.

2023 Kia Sorento Hybrid - kia.com
2023 Kia Sorento Hybrid - kia.com

The Sorento Hybrid is strictly a 6-seater with middle-row captain’s chairs on both trim lines, EX and SX Prestige. Though the shortest SUV here at 189-inches long, the Sorento offers decent legroom with 41 inches in the second row and 30 inches in the way back. The cargo area behind the third row is tight at just 13 cubic feet but with the 2nd and 3rd row folded flat, you can stuff in 75 cubes of cargo.

EX models start at $37,855 and come well equipped with standard features like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a 10-inch touchscreen interface, and heated front seats. Stepping up to the SX Prestige, for $43,685, brings leather upholstery, a 12-inch digital gauge cluster, and a 12-speaker Bose stereo. Every Sorento Hybrid comes with forward collision warning, automated emergency braking, and even highway driving assist.

2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid - toyota.com
2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid - toyota.com

Stretching six more inches over the Sorento allows the Toyota Highlander Hybrid the ability to offer seating for up to eight passengers with a middle-row bench, or seven with the available captain’s thrones. Interestingly, legroom measurements drop to 39 inches in the middle and 28 out back, but overall cargo space is solid at 84 cubic feet.

All of the four Highlander Hybrid trim lines are powered by a naturally aspirated 2.5L four-cylinder combined with an electric motor to generate 243 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque. A CVT handles shifting duty and runs power to the front wheels, or all four, for just $1,200 more. Fuel economy is strong here with ratings of 36 mpg around town and 35 on the highway for FWD models.

2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid - toyota.com
2023 Toyota Highlander Hybrid - toyota.com

Pricing on a Highlander Hybrid ranges from $43,155 for the LE model to just over $50,000 for a top-spec Platinum. Wireless connection for Apple and Android smartphone integration is a useful standard feature, as is the power-operated liftgate, and robust list of advanced safety nets like adaptive cruise control, a lane keeping system, and blind spot monitoring.

As you move through the hybrid trim ladder, the 2023 Highlander adds such niceties as a moonroof, heated front seats, and a wireless charging pad. Bronze models add handsome bronze-colored wheels and accents, while the Platinum is stacked with dual 12-inch dashboard screens, adaptive headlamps, and a panoramic sunroof. Talk about a nice 3-row hybrid SUV.

2023 Ford Explorer Hybrid

2023 Ford Explorer Hybrid - ford.com
2023 Ford Explorer Hybrid - ford.com

Stretching to 16 ½ feet long, the Ford Explorer Hybrid is an RWD SUV that ups the power considerably over the Sorento and Highlander hybrids. That’s thanks to a 3.3L V6 handling gas-powered engine duty. It pairs with a battery-powered electric motor to produce 318 hp and 322 torques. A traditional 10-speed automatic is on hand and AWD can be added for $2,000.

An upside to this power is the ability to tow up to 5,000 pounds versus 2,000 for the Sorento and 3,500 for the Highlander. The downside is of course fuel economy relative to the Kia and Toyota. The Explorer Hybrid earns an EPA-estimated 27/28 mpg in city/highway driving for RWD models, or 27/28 in AWD setup.

2023 Ford Explorer Hybrid - ford.com
2023 Ford Explorer Hybrid - ford.com

Because the third row in an Explorer only seats two, it can only handle seven passengers or six with the optional 2nd-row captain’s chairs. Third-row legroom is ahead of the curve at 32 inches and right on par in the second row with 39 inches. That extra length also adds a nice bump in cargo hauling ability with 18 cubic feet behind the third row, 48 behind the second, and a total available space of 88 cubic feet.

Accessing the hybrid powertrain requires a $54,000 Limited or $55,000 Platinum Explorer, no cheap date. For that outlay, you’ll enjoy 20-inch wheels, full LED lighting, triple-zone automatic climate control, and an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple and Android integration baked in. Ford’s Co-Pilot360 driver-aid suite matches the Kia and Toyota above while adding Evasive Steering Assist. The Platinum model tacks on real wood trim, a 12-inch digital gauge cluster, and Active Park Assist. For more on the latest Explorer, check out our in-depth review here.

2023 Toyota Sequoia

2023 Toyota Sequoia - toyota.com
2023 Toyota Sequoia - toyota.com

While the above options all fit into the full-size SUV category, the 2023 Toyota Sequoia could easily be considered extra-large and is the only such vehicle on this list of best 3-row hybrid SUVs. At 208 inches, or over 17 feet, long, the all-new Sequoia competes on size with the likes of a Ford Expedition or Chevy Tahoe, but neither of them offers a hybrid powertrain. The Sequoia, however, is only sold as a hybrid, and a big one at that.

Blending a twin-turbo 3.4L V6 with an electric motor, the 2023 Sequoia is rated for an impressive 437 hp and 583 torques. A 10-speed automatic routes power out back, though AWD can be optioned for an extra $3,000. All that power does not do the Sequoia any favors on fuel economy with ratings of 21/24 mpg in city/highway driving for RWD models, figures which drop by two in each category when fitted with AWD.

2023 Toyota Sequoia - toyota.com
2023 Toyota Sequoia - toyota.com

Along with the power and size, this is the only SUV here with old-school body-on-frame construction that translates to a max towing capacity of over 9,000 pounds. Third-row legroom on this 7- or 8-seater is a relatively huge 34 inches and trick features like adaptive dampers with air suspension offer a nice ride. Cargo volume is about the same as the Explorer, except for behind the third row where it swallows an additional four cubic feet.

The five trim lines include a base SR5 that starts at nearly $60,000 and comes with an 8-inch touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Wi-Fi, and a moonroof. The fancy Capstone will set you back an eye-watering $77,000 but brings high-end leather upholstery, a huge 14-inch infotainment screen, 10-inch head-up display, and a whole lot more that you can read up on here. Every 2023 Sequoia comes with forward collision warning, automatic emergency breaking, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, and a 360° camera view.

Conclusion

2023 Volvo XC90 - media.volvocars.com
2023 Volvo XC90 - media.volvocars.com

If you’re looking for one of the best 3-row hybrid SUVs on the market, we would be remiss not to mention the likes of a Volvo XC90, a plug-in hybrid, that we review here. There are a host of other solid 3-row SUVs worth considering like the Hyundai Palisade, Honda Pilot, Kia Telluride, and Chevrolet Traverse, but unfortunately, they do not yet offer a hybrid powertrain.

Related Comparison Articles

Budget Buy $25K: Chevrolet Equinox vs Hyundai Santa Fe

Classic Comparison: Chevy 454 SS vs Ford SVT Lightning

Head-to-Head: 2023 Nissan Murano vs Mazda CX-5

Tags:
Niel Stender

Niel Stender grew up doing replacement work on his 1990 Cherokee and 1989 Starion, so it’s not surprising that he would put his mechanical engineering degree from the University of New Hampshire to use in the car world as a vehicle dynamics engineer. Now engineering sentence structures, his writing infuses his auto experience with his time in marketing and his sales experience. Writing about cars for close to a decade now, he focuses on some of the more technical mechanical systems that are found under the hood and throughout a vehicle.

  • 1

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
Share
Tweet
Pin