Room for heads, legs, hips, and elbows are a priority if you have to chauffeur around a big crew. But what if you also need to deal with confidently navigating all four Canadian seasons for weekday shuttles and weekend adventures?
If this is your current new-car shopping challenge, the three-row mid-size SUV segment is where you must shop. Almost every mainstream automaker sells in this segment, but here are five new 2023 models to consider that deliver plenty of space for heads, legs, hips, and elbows.
Redesigned for 2023, the Pilot has been a popular three-row mid-size SUV for over 20 years.
With up to 4,485 litres of overall passenger space, Honda claims class-leading interior room in the latest eight-passenger Pilot. Legroom in the second row has grown, and the automaker has also improved space and comfort in the third row. One clever feature in the Pilot Touring trim is a removable middle seat in the second row, making third-row access even more accessible. The seat folds up when unused and fits into a dedicated space beneath the cargo floor.
About that cargo space, the new Pilot has more than ever: about 527 L behind the third row. With a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting at $50,650 in Canada, the new Pilot still uses Honda's familiar V6, with all-wheel drive and an automatic transmission as standard gear.
The Telluride can't claim the same history as its Honda rival. Still, since its arrival for the 2020 model year, it's quickly won over mid-size SUV buyers looking for a vehicle that can comfortably carry people.
With nearly 4,450 L of passenger volume, Kia's largest SUV can carry up to eight passengers, with 595 L available behind the third row for their stuff. Average-sized adults can fit in the Telluride's third row. The seats are accessed easily, and a high roof provides plenty of headroom. Each row is higher than the one in front, stadium-style, with second-row captain's chairs that limit seating to seven on board.
Like the Pilot, a V6/automatic/AWD powertrain is standard with the Telluride, with prices beginning at $50,195.
Since 2009, the Traverse has been Chevrolet's go-to SUV for buyers who want similar space to the automaker's Tahoe SUV but in a more affordable and efficient package.
Although less voluminous than its full-size sibling, the mid-size Traverse offers up to 4,446 L of passenger volume. The last row is best left for kids. But the driver and passenger seats provide more room than the Tahoe, and second-row occupants enjoy more headroom. Plus, there's 651 L of cargo room behind the Traverse's third row — the most of the five vehicles on this list.
Now in its second generation that debuted for 2018, the 2023 Traverse comes standard with a V6, automatic transmission, and traction at all four wheels. With its most recent update for 2022, the Traverse has rectified prior downsides. Notably, all models now include a suite of active safety features. A starting price of $42,353 also means Chevy's mid-size SUV is a relative bargain in its segment.
As the corporate cousin to the Kia Telluride, it's no surprise the Palisade is a vehicle to consider if passenger space is at the top of your mid-size SUV wish list.
The Hyundai still has a distinct character, mainly due to its unmistakable styling inside and out. But with almost 4,400 L overall, passenger space in the Palisade is abundant, even in the third row, where an average adult can sit comfortably. The second-row seats are a highly adjustable sliding and reclining bench or a pair of captain's chairs, lowering the occupant count to seven. Even with all three rows in use, there's still up to 510 L of cargo room.
With a starting price of $47,999, the Hyundai costs less than the Telluride. Yet among its standard delights are automatic on/off LED headlights, one-touch sliding second-row seats, a 12.3-inch touchscreen navigation system, and a heated steering wheel and seats in its first two rows.
The Atlas is the largest vehicle the German automaker sells in Canada, first seen for the 2018 model year.
In standard form, the Atlas seats up to seven passengers. With captain's chairs optional in the second row, maximum occupancy drops to six. Designed specifically for North American buyers, all Atlas occupants have plenty of space inside, up to 4,361 L. There's also 583 L of luggage space when all seats are in use. The quality of materials is good, and a European sensibility is apparent in the look of the dash. There are also user-friendly tech features like the standard Digital Cockpit and modern safety and infotainment tech.
Like its three-row mid-size SUV rivals, the Atlas comes standard with AWD and an automatic gearbox. But the Atlas veers by offering a turbocharged four-cylinder in its $47,995 base trim, with an optional V6 starting at $54,995.