Shopping for a three-row SUV often means balancing seating needs with convenience. If you really need minivan-sized people space, a second-row bench seat maximizes capacity for up to eight (or even nine in, one case) in these big SUVs. But other families value the comfort and convenience of second-row captain’s chairs, and they’re happy to give up the second-row middle seat.
Related: Bench Seats Versus Captain’s Chairs
The positives are many. Captain’s chairs are usually more comfortable for adults and even can offer a little extra leg space between them for anyone stuck in the third row. Many examples offer quick access through the center aisle for kids to reach the third-row seats without moving a second-row chair, though you should beware that some upscale SUVs block that aisle with a second-row center console. Separate buckets can keep siblings from annoying each other (and you). Some captain’s chairs also have tilt-and-slide access to the third row with an unoccupied forward-facing child seat installed. Only a few second-row bench seats allow that.
If seat count still matters, note that not all third rows accommodate three passengers. Some are just too small for three except in a pinch (literally), even if they have three seat belts. And others, such as the Volkswagen Atlas, have a third row outfitted for just two passengers. That’s more realistic, but if you get the captain’s chairs, the Atlas seating total falls to six — as is the case for some others. On the flipside, some three-row vehicles offer a removable middle seat for the second row that, when installed, can turn the captain’s chairs into a bench to get one spot back.
More From Cars.com:
- Which 2018 Three-Row SUVs Offer Captain’s Chairs?
- Which 2017 Three-Row SUVs Offer Captain’s Chairs?
- Which 2016 Three-Row SUVs Offer Second-Row Captain’s Chairs?
- Which 2014, 2015 Three-Row SUVs Offer Captain’s Chairs?
- Which 2013 Three-Row SUVs Offer Second-Row Captain’s Chairs?
If captain’s chairs are on your wish list for a three-row SUV, here are the 2019 models that offer them. Note that some exclusively offer captain’s chairs, while availability in others might vary by trim level or option. And if you’re shopping for a used SUV, check out the links above for captain’s chairs in earlier model years.
2019 Three-Row SUVs That Offer Captain’s Chairs
Some New 2020s We Already Know Will Offer Captain’s Chairs
The auto-show season this year already brought us some new, redesigned or refreshed model-year 2020 SUVs that will offer captain’s chairs. The all-new 2020 Kia Telluride (already on sale) and soon-to-come 2020 Hyundai Palisade both will offer them. You will continue to be able to get them in the redesigned 2020 Toyota Highlander and 2020 Ford Explorer.
And among luxury vehicles, the all-new 2020 Lincoln Aviator will offer captain’s chairs. The refreshed 2020 Volvo XC90 finally will offer a six-seat version with captain’s chairs (previously, such chairs came only in a very fancy second-row package with individual seats that also deleted the third row). And the redesigned 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS flagship SUV also is adding the option of captain’s chairs.
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