What's the Best Three-Row SUV for Car Seats?

2017 GMC Acadia

CARS.COM — Three-row SUVs excel at family life. There's usually ample room for chauffeuring kids to school and back as well as their many after-school activities (sometimes they have more active social lives than adults!).

Three-Row SUV Challenge 2016
Results | What You Get | Child-Safety Seats | Video

Bulky child-safety seats can be a little tougher on three-row SUVs. We recently tested eight of these SUVs to find out which is the best for 2016. Which of the contenders stands out when it comes to car seats? Find out below.

Winner (Tie): 2017 GMC Acadia, 10 Points


2017 GMC Acadia

Redesigned for 2017, the now-smaller Acadia still wins big on child-safety seats by making the most of its second- and third-row legroom. Click here for its Car Seat Check.

Winner (Tie): 2016 Honda Pilot, 10 Points

2016 Honda Pilot

The Pilot equals the Acadia when it comes to car-seat friendliness. Its four sets of lower Latch anchors, with three of those in the second-row bench, stand out for families with lots of little ones. Click here for its Car Seat Check.

Third Place: 2017 Dodge Durango, 9 Points

2017 Dodge Durango

The Durango's second-row bench easily handled rear-facing car seats in our testing, but the third row's partially covered tether anchor landed this SUV behind the Acadia and Pilot. Click here for its Car Seat Check.

Fourth Place (Tie): 2017 Ford Explorer, 8 Points

2017 Ford Explorer

The Explorer is a favorite with shoppers, but we weren't fans of its unmarked, hard-to-find tether anchors in the second and third rows. Click here for the Car Seat Check.

Fourth Place (Tie): 2016 Mazda CX-9, 8 Points

2016 Mazda CX-9

Redesigned for 2016, the CX-9 is leaps ahead of previous versions when it comes to car seats. It has a tilt-and-slide second row that allows parents to create a pathway to the third row even when a forward-facing car seat is installed. Its second-row Latch anchors, however, are difficult to use. Click here for its Car Seat Check.

Sixth Place (Tie): 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe, 7 Points

2017 Hyundai Santa Fe

Car seats of all sizes fit well in the Santa Fe, but what hampers it is the floppy seat belt buckles in the second and third rows. These buckles sink into the bottom seat cushion, making it harder for kids in boosters to buckle up independently. Click here for its Car Seat Check.

Sixth Place (Tie): 2017 Kia Sorento, 7 Points

2016-17 Kia Sorento

Like its Santa Fe cousin, the Sorento suffers from floppy seat belt buckles, which decreased its overall car-seat score. And it takes some muscle to connect to the second row's lower Latch anchors, but our car seats fit well. Click here for its Car Seat Check.

Sixth Place (Tie): 2017 Nissan Pathfinder, 7 Points

2017 Nissan Pathfinder

Refreshed for 2017, the Pathfinder made easy work of installing our trio of child-safety seats, but it suffers the same car-seat penalty as the Santa Fe and Sorento: floppy buckles in the second and third rows. Click here for its Car Seat Check.


Editor-in-Chief Jennifer Newman is a certified car-seat technician. A mom of two, she owns a 2013 Subaru Outback crammed with sports gear.  Email Jennifer

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