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Feb. 4, 2020, 9:53 a.m. EST

8 great 3-row SUVs priced under $40k

They look good, and you can fill them up with lots of people and stuff

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By Eric Brandt


Mazda
The Mazda CX-9

Three-row SUVs have become the new normal in big family vehicles. With generous seating space, SUV versatility and carlike ride quality, it’s not hard to see why they’re so popular. Most of them also look pretty good, meaning that getting a family-friendly ride doesn’t have to mean getting something boring.

Chevrolet Traverse LT Cloth

The Chevrolet Traverse has one of the roomiest third rows of seats in this class. Many three-row SUVs suffer from third-row legroom that is barely even enough for children to ride comfortably, but this roomy Chevy has an adult-friendly third-row plus a good amount of cargo space to boot. The midrange LT Cloth trim is pretty well-appointed with an 8-way power driver’s seat, standard 7-passenger seating with second-row captain’s chairs (or optional eight-passenger seating if you prefer), Traction Mode Select and more. You can also add all-wheel drive while keeping the price under $40k. 

Dodge Durango GT


Dodge
The Dodge Durango.

The Dodge Durango might be the most muscular choice in three-row crossovers. While you can’t get either of the Durango’s two optional V8 engines for less than $40k, you can get the GT trim with a strong V6, which has a sporty appearance package, a fold-and-tumble second-row bench seat for easy third-row access and rear parking sensors. There are a few worthwhile options you can add while still keeping it in your price range like leather seating, second-row captain’s chairs and an 8.4-in infotainment system. 

See: Why I own a Dodge Durango muscle-SUV

Ford Explorer XLT

The Ford Explorer is all-new for 2020 and it’s a nice improvement over its predecessor. It has a roomy, nicely-designed interior which has seating for six in most trims and more cargo space than the outgoing Explorer. This Ford /zigman2/quotes/208911460/composite F -1.01%   is pretty generous with standard safety technology in the Co-Pilot360 bundle, which gives you blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, a rearview camera with a lens washer, automatic high-beam headlights, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, and post-collision braking.

Honda Pilot EX-L


Honda
The Honda Pilot

The Honda /zigman2/quotes/207173990/composite HMC -2.26%   Pilot is a practical, reliable choice in midsize family 3-row SUVs. It has many of the family-friendly virtues of the Odyssey minivan but in the form of an SUV. The EX-L trim is an excellent value with leather seating, a power moonroof, navigation, second-row passenger sunshades and much more. The ride is smooth and comfortable and you get a standard V6 engine that delivers a satisfying blend of power and fuel-efficiency. We also like that every 2020 Pilot comes with the Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance technology. 

Kia Telluride EX


Kia
The Kia Telluride

The Kia Telluride is an all-new model for 2020 and it is already a class-leader. It has a roomy, premium interior with generous cargo space, a gentle ride and a unique look that turns heads. Going up to the EX trim makes this SUV pretty nice with features like a power lift gate, an intercom that lets you yell at your kids in the way-back seats, a fantastic 10.25-in infotainment system with navigation, wireless charging, leather seats that are heated and ventilated in front and much more. For a lot of bang-for-the-buck in one of the best minivan alternatives in the market, the Telluride is a strong choice. 

Also on MarketWatch: 8 affordable new cars that get at least 40 mpg

Mazda CX-9 Touring

The Mazda CX-9 is a good example of the Mazda /zigman2/quotes/206326885/composite MZDAY +1.42%   brand getting more premium without getting too much more expensive. The CX-9 could be mistaken as coming from a luxury brand with how classy it looks on the outside and how premium it feels on the inside. The Touring trim provides many upgrades over the base Sport model, including leather seating in the first two rows, an upgraded 8-in infotainment system, a power lift gate and safety features like lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and automatic headlights. 

Subaru Ascent Premium


Subaru
The Subaru Ascent

For something on the rugged side while still being family-friendly, check out the Subaru Ascent. Like most Subaru models, AWD is standard on every trim, which contributes to its impressive off-road performance. The midrange Premium trim comes with nice features like an 8-in touchscreen with a Wi-Fi hotspot, remote start, blind spot monitoring, heated front seats and second-row climate controls. If you want to go off the beaten path with the whole family, this Subaru could be up your alley.

Be sure to read: The best times to buy a new car

Toyota Highlander LE

The Toyota Highlander is all-new for 2020 and it brings with it a new look, more interior space and more modern technology than its predecessor. A few standard features of the new Highlander include the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 safety tech suite, five USB ports and push-button start. Upgrading to the LE trim gets you blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, LED fog lamps and a height-adjustable power lift gate. If you like the idea of a practical, family-friendly minivan but would rather have an SUV, then the new Highlander is a must-test-drive. 

This story originally ran on Autotrader.com .

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