The Best Hybrid SUVs With 3rd Row Seats You Can Buy In 2023

Drivers in the market for a new car often have to grapple with a number of key factors that play into their decision. From seating requirements to power output and gas mileage concerns, car buyers have always squared their needs against the inclusions and shortfalls within the automotive industry, as it relates to their own unique needs.

The energy-efficient SUV has often been a unicorn of sorts. The large, energy-hungry cabins of SUV models haven't typically gone hand in hand with the move toward increasing EV production. The best SUVs of 2022, for instance, almost exclusively featured high-performance engines and transmission systems that worked wonders for giving these large people movers the get-up-and-go required of them. But hybrid SUVs are becoming more widespread, and many manufacturers are actually making some quality options for drivers, including the coveted SUV with third-row seating. Often, sacrifices have to be made to accommodate increased seating needs, but the electric motor no longer figures as one of these slashes. Excellent options in this exclusive club include some luxury vehicles like the BMW X5 and Lexus RX Hybrid, but these aren't the only options when seeking additional seating and SUV performance in one package.


U.S. News & World Report calls the BMW X5 "one of the best luxury midsize SUVs on the market." The X5 xDrive45e's 2023 model offers 31 miles of electric-only range (nearing the distance a typical commuter drives in a day). The vehicle is powered by a 3.0L Turbo Inline-six engine, working in tandem with an electric motor. Together, these paired propulsion systems provide 389 horsepower and 443 lb.-ft. of torque. The transmission system is an eight-speed automatic. These X5s can produce a 0-60 acceleration time of 5.1 seconds as well, making them a potent combination of performance and hybrid driving wrapped together.

The X5 is a quality all-around option for those seeking a midsized SUV for routine commuter driving and the occasional pile-in of additional passengers. The vehicle achieves a 50 MPGe rating from the EPA while also incorporating a respectable maximum towing weight of 5,952 pounds. The X5 isn't a particularly bulky vehicle, however, so third-row seating will be somewhat squeezed in behind the standard second-row. This makes it a great option for those with young children, and something that should still be considered but potentially passed over by drivers with more size-sensitive passenger requirements.

Volvo XC90

Volvo has routinely been an innovator when it comes to comfort and overall ride feel. The hybrid XC90 (tagged with the "Recharge" moniker to indicate that it's a PHEV) combines two electric motors and a turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder engine. The first iteration of the XC90 Recharge produced 400 horsepower and an 18-mile electric-only range. An update brought a larger battery pack that improved these statistics to 455 horsepower. The current configuration offers 58 MPGe combined (city/highway), up to 32 miles of range in Pure mode, and a 5-second acceleration time from 0-60.

The XC90 provides three rows standard with two chairs in the third row instead of a bench. This provides seating for seven, and buyers can opt for a two-seat variant in the second row as well to improve the comfort level enjoyed by passengers. Like many three-row SUVs, those sitting in the seats all the way in the back will be squeezed in a little more than others. This makes the space comfortable for children and a bit tight for older (and therefore larger) passengers. Volvo's XC90 provides significant cargo space, however, even with the third-row seats lifted in place. The 15.8 cubic feet of storage and 41.8 cubic feet with the last row folded down make the XC90 a contender for anyone seeking a new hybrid SUV with ample seating. Instead of sacrificing storage to accommodate the third row, the car offers quality amenities in both camps.

Toyota Sequoia

The Toyota Sequoia is the most spacious hybrid SUV on this list. The vehicle provides comfortable seating for a typical adult across the first two rows, and the third is adjustable to create as comfortable a ride for an adult all the way in the back as possible. This makes it the only SUV on the list to avoid relegating larger passengers from having to endure a truly tight squeeze when climbing onto the rear bench.

The Sequoia pairs an electric motor with a 3.5L Twin Turbo V6 engine. Alongside a 10-speed automatic transmission, the rear-wheel drive option achieves 22 miles per gallon (EPA estimated city/highway combined), and 20 miles per gallon in a four-wheel drive configuration. In terms of output, the Sequoia performs like the truck framework it's built upon. It puts out 437 horsepower and 583 lb.-ft. of torque. The vehicle exhibits a maximum towing weight of 9,520 pounds, as well.

The 2023 model year makes the hybrid power output a standard (rather than an optional added feature), taking a major step toward the electrification drive within Toyota's production efforts. Its interior is perhaps the standard bearer for third-row seating among those on this list. However, it should be noted that the Sequoia is certainly not a midsized SUV and trends toward a larger overall footprint to accommodate these features. It includes a two-bench, three-row layout that makes space for eight. Optionally, buyers can use a captain's chair layout in the middle row to eliminate the center bench seat and add a bit more room for everyone behind the front seats.

Lexus RX L Hybrid

Lexus earns a spot on this list as well for the RX L Hybrid model (specifically, its 2022 450hL RX iteration). Sadly for those seeking it out, in the 2023 model year the third row appears to have been discontinued. These vehicles partner up three electric motors to a 3.5L V6 engine, allowing for a 308 horsepower output and estimated city and highway ratings of 29 and 28 miles per gallon, respectively.

The interior makes use of high-quality adornments, as you might expect when settling into a Lexus, and the six-passenger layout makes for relative comfort across all three rows. The Lexus RX Hybrid doesn't utilize bench seating, so it may not be the best choice for large families that need a seventh or eighth seat. Similarly, the third row will present a tight fit for adults hoping to squeeze in. Finally, with the third row engaged, the RX only offers 7.5 cubic feet of storage space in the trunk (expanding to a still-underwhelming 23 cubic feet with the seats folded down). Yet, for a vehicle that oozes classic Lexus luxury, the model provides a crucial, added seat over the standard sedan and crossover two-plus-three configuration.