I essentially regretted my minivan almost immediately. Sure it’s super convenient but it’s not sexy. So, I surveyed 900+ moms to ask them what they decided to buy instead of a minivan. The results were narrowed down to give you lots of minivan alternatives.

Minivan Alternatives aka 3rd Row SUVs

Here’s what they either bought instead or traded from a minivan into. 

Although many of the moms mentioned the Nissan Rogue, I only included vehicles with a third row or at least an optional third row. I figure if you need a car the size of a minivan it indicates you need more than five seats. All the cars on this list have 7 or 8 seats. These vehicle suggestions are in no particular order other than the first two minivan alternatives. The top two suggestions were each mentioned more than the others. 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. 

Honda Pilot2019 Honda Pilot Elite

It’s unbelievably comfortable, the seats reconfigure easily. Plus, it’s loaded with a ton of features. 

For moms with full hands, there is a hands-free power tailgate. It’s got all the tech most would want like a touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The Pilot is powered by a 3.5-liter 280-horsepower V6 engine combined with a 6-speed automatic transmission and it is available in all-wheel-drive. Most importantly the Honda Sensing safety and driver-assistance features are standard on all trim levels and include a collision mitigation system with forward-collision warning, road departure mitigation, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control.

Toyota HighlanderTailgating with Toyota

The Toyota Highlander is well-appointed SUV. They have quite a few versions including a hybrid. Here’s a look at the XSE version.

Toyota 2021 Highlander XSE

Toyota 2021 Highlander XSE

  • 3.5L V6 engine; 8 speed automatic
  • Sport-tuned suspension and AWD dynamic torque vectoring
  • Bold styling with mesh front grill, twin-tip exhaust, and 20″ wheels, and 2-tone red and black seats.
  • 3-door smart key system with push-button start
  • Power liftgate
  • 8-inch touch screen with JBL speakers
  • Seating for 7; SofTex-Trimmed seats, heated power front seats • 3-zone climate control
  • Toyota Safety Sense (TSS 2.5+), a suite of active safety systems.

MSRP starting at: $43,355 MSR as Equipped: $46,526 MPG: city 20/hwy 27/ combine 23

Fun Fact: You can fit two kayaks on top of the Highlander. 

Volvo XC 90Volvo XC90

It was no surprise to me that the Volvo XC90 made the list. If I could afford it, this is the minivan alternative I would buy. I got to test it one year at the Texas Truck Rodeo and it was fabulous. 

One mom said, “I feel so secure when my teens ask to take the car out after dark. It’s literally like a tank!”.

I like the way the seats are built they kind of hug your body. It seats 7, is AWD, and it’s a hybrid. 

This is an expensive SUV and the starting price is $64,750 MSRP.  

Volkswagen Atlas: Best Minivan Alternative if you need a lot of spaceVolkswagen Atlas

The Volkswagen Atlas SUV is another one of my personal favorites. It has one of the most spacious third-rows available and can comfortably sit an adult. How do I know this? I was put back in the third row of an Atlas on a press trip once. I was irritated for a minute and then realized it was no big deal because of all of the space.

  • Base-Price Range: $32,575-$48,245
  • Available in a 3.6L V-6 (276 hp, 266 lb-ft)
  • Fuel Economy 16 city/ 23 hwy/ 21 combined
  • Max Towing Capacity: 5,000 pounds

Kia SorentoKia Sorento Hybrid

The Kia Sorrento is laid out well and the price is more reasonable than some of the others. We spent a week in this vehicle a few years ago and we enjoyed it thoroughly. It’s extremely comfortable and well-outfitted if you get the higher trim levels. These start out at $29,390 but the base model is too basic for almost everyone. You will definitely have to go up at least one trim level. 

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Subaru Ascent2022 Subaru Ascent

The Subaru Ascent is the largest SUV Subaru makes so if you need that third row and want a Subaru, it’s this one. It only comes only in AWD which is handy.

The Ascent has comfortable seats, it’s good-looking, and you can get a Harman Kardon stereo in it.

It provides a smooth ride, yet precise handling. The third-row seat is tight.

  • Price Range: $33,345-$46,495
  • Engine: 2.4L turbo H-4 (260 hp, 277 lb-ft)
  • Fuel Economy: 20-21 city/26-27 hwy/22-23 combined mpg
  • Max Towing Capacity: 5,000 pounds

Mazda CX-9Mazda CX-9

Mazda’s three-row SUV has been put onto the Top Safety Pick + list meaning it’s super safe. It is outfitted with Mazda’s i-ACTIVSENSE system which includes advanced smart city brake support with pedestrian detection, smart brake assist with collision warning, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning with lane-keeping assist, high-beam headlight assist, an adaptive front lighting system, and traffic-sign recognition.

One mom said it was, “Sporty and zippy with three rows of seating.”

  • Price Range: $35,335-$48,475
  • Engine: 2.5L turbo I-4 (250 hp, 320 lb-ft)
  • Fuel Economy: 20-22 city/26-28 hwy/23-24 combined mpg
  • Max Towing Capacity: 3,500 pounds

Hyundai PalisadeHyundai Palisade

Hyundai is just knocking it out of the park lately and that includes the Palisade. It’s one of the more reasonably priced SUVs which makes it automatically a favorite among Moms. Both the second row and third row have optional captain chairs and are operated at the push of a button and fold flat. Check current Palisade options and prices. 

  • Price Range: $33,710-$48,935
  • Engine: 3.8L V-6 (291 hp, 262 lb-ft)
  • Fuel Economy: 19 city/24-26 hwy/21-22 combined mpg
  • Max Towing Capacity: 5,000 pounds
Hyundai Palisade Interior

Hyundai Palisade Interior

Jeep Grand Cherokee LJeep Grand Cherokee L

One of the most popular SUVS of all time is the Jeep Grand Cherokee so it’s no surprise that so many moms recommended it now that it’s got a third-row option bumping it up to six seats. It’s got 4wd off-road capability in a nicer-looking package.

  • Prices start out at $36,995
  • Towing capacity is 6,200 lbs
  • 19 city and 26 highway MPG. 

Jeep Grand Cherokee Prices and Options

Nissan PathfinderNissan Pathfinder

My own mother loves Nissan so I was not surprised to see this one make the list. The Pathfinder is roomy and the second row was designed with some seat-folding tech that makes accessing the third row a little easier. Check prices

  • Price Range: $33,075-$46,400
  • Engins: 3.5L V-6 (284 hp, 259 lb-ft)
  • Fuel Economy: 19-20 city/26-27 hwy/21-23 combined mpg
  • Max Towing Capacity: 6,000 pounds
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Ford ExplorerFord Explorer

The Explorer is basically the best-selling SUV of all time. (Even I used to have one of these.) The new versions are built on an all-new rear-wheel-drive flexible architecture for an improved ride, handling, and capability. The standard engine is a 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder unit producing 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. Again if you get a new one there’s better safety on them, the Co-Pilot360. This includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, post-impact braking, and a rearview camera with a lens washer. The lens washer is a lifesaver when driving through dirty snow. 

Moms love the push buttons for 2nd and 3rd row that bring them up or down. Plus, the 3rd row stows completely flat. When the 2nd row folds it is level with the 3rd row to make it all flat!

  • Price Range: $33,470-$55,725
  • Engines: 2.3L turbo I-4 (300 hp, 310 lb-ft); 3.0L turbo V-6 (365-400 hp, 380-415 lb-ft); 3.3L V-6 hybrid (318 hp, 332 lb-ft)
  • Fuel Economy: 16-27 city/23-28 hwy/19-27 combined mpg
  • Max Towing Capacity: 5,600 pounds

Kia TellurideKia Telluride

Kia Telluride is built in America and it has 3rd-row seats that go flat. The middle seats can be a bench or captain’s chairs. It’s a gorgeous car and very affordable. There’s been a waitlist to get one of these for a while now thanks to the value: tons of features versus the price.

Moms seem to really appreciate the Telluride price ($33,415-$43,715) and the features. 

  • Engine: 3.8L V-6 (291 hp, 262 lb-ft)
  • Fuel Economy: 19-20 city/24-26 hwy/21-23 combined mpg
  • Max Towing Capacity: 5,000 pounds

Cadillac XT6: Best Bougie Minivan AlternativeCadillac XT6 a luxury minivan alternative

One mom with teens said, “Never would have thought to be driving a Cadillac, but it has everything we need. Space for future college trips, plenty of room with a movable reclining second row. And USABLE with ample leg-room third row.”

The XT6 is a 3-row luxury SUV with the option of having captain’s chairs on the second row. It’s so safe it’s on the Top Safety Pick+ list. The XT6 has a distinct look thanks to its great big grille flanked and headlights of your choice. Safety features include forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, front, and rear park assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and a rearview camera with remote wash. The price starts out at $48,595.

GMC AcadiaGMC Acadia

The GMC Acadia is the luxury version of the Chevrolet Traverse, in that they both share GM’s C1 platform. It’s fairly spacious and great for hauling cargo thanks to the fold-flat second-row seats. It can go from zero to 60 mph in 7 seconds making it ideal for those moms with a lead foot. It has a 3rd-row option available. 

  • Price Range: $34,800 – $49,495
  • Engines: 2.0L turbo I-4 (230 hp, 258 lb-ft); 2.5L I-4 (193 hp, 188 lb-ft); 3.6L V-6 (310 hp, 271 lb-ft)
  • Fuel Economy: 19-22 city/26-29 hwy/21-25 combined mpg
  • Max Towing Capacity: 4,000 pounds

Lincoln NavigatorLincoln Navigator

Lincoln Navigator has an optional 30-way adjustable, massaging front seat which several moms highly recommended. Moms also love being able to use the phones as keys. The new models have more standard safety tech, a 20-speaker Revel audio system, and a powered 3rd now. 

  • Price Range: $76,705 – $100,000
  • Engine: 3.5L twin-turbo V-6, 450 hp, 510 lb-ft
  • Fuel Economy: 16 city/20-22 hwy/17-18 combined mpg 
  • Max Towing Capacity: 8,700 lb
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Ford ExpeditionFord Expedition

I almost didn’t include this one because it’s what my ex drives and he is a douche bag, but since most people that drive them are not, here ya go! Many moms recommended the Ford Expedition and these are the reasons why. The third row is easy to deal with thanks to a power push button. It has a remote start, a massive sunroof, removable seats, and lots of extra space. 

Ford Expedition has a powerful twin-turbo EcoBoost V-6 and an easy-to-use infotainment interface.

  • Prices start at $49,625
  • Towing capacity of 5,900 to 6,000 lbs

Acura MDXAcura MDX

The Acura MDX starts out at $47,200 and as a 3rd row. It can seat six and if needed seat seven, all the rows go flat as well. It has a large back area for those that need a lot of space. It has a V6 engine and gets decent gas mileage, 19 city / 26 highway.

Dodge Durango: Best Minivan Alternative if You’d Rather be in a Sports Car2019 Dodge Durango SRT

The Dodge Durango is a fantastic choice if you want a powerful SUV. It comes in several trim levels including two with intense power. The middle row is your choice of a bench or captain chairs. I recommend getting the captain chairs. 

I recently got time in the new 2021 Hellcat version. Here it is:

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

The 2021 Durango SRT Hellcat

  • The Durango SRT Hellcat features the supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI® V-8 with 710 horsepower and 645 lb.-ft. of torque.
  • 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds
  • NHRA-certified quarter-mile time of 11.5 seconds • Top speed of 180 mph
  • 2021 Durango has an updated aggressive exterior, new front fascia, LED low/high headlamps, signature LED daytime running lamps (DRL), grille, and rear spoiler.
  • Performance-inspired interior features a new driver-oriented cockpit, including a new instrument panel, wrapped and accent-stitched mid bolster and console, upgraded door panels, and the all-new five-times-faster Uconnect 5, with the largest-in-class 10.1-inch touchscreen.
  • MPG: 12 city/17 hwy/13 combine

Fun Fact: No SUV in the world can tow more or carry more with a faster quarter-mile time than the Durango SRT Hellcat.

MSRP starting at: $80,995 –  MSR as pictured: $90,315. The other versions are much, much cheaper. This is the most expensive one they make.

Check car prices on the Dodge Durango.

Volkswagen TiguanVolkswagen Tiguan

The newer Volkswagen Tiguans have a FWD version with a 3rd row. This is perfect for families that occasionally need a third row. The 3rd row is tight and basically just for kids, but it’s better than not having one when you need one! Check current prices.

  • 23 mpg in city driving, 30 mpg on the highway -great lumbar support
  • Touchscreen with Apple CarPlay® & Android Auto™
  • 8” digital cockpit where you can see car status, navigation, driving data, phone information, driver assistance features, and more.
  • Fender Premium Audio system
  • 4 drive modes: Normal, Sport, Eco, and  Individual
  • Travel Assist (semi-automated driving assistance) Front Assist (Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring), Active Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Traffic Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) Stop & Go, Lane Assist (Lane Keeping System), and Emergency Assist (semi-automated vehicle assistance in a medical emergency).

So there you have it, all our favorite minivan alternatives. Have you bought an SUV instead of a minivan? If so tell us what you bought and why in the comments below.  

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