Which 3-Row SUVs Offer Captain’s Chairs?

jeep-grand-wagoneer-l-2023-43-interior-visibility 2023 Jeep Grand Wagoneer L second-row captain's chairs | photo by Max Bednarski

SUVs are generally larger and longer than they once were, rivaling the interior space of some minivans while offering a sportier, sleeker vibe. But shopping for a three-row SUV means balancing priorities of seat quantity versus comfort. If the number of seats trump all, many three-row SUVs offer room for up to eight people with a second-row bench (a few, such as Chevrolet’s base Suburban LS trim, still offer seating for up to nine with a front bench option). Other models give up the second-row middle seat for the comfort and convenience of second-row captain’s chairs.

Related: Which 2022 3-Row SUVs Offer Captain’s Chairs?

More Comfort

Unlike bench seats, captain’s chairs bring front-seat features to the second row. These stand-alone chairs offer individual adjustments for passengers, and each typically includes an inboard armrest. In SUVs with nothing separating the second-row captain’s chairs, people are able to quickly reach the third row without the hassle of moving a second-row seat; in some fancier SUVs, second-row folks get their own center console. Some chairs even have tilt-and-slide access to the third row, allowing parents to leave an empty forward-facing child seat installed while giving passengers access to the wayback.

Are You Paying More for Less?

Captain’s chairs will drop the potential seat count to seven (assuming the third row is outfitted for three). Sometimes, third rows are too tight to seat three people of any size — even if equipped with triple seat belts and head restraints. Others, such as the Volkswagen Atlas and Jeep Grand Cherokee L, offer a third-row configuration for just two passengers; that’s more realistic for adults or teenagers, but with second-row captain’s chairs, total seating drops to six. Then there’s the Acura MDX, which isn’t like the others in that it comes with a removable second-row center seat, giving buyers the option of transforming their bench-style seating into “captain’s chairs.”

One other captain’s chair variation is found in high-end SUVs such as the Bentley Bentayga: a four-seat configuration with a spacious second row featuring plush captain’s “thrones” and luxury fittings, all without the third row.

Even with most three-row SUVs, however, you can expect captain’s chairs to be an extra-cost option, to be fitted only on more expensive trim levels, or both. For example, with the 2023 Honda Pilot, you must move up to the TrailSport trim, which is about $12,000 more than the base trim, to get standard captain’s chairs.

New Additions for 2023

On the list of three-row family haulers offering captain’s chairs, the VinFast VF 9 is an all-new addition. It comes standard in a seven-seat configuration, but buyers can swap it out for an available six-seat configuration, giving third-row passengers more wiggle room. Additionally, the stretched-length Jeep Wagoneer L and Grand Wagoneer L models join their standard-wheelbase counterparts.

More From

If captain’s chairs in a three-row SUV sound like a good option for you, below are the 2023 models that offer them. They are listed below by root model name, though some models may or may not offer captain’s chairs in hybrid, plug-in hybrid or other variants. Some of these SUVs offer only captain’s chairs; more offer them as options or only on certain trim levels.

Meanwhile, if a used SUV better fits your budget, check out the links above for three-row SUVs with captain’s chairs from earlier model years.

2023 Three-Row SUVs That Offer Captain’s Chairs

2024 Three-Row SUVs That Offer Captain’s Chairs

Unlike the 2023 list, this one is not exhaustive. A few more of the SUVs listed for 2023 (that are not listed below) will likely continue to offer captain’s chairs for the 2024 model year, but official information is not available yet. One new addition for 2024 is the Toyota Grand Highlander, which is larger and stylized separately from its Highlander sibling.

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