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10 Most Affordable AWD 3-row SUVs for 2021

These SUVs prove chauffeuring a lot of people doesn’t have to be costly.


If you're part of the anything-but-a-minivan crowd and need to transport more than five passengers, these affordable 3-row SUVs should meet your needs. Beyond the ability to haul up to 7 or 8 passengers, these vehicles also incorporate distinct SUV advantages like extra ground clearance and traction at all four wheels.

Based on Manufacturers' Suggested Retail Prices*, here are the 10 most affordable SUVs with three rows of seats and all-wheel-drive you can buy new in Canada for 2021.

 

10th place: 2021 Honda Pilot - $42,905 CAD

With a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of $42,905 (all prices in Canadian dollars) for the base LX trim, there are many attributes in the mid-size 2021 Pilot’s favour. Its cabin is roomy and versatile, able to seat up to eight occupants (depending on trim level) or provide up to 3,092 litres of the cargo area. Although most buyers probably won’t venture too far into the wilderness, the Pilot has more than a smattering of off-road talent.

 

9th place: 2021 GMC Acadia - $41,398 CAD

Although it’s not as large as the 2007 to 2016 original, the 2021 GMC Acadia is a family-friendly mid-size SUV that seats six or seven people without being gargantuan. All-wheel-drive versions start with the $41,398 SLE trim. The 2nd-row—60/40 bench or captain’s chairs—features an upgraded Smart Slide system for easier access to the 50/50 3rd-row. Both rows of seats fold flat to expand the 363 litres of base cargo space to an entirely usable 2,237-litre maximum.

 

8th place: 2021 Hyundai Palisade - $41,199 CAD

The 2021 Hyundai Palisade is a mid-size 3-row SUV with seating for eight occupants or seven in the higher trims. All-wheel-drive Palisades start at $41,199 for the base Essential trim. Passenger space is abundant, even in the 3rd-row, where an average adult can sit in reasonable comfort. There’s also a generous 510 litres of storage behind the last row, which expands to a maximum of 2,447 litres with the 2nd- and 3rd-rows folded down.

 

7th place: 2021 Volkswagen Atlas - $40,095 CAD

Even in base $40,095 Trendline trim, the 2021 Atlas seats seven. With optional captain’s chairs in the second row, that drops to six in a 2/2/2 configuration. All occupants are treated to plenty of space inside Volkswagen’s mid-size SUV. We like how the 2nd-row bench can fold and slide forward, even when a child seat is affixed. There are 583 litres of cargo room behind the Atlas’s rear bench, which expands to 2,741litres of space when both rows of seats are folded flat.

 

6th place: 2021 Mazda CX-9 - $40,000 CAD

The CX-9 is really in a class of its own. Even in base, $40,000 GS trim, the mid-size Mazda SUV’s exterior is sleek and harmonious, modern yet understated. And the interior is so upscale that it could easily have come from Audi or Lexus. The 2nd-row can either be a power-operated split bench or two captain’s chairs that bring the occupant count to six from seven. The rear cargo bay offers 408 litres of space. Folding the 3rd-row seating expands that to 1,082 litres.

 

5th place: 2021 Chevrolet Traverse - $39,498 CAD

Thanks to its extra interior room and value pricing, the mid-size Chevrolet Traverse is a tempting vehicle for families. In base LS trim, all-wheel-drive versions start at $39,498. Class-leading interior space is one of Traverse’s best traits. Plus, there are 651 litres of cargo room behind the 3rd-row seats and a maximum of 2,781 litres with the 2nd- and 3rd-row seats folded. If you go with the standard 2nd-row bench, there is seating for eight passengers. If you choose the more comfortable twin captain’s chairs in the middle row, there’s room for seven.

 

4th place: 2020 Nissan Pathfinder - $36,698 CAD

With an all-new Pathfinder arriving this summer for the 2022 model year, Nissan skipped the 2021 model year and is still selling existing 2020 models. Prices start at $36,698 for the base S trim. All Pathfinder models have a 3-row/7-passenger setup. Nissan’s standard EZ Flex seating system offers straightforward, tip-up access to the 3rd-row. As for utility, luggage space behind the last row is a useful 453 litres, expanding to 1,354 behind the 2nd-row. With both rows folded flat, the maximum cargo area is 2,260 litres.

 

3rd place: 2021 Kia Sorento - $33,995 CAD

All-new for 2021, the 6- to 7-passenger Sorento sits between the compact and mid-size SUV segments. Base prices start at $33,995 for the base 7-seat LX+ trim. With a longer wheelbase, the Sorento is lighter and stronger than before while having increased interior room. If you plan to use the new Sorento as more of a luxury car than a family hauler, get the 6-seat $39,495 X-Line trim with its 2nd-row captain’s chairs. Behind the 3rd-row seat are 357 litres of cargo capacity, which rises to 1,087 when the 50/50-split 3rd-row is folded.

 

2nd place: 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan – $32,745 CAD

The Tiguan is one of the few compact SUVs to offer seating for up to 7 passengers. Including the optional 3rd-row seats ($750), all-wheel-drive versions start at $32,745 in base Trendline trim. The 2nd-row seat slides and reclines, divided into a 40/20/40-split for maximum versatility. Folding the 3rd-row seats creates 935 litres of rear cargo space and can be expanded to 1,860 by folding down the 2nd-row. With all three rows in place, there is still a handy 340 litres of cargo space.

 

1st place: 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander - $31,998 CAD

With a starting price of $31,998 for the base ES S-AWC trim, the all-new 2022 Outlander is the most affordable new all-wheel-drive 3-row SUV in Canada. Sharing a platform with the new 2-row/5-passenger Nissan Rogue, the Mitsubishi is longer and wider than the previous generation. Admittedly, the 3rd-row seats are relatively small. Think of the Mitsubishi more as a “5+2”. The maximum cargo room with the 2nd- and 3rd-row seats folded comes to 2,257 litres. Fold the 3rd-row seat, and that number drops to 950 litres and 332 with the last-row in use.

*Pricing as of May 1, 2021.

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