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Which 3-Row Midsize SUV Has the Best Interior Storage?

July 30th, 2013

3-row midsize SUVs have become the vehicle of choice for many families.  They are roomy, comfortable and seat 6 to 8 passengers, yet are easier to maneuver and more fuel efficient than large SUVs, like the Chevrolet Tahoe or Ford Expedition.  For many midsize SUV owners, particularly those with young children, having plenty of interior storage is an important feature.  At True Consumer Reviews, we invited over 100 3-row midsize owners to our research facility to conduct a detailed, hands-on comparison of 10 top-selling 2013 3-row midsize SUVs.  Midsize SUV owners pored over each vehicle, rating them on over 100 attributes, including interior storage features.

So, which 3-row midsize SUV did over 100 real owners – people like you – find to have the best interior storage?  Here is a brief look at the 3 midsize SUVs with the top rated interior storage:

First Runner-up:  2013 Toyota Highlander:  The Toyota Highlander earned the top score for front row storage with best-in-class front door, glove box storage and front cup holders.  With well-defined bottle holders in the door bins and four center console holders, the 2013 Toyota Highlander takes top honors as a refuge for the thirsty.  Two of the console cup holders are covered with a hinged door.  The cup holders are large, easy to access and hold different sized cups securely.  In the second row, storage rated above average.  In addition to ample rear door and front seatback pockets, the 2013 Toyota Highlander offers a unique 2nd row center console storage unit that replaces the middle seat and stows under the front console when 3-across 2nd row seating is needed.  Highlander offers four 2nd row cup holders, one in each door armrest and two that extend out from the front center console.  3rd row storage is below average, but those who make frequent use of the 3rd row would probably do midsize SUVbest to avoid Highlander anyway.

And the winner – a tie between the 2013 Ford Explorer:  The 2013 Ford Explorer ties the Pilot and Highlander for the top-rated front seat storage.  Its front cup holders are large, deep and easy to access. Additionally, this midsize SUV’s ample glove box has a shelf to separate important papers from other items.  A large covered bin at the base of the center instrument panel offers easy access to electrical connections including an RSC, storage card, AC and two USB jacks.  Second row storage rates only average, and the 2nd row cup holders were seen as fragile and hard to access.  However, 3rd row storage for this midsize sedan was best-in-class with large, stable cup holders and three storage bins.

And the 2013 Honda Pilot:  The Honda Pilot ties the 2013 Ford Explorer and the 2013 Toyota Highlander for the top-rated front seat storage.  Despite below average glove box and front cup holders, Pilot’s massive center console storage space consists of storage under the center armrest and another covered bin running from the armrest to the instrument panel and trumps all contenders for usable storage space.  Ample front door bins and a large, open bin at the base of the instrument panel provide additional space in this well-liked midsize SUV.  In the second row, the Honda Pilot provides six cup holders — two in each arm rest and two in the fold-down seat back center armrest.  Storage consists of two bins in each door, two front seatback map pockets and a midsize SUVsmall bin in the fold-down center armrest.  In the third row, the Honda Pilot offers four cup holders and a covered storage bin in each side wall.

Any of these three midsize SUVs will provide more places to put drinks and all the stuff you need to carry than their competitors.  Want to learn more?  Just click the True Consumer Reviews icon in the upper left of your screen, pick 3-row midsize SUVs and select the models you want to compare.  Then, click on the rating symbols to get the photos and explanations behind the ratings.  You’ll get something you cannot find anywhere else:  the compiled ratings of more than a hundred midsize SUV owners who compared all the major models in detail, hands-on.