Traditionally, sport utility vehicles are equipped with a second-row bench that seats three people, but SUVs with captain’s chairs are still a very popular choice. However, second-row captain’s seats are a popular choice. Even though they offer seating for two instead of three, they have some definite advantages. Not only are individual chairs more comfortable than a bench, often with superior cushioning and their own armrests, but they often provide either a luxurious center console or a practical walk-through space to the third row, assuming there is one.
We’ve evaluated the best SUVs with captain’s chairs and ranked them accordingly. Our objective assessments take into account comfort, ease of access, and the quality and selection of interior materials. Some cars of this type actually provide rear entertainment packages, which we cover in sections on features and add-ons. Whether you intend to do the driving yourself, or lounge in the back and enjoy the amenities while being chauffeured around, our rankings can help you decide.
Generally speaking, it is usually the luxury brands that showcase an SUV with captain’s seats. Thus, it isn’t too surprising that there are a number of good options out there. We’ve looked beyond just seating appointments and comfort to rank the best crossovers with this feature.
While it bears a price tag of between $76k and $103k, the new 2020 model Cadillac Escalade is definitely the most impressive automobile in this segment. Larger than life in every sense, the American auto is fitted with a V8 engine and is dressed in only the best materials, with more standard and available features than anyone could ever really need.
Slightly less exorbitantly priced, the Volvo XC90 Hybrid and BMW X7 share second place. Both are premium nameplates, so plush, stylish interiors are a given. Of the two, the BMW is slightly more lavish, and it delivers a better driving experience if you intend to be behind the wheel. None of these machines are true 4x4 off-roaders, but some do have the ability to go off the beaten path when needed.
SUVs with second-row captain’s chairs are not limited to luxury brands, though. There are various affordable motors that can be outfitted with the more comfortable arrangement.
The GMC Acadia is a well-regarded option. The large machine has plenty of space for all six commuters, and the separate seats make getting into the third-row a breeze. The Ford Explorer is another American automobile that offers this configuration. It isn’t quite as spacious as the Acadia, but it has a much more capable powertrain and ships with a long list of features. It is also presented in a hybrid configuration.
Not every such automobile is large and blocky, though. The Tesla Model X has a far sleeker body style, while the Land Rover Defender has a short and stubby design.
Trading out the rear bench certainly has its advantages, but there are downsides too.
For more information on these automobiles, and to see pictures and videos of their lavish interiors, we invite you to peruse our in-depth reviews.