Best SUVs with Captain Chairs of 2020

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.

Best SUVs with Captain’s Chairs

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 Captains Chairs

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.

What to Consider Before Buying

Trading out the rear bench certainly has its advantages, but there are downsides too.

Pros

  • First-rate comfort levels
  • More room for each passenger
  • Easier ingress to the third row, if there is one
  • More storage capacity if there is a center console

Cons

  • Less overall occupant capacity
  • Generally limited to more expensive luxury nameplates

FAQs

Bucket seats versus captain chairs: are they the same?

While there might be some minor differences, captain chairs are essentially bucket seats designed for the rear rows within a vehicle. However, SUVS with bucket seats in the back are generally slightly more luxurious.

What is the best SUV with captain chairs?

The Cadillac Escalade is the king of the in-cabin lounge. Accommodating six in supreme comfort, it is outfitted with an excellent infotainment suite, loads of standard safety and driver-assistance features, and a lavish interior built from premium materials. You have to ask yourself how much you’re willing to pay for this, though, as the lowest-priced trim asks for just over $76k, while the top trim is priced at a hefty $103k.

Are there any affordable crossovers with captain seats?

These vehicles are often available for rental as town cars, with names such as Lincoln or Lexus commonly performing the role. If you’d rather buy than rent, though, there are some relatively cheap alternatives, such as the GMC Acadia (around $30k), or Dodge Durango (approximately $31k). Alternatively, you may be able to find a used car from 2019, 2018, or 2017 on sale at a significant discount. Just ensure you use a reliable dealer.

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.

BuzzScore
Design
Performance
MPG
Interior
Infotainment
Reliability
Safety
Value
#1
2021 Cadillac Escalade
9.1
BuzzScore
9
Design
8
Performance
7
MPG
10
Interior
10
Infotainment
10
Reliability
10
Safety
9
Value
#2
2020 Volvo XC90 Hybrid
9
BuzzScore
9
Design
9
Performance
9
MPG
10
Interior
10
Infotainment
7
Reliability
10
Safety
8
Value
#3
2020 BMW X7
#3
BMW X7
9
BuzzScore
8
Design
9
Performance
8
MPG
10
Interior
10
Infotainment
8
Reliability
10
Safety
9
Value
#4
2020 Volvo XC90
8.9
BuzzScore
9
Design
7
Performance
8
MPG
10
Interior
10
Infotainment
7
Reliability
10
Safety
10
Value
#5
2020 Lincoln Aviator
8.8
BuzzScore
10
Design
9
Performance
8
MPG
9
Interior
8
Infotainment
9
Reliability
9
Safety
8
Value
#6
2020 Lincoln Aviator Hybrid
8.8
BuzzScore
10
Design
9
Performance
9
MPG
8
Interior
8
Infotainment
9
Reliability
9
Safety
8
Value
#7
2020 Tesla Model X
8.8
BuzzScore
6
Design
10
Performance
10
MPG
8
Interior
10
Infotainment
7
Reliability
10
Safety
9
Value
#8
2020 Tesla Model X Performance
8.8
BuzzScore
6
Design
10
Performance
10
MPG
8
Interior
10
Infotainment
7
Reliability
10
Safety
9
Value
#9
2020 Lexus RX Hybrid
8.4
BuzzScore
7
Design
7
Performance
9
MPG
8
Interior
8
Infotainment
10
Reliability
9
Safety
9
Value
#10
2020 GMC Acadia
8.3
BuzzScore
8
Design
7
Performance
8
MPG
9
Interior
8
Infotainment
8
Reliability
9
Safety
9
Value
#11
2020 Volkswagen Atlas
8.3
BuzzScore
8
Design
7
Performance
7
MPG
10
Interior
9
Infotainment
8
Reliability
9
Safety
8
Value
#12
2020 Ford Explorer
8.3
BuzzScore
7
Design
9
Performance
7
MPG
8
Interior
9
Infotainment
8
Reliability
10
Safety
8
Value
#13
2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid
8.3
BuzzScore
7
Design
8
Performance
8
MPG
8
Interior
9
Infotainment
8
Reliability
10
Safety
8
Value
#14
2021 Subaru Ascent
8.1
BuzzScore
7
Design
7
Performance
7
MPG
9
Interior
9
Infotainment
9
Reliability
9
Safety
8
Value
#15
2020 Mazda CX-9
8.1
BuzzScore
9
Design
8
Performance
8
MPG
8
Interior
7
Infotainment
8
Reliability
9
Safety
8
Value
#16
2020 Land Rover Defender
8.1
BuzzScore
10
Design
8
Performance
6
MPG
8
Interior
9
Infotainment
8
Reliability
8
Safety
8
Value
#17
2020 Cadillac Escalade ESV
8.1
BuzzScore
7
Design
8
Performance
7
MPG
9
Interior
8
Infotainment
10
Reliability
8
Safety
8
Value
#18
2020 Buick Enclave
7.8
BuzzScore
6
Design
6
Performance
7
MPG
8
Interior
8
Infotainment
9
Reliability
9
Safety
9
Value
#19
2019 Hyundai Santa Fe XL
7.5
BuzzScore
9
Design
7
Performance
5
MPG
7
Interior
8
Infotainment
7
Reliability
9
Safety
8
Value
#20
2020 Dodge Durango SRT
7.5
BuzzScore
8
Design
10
Performance
3
MPG
8
Interior
9
Infotainment
7
Reliability
7
Safety
8
Value