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5 Reasons I Went Third Row

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author photo by Autotrader May 2008

For most of my adult life, I’ve driven sedans. Simple, four-door vehicles that offered everything I needed. Space, simplicity, style — my life fit neatly into the package sedans presented. But all that changed with the arrival of my two daughters.

I fought the decision for a while, but as much as I regretted it at the time, my wife and I decided to get a vehicle with a third row of seats.

Why, you ask? Five reasons primarily:

1. Kids come with stuff
I’m not sure how a 10-lb. baby can generate 30 cubic feet of stuff, but they do. When you add in a stroller, a car seat, a spare change of clothes, a few diapers, a snack, a treat, shoes, a variety of blankets and stuffed animals, books, toys, etc. your car gets really full, really quickly. And that’s just for a trip to the store. I liked the maneuverability of my sedan but I love the space options afforded by a third–row-equipped SUV.

2. North/South seating
Occasionally, much like in the Civil War, a family becomes divided. In most cases, a toy lies at the center of the dispute and for the next few minutes some sort of battle breaks out. I appreciate the freedom to put one daughter in the third row and one daughter in the second row. I find it increases the peace in my home, and there are times when I will pay any amount of money to do that.

3. Family is invited
Having a vehicle with a third-row seat has completely eliminated the need for our family to ride in two cars when they come for a visit. It’s easy to have the in-laws ride in the back, or better yet, to tuck grandma between the two child seats. Plus, the kids see it as another great chance to interact with their grandparents instead of having them following us in their own car.

4. Easier to get out
When third row seats were first on the market, removing them was like performing calculus while blindfolded. There were levers and buttons and hooks and a whole variety of finger pinching motions you had to go through to simply remove the seat. Fortunately, manufacturers have put a premium on convenience and have greatly increased the ease with which seats can be removed from vehicles. There are even some seats designed to hide tastefully within the floor.

5. More options
Choosing a vehicle with a third-row seat used to be a decision you made among a handful of options. Thankfully, different manufacturers have recognized the need for larger vehicles and have responded by offering a wider variety of them. From introducing new models or simply adding a third row to a pre-existing vehicle, manufacturers are working hard to acknowledge and exceed your needs. Visit a few dealerships today and you’ll notice this switch in thinking.

I didn’t think I’d love my third-row seat, but for the reasons above (and many others), I do. I hope if you have got kids and are looking for a new vehicle, you’ll give the third row a shot. Chances are you’ll be surprised how much you like it.

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5 Reasons I Went Third Row - Autotrader