Car Buying

Buying a Car: Should You Get the Third Row?

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author photo by Doug DeMuro June 2014

If you're interested in buying a car with room for your whole family, it's likely that you're looking for an SUV or crossover. But if you're like many families, you're probably wondering whether you should bother paying extra for a vehicle with a third-row seat, especially if you don't plan to have enough children to fill a 7- or 8-passenger SUV. So should you spring for a third row? We think so, and we explain why below.

Just In Case

One major reason to go for a third row when you're choosing your next vehicle is, simply, just in case you need it. While we understand that you may not be planning on three or four children, a third row can be helpful in situations where you're not just transporting your own kids, but also your kids' friends -- or a group that includes kids, family or other parents.

While this situation might not come up frequently, it'll be nice to have the third row in case it does, as it means you won't have to take multiple cars to go to one event. And you can always keep the third row folded down in back, which will give you extra space for cargo and various family accessories.

Resale Value

Resale value is another big reason to opt for a third row. When it comes time to sell your car, other parents will want 3-row seating -- and that means you'll get more money for your car if you have it. This is especially true in vehicles where a third row is optional: Shoppers who often transport children or lots of passengers will be looking for a third-row seat, and you may find a smaller pool of potential buyers if you didn't opt for it.

Admittedly, we don't think you'll get back every penny you spend on a third row when it comes time to sell your car. But we think the added seats will make your car easier to sell -- and that's always a benefit when the time comes for a new vehicle.

Separate Your Kids

Even if you don't have enough kids to fill all three rows of your new car, there's a hidden parental benefit to buying a car with 3-row seating: separation. Many parents will say that they can use the third-row seat to separate their children, which makes them less inclined to fight with one another on long trips. While this works with varying degrees of success, it's an option only available to shoppers who have 3-row seating -- and that makes it worth mentioning for parents who might be considering the feature.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Buying a Car: Should You Get the Third Row? - Autotrader