Test of 4 SUVs with 3 rows of seats: Ford Explorer, Kia Telluride, Toyota Highlander and Volkswagen Atlas (2021 models)

The Automobile Protection Association (APA) has evaluated 4 SUVs intended for families: Ford Explorer, Kia Telluride, Toyota Highlander and Volkswagen Atlas (2021 models).

Models under test include the 2021 Toyota Highlander, the benchmark in the midsize SUV segment for several years, and the 2021 Ford Explorer, both completely redesigned in 2020. The 2021 Kia Telluride debuted in the same year. It is developed from a mechanism shared with the Hyundai Palisade presented a few months earlier. Eventually the APA secured a 2021 Volkswagen Atlas to complete the test. The latter received an update in 2021 with some cosmetic changes and an upgrade to the equipment. In addition to the models featured in this test, the category has seen updates from other Jeep and Nissan models, as well as the arrival of the Subaru Ascent.

The family minivan has lost ground over the years to more modern 7- or 8-passenger SUVs. SUVs offer all-wheel drive and greater ground clearance, advantages when it comes to facing the winter. Increased towing capacity is also a buying factor for some – it’s at least 5,000 lbs. (2268 kg) for the vehicles under test, with the exception of the 3,500 lbs. (1,587 kg) Highlander Hybrid and Atlas equipped with the 2.0. L engine, at 907 kg (2000 lb). For comparison, the trucks are approved to tow approximately 1,587 kg (3,500 pounds).

On the other hand, to travel with 7 occupants with their luggage, the minivan is unmatched. The comfort of the 3rd row is greater and the access to the cabin much easier thanks to the sliding side doors. Note that for 2021, 2 minivans also offer all-wheel drive, the Toyota Sienna and the Chrysler Pacifica.

>> Read also: the comparison of prices and payments of these 4 SUV


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