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Room to develop: Why extra SUVs, crossovers are getting helpful third rows

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After years of boasts over the increasing dimension of their infotainment screens, automakers appear to have collectively moved on to a brand new measuring contest with which to extol their very own virtues: third-row actual property.

Throughout the business, there’s now a rising listing of rising crossovers and SUVs — autos that both had three rows and are actually including inches particularly for his or her third-row seating, or long-standing two-row autos which can be rising to seven-seaters from 5.

Like most issues within the business, the rationale comes right down to cash: Shopper demand for three-row autos is growing general, and, in response to executives from a number of automakers, including extra legroom to third-row seats is among the many finest methods an automaker could make some extra cash with little further funding.

It is “among the best returns on funding within the business,” one automaker government, who didn’t wish to be recognized, informed Automotive Information, “as a result of I can add basically a number of inches of sheet metallic” with only a few different modifications to the opposite parts of a car and cost extra.

The listing of automakers that both have added, are including or will add area to their three-row SUVs or crossovers is in depth and rising. Some examples:

  • This 12 months, Toyota will introduce a brand new, bigger model of its fashionable Highlander crossover named the Grand Highlander, which does not go on sale till 2023. It will likely be in-built the identical Indiana meeting plant because the Highlander however differentiate itself largely by including inches to the third row. Toyota can even tackle the third row of its body-on-frame SUV, the Toyota Sequoia, as a part of its redesign onto the model’s new F1 platform this 12 months.
  • For the 2021 mannequin 12 months, Basic Motors gave the third rows of its extremely worthwhile Cadillac Escalade, GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe SUVs a significant improve by including 40 % extra legroom — about 10 inches — as a part of a redesign.
  • Stellantis additionally received in on the development in 2021 with its addition — after nearly three a long time — of a third-row variant of its fashionable Jeep Grand Cherokee, in addition to with the return of the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer nameplates.
  • Although it would not verify it formally for the U.S., Audi final fall was noticed testing a bigger model of its three-row luxurious Q7 crossover in Germany, referred to as the Q9, which might immediately tackle a predominant shortcoming of the Q7 — third-row legroom. Sellers stated the Q9 is predicted to be in U.S. showrooms by 2026.

“There are all the time some engineering bills related, however in comparison with a full car program, these prices are fairly incremental in comparison with what you may cost for it,” defined Sam Abuelsamid, principal analysis analyst for Guidehouse Insights and a former automotive engineer. “For many autos, from the rear axle ahead, there are nearly no distinctive elements” wanted so as to add area to third-row seating.

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