SUVs with fold-flat seats have gained significant popularity due to their ability to transport both passengers and cargo seamlessly.
Modern SUVs, particularly those designed since 2018, have widely adopted seats that fold completely flat into the cargo area floor.
This versatile seating arrangement offers ample space for transporting gear while still ensuring comfortable transportation for groups of people.
When it comes to practical family vehicles, SUVs with folding seats are incredibly useful, whether you need to haul supplies or accommodate the entire soccer team.
In this article, we will take an in-depth look at a wide range of compact, mid-sized, and full-sized SUV models that provide fold-flat seating functionality.
We will explore the various configuration options, seating capacities, and cargo volumes offered by different manufacturers.
Continue reading to discover the top SUVs of today that feature ingeniously foldable seats for simplified transportation of passengers and all their belongings.
Fold-Flat Seating SUV Models
This section presents an overview of SUV models from major manufacturers that offer fold-flat seating arrangements.
The ability to completely flatten the seats unlocks significant potential for carrying both passengers and gear.
Now, let's categorize the options by brand:
General Motors offers a range of SUV models with fold-flat seating options. The Buick Envision and Chevrolet Blazer can each accommodate up to 5 passengers with available power-folding rear seats.
The Buick Enclave, Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Trailblazer, GMC Terrain, and GMC Acadia provide seating for up to 7 passengers, with some models featuring power-folding third-row seats.
For larger groups, the Chevrolet Traverse, Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban, and GMC Yukon offer spacious seating for up to 8 or 9 passengers, with various configurations including power-folding second and third-row seats.
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company offers a lineup of SUV models with fold-flat seating options. The Ford Edge, Ford Escape, and Ford Bronco can each accommodate up to 5 passengers and feature available power-folding rear seats.
The Ford Explorer provides seating for up to 7 passengers and offers the convenience of available power-folding 3rd-row seats. For larger groups, the Ford Expedition offers spacious seating for up to 8 passengers, with the flexibility of available power-folding 2nd and 3rd-row seats.
Jeep offers two SUV models with fold-flat seating options. The Jeep Cherokee and Jeep Grand Cherokee both provide seating for up to 5 passengers, and both models offer the convenience of available power-folding rear seats.
Honda offers two SUV models with fold-flat seating options. The Honda Passport can accommodate up to 5 passengers and features available power-folding rear seats.
The Honda Pilot, on the other hand, provides seating for up to 8 passengers and offers the convenience of available power-folding third-row seats.
Hyundai offers a range of SUV models with fold-flat seating options. The Hyundai Tucson and Hyundai Santa Fe can each accommodate up to 5 passengers, and both models feature available power-folding rear seats.
For larger groups, the Hyundai Palisade provides seating for up to 8 passengers, with the convenience of available power-folding third-row seats.
Kia offers two SUV models with flexible seating options. The Kia Sorento can accommodate up to 7 passengers and features available power-folding third-row seats. The Kia Telluride, on the other hand, provides seating for up to 8 passengers, also with available power-folding third-row seats.
Subaru offers the Outback, an SUV model that can accommodate up to 5 passengers. The Subaru Outback features available power-folding rear seats, providing convenience and flexibility in configuring the seating and cargo space.
Toyota offers two SUV models with spacious seating options. The Toyota Highlander can accommodate up to 8 passengers and features available power-folding third-row seats.
Similarly, the Toyota Sequoia provides seating for up to 8 passengers and offers the convenience of available power-folding third-row seats.
Fold-Flat Seating for Enhanced Cargo Practicality
The SUV models featured here incorporate a fold-flat seating design that provides exceptional cargo practicality. When all rows are laid flat, it creates a large, seamless loading area for easy transport of bulk items.
Many mid-sized and full-size vehicles offer an optional third row to accommodate additional passengers. When the third-row benches are folded, they neatly nest into the rear cargo well.
Major manufacturers provide powered folding as a standard or upgraded feature, allowing rows to collapse quickly and maximize interior space with the push of a button.
While highly versatile, SUV cargo configurations differ from Chrysler and Toyota's "stow n' go" system. Compact rows that fold directly into the floor are not suitable for off-road vehicles requiring increased ground clearance over obstacles.
Continue reading to explore the seating and cargo specifications of the folding-seat SUVs outlined above.
General Motors offers the following mid-sized/crossover SUVs:
All these vehicles can accommodate 5 passengers and come with a standard 2nd-row manual 60-40 flat-folding bench.
When you fold down the 2nd-row seats, you get between 57.3 cu. Ft. (Equinox) and 64.2 cu. Ft. (Buick Envision) of space.
Consider the GMC Terrain, as it stands out by offering a rare bonus—a fold-flat front passenger seat.
These three models provide more features and options at a higher price point.
The Buick Enclave and Chevy Traverse come with fold-flat captain's chairs as standard for the 2nd-row, and you also have the option of a powered folding 60-40 split 3rd-row bench.
When you fold down all the seats, the Buick Enclave offers 97.6 cu. Ft. of cargo space, while the Chevy Traverse provides 98.2 cu. Ft.
Ford Motor Company
Ford offers four mid-sized/crossover SUVs, all with fold-flat seating:
The Ford Edge is a crossover SUV that provides smooth car-like handling and can accommodate up to 5 passengers.
When you fold down the 2nd-row 60/40 split-fold flat reclining bench, the Ford Edge offers 73.4 cu. Ft. of cargo space.
On the Titanium and St-Limited models, you can easily lower the Power-fold seats with a button press.
The Ford Escape, despite being categorized as a compact SUV, offers seating for five passengers on a 60/40 split-fold flat reclining bench, making it a viable option alongside mid-sized SUVs.
The Ford Bronco comes in various models and trims and can seat 4/5 passengers with either a 60/40 or 50/50 split-fold flat reclining bench.
The 2-door Ford Bronco provides 58.4 cu. Ft. of space, while the four-door models with longer wheelbases offer up to 82.97 cu. Ft. of space.
The Ford Explorer offers seating for 6/7 people with a 2nd-row 60/40 split-fold flat reclining bench or dual captain chairs, all of which fold flat.
The 3rd row of the Ford Explorer features a 50/50 split-fold flat bench.
The Ford Explorer has 87.2 cu. Ft. of storage space with all the seats folded flat. ">PowerFold seating is available with the Limited, ST, and Platinum models.
Jeep, a subsidiary of Fiat Chrysler, offers various compact SUVs, including the Rangler and the Compass, along with two mid-sized SUVs, the Cherokee and the Grand Cherokee.
The Jeep Cherokee is available in eight models and can comfortably seat five passengers with its manual 60/40 split-folding seatback.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is offered in five models, with most providing seating for five passengers and one 2021 model offering seven-passenger seating.
Both models feature additional storage space beneath the cargo bay floor, and when the seats are folded flat, the cargo space ranges from 54.7 to 68.3 cu. Ft.
These Jeeps offer power-folding functionality, which can either come as a standard feature or be optional.
The Honda Passport provides seating for five passengers with a manual or power-folding 60/40 split rear seatback.
This midsize SUV has a cargo space measuring 41.2/77.9 cu. Ft. Higher trim levels are equipped with a powered liftgate and standard power-folding.
The Honda Pilot, slightly longer in size, offers seating for seven passengers with manual or power-folding 60/40 split rear reclining seatback available for both the 2nd and 3rd-row seats.
The cargo space in the Honda Pilot measures 16.5/46.8/83.9 cu. Ft. Higher trim levels come equipped with a powered liftgate and standard power-folding.
The mid-sized SUVs from Hyundai offer 5-passenger seating with a powered manual 60-40 split-folding seatback. Additionally, both models come standard with a power liftgate.
The Tucson offers a total cargo space of 61.9 cu. Ft., while the Sante Fe provides a total cargo space of 72.1 cu. Ft.
Both models feature seating for 7 to 8 passengers, with the 2nd and 3rd rows offering a 60/40 split-folding design and the ability to recline.
With the SX and Prestige Package, you can easily slide the 2nd-row seats forward for convenient access to the 3rd-row by pressing a designated button.
Another button allows you to fold the seats to the floor for added convenience.
These SUVs provide additional storage space beneath the Dual-Level Cargo Floor in the cargo bay. They offer a maximum of 87 cu. Ft. of cargo space.
The Premium model offers an optional powered liftgate, while the other models come standard with this feature.
The Subaru Outback provides a cargo space measuring 32.5/75.7 cu. Ft.
The cargo space in the Toyota Highlander is 16/48.4/84.3 cu. Ft.
What is the roomiest mid-sized SUV?
The Kia Sorento, Kia Telluride, and Ford Explorer offer a maximum of 87 cu. Ft. of interior space when the seats are folded flat.
These SUVs provide more riding space than most others when the seats are up for passengers.
General Motors' standard SUV lineup includes the 7-passenger GMC Acacia, the 8-passenger GMC Yukon, the 8/9-passenger Cadillac Escalade, and the Chevy Tahoe/Suburban.
Both GMC and Cadillac models provide power-folding 2nd-row captain's chairs, a 60/40 split-fold bench for the 2nd and 3rd rows, and a power-folding 3rd-row 60/40 split-fold bench.
Chevrolet models only offer power-folding captain's chairs in their top models.
The GMC Yukon, Chevrolet models, and the Cadillac Escalade all feature a three-person bench seat in the 1st row.
Here are the cargo space figures from behind each of the three rows:
- Chevrolet Tahoe: 25.5/72.6/122.9 cu. Ft.
- Chevrolet Suburban: 41.5/93.8/144.7 cu. Ft.
- GMC Acacia: 12.8/41.7/79 cu. Ft.
- GMC Yukon: 25.5/72.6/122.9 cu. Ft.
- Cadillac Escalade: 25.5/72.9/121 cu. Ft.
Ford Motor Company
The Ford Expedition provides seating options for either 7 or 8 passengers in three-row models, while the XL-STX models offer a two-row configuration for up to 5 passengers.
In all three-row models, there is a power-folding 3rd-row bench that can seat three passengers. Captain's chairs can be added to the 2nd row. All the seats in the Ford Expedition can be folded flat.
The Ford Expedition offers a cargo space of 19.3/57.5/104.6 cu. Ft. Some models provide an additional 4-5 cu. Ft. of space behind the 2nd-row and 3rd-row seats.
The Hyundai Palisade, which can accommodate 7 passengers, includes standard 2nd-row captain's chairs and a 60/40 folding 3rd-row bench. Alternatively, it can be configured as an 8-passenger model with a 2nd-row 60/40 folding bench.
The SEL model offers optional powered folding and unfolding 3rd-row, while the Limited model includes this feature as standard.
The Hyundai Palisade provides a cargo space of 18/45.8/86.4 cu. Ft.
The Toyota Sequoia offers seating for either 7 or 8 passengers with standard 2nd-row captain's chairs. Additionally, you have the option to switch to a manual or power-folding 60/40 split-fold bench in either the 2nd or 3rd row.
The Toyota Sequoia provides a cargo space of 18.9/66.6/120.1 cu. Ft.
Some Considerations Before You Make Your Purchase
Before making your valuable SUV purchase, consider these extra tips and factors that are relevant to the SUV with fold-flat seats that will best suit your lifestyle:
Save more money by opting for used SUVs that offer fold-flat seats. If your budget doesn't allow for buying a new SUV, consider purchasing a used one with fold-flat seats as an excellent alternative.
Search websites like Carfax and Autotrader to find a wide selection of used SUVs available.
Choosing newer models is advisable as most SUVs underwent a redesign around 2018 to incorporate fold-flat seating. When test driving, make sure the SUV's seats fold completely flat.
More Compact SUVs With Fold-Flat Magic
In addition to the Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5, and Hyundai Tucson mentioned above, other top compact SUVs with fold-flat seats are the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Forester, and Volkswagen Tiguan.
Compared to larger SUVs, these compact SUVs offer fold-flat seats and boast enhanced fuel efficiency and maneuverability.
7-Seater SUVs For Full Family Hauling
Despite having 3 rows of seating, these mid-sized SUVs maintain fold-flat capabilities in both rear rows, allowing for cargo flexibility when not carrying a full load.
How is cargo space measured in an SUV?
To properly assess the cargo capacity of various SUV models, it's crucial to comprehend how manufacturers calculate interior volumes.
While the majority measure the length from the back of the front row seats to the open tailgate, a few automakers opt to count from the windshield.
The width refers to the measurement between the inside walls at shoulder level (beltline), excluding any visible wheel well protrusions.
This measurement approach facilitates direct capacity comparisons. However, it's important to note that variations exist, such as Ford's slight deviation in excluding the front seat volume.
Official volume statistics typically exclude additional factors like folding seat designs and under-floor storage space.
When shopping, it's advisable to cross-reference multiple sources to accommodate measurement technique nuances among different automakers.
Understanding these calculations will help you identify the SUV best suited to your hauling needs.
What is the difference between compact, mid-sized SUVs and standard/full-sized models?
Compact SUVs are generally more similar to cars in their design and performance characteristics. Often built on a car's unibody frame, they provide better maneuverability and fuel efficiency, making them an ideal choice for urban driving and lighter use.
Mid-sized SUVs, in contrast, find a middle ground between compact and standard/full-sized models. Despite popular belief, numerous mid-sized SUVs share the same unibody frame construction as cars, rather than the typical body-on-frame structure associated with trucks.
This construction enhances their ride comfort and handling capabilities, surpassing those of larger SUVs. Despite being smaller in size, these SUVs provide generous cargo capacity and seating, with certain models accommodating up to seven passengers.
This construction contributes to their smoother ride and better handling compared to larger SUVs. Despite their smaller size, they can offer substantial cargo space and seating, with some models accommodating up to seven passengers.
Standard or full-sized SUVs typically feature body-on-frame construction akin to trucks, which grants them formidable off-road and towing capabilities.
These SUVs serve as the preferred choice for larger families or individuals in need of ample hauling capacity, comfortably accommodating 7 or 8 passengers and typically providing a more spacious third-row seating experience compared to smaller models.
What is the roomiest compact SUV?
When considering passenger comfort as a higher priority than cargo space, it's worthwhile to evaluate the compact SUV's accommodation capabilities before delving into mid-sized and standard SUVs.
In the compact SUV category, the Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5, Honda HR-V, and Subaru Forester distinguish themselves with exceptional legroom and second-row comfort.
Which 8-passenger SUV has the most cargo space?
The Chevrolet Suburban from General Motors offers the most cargo space, with second and third-row seats that fold flat, providing 144.7 cu. Ft. of space.
Both the Chevy Tahoe and Cadillac Escalade feature fold-flat seating, offering 122.9 cu. Ft. of space.
The Kia Carnival MPV boasts 145.1 cu. Ft. of space; however, its second-row seats cannot fold flat and need to be physically removed.
Which luxury SUV has the most cargo space?
This overview of mid-sized and standard SUVs excludes luxury brands and models. For those less concerned about vehicle price, the following luxury SUVs offer the most cargo space when all seats are folded flat:
Hit the Road Running With Fold-Flat SUVs
Thanks to the wide range of excellent choices, mid-sized and standard SUVs equipped with fold-flat seats simplify cargo handling and passenger accommodation.
Ensure you conduct thorough research to select the SUV that best suits your needs. Test drive the vehicle to experience the convenience of fold-flat seats firsthand.
Don't overlook the opportunity to explore the used inventory for enhanced value. Regardless of the SUV you choose, enjoy the journey with your entire family and all the gear you bring along!
Recap of Key Tips:
- Prioritize your needs: cargo space or passenger capacity?
- Test drive to experience fold-flat seats in action.
- Consider used SUVs for cost savings.
- Choose SUVs designed or redesigned after 2018.
- Confirm power-folding seats on higher trims.
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