The market for three-row electric vehicles is rather small at the moment in the United States. US shoppers currently have only three models to choose from that offer proper third-row seats capable of accommodating adults in reasonable comfort.
We're talking about the Tesla Model X, Rivian R1S, and Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV. Other large three-row electric SUV that have already been unveiled but will launch in the coming months include the Kia EV9 and Volvo EX90. And while it's not an SUV, the three-row 2025 Volkswagen ID. Buzz LWB also deserves a mention.
Of course, there are also smaller three-row electric SUVs available, such as the Tesla Model Y and Mercedes-Benz EQB, but their third-row seats offer limited space for adult passengers.
When it comes to sales volumes, the most popular three-row large SUVs in the US are the Tesla Model X and the Rivian R1S, and if you are interested in a comparison that deals exclusively with their third-row seats, the above video from the EV Family YouTube channel is a great watch.
That's partly because the host of the video is a longtime EV driver who owns both a six-seat Tesla Model X Plaid and a seven-seat Rivian R1S, so he knows what he's talking about. Furthermore, the video is really useful because it shows the same person performing exactly the same tests with each vehicle, which makes for a good comparison.
While the basic principles of how third row seating works are similar on both vehicles, there are some differences that are good to know before committing to a purchase.
For example, if space is your number one priority, the boxy Rivian R1S wins this hands down. The Rivian has a taller roof and offers more headroom, knee room, and legroom for third-row seat passengers compared to the Tesla. It also offers more cargo volume both when the third-row seats are up and when they are folded down.
That said, you'll notice in the video that the Model X Plaid has plenty of things going for it as well, such as the great visibility to the front thanks to the space between the second-row captain's chairs, the convenience of second-row seats that slide electrically to provide access to the third row, and the fact you can stand up when entering or exiting the third row thanks to the falcon doors.
There's one important mention to make regarding the Model X Plaid, and that's the fact the captain's chairs don't fold down to create a flat surface as the second-row seats do in the Rivian R1S – they only tilt forward. The Plaid comes exclusively as a six-seater, so if you want that extra versatility you must go for a standard Model X, which is also available as a seven-seater.
Check out the video above to find out which three-row electric SUV won this owner's test.