The 10 Best Used SUVs With Captain Seats

The 10 Best Used SUVs With Captain Seats

By many accounts, the key to a comfortable group road trip is an SUV or minivan with a wonderful invention called a “captain seat.” 

No, we’re not talking about retrofitting your van with a nautical theme. The term Captain seats refers to the stand-alone seats that form the second row of a three-row car, with a passage aisle between them like you’d find on an airplane. But unlike an airplane, these ones are typically super spacious and comfortable.

Compared to the alternative of second-row bench seats, there’s a trade off. The added space comes at the expense of an additional seat, reducing overall capacity. But if that extra seat isn’t an issue, captain seats have an upper hand frequently coming with their own armrests, better cushioning, and in some cases, a center console that can be used to store items or hold drinks. (Like we said, NOT like an airplane seat.) 

And, for parents, you won’t have to worry about arguments over who gets the middle seat on your next family vacation. As a certain credit card company would say, that’s priceless. 

Best Used SUVs With Captain Seats

You won’t easily find captain seats in ordinary compact or city cars. They’re most common in mid- and full-size (particularly luxury) SUVs with room for six or seven passengers. But you don’t need to spend a fortune to give your passengers a comfortable ride. 

We’ve listed ten of the best used SUVs with captain seats. From the rugged Ford Explorer to the affordable Toyota Highlander, we’ve got something for everyone.

2018 Dodge Durango SXT (from $26,500)

2018 Dodge Durango SXT (from $26,500)

The 2018 Dodge Durango SXT is a beefy automobile, which might not be a huge surprise (it’s a Dodge, after all). Packing a 3.6L V6 engine, the Durango SXT enjoys effortless acceleration and solid towing capabilities. Meanwhile, its seven-seat layout has a spacious feel, even with a fully-loaded car.  

When it comes to the interior, the Durango is competent, but hardly groundbreaking. After all, cloth seats don’t exactly scream “luxury.” But on the other hand, it’s got a solid supply entertainment and safety features, and pretty  decent fuel consumption. You can expect to get 18MPG in the city and 25MPG on the highway, which isn’t bad for a large SUV.

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30-days warranty
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2018 Dodge Durango SXT (from $26,500)

The 2018 Dodge Durango SXT is a beefy automobile, which might not be a huge surprise (it’s a Dodge, after all). Packing a 3.6L V6 engine, the Durango SXT enjoys effortless acceleration and solid towing capabilities. Meanwhile, its seven-seat layout has a spacious feel, even with a fully-loaded car.  

When it comes to the interior, the Durango is competent, but hardly groundbreaking. After all, cloth seats don’t exactly scream “luxury.” But on the other hand, it’s got a solid supply entertainment and safety features, and pretty  decent fuel consumption. You can expect to get 18MPG in the city and 25MPG on the highway, which isn’t bad for a large SUV.

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Dodge Durango SXT

2019 Subaru Ascent Premium (from $30,950)

2019 Subaru Ascent Premium (from $30,950)

Subaru isn’t the first brand that springs to mind when you think “family car.” And yet, when you get behind the wheel of the Ascent, you’ll immediately forget those preconceptions and start to marvel at the sensible interior and comfortable finish.  

It’s not the most powerful car on this list. Its 2.4L four-cylinder turbocharged engine feels almost uncharacteristic for a Subaru, particularly considering it’s powering an all-wheel drive powertrain. And yet, with fuel economies of 21MPG in the city and 27MPG on the highway, you won’t mind. 

Comfort is top of mind here, and the Ascent boasts a spacious seven-seat arrangement, hallmarked by leather seats with both heating and cooling, multi-zone air conditioning, and adjustable lumbar support on the driver’s side. Backing this up is a solid sound system, a high-end  information system, and an array of audio inputs, including AUX-in (which is increasingly rare these days).

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Subaru Ascent
2019 Subaru Ascent Premium (from $30,950)

Subaru isn’t the first brand that springs to mind when you think “family car.” And yet, when you get behind the wheel of the Ascent, you’ll immediately forget those preconceptions and start to marvel at the sensible interior and comfortable finish.  

It’s not the most powerful car on this list. Its 2.4L four-cylinder turbocharged engine feels almost uncharacteristic for a Subaru, particularly considering it’s powering an all-wheel drive powertrain. And yet, with fuel economies of 21MPG in the city and 27MPG on the highway, you won’t mind. 

Comfort is top of mind here, and the Ascent boasts a spacious seven-seat arrangement, hallmarked by leather seats with both heating and cooling, multi-zone air conditioning, and adjustable lumbar support on the driver’s side. Backing this up is a solid sound system, a high-end  information system, and an array of audio inputs, including AUX-in (which is increasingly rare these days).

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Subaru Ascent

2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring (from $15,400)

2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring (from $15,400)

The comfortable yet high-performing the Mazda CX-9 Touring is an obvious choice for anyone on a budget. 

With a powerful 3.7L V6 engine, the 2012 CX-9 Touring is definitely fun to drive,  but fortunately that doesn’t come at the expense of fuel efficiency. It averages 16MPG in the city and 22MPG on the highway. 

Due to its age, you shouldn’t expect the 2012 model to come with all the modern bells-and-whistles you’d get with a more recent one. Still, it does just fine , with a  high roof, leather seats, and multi-zone air conditioning.

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Mazda CX-9
2012 Mazda CX-9 Grand Touring (from $15,400)

The comfortable yet high-performing the Mazda CX-9 Touring is an obvious choice for anyone on a budget. 

With a powerful 3.7L V6 engine, the 2012 CX-9 Touring is definitely fun to drive,  but fortunately that doesn’t come at the expense of fuel efficiency. It averages 16MPG in the city and 22MPG on the highway. 

Due to its age, you shouldn’t expect the 2012 model to come with all the modern bells-and-whistles you’d get with a more recent one. Still, it does just fine , with a  high roof, leather seats, and multi-zone air conditioning.

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Mazda CX-9

2019 Volkswagen Atlas 3.6L (from $30,950)

 2019 Volkswagen Atlas 3.6L (from $30,950)

Appropriately named for a solid road trip car, the 2019 Volkswagen Atlas is a great choice for drivers who love the thrill of going fast, but also want a touch of finesse on the side. 

Its 3.6L V6 engine delivers formidable acceleration speeds, and is hardy enough for towing moderate-sized loads. Meanwhile, its spacious interior leaves lots of room for stretching out With comfortable leatherette seats and plenty of entertainment options, including a generous infotainment screen, USB audio, and Satellite Radio, you’ll be all set for the road.

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Volkswagen Atlas
 2019 Volkswagen Atlas 3.6L (from $30,950)

Appropriately named for a solid road trip car, the 2019 Volkswagen Atlas is a great choice for drivers who love the thrill of going fast, but also want a touch of finesse on the side. 

Its 3.6L V6 engine delivers formidable acceleration speeds, and is hardy enough for towing moderate-sized loads. Meanwhile, its spacious interior leaves lots of room for stretching out With comfortable leatherette seats and plenty of entertainment options, including a generous infotainment screen, USB audio, and Satellite Radio, you’ll be all set for the road.

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Volkswagen Atlas

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 (from $49,950)

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 (from $49,950)

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 has captain seats, yes. But it’s also fun to drive, thanks to its solid on-road performance and high-end luxury touches like leather seats and a high-end infotainment system.

This model also comes with several parking assistance features, making it easy to squeeze the GLS 450’s massive frame into even the tightest of spots. While its fuel efficiency won’t wow you, it’s hardly terrible either. You can expect 17MPG in the city and 22MPG on the highway.

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Mercedes-Benz GLS 450
2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 (from $49,950)

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 has captain seats, yes. But it’s also fun to drive, thanks to its solid on-road performance and high-end luxury touches like leather seats and a high-end infotainment system.

This model also comes with several parking assistance features, making it easy to squeeze the GLS 450’s massive frame into even the tightest of spots. While its fuel efficiency won’t wow you, it’s hardly terrible either. You can expect 17MPG in the city and 22MPG on the highway.

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Mercedes-Benz GLS 450

2017 Ford Explorer XLT (from $24,950)

2017 Ford Explorer XLT (from $24,950)

Over the years, the Ford Explorer  has matured like a fine wine, living up to its promises as a mid-range SUV that handles the daily errands as well as the weekend adventures. 

Its heavy-duty 3.5L engine is more than capable at towing, and acceleration is brisk despite the Explorer’s hefty frame. Still, it gets decent gas mileage, with fuel efficiency towards the top end of the pack. You can expect 17MPG in the city and 24MPG on the highway. 

And as a fairly recent model, the 2017 Explorer is packed with modern conveniences, including a high-spec infotainment system, parking assistance, and support for Apple Carplay and Android Audio.

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Ford Explorer XLT
2017 Ford Explorer XLT (from $24,950)

Over the years, the Ford Explorer  has matured like a fine wine, living up to its promises as a mid-range SUV that handles the daily errands as well as the weekend adventures. 

Its heavy-duty 3.5L engine is more than capable at towing, and acceleration is brisk despite the Explorer’s hefty frame. Still, it gets decent gas mileage, with fuel efficiency towards the top end of the pack. You can expect 17MPG in the city and 24MPG on the highway. 

And as a fairly recent model, the 2017 Explorer is packed with modern conveniences, including a high-spec infotainment system, parking assistance, and support for Apple Carplay and Android Audio.

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Ford Explorer XLT

2012 Acura MDX (from $14,950)

2012 Acura MDX (from $14,950)

The Acura MDX is one of the more affordable in this  lineup. It’s also arguably one of the most compelling, when you factor in the value of it. Fuel efficiency isn’t amazing, but it’s not terrible either. You can expect 16MPG on city roads and 21MPG on the highway. 

And, as a luxury vehicle, you can find touches of refinement everywhere, from the leather seats to the multi-zone AC. Although on the older side, the 2012 MDX comes with a decent selection entertainment features, including satellite radio, Bluetooth capabilities, and USB audio input.

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Acura MDX
2012 Acura MDX (from $14,950)

The Acura MDX is one of the more affordable in this  lineup. It’s also arguably one of the most compelling, when you factor in the value of it. Fuel efficiency isn’t amazing, but it’s not terrible either. You can expect 16MPG on city roads and 21MPG on the highway. 

And, as a luxury vehicle, you can find touches of refinement everywhere, from the leather seats to the multi-zone AC. Although on the older side, the 2012 MDX comes with a decent selection entertainment features, including satellite radio, Bluetooth capabilities, and USB audio input.

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Acura MDX

2017 Tesla Model X (from $56,550)

2017 Tesla Model X (from $56,550)

Not much changed in 2017. Only two differences are worth noting. First, the line-up. In August, the company discontinued the 90D version. Additionally, it upgraded the car’s self-driving computer to version HW2.5. 

This isn’t as big a leap as you’d expect. HW2.5 didn’t add any additional computational power, focusing on reliability instead. It did come with a software update that enabled Tesla’s Dashcam and Sentry Mode, which allow the owner to record the car’s surroundings while driving and parked respectively. 

This is reflected in the pricing. There’s really not much difference in cost between a 2016 vintage Model X and one from 2017. The base 75D can be found for as little as $56,550, which is largely reflective of the lower mileage with these more recent models.

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used 2017 Tesla Model X
2017 Tesla Model X (from $56,550)

Not much changed in 2017. Only two differences are worth noting. First, the line-up. In August, the company discontinued the 90D version. Additionally, it upgraded the car’s self-driving computer to version HW2.5. 

This isn’t as big a leap as you’d expect. HW2.5 didn’t add any additional computational power, focusing on reliability instead. It did come with a software update that enabled Tesla’s Dashcam and Sentry Mode, which allow the owner to record the car’s surroundings while driving and parked respectively. 

This is reflected in the pricing. There’s really not much difference in cost between a 2016 vintage Model X and one from 2017. The base 75D can be found for as little as $56,550, which is largely reflective of the lower mileage with these more recent models.

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used 2017 Tesla Model X

2017 Honda Pilot Elite (from $29,950)

2017 Honda Pilot Elite (from $29,950)

The Honda Pilot is a family favorite, and it’s not hard to see why. With ample space, a luxurious, feature-rich interior, and a reliable track record, the Pilot is a sensible choice for any family on a budget. 

Seating is arranged in a 2/2/4 layout, with the middle-row consisting of two captain seats. For those confined to the back row, things aren’t so bad, given the Pilot’s ample head and leg room. The 2017 Pilot is powered by a 3.5L V6 engine, which lends to its solid towing capabilities. Fuel economy is decent, but not amazing. You can expect 19MPG in the city and 26MPG on the highway. 

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Honda Pilot
2017 Honda Pilot Elite (from $29,950)

The Honda Pilot is a family favorite, and it’s not hard to see why. With ample space, a luxurious, feature-rich interior, and a reliable track record, the Pilot is a sensible choice for any family on a budget. 

Seating is arranged in a 2/2/4 layout, with the middle-row consisting of two captain seats. For those confined to the back row, things aren’t so bad, given the Pilot’s ample head and leg room. The 2017 Pilot is powered by a 3.5L V6 engine, which lends to its solid towing capabilities. Fuel economy is decent, but not amazing. You can expect 19MPG in the city and 26MPG on the highway. 

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Honda Pilot

2019 Toyota Highlander XLE (from $35,500)

 2019 Toyota Highlander XLE (from $35,500)

The Toyota Highlander XLE is an attractive choice for several reasons. Fuel economy is excellent, and is among the best in its class, delivering 21MPG in the city and 27MPG on the highway. With a 3.5L V6 engine capable of delivering 295 horsepower, the Highlander is a delight to drive, while high levels of torque allow for towing considerable loads. Think camper trailers, or boats. 

The affordable seven-seater is arranged in a 2/2/3 layout, with two captain’s seats by the rear doors. The Highlander’s bonus features include multi-zone air conditioning, luxurious leather seats, and a suite of entertainment features, including Apple Carplay and Android Auto. 

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Toyota Highlander
 2019 Toyota Highlander XLE (from $35,500)

The Toyota Highlander XLE is an attractive choice for several reasons. Fuel economy is excellent, and is among the best in its class, delivering 21MPG in the city and 27MPG on the highway. With a 3.5L V6 engine capable of delivering 295 horsepower, the Highlander is a delight to drive, while high levels of torque allow for towing considerable loads. Think camper trailers, or boats. 

The affordable seven-seater is arranged in a 2/2/3 layout, with two captain’s seats by the rear doors. The Highlander’s bonus features include multi-zone air conditioning, luxurious leather seats, and a suite of entertainment features, including Apple Carplay and Android Auto. 

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Toyota Highlander

Take the wheel, captain

We’ve picked out ten of the best used SUVs with captain seats. While there’s a lot of variation in price and performance, none compromise on that most important of qualities: comfort. 

You shouldn’t compromise on where you buy your next car, either. With Shift, all our vehicles are backed by a seven-day returns policy, and a 150-point pre-sale inspection. For extra reassurance, check out our certified inventory, which comes with a free 30-day warranty. To find your next ride, head here.

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Author
Shift Editorial Team