Even though SUVs have become the default family vehicle, hybrid SUVs with third-row seating are still not very common.
Even rarer are hybrid SUVs with captain seats that replace the second-row bench with bucket seats — sacrificing seating capacity for comfort and easier access to the third-row.
This helpful guide lists all the hybrid SUVs that have captain’s chairs as options, so you can save time when researching for your next vehicle.
Table of Contents
1. Toyota Highlander Hybrid
The Highlander Hybrid was Toyota’s first hybrid SUV when it first debuted in 2005.
It was also the first hybrid in history that could seat seven passengers.
When the second gen Highlander Hybrid was released in 2009, it came with second-row bench seats that could be easily converted into captain’s chairs by removing the middle section.
Starting with the third gen Highlander Hybrid, traditional second-row captain’s chairs became standard in the top trim levels.
Now in its fourth generation, captain seats are standard on all but the lowest LE and L trim levels of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid.
Even with captain’s chairs, the Highlander Hybrid can still comfortably seat seven passengers. Seating capacity goes up to eight passengers with the second-row bench option.
2. Toyota Sequoia Hybrid
The full-size Toyota Sequoia has had optional second-row captain’s chairs since its first generation.
It only got a hybrid powertrain when the third generation model made its debut for the 2023 model year.
The Toyota Sequoia’s V6 twin-turbo hybrid powertrain can produce a combined output of 437 hp and 583 lb-ft of torque — much higher than the old V8 and with roughly 30% better fuel economy.
Captain’s chairs are only available in the more expensive Platinum, Capstone and TRD Pro trim levels of the Toyota Sequoia Hybrid.
The Platinum and Capstone captain’s chairs are also both heated and ventilated.
The Sequoia SR5 and Limited only get split-fold bench seats for the second row with no option to upgrade to captain’s chairs; but this increases their seating capacity to eight passengers.
3. Kia Sorento Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid
When the fourth generation Sorento debuted in 2021, Kia also unveiled the first ever Sorento Hybrid. In the following year, a plug-in hybrid variant was added to the fold.
The Kia Sorento Hybrid is the cheapest hybrid SUV with third-row seats in the market right now.
The hybrid and PHEV variants of the Kia Sorento have captain’s chairs as standard, making them great value for money for those looking for good fuel economy, passenger comfort, and extra seating capacity.
The Kia Sorento is on the smaller end of the midsize SUV segment so seating capacity is limited to six people with the captain’s chairs.
The Kia Sorento Plug-in Hybrid is also only available in the SX Prestige trim level, making it the most expensive model in the Sorento lineup.
However, the extra cost of the plug-in hybrid also ups the power to 261 hp compared to the regular hybrid’s 227 hp. It also adds up to 32 miles of electric-only range.
4. Ford Explorer Hybrid
The Ford Explorer played a huge role in shaping the modern SUV’s family-friendly image when it first went on sale in the 1990s.
With the release of the sixth generation Ford Explorer in 2020, a more fuel efficient V6 hybrid powertrain was added to the Explorer lineup for the very first time.
To equip the Ford Explorer with a hybrid powertrain, you’ll have to choose the slightly more expensive Limited and Platinum trim levels, both of which come with second-row captain’s chairs as standard.
You can also switch out the captain’s chairs for a bench seat at no extra cost if you want more seating capacity.
The Ford Explorer Hybrid has more legroom than the Highlander Hybrid, but it also gets worse fuel economy because it only has one electric motor to help it along.
5. Lincoln Aviator Plug-in Hybrid
The more upscale Lincoln Aviator made a comeback in 2020 alongside the release of the sixth gen Ford Explorer, which it is based on.
The Aviator also gets a plug-in hybrid powertrain which produces a combined output of 494 hp compared to the Explorer’s 318 hp while achieving roughly the same fuel economy.
It can also deliver between 15 to 20 miles of range in electric-only mode which means less trips to the gas station if you’re just commuting around town.
The plug-in hybrid powertrain is only available in the top-of-the-line Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring trim level.
Second-row captain’s chairs come standard in the Lincoln Aviator Plug-in Hybrid, but you can swap it out for a bench seat for more seating capacity.
In between the captain’s chairs is a mini center console that offers additional storage and controls for the sunroof, but this makes getting to the third row a bit more challenging.
6. BMW X7 Mild Hybrid
The X7 is a relatively new addition to BMW’s SUV lineup and it replaces the X5 as its flagship SUV.
In 2023, the X7’s V8 models were updated with a 48-volt mild hybrid system.
The new hybridized BMW X7 M60i has roughly the same horsepower and fuel economy as the outgoing M50i model, but it has a bit more torque. The same is true for the range topping Alpina XB7.
The BMW X7 doesn’t come standard with captain’s chairs, but you can add it as an option on all trim levels.
As can be expected from an SUV of this caliber, the X7’s captain’s chairs are clad in plush leather and are fully powered.
7. Mercedes Benz GLS Mild Hybrid
The GLS is Mercedes Benz’s flagship SUV and is in line with the iconic S-Class sedan when it comes to comfort, luxury and features.
The current generation GLS was released in 2020, and both the 6-cylinder and V8 variants have a 48-volt mild hybrid powertrain.
All trim levels of the Mercedes Benz GLS come standard with second-row bench seats. However, captain’s chairs are available at no extra cost.
With the higher end GLS 580 and AMG GLS 63 models, the Executive Class rear seat option adds:
- Heated and ventilated 2nd-row seats
- Multicontour 2nd-row seats with massage feature
- Comfort head restraints
- Wireless charging
- 2nd-row side-impact airbags
- 2nd-row MBUX tablet
The captain seats in the GLS are also fully powered. It also offers some of the best legroom and headroom in its class.
8. Volvo XC90 Plug-in Hybrid and Mild Hybrid
When the second gen Volvo XC90 first came out in 2016, it was the only plug-in hybrid in the midsize luxury SUV segment that could seat seven passengers.
Another unique feature of the XC90 plug-in hybrid is its twincharged engine, which is both supercharged and turbocharged.
With the help of the electric motors, the XC90 Recharge (originally called the T8) can produce a combined output of 455 hp and up to 36 miles of all-electric range with the Extended Range model.
In 2023, Volvo also added a 48-volt mild hybrid system to the rest of the XC90 model lineup.
Second-row captain’s chairs only become an option for the XC90 in 2020.
Nowadays, you can get the 6-seat configuration with captain’s chairs with the Plus or Ultimate trim levels of the twincharged B6 and Recharge models.
9. Range Rover Plug-in Hybrid and Mild Hybrid
The Range Rover continues to set the bar when it comes to luxury and off-road capability in an SUV.
In the final two years of the fourth generation Range Rover, mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants were offered in the entry-level models.
When the fifth generation debuted in 2022, only the mild hybrid powertrain was retained. The Range Rover P440e PHEV was eventually released in the following year.
The P440e has a much larger battery and promises to deliver up to 48 miles of electric-only range compared to the older P400e model’s 31 miles.
For the first time ever in its long history, third-row seats became available with the fifth generation Range Rover — but only in the long wheelbase (LWB) version which only comes with either a mild hybrid powertrain or a gas-powered V8.
The seven-seat long wheelbase Range Rover is also limited to bench seats for the second row.
Captain’s chairs, or Executive Class rear seats as Land Rover calls it, are only available as an option in the standard wheelbase Range Rover, as well as in the five-passenger version of the long wheelbase model.
In both configurations, seating capacity is reduced to just four passengers.
10. Bentley Bentayga Plug-in Hybrid
There are very few SUVs that can compete with the Bentley Bentayga when it comes to luxury, power and presence.
It’s also the only ultra-luxury SUV that’s available with a plug-in hybrid powertrain — and it’s only offered in the ‘entry-level’ models.
The base model Bentayga Hybrid’s V6 engine and electric motor produce a total of 443 hp and can go up to 18 miles in electric-only mode.
Going up to the S and Azure models gets you 455 hp and up to 27 miles of electric driving range.
The Bentley Bentayga can be configured with captain’s chairs by choosing the four-seat Comfort specification.
If you want an extra touch of opulence, you can also add the bottle cooler option to the rear seat center console.