A third-row Tesla might be in your cards when the occasion calls for moving people. A third row makes it easy to carry over seven people by providing adequate spacing for adults.
But the 3rd row in the Tesla Model S is better suited for children and smaller adults. This shows that the 3rd row was designed just for the novelty factor. So is the Tesla Model 3rd row good, bad, or a mixed bag? Let’s find out.
Tesla’s Third Row – Is It Worth It?
The Model S featured a third row – but there was barely any space for adults. The seats are constructed to help small children above 37” tall and weigh 78 pounds.
It is too big for smaller kids, and the larger ones won’t fit. In addition, the seat was placed in an uncomfortable position behind the car’s rear axle.
This raises major safety concerns in the event of a rear-end collision. Note that severe impacts on the car’s rear are a rare event.
The sears could be bought for an additional charge (some $6,000). Tesla removed the seats from the Model S in November 2018.
The seats are retractable. You can stow them into the lower luggage compartment using a few simple steps.
Note that it would not be possible to use the compartment for storing luggage with a third row. You could opt to remove the seats if you bought them by visiting a Tesla center.
So why did the third row in Model S cars fail? A properly designed third-row SUV tends to be larger than regular SUVs.
However, all Model S trims shared the same design, whether they used a third row or not. The 3rd row in the Model S was treated like an afterthought. It doesn’t make or break the Tesla experience.
Most motorists found the 3rd row in the Model S to be awkward and cumbersome to use. They’re not designed for occasional use when your kids bring friends along.
Despite the inconvenience of using the third row, your kids may like the novelty of it. However, EV makers are taking 7-seater electric cars more seriously as demand soars up.
Read: Charging Tesla in the Rain
The Pros and Cons of Tesla Model S 3rd Row
The additional seating capacity can be a bit hit with your friends and family. However, the option does have its fair share of pros and cons. The following section will discuss some of the pros and cons.
Pro: Extra Seating Space
Who doesn’t like the additional seating space? A Tesla Model S 3rd row is convenient for those occasions when you have more than four passengers.
The Model S is only applicable for smaller passengers – such as children. The third row works exceptionally well with safety seats for children.
Safety has always been a major concern for sitting in the rear of the Model S. However; Tesla has reinforced the rear with additional reinforcements to improve the car’s safety profile.
This should protect all passengers in the event of an accident.
Con: Less Space for Cargo
You are essentially trading cargo space for the third row of seating. All Model S trims are the same size and shape.
This means you are missing out on crucial space for your cargo. Although the third row is retractable, the added seats will lower your cargo carrying capacity.
You could recoup some of this space by packing the rear seats, but it’s too much work. This explains why Tesla dropped the third row for later iterations of the Model S. It was too inconvenient for drivers. However, Tesla is experimenting with seven-seater EVs.
Although you are sacrificing cargo space, the third row of seats does offer more versatility. You can always adjust the seats to store more cargo.
Despite storing most of your cargo, you are still left with enough seating space for four passengers.
Did we mention the third row of seats cost an additional $6,000? That’s a lot of money for seating you will probably never use.
Is it worth spending all this money on the off-chance you might need to use? The answer depends on your circumstances.
Larger families with small children may like the idea. But adults won’t enjoy having to sit in a constrained space. Sitting in the third row of the Model S can feel awkward.
Other Disadvantages Worth Discussing
- The rear window does not come with sun protection. This isn’t good because the seats can get very hot in the summer.
- The back end of the Model S is not climate controlled. It would be difficult to cool or heat the third row. This is one reason why the 3rd row can be uncomfortable to passengers.
- Despite all reinforcements, safety continues to be a significant concern. A rear-end collision at higher speeds can render the third row unsafe for children.
Will the 3rd Row in Tesla Model S Make a Comeback?
Tesla has discontinued the third row for Model S electric cars in California. Instead, they offer the third row for Model X and Model Y electric cars.
However, there are rumors that Tesla may reintroduce a 3rd row into future iterations of the Model S.
The rumor began circulating when drone footage revealed a third row in Model S vehicles at the Fremont factory.
It is a bit difficult to make out the third row of seats. But the footage made rounds on the internet and spurred conversations around the third row. Check out the footage here.
The footage showed that the interiors were updated with a brand new design. You can make out the third row in the rear window of the gray Model S at the 4:14 mark in the video.
Elon Musk also announced that the Model S Plaid would feature a third row of seats. This time around, the 3rd row would be big enough for adults.
The upgrade would make the Model S a full seven-seater.
However, it appears that Tesla hasn’t followed through with this announcement. The new Model S in 2021 doesn’t have a third-row option.
The footage from the video hints that Tesla hasn’t given up on the idea of 7-seaters.
Click to know: Can You Put Gas in a Tesla? The Surprising Answer
Other Electric Cars in California with a Third Row
Tesla may have dashed your hopes of a seven-seater Model S, but all is not lost. Tesla and other EV makers have released full seven-seater electric cars in California.
At the time of writing, the Model S simply does not provide that option. We’ve rounded up the best electric cars that offer a third row of seating.
Tesla Model X
Tesla Model X is one of the oldest electric cars with over eight years of production time. Tesla continues to update their models to stay ahead of the curve.
The Model X boasts a dual motor setup with a whopping 670 hp. The driving range is an impressive 348 miles.
And if you want more performance, opt for the Model X Plaid. It can reach 1020 hp and do 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds. The driving range for the Plaid is under 340 miles.
The Model X will impress passengers with its fun and sporty drive quality. It features a sleek and sculptured design that inspires confidence.
The third-row seating comes in handy when you’ve got the whole family. Besides that added practicality, the Model X is a nice overall family-friendly EV SUV.
The quality interiors will keep passengers happy and comfortable throughout their trip.
Tesla Model Y
The Model Y is a perennial favorite among electric car enthusiasts. It is well priced, well-designed, comfortable, and properly equipped.
The overall layout of the EV is intuitive, and its standard trim is very generous. It boasts an opulent interior with spacious seats that are pleasant.
However, adding a third row of seats is a recent phenomenon. It costs an additional $3,000 to turn the Model Y into a full-sized seven-seater.
The Model Y delivers a silky ride and is very engaging. When properly equipped, it can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
Note that only the Long Range AWD allows for seven passengers. It features a dual motor setup that can travel 330 miles per charge.
Mercedes Benz EQB
Mercedes-Benz EQB is an all-electric alternative to their GLS SUVs. The EQB offers a third row of seating, but it can get cramped in there.
The EQB 300 does have rather humble specs. The motor has an output of 225 hp. The more expensive EQB 350 has a dual motor setup with an output of 288 hp.
Mercedes-Benz EQS SUV
The EQS is a larger variant of the EQB and serves as an alternative to the GLS SUV. It boasts an updated design with a fresh and modern look.
The EQS SUV shares many similarities with the EQS sedan regarding tech and design. A 355 hp electric motor powers the EQS 450+.
The EQS 580 has a dual motor setup capable of 536 hp. The EQS is a larger SUV and offers more seating space for 3rd-row passengers.
The R1s impresses car enthusiasts with its aesthetics, technology, and performance. Rivian departed from the oval shape of most electric cars.
The R1S features a traditional SUB shape that is more practical and delivers excellent performance. It is square in the back with a minimalistic design.
The R1S is a behemoth of an SUV measuring at over 200 inches. It provides plenty of adult-friendly seating space for third-row passengers.
It also includes helpful goodies such as safety tech and an intuitive infotainment system. With its family-friendly features, tons of space, and easy drivability, you can’t go wrong with the R1S.
VinFast VF 9
The VinFast VF 9 may not have the reputation of Tesla, but it’s very promising. VinFast is based out of Vietnam and plans to roll out its EVs in North America.
Their most popular offering is the VF 9. The vehicle has a dual motor setup capable of 402 hp. The Eco trim can cover 370 miles on a single charge.
The SUV takes design cues from the R1S with a boxier, more traditional SUV shape. It will provide seating space for seven passengers with a third row of seats.
The Plus Models will only provide seating space for six individuals.
Toyota Highlander Hybrid
The luxury Toyota Highlander Hybrid has a palatial interior with a sleek exterior. It offers a stress-free drive with an impressive infotainment setup.
The Highlander Hybrid is the only EV on this list that is not fully electric. It uses both gas and battery for a combined range of 615 miles.
The Highlander can provide seating space for eight passengers. That’s more than all the electric cars on this list.
Other handy features include LED headlights, a panoramic moonroof, and on-demand AWD. The hybrid can do 0 to 62mph in 8.3 seconds.
It has a maximum speed of 112mph and a curb weight of 4390 lbs.
Not much is known about the Kia EV9. But we do know that it will feature a third row. The all-electric SUV shares design similarities with the Kia Telluride.
According to rumors it has a range of 300 miles on a single charge. DC fast charging allows you to recharge the battery to 80% in just 20 minutes.
It can do 0-62 mph in just 5 seconds, making it truly fast. The Kia EV9 is still under construction and will be deliverable to customers in 2023.
Is the Kia EV9 worth the wait? Some experts believe so because of the interiors alone. The plush cabin is made of high-quality materials.
Note that most of its features are only concepts. We have to wait to see which of them make it to the final form of the EV.
Model S 3rd row seems like an experiment that Tesla isn’t too proud of. However, the EV maker hasn’t abandoned the idea altogether.
There are Tesla models that feature 3rd row as an option. These are the Model X and Model Y.
But consumer demand for 3rd row EVs is soaring – and more EV makers are offering the option. Do you want your EV to have a third row? Let us know why or why not.
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My name is Matthew, staying in Seattle, Washington. Electric Vehicles (Electric Cars & Electric bikes) caught my attention for the last few years and my love for electric cars and bikes is everlasting. I spend many of my weekends traveling to various places all over various cities with my electric vehicle (e-bike and electric car). Here I am sharing my expertise, experience, and invaluable information about electric cars and electric bikes. Check out more.