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Three-row SUVs with USBs and a cupholder for everyone take the stage at the Chicago Auto Show

Chicago Tribune

The three-row SUV segment shows no signs of slowing down, which will be apparent as soon as you arrive at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show. Increased competition is almost always good news for shoppers, and in the case of midsize and large SUVs, you’ll see how brands are trying to make their offerings stand out by loading on the features. We’re talking about enough power ports to keep everyone connected at all times and cupholders that can number well into the double digits, two metrics that have helped some new SUV models make headlines in recent months.

To balance out the more frivolous factors, we’ll also consider practical attributes like the availability of affordable all-wheel drive upgrades and standard active safety technology. The Chicago Auto Show offers a great opportunity to get up close and personal with this year’s crop of family-friendly SUVs. While you’re there, keep an eye out for these features on each of the following models — and maybe even see how many cupholders you can reach from the driver’s seat.

2020 Kia Telluride

Kia launched the Telluride at the Detroit Auto Show in January and its upcoming appearance in Chicago is sure to attract tons of attention. The Telluride is Kia’s largest vehicle ever and comfortably seats seven or eight passengers. The eight-passenger configuration is standard and includes eight cupholders, while the seven-passenger models get six cupholders. There’s also a bottle holder in each door. The Telluride comes standard with five USB ports, though a sixth can be added. The Telluride includes the Kia Drive Wise safety package with a ton of advanced features, such as driver attention monitoring and a rear occupant alert. All-wheel drive is expected to be available as an option in every trim level, though pricing has not yet been disclosed.

2020 Hyundai Palisade

The Hyundai Palisade was revealed in late 2018 at the Los Angeles Auto Show and has made its way to Chicago. The Palisade can be configured for seven or eight passengers. There are up to seven USB ports available as well as a wireless charging pad, and a total of 16 cupholders means everyone can take along at least two drinks. The standard Hyundai Smartsense package includes tech such as forward collision avoidance, pedestrian detection, safe exit assist, and driver attention warning. All-wheel drive is available, but Hyundai hasn’t yet announced pricing for the Palisade or any of its configurations.

2019 Subaru Ascent

The Subaru Ascent, the brand’s largest vehicle to date, seats seven or eight passengers. You may have seen the Ascent at last year’s Chicago Auto Show, which was around the time the trend of excessive cupholders really started to take off. Indeed, with 19 cupholders, the Ascent is the most prolific vehicle on the market in this field and is widely credited with ushering in this new era. The Ascent gets a minimum of four USB ports, with up to eight available. Subaru’s EyeSight system provides standard adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and automatic emergency braking. Unlike most of its competitors, the Ascent features standard all-wheel drive.

2019 Volkswagen Atlas

VW’s Atlas also put in an appearance at the Chicago Auto Show last year, though it’s worth another look if you plan to shop for a new SUV this year. The Atlas seats six or seven passengers, one less than most of its competitors. This VW provides just one standard USB port with the option of up to four total, but the 17 cupholders might be enough to distract you from this shortcoming. Every Atlas also includes blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning with emergency braking, and pedestrian detection. Step up to the V6 model to get all-wheel drive, which adds about $3,000.

2020 Ford Explorer

The redesigned Ford Explorer is another Detroit Auto Show debut that comes to the Chicago Auto Show. The Explorer seats six or seven passenger and offers a total of eight cupholders, including two in the second row designed especially to accommodate juice boxes. A max of four USB ports and a wireless device charging pad are available. The Explorer’s new platform marks a shift to rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is available, though its price has not been announced. Standard Ford Co-Pilot 360 includes technology such as forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection.

2020 Cadillac XT6

Cadillac’s newest SUV debuted at the Detroit Auto Show and should draw a crowd in Chicago. The XT6 provides seating for six or seven, served by six USB ports in a mix of standard and USB-C styles plus optional wireless charging. The XT6 has a total of six cupholders, two in each row, plus space for up to eight water bottles, two in the pocket of each door. The XT6 brings a ton of standard safety tech to the mix, including but not limited to forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection. All-wheel drive is available, though as with other recent debuts, its price premium is unknown.

2019 BMW X7

BMW’s newest model was unveiled in October at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and this six- or seven-seater is sure to grab attention even if doesn’t go for any records in terms of convenience amenities. Four cupholders are included, and heated and cooled cupholders are optional. Wireless charging is standard and the first two rows each get a USB-C port. Those numbers are modest these days, but BMW has other priorities, like safety technology. The X7’s long list of driver assistance features includes front and rear collision warning, pedestrian and cyclist detection, and real-time speed limit information. All-wheel drive comes standard in both trim levels.

Click here for ongoing 2018 Chicago Auto Show coverage »

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