Is America’s Best Family SUV in 2023 an Electric vehicle?

American customers have plenty of options for family SUVs, most of which are gas-powered models. However, the best family SUV in 2023 could be an EV. Several new large electric three-row SUVs are due for debut/launch by 2023, and they might be significantly better in all respects.

What is today reckoned as the hybrid best family SUV models (gas-powered) in the country offer a spacious interior with up to three rows of comfortable seats, plenty of comfort, convenience, and safety features, and a capable powertrain, but many of them are difficult to drive and expensive to refuel. Below are some of the new EVs that you’ll find listed under the best family SUV category in 2023:

2023 Mercedes EQS SUV

2023 Mercedes EQS SUV front three quarter
The Mercedes EQS SUV will be the first U.S.-built three-row electric SUV and also the brand’s first local EQ model. Image Source: Mercedes-Benz

The 2023 Mercedes EQS SUV is one of the best family SUV models in the luxury category in the U.S. It competes with the Tesla Model X, which is the benchmark for electric SUVs in the country.

The 2023 Mercedes EQS SUV has a long wheelbase of 126.4 inches, exactly three inches longer than that of the GLS SUV (123.4 inches). Up to seven adults should travel in comfort over long distances in this model. The full-size electric SUV offers 40.7 inches of headroom in the first- and second-row seats with a sliding roof and 35.4 inches of headroom in the third-row seats. Mercedes-Benz claims that the shoulder room and elbow room in all the rows are also above average.

There’s plenty of electric adjustment in the flagship Merc. The second-row seats are electrically slidable forward and backward by up to 5 inches, that too as standard. The knee room is at a comfortable level between 32.7 and 37.8 inches. Even the backrests are electrically adjustable, allowing reclining by 14 degrees to the front and 4 degrees to the rear. There’s also an electric inclination function, with which customers can angle them more steeply when they want to store larger objects without folding down the seats.

The EQS SUV pampers the driver and front passenger with massage functions (optional). A heating function is standard for the first-row seats and optional for the second- and third-row seats. Using the standard Easy-Entry function, third-row occupants can move the second-row seats’ backrests up to 11.4 inches forward beyond the usual adjustment range to access their seats.

In the two-row version, there’s 22.7 cu.-ft. of cargo space, expandable to 31 cu. ft. by moving forward the rear seats, or to 74.2 cu. ft. – enough for four golf bags – by folding them down. The three-row version offers generous cargo space as well. 6.8 cu. ft. with of volume is available with all the seats upright, expandable to 28.2 cu. ft. by folding down the second-row seats and further to 71.3 cu. ft. by folding down the second-row seats, too.

With the 12.3-inch third display of the optional MBUX Hyperscreen in the dashboard and the two 11.6-inch displays of the MBUX High-End Rear Seat Entertainment Plus, the first-row passenger and the second-row passengers can immerse themselves in digital entertainment on the go.

Rear-seat occupants can set their own temperature with an optional four-zone THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control system. Mercedes-Benz hasn’t forgotten third-row passengers here, offering another optional THERMOTRONIC automatic climate control system that allows setting a different (but common) temperature and ventilation intensity for the third row. Another noteworthy optional feature family customers with kids and babies will appreciate is a HEPA filter to keep the cabin air clean (and odor-free).

On the safety front, Mercedes-Benz has included a wide range of advanced driver assistance systems as standard. These include Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC, Active Stop-and-Go Assist, Active Steering Assist, Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Function, Active Speed Limit Assist with Traffic Sign Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Active Parking Assist with PARKTRONIC, and Surround View System.

The U.S. gets the 2023 Mercedes EQS SUV with a standard 107.8 kWh battery pack in 450+ and 580 4MATIC variants. The 450+ variant has a single motor generating 355 hp and 419 lb.-ft. for the rear wheels. The 580 4MATIC variant uses two motors, one at the front and one at the rear, which generate a total power of 536 hp and a total torque of 633 lb.-ft. Level charging from 10 to 100% SoC takes 11.25 hours and Level 3 charging from 10 to 80% SoC takes 31 minutes. Expect this model to deliver an EPA-est. range of up to approximately 325 miles depending on the configuration.

The AIRMATIC air suspension with continuously adjustable damping ADS+ is standard in the EQS SUV. Also standard is rear-axle steering with a steering angle of up to 10 degrees, which reduces the turning circle by 3 feet to 36 feet and makes driving and parking in the city easier and provides more stability when driving at high speeds on highways.

Sales of the 2023 Mercedes EQS SUV will start in fall 2022. Expect prices to fall between USD 105,000 and 130,000. EQS SUV customers will get unlimited complimentary 30-minute charging sessions at all Electrify America DC fast-charging stations in the U.S. As of June 2, 2022, there are more than 2,600 of them.

2023 Mercedes EQB

Mercedes EQB press photo
The Mercedes EQB is the only model in its segment with three rows of seats. Image Source: Mercedes-Benz

The 2023 Mercedes EQB is not a proper three-row model, with a compromised third-row because of its compact body. It has a wheelbase of 111.3 inches and up to seven seats, with the third-row seats best suitable for small children, not for grown-up teenagers or adults. There’s just 23 cu. ft. of trunk capacity, which admittedly is not a lot.

In both five- and seven-seat versions, the second-row seats offer multi-stage inclination adjustment for the backrest, and it’s possible to move the second-row seats 5.5 inches longitudinally. In the seven-seat version, there’s an Easy-Entry function for making entry for third-row passengers easy. With a generous headroom of 41 inches in the front, the EQB doesn’t disappoint tall drivers.

Mercedes-Benz offers three trim levels for the EQB in the U.S.: base, Exclusive, and Pinnacle. The base trim includes LED headlamps, LED front and rear lightband, 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system, 10.25-inch fully digital instrument cluster, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Assist, and Active Brake Assist.

The Exclusive trim adds passive keyless entry, and wireless smartphone charging, and it features an advanced sound system. The Pinnacle trim swaps the advanced sound system with a more premium Burmester sound system and additionally includes a panoramic sunroof and a 360-degree camera system.

Mercedes-Benz offers a choice of two different dual-motor AWD variants: 300 4MATIC and 350 4MATIC. Both have a 66.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Level 2 charging from 10 to 100% SoC takes 11.25 hours and Level 3 charging from 10 to 80% SoC takes 32 minutes. The EQB 300’s powertrain produces 225 hp and 288 lb.-ft. of torque, while the EQB 350’s powertrain develops the same amount of power but 384 lb.-ft. of torque.

We expect an EPA-est. range of around 225 miles for the EQB in both its variants, which would mean it’s suitable mainly for urban driving. Priced from USD 54,500 plus a USD 1,050 destination and delivery charge, the Mercedes EQB is expensive. However, Mercedes-Benz is sweetening the deal with two years of free unlimited 30-minute charging sessions at all Electrify America charging stations across the continental United States.

Kia EV9

Kia EV9 concept front three quarters
The Kia EV9 would be more spacious than the Telluride, thanks to the flat floor and cab-forward design. Image Source: Kia

The Kia EV9 could be one of the most crucial launches in the three-row family SUV space in America in the near future. It would be one of the first dedicated electric models in this segment.

Previewed by the Kia Concept EV9 at the 2021 LA Auto Show, the Kia EV9 will be a conventional-bodied boxy American SUV but with futuristic design elements such as camera-based virtual mirrors (digital mirrors), aero wheels, and more. Based on the Electric Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), it would have double the normal operating voltage – 800 volts. This would make it more advanced than the Tesla Model X and Mercedes EQS SUV on the charging front, as it would be compatible with ultra-fast 800-volt chargers.

The Kia EV6 allows charging at up to 240 kW, and the EV9 could accept direct current at even higher power. Charging from 10 to 80% SoC with a 350 kW charger could take just 20-30 minutes. V2L would make adventure trips with families fun. It would allow customers to barbecue on an electric grille, play music on party speakers and movies through projectors, brew fresh coffee, and do much more using the power stored in the vehicle’s battery pack. A 100 kWh battery pack that delivers an EPA-est. range of up to 300 miles could be standard. Kia may offer single-and dual-motor powertrains, with the latter generating 308 hp.

The EV9 would be much more spacious than the Telluride. Like the Concept EV9, it could have a 122.0-inch wheelbase, 7.8 inches longer than that of the Telluride (114.2 in.). Second- and third-row passengers could feel more comfortable in the electric model. While the Telluride comes in seven- and eight-seat versions, the EV9 may come in six- and seven-seat versions.

The Kia EV9 will go on sale in the U.S. in the second half of 2023. Prices could start at around USD 50,000.

Hyundai Ioniq 7

Hyundai Ioniq 7 2024 production SUV design render
The Hyundai Ioniq 7 would be more spacious than the Palisade and maybe even Kia’s EV9. Pictured is TopElectricSUV’s rendition of the e-SUV.

Another new attractive family SUV in the U.S. in 2023 could be the Hyundai Ioniq 7. This model will be the production version of the Hyundai Seven Concept from the 2021 LA Auto Show.

Also based on E-GMP, the Hyundai Ioniq 7 is likely to be much more spacious than the Hyundai Palisade and even the Kia EV9. The Seven Concept has the longest wheelbase for any Hyundai model to date – 3.2 m (126.0 in.), and we expect the same for the Ioniq 7. For reference, the Palisade has the same wheelbase as Kia’s Telluride – 114.2 in. While the Palisade is available in seven- and eight-seat versions, the Ioniq 7 would come in six- and seven-seat versions, Hyundai revealed during a media briefing in May 2021 (via InsideEVs).

The Hyundai Ioniq 7 may come in the same power-electric configurations as the Kia EV9. Expect a standard 100 kWh battery pack that can return an EPA-est. range of up to 300 miles. During the aforementioned media briefing, Hyundai did say that it will offer RWD and AWD variants with powertrains producing up to 308 hp. Moreover, the company revealed that Level 3 autonomous driving and wireless vehicle charging will also be among its capabilities.

The Hyundai Ioniq 7’s prices in the U.S. may also start at around USD 50,000. Officially, Hyundai plans to introduce the Ioniq 7 in 2024. On July 25, 2022, The Korean Car Blog reported that the company has advanced the launch and would unveil it in early 2023. Like Kia’s EV9, could the Ioniq 7 go on sale in the U.S. in the second half of 2023?

2023 VinFast VF 9

VinFast VF 9 front
The 2023 VinFast VF 9 is available to reserve with a deposit of USD 200. Image Source: VinFast

The 2023 VinFast VF 9 is among the Vietnamese automaker’s first models in the U.S. The new electric SUV has traditional SUV proportions mixed with modern design cues, because of which it looks quite like a proper American SUV, although we cannot say the same about its minimalist, car-like interior.

The VF 9 measures 201.6 inches in length, 78.7 inches in width, and 67.8 inches in height. It’s half an inch shorter than the 2023 Toyota Sequoia (208.1 in.), and yet, it has a two-inch longer wheelbase of 124 inches (2023 Toyota Sequoia: 122 inches). This means that it probably has a more spacious cabin than the Japanese full-size SUV.

As standard, the 2023 VinFast VF 9 has a 2+3+2 seating layout. Customers who want more comfort instead of seven seats can optionally choose a 2+2+2 seating layout that includes 8-way powered, heated, and ventilated individual seats in the second row.

VinFast is expecting a 5-star safety rating from NHTSA. It equips the VF 9 with 11 airbags and a slew of ADAS features, including Traffic Jam Assist, Highway Assist, Auto Lane-Changing Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Centering Control, Traffic Sign Assist, and Forward Collision Warning as standard. There are many parking aids also in this list, such as front and rear parking sensors, backup camera, surround view monitor, Summon mode, remote parking, and Fully Automated Parking Assistance.

VinFast offers the VF 9 in two variants: Standard Range and Enhanced Range. Both variants have two motors, one unit spinning the front wheels and one unit pushing forward the rear wheels. These motors generate 402 hp of combined power and 457 lb-ft of combined torque in both variants. The company is targeting a 0-62 mph acceleration time of 6.3 seconds in both variants.

The Standard Range variant has a 92 kWh battery pack, which may deliver a range of up to 272 miles. The Enhanced Range variant has a 123 kWh battery pack, which should return a range of up to 369 miles. Both the range figures are the official estimates as per WLTP. The EPA-est. range figures tend to be usually quite lower than the WLTP numbers.

VinFast expects 10-70% DC fast-charging in the VF 9 Standard Range to take approx. 26 minutes. As for the VF 9 Enhanced Range’s 10-70% DC fast-charging time, the company mentions approximately 25 minutes in the press kit but 35 minutes in the specification sheet (pdf).

VinFast only offers the VF 9 on a subscription model, with two battery subscription plans: Flexible and Fixed. In addition to the vehicle prices mentioned in the table below, customers need to pay a subscription of USD 44/month under the Flexible plan or USD 110/month under the Fixed plan. The Flexible plan includes 310 miles of travel per month, and for usage beyond that, the customer has to pay USD 0.15 per mile. The Fixed plan, on the other hand, allows unlimited range.

Configuration2023 VinFast VF 9 Vehicle Price
VF 9 Eco Standard RangeUSD 55,500
VF 9 Eco Enhanced RangeUSD 56,000
VF 9 Plus Standard RangeUSD 60,500
VF 9 Plus Enhanced RangeUSD 61,000
2023 VinFast VF 9 vehicle prices in the U.S.

VinFast is likely to start deliveries of the VF 9 Eco Standard Range and VF 9 Plus Standard Range in Q4 2022 (October-December 2022). The company expects to begin handing over the VF 9 Eco Enhanced Range and VF 9 Plus Enhanced Range to customers in 2023.

Featured Image Source: Volkswagen