A sports utility vehicle (SUV) should be so comfortable that it’s a home away from home for the number of hours you’ll sleep in it. For example, if you’re going camping, your SUV’s cargo space should be comfortable for a night’s sleep in case of unforeseen circumstances like a rocky campsite or a snowy night.
You may also be looking for a comfortable seat where you can take a nap over a lunch break or when you’re at a parking lot before your next meeting.
For whichever situation, the best SUV for sleeping in is customizable to your needs.
Top SUVs Best for Sleeping in
1. GMC Acadia Denali
It’s suitable for campers because its roomy interior provides enough space to sleep comfortably. You’ll have 79 cubic feet of space to carry as much luggage as necessary during your trip. You can also convert the same space into sleeping quarters at night, perfect for overlanding, right?
The GMC Acadia Denali has a trucklike look though it’s a midsize SUV. This family-friendly ride has sufficient legroom in the second and third rows, whether your passengers are teens or adults.
Its trailering capacity is almost similar to a GMC Acadia as they both tow about 4,000 pounds. Hence, it can tow a trailer with your camping gear. Lastly, its heating and cooling system offers optimal conditions throughout the night if you decide to stretch out on an air mattress behind the front seats.
2. Ford Expedition
There’s nothing ordinary about this 4WD, from its towing capacity to storage space, which makes it rank high among full-size SUVs. All the models and trim levels of the Ford Expedition boast such specs. For instance, the 2020 Expedition Max offers 121.5 cubic feet for cargo behind the front row. Notable differences between the 2020 XLT and Limited trims are manual and power recline of the second and third row.
The most important feature of any Ford Expedition is the spacious interior of over 100 cubic feet when you fold the seats on the second and third rows. However, that depends on whether you have a 2021 two-row XL STX trim or the standard three-row model.
Generally, you can sleep stretched out behind the front row even in a two-row model like the Ford Expedition XL STX since it’s a regular Ford Expedition with 104 cubic feet of cargo volume. If you’d like to stretch out more, how about a starlit night in a tent on the roof of a Ford Expedition?
3. Ford F150
The Ford F150’s latest innovation offers seats that recline to almost 180 degrees. The cushion rises as the backrest reclines to minimize the space between the seat’s cushion and the backrest. It lays out flat like a bed. If you’re camping, you can rest there before pitching a tent later.
However, this innovation means the Ford 150 isn’t for campers only as the comfortable seats make it suitable even for workers who need to take a nap over lunch break.
The 2021 model’s towing capacity is 800 pounds more than the 2020 model, which means you get a larger trailer to stuff your luggage and leave the cargo space in the Ford 150 for your bed. Its payload capacity is also impressive. Check out how much the F150 can carry.
Additionally, it comes with a better powertrain to serve up to 430 horsepower, so you can take on any terrain while towing your trailer. The Ford F150 ranks higher than the Chevrolet Silverado for its higher towing capacity and appealing interior.
4. Jeep Cherokee
It has a comfortable sleeping space with the back seats folded. But if you’re taller, flip the front seats down too. Additionally, you’d need a foam pad to smooth out the platform before rolling out your mattress. It looks large from the exterior, but inside, the windows are small, and the windowsills are high.
Therefore, the Jeep Cherokee would probably fit one person in the back as two would have limited stretching space, and it would feel confining. On top of that, the trunk’s cargo space is about 24.6 cubic feet, about ten cubic feet smaller than a Ford Escape. Therefore, you’ll have to take advantage of the 4,500-pound towing capacity to carry all your camping gear.
5. Pontiac Aztek
The Pontiac Aztek doesn’t have the most appealing exterior on this list, but it does deliver the features needed in an SUV for camping, offering about 93.5 cubic feet for cargo. It’s even faster than the Jeep Cherokee above.
Unlike other SUVs whose features show you how comfortable you can be when you fold down all the seats, the Pontiac Aztek’s main van-life feature has a tent and awning included in the package.
It has a rear hatch for extra space, a tailgate with seats and cup holders, and the center console has a removable cooler. The tent goes over the rear hatch, and you can inflate the air mattress provided using the onboard compressor.
6. Subaru Outback
The 2021 Subaru Outback has more second-row headroom and cargo space than a Jeep Cherokee, offering 39.1 inches and 74.7 cubic feet, while the 2021 Jeep Cherokee has a second-row headroom of 38.5 inches and cargo space of 54.7 cubic feet.
Therefore, it can sleep two people in the back comfortably with the back seats folded down. Folding the rear row makes it easier to flip the back seats up in the morning to carry passengers. Alternatively, you can build a platform for your air mattress with storage space underneath.
The Subaru Outback is almost similar to the Subaru Forester when you compare the cargo space and legroom. But this one has a 260-hp turbocharged option, while the Subaru Forester contends with a 182-hp engine only.
7. Jeep Wrangler
A two-door Jeep Wrangler sleeps one, offering a diagonal space of about 72 inches with the passenger seat pushed forward. You can level the sleeping area with thick foam to the height of the armrest console. It’s a cramped, tight space, but it’s better than sleeping in a tent on the ground when it’s freezing outside.
Even in the four-door Jeep Wrangler, you have to push the seats forward for more sleeping space. However, the space in a 4-door Jeep Wrangler sleeps two.
8. Chevrolet Equinox
You’ll have about 65 cubic feet of space in a Chevrolet Equinox to turn into sleeping quarters. The back seats lay flat when you release the handle above the seat or press the tabs on the passenger side of the cargo area.
The Chevrolet Equinox can tow about 3,500 pounds, so all your supplies and equipment can go into a camping gear trailer to free up the cargo area for your mattress.
9. Toyota Sequoia
The length of the space from the back of the front seat is 91 inches. Its height is around 37 inches, and its width averages 50 inches. If you’d like these specs in cubic feet, you have a sleeping space of about 120 cubic feet.
Consequently, when you build a sleeping platform, there’ll be room to toss and turn. You have 7,400 pounds of towing capacity to carry an air mattress and other camping gear for family vacations. All three rows have sufficient legroom; even adults can sit on the third row.
10. Chevy Silverado ZLT
Its cargo space’s length averages 70 inches with a 50-inch width between the wheel housing, enough space to pitch a tent instead of sleeping on the ground. When driving through a rainy region, you can keep the cargo space dry with a truck bed cover, so you don’t have to clear it at bedtime.
What’s more, this SUV has a towing capacity of 9,700 pounds to carry as much as you need to make your night on the back of the Silverado unforgettable. Don’t forget to pack an air mattress.
11. Ford Bronco
A 4-door Ford Bronco has over six feet of sleeping space with a width of over three feet when you push the front seats forward and fold the rear seats. You can stretch a little bit more when you sleep diagonally.
Maybe, by the time you buy one, Ford will have added the tailgate planned for a late 2021 release. It’ll give you two more feet of space, so you don’t have to sleep diagonally.
When you fold the second row of a two-door Ford Bronco, you’ll get about 52.3 cubic feet to stretch out for the night. That’s more capacity than a two-door Jeep Wrangler’s 31.7 cubic feet.
12. Volvo XC90
It’s pricey, but it’s roomy, and its interior is appealing. You can fold the second and third rows and install a sleeping platform. If you prefer not to customize your SUV, you’ll need a camping pad to lift your sleeping platform for comfort because there’s a seam between the second and third rows.
This midsize SUV has 85.7 cubic feet of space when you fold the second and third rows, which is among the highest capacities of all the cars we’ll discuss.
13. Honda Element EX
It has sleeping space for two when you flatten the seats to create a platform. Another option is to stow up the back seats to the side and bundle up your luggage on the front seats to have enough room for a mattress at the back. However, this SUV’s production stopped after the 2011 model, so you’ll need a keen eye to get one in great shape.
14. Chevrolet Tahoe
It has three rows of seats, so there’s plenty of space to convert into a sleeping platform. When you fold the second and third rows, you’ll have about 94 cubic feet of space to lay your mattress.
If you’re creating sleeping space for one, you’ll have the 60/40 split of the second and third rows to your advantage. Release the side where you’d like to sleep and leave the rest of the row upright to hold your luggage.
This SUV can tow 1,000 pounds more than the Toyota Sequoia we discussed earlier. It competes for the top position with the Ford Expedition, though the Ford Expedition beats it hands down because it carries more passengers and hauls more pounds.
15. Subaru Forester
It’s an award-winning SUV for its roomy interior, offering 69 cubic feet of cargo space behind the front row. It’s compact compared to other SUVs, so you’ll have limited stretching space.
But, it has excellent performance on the road, and the seats fold down to make it suitable for sleeping in when camping. If you need a mattress over the sleeping space, you can carry it in a camping gear trailer, for it has a 3,000 towing capacity.
How Do You Sleep in an SUV?
The top choice for most campers is installing a sleeping platform. First, they remove the seats (second and third rows), measure the space, design a platform using plywood and other materials, and install it. A raised platform creates storage space underneath.
The second option is folding the seats behind the front row to create space to spread a mattress. It’s more practical than installing a sleeping platform, but you’ll have to think about where to store the air mattress in the morning when you unfold car seats.
You can also sleep in your seat, like in a Ford F150. The seat reclines within seconds, giving you ample back support because the cushion rises to level out the space between the cushion and its backrest. It’s like sleeping in a plane’s first-class seat.
Lastly, if you’re an astronomy enthusiast, you can pitch a tent on the rooftop of an SUV or the cargo bed of a Chevy Silverado ZLT to enjoy a starry night.
What Is the Best SUV Legroom?
Legroom that’s above 45 inches is outstanding. However, even getting legroom above 40 means you’ll have a smooth, comfortable drive. Looking at SUVs, most of the ones discussed above have commendable legroom.
For instance, a Chevrolet Tahoe will have you traveling in comfort, whether on the front or second row. Its front legroom is 44.5 inches, the second row offers 42 inches, and the legroom on the third row is 34.9 inches. Also noteworthy is Ford Expedition’s 43.9 inches front legroom.
You can even extend your feet with ease in some midsize SUVs. For example, the legroom in a Jeep Wrangler or Subaru Forester is about 43 inches. The GMC Acadia Denali is almost at that range offering 41 inches of legroom in the front seat and 39.7 inches in the rear. The 2020 Ford Escape has 42.5 inches of legroom in the front row and 40.7 inches in the second row.
Which SUV Has the Most Back Seat Room?
There are many SUVs with back seat legroom worth noting. For instance, Toyota Sequoia has 42.5 inches of legroom, so even adults can stay at the back. As we mentioned earlier, a GMC Acadia Denali will also suit tall passengers sitting on the second row since it has a legroom of 39.7 inches. That’s slightly smaller than Ford Expedition’s 41.5 inches, an excellent space to stretch during long drives.
Which SUV Has the Most Interior Room?
When we consider the cargo space behind the front seat, several SUVs stand out. For example, the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe scoops the prize for one of the roomiest interiors for its 122.9 cubic feet space behind the front row.
Also, trims of the 2021 Ford Expedition Max, such as Platinum and Limited, give you 121.5 cubic feet of space. It doesn’t mean the Ford Expedition regular trims aren’t exceptional because they also flaunt 104.6 cubic feet. The 2021 Toyota Sequoia is not far behind, with 120.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the front seats.
Which Is the Roomiest Mid-size SUV?
Let’s mention a few with above-average specs. You have GMC Acadia Denali, Jeep Wrangler, and Subaru Forester. When you fold the rear seats of a four-door Jeep Wrangler, you have over 70 cubic feet of space to spread a mattress and put your luggage on the front seat. The GMC Acadia Denali is more spacious by about nine cubic feet when you fold two rows.
Which SUV Has the Widest Front Seats?
That has to be the Ford Expedition for its 62.2-inch hip room and 64.9-inch shoulder room. The Chevrolet Silverado is close behind with its hip room of 61.2 inches and 66.0 inches for your shoulder area.
It’s a similar case with the Chevrolet Tahoe that’ll make your drive comfortable with a hip room of 60.8 inches and shoulder room averaging 64.8 inches. We can mention so many more SUVs with wide front seats, such as the Toyota Sequoia.
We all know how uncomfortably long nights are when sleeping in awkward positions. It’s one thing to suffer through the night alone because the bed space is too small, but it’s another thing altogether when you’re sharing it with a partner or camping buddy.
That’s why the width and length of the cargo space in an SUV are more than just specs. You have no know if you’re buying a full-size or midsize SUV, the number of seat rows, plus the space available when you fold as many rows as possible.
In conclusion, you can sleep in an SUV, whether on a plywood platform, reclined in the front seat, or on an air mattress spread out behind the front seats.