Six vehicles that have something in common with hairy-nosed wombats

Vehicles with third-row seats AND good gas mileage may be as rare as northern hairy-nosed wombats, but if you look hard enough, in the right place, you might find one.

Green Car Reports, “the ultimate guide to cleaner, greener driving,” identified only six in a recent article.

Northern hairy-nosed wombats.
Northern hairy-nosed wombats.

“If you need to fit more than five into your vehicle – even just sometimes – and the thought of getting less than 25 miles per gallon in daily driving repulses you, the pickings for U.S. vehicle shoppers are still surprisingly slim,” writes Bengt Halvorson in Third row seats, good gas mileage: What are your options?

And the reasons for that situation “aren’t entirely straightforward,” Halvorson writes.

“Over the past decade or so, safety concerns largely eliminated many of the remaining third-row options – yes, station wagon jump seats – that weren’t offered in super-sized vehicles. Meanwhile, some automakers subsisting on the high profit margins baked into big SUVs balked at bringing in smaller three-row wagons, insisting that general-market demand wasn’t there for smaller vehicles.”

But that may be changing, according to the writer as “automakers are starting to understand that there’s growing interest in fuel-efficient vehicles that can hold more than five.”

Of the six vehicles named by Green Car Reports, all of them get combined city and highway mileage of 25 MPG or more, but only three truly may be affordable for some American car shoppers – the Mitsubishi Outlander, Ford Transit Connect Wagon and Nissan Rogue.

Here is Green Car Report’s list with price, seating and fuel economy, in order of affordability:

Photo: 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander
2015 Mitsubishi Outlander
Photo: 2015 Ford Transit Connect Wagon
2015 Ford Transit Connect Wagon

Mitsubishi Outlander, $24,045, seats seven, 25/31 miles per gallon city/highway

Ford Transit Connect Wagon, $24,325 (XL), seats seven, 22/30 MPG

Nissan Rogue, $25,115, seats up to six, 26/33 MPG

Infiniti QX60 Hybrid, $43,395, seats seven, 26/28 MPG

Toyota Highlander Hybrid, $48,685 (Limited), seats seven, 28 MPG both city and highway

Tesla Model S, $76,170, seats seven, 101/102 MPGe

Photo: 2015 Nissan Rogue
2015 Nissan Rogue

“There are plenty more plug-in hybrid options with three rows of seating on the way soon, from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi and Volvo,” writes Halvorson. “But beware that all of those models are anticipated to sell at a much higher price than comparable gasoline-only models.”

And what about those wombats? Well, there are only about 115 left in the wild, according to BuzzFeed animals, and they all live in Epping Forest National Park in Queensland, Australia.

You may not have to go that far to find your (affordable) three-row vehicle with good gas mileage.

Interior of Mitsubishi Outlander
Interior of Mitsubishi Outlander