Here's an example of the 'full seat tilt' function of some SUV's (at least Nissan Pathfinder) that I wish the Ascent had, allowing 3rd row access without needing to remove the child seat.Maybe captains chairs work different than the bench? My 2019 has a 2nd row bench with a fwd facing seat on the right side and rear facing seat on the left. Of course the fwd facing seat allows more forward movement so that's the preferred side to ingress/egress the 3rd row.
By using the lever under the front of the seat it does slide forward without tilting the back. Kids did it so much they got used to getting in/out that way. Now that we just switched to a booster there they can start tilting and sliding it which gives them even more room....but they always forget to put it back upright and it ends up sliding around the next time I drive without them.
Did you happen to research SUV's in the early 2010's? Storage behind the 3rd row was non-existent across the board unless it was a full size Suburban, Yukon XL, or Expedition EL. That's how I ended up with a Honda Odyssey back then. SUV's have improved the storage a lot since then; I can fit a double stroller or jogging stroller in the trunk of the Ascent. The Odyssey had a couple features I wish the Ascent carried over but I can still live without: removable middle of 2nd row bench to make either captains chairs or bench available, and the ability to fold down the back of just the center seat in the 2nd row. That was literally all, everything else about minivans is boring.
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Another cool feature I found in the Volvo XC90 is a built-in booster seat in the center seat of the 2nd row (bench). Would be cool to see this added to more family friendly SUV's in other seats, would eliminate the need for the extra seat tilt for child seats if the booster itself could just fold back into the seat when getting into/out of the car.
As for SUV storage, even the Ford Expedition is limited to just over 20cubic ft of storage behind the 3rd row (vs 17.8 on the Ascent), despite the Expedition being much larger. It seems only the extended length (trim) on full size SUV's actually offer a decent increase in cargo behind the 3rd row, but those are totally different class of vehicle compared to the Ascent (and way more expensive). The Yukon XL for example has 38.9 cubic feet behind the 3rd row, but that vehicle is also about 25 inches longer than the Ascent (and starts at $54k).
More room is always welcome for sure, but we understand the compromise needed when choosing an affordable 3rd row SUV. I am glad the Ascent has at least some under floor storage in the 3rd row. Oddly, we use to own a 2016 Nissan Rogue that had a lot of extra storage space considering the size of the vehicle, but the 3rd row leg room was really non-existent. Shameless plug on those last 2 videos, they are from me and my Wife.