I would think that the reasoning for adding the 3rd row is to appeal to families. I know we couldn't consider the X5 ( ) because it lacked a 3rd row (Volvo XC90 instead). Now we can! A lot of families need the extra seating/cargo space to match their needs (carpooling, kids + dogs, towing, etc.).
Carpooling is the single most effective way to reduce fuel consumption. Each time you carpool, you are almost doubling the fuel mileage of the vehicle that is not making the extra trip (pick-up and drop-off for the "cost" of one or the other). Without the third row, you severely limit your ability to transport your kids as well as someone else's. Carpooling also allows you to be much more efficient w/ your time.
Kids over 5' 6" are probably about ready to drive themselves?
08 335 Xi Coupe, 6MT, Jet/Saddle
Last edited by Interested; 09-19-2006 at 12:28 PM.