Bench seats in a pick-up truck have more space to place objects and passengers, and they are cheap to make. Moving the gear shifter from the center to the steering column makes it possible for a third passenger to sit in the center and removes a distraction from the driver.
Most of the people who grew up in the bucket-seat era find the bench seat archaic, particularly if it is located up front, but benches are still found in pickups and sports-utility vehicles, particularly among customers who need to seat more people in their vehicles. The front bench seat has a simple design, but it does not have a console in which to store phones and other personal items. There is nostalgia for bench seats, and they might re-emerge, particularly in small cars which need the extra room.
Executives at car manufacturers have found that consumers prefer bucket seats and split benches, and those seats make it easier to satisfy federal safety regulations that require airbags to be placed directly in front of the passengers. Despite this challenge, some companies still offer bench seats in their trucks supposedly to meet the needs of customers who still prefer the traditional design.