Which New Cars Still Offer Front Bench Seats?
As of the 2015 model year, no new passenger cars sold in the United States market offer front bench seats, although this feature comes available on several pickup truck and large SUV models. Automakers phased out front bench seats in cars due to buyer preferences and for safety reasons.
Widely available until the late 1990s, front bench seats allowed traditional passenger sedans to seat six instead of five passengers, improving utility. As vehicle safety improved and tastes changed, this feature gradually became less common before disappearing altogether. Front bench seats did not usually feature an across-the-shoulder safety belt, and providing adequate coverage by airbags proved difficult. The last car to feature a front bench, the Chevrolet Impala full-size sedan, lost the option when it was redesigned for the 2014 model year.
All full-size pickup trucks in the U.S. still offer front benches, including popular models such as the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, Dodge RAM and Nissan Titan. The smaller Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon do not include front benches. Today's pickup bench seats feature split-folding functionality to allow for easier access to the rear and to accommodate tall or bulky cargo.
As for SUVs, four models still offer front benches: the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban and the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL. General Motors redesigned each of these large nine-passenger SUVs for the 2015 model year. In each case, buyers can only order a front bench on base models, while upscale trim levels come equipped with two front bucket seats.