Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

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Gort
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Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by Gort »

Friends,
I'm considering a new 3-row SUV and the second row seating options are either bench seats or 2 captain's chairs. I would rarely have more than 4 people in the vehicle, including myself as the driver. For those of you who have second row captain's chairs, do you miss having a bench seat?
Thanks,
Gort
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bottlecap
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by bottlecap »

Unless you have kids, you have three kids and you’d prefer one of them not be in the third row for safety or anticipate a lot of passengers, the captains would be fine.

JT
erictiger12
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by erictiger12 »

I really like my second row captain chairs. They are much more comfortable.
Gnirk
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by Gnirk »

Gort wrote: Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:02 pm Friends,
I'm considering a new 3-row SUV and the second row seating options are either bench seats or 2 captain's chairs. I would rarely have more than 4 people in the vehicle, including myself as the driver. For those of you who have second row captain's chairs, do you miss having a bench seat?
Thanks,
Gort
We have the 3 row Toyota Highlander, and chose the captain chairs for the second row because of easier access to the third row seats when we need to use them. We do not miss the bench seat at all.
ZapRowsdower
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by ZapRowsdower »

Gnirk wrote: Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:56 pm
Gort wrote: Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:02 pm Friends,
I'm considering a new 3-row SUV and the second row seating options are either bench seats or 2 captain's chairs. I would rarely have more than 4 people in the vehicle, including myself as the driver. For those of you who have second row captain's chairs, do you miss having a bench seat?
Thanks,
Gort
We have the 3 row Toyota Highlander, and chose the captain chairs for the second row because of easier access to the third row seats when we need to use them. We do not miss the bench seat at all.
Same here, Highlander with second row bucket seats. No regrets on the bucket seats in the second row. Also makes me a little channel to sneak through long 2x4s etc to rest them on the center console.
Broken Man 1999
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

Captain chairs are great with kids, that way there is no "s/he touched me" whining going on.

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lthenderson
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by lthenderson »

The only time I would regret captain chairs in the 2nd row is if I had eight people I wanted to haul.. comfortably.
Mountebank
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by Mountebank »

I own 2007 Honda Odyssey (yes, a van, not SUV) with captain's chairs in the middle seat. I heartily recommend them--they are the most comfortable back seats I've ever had. Especially if you will rarely have more than 4 people aboard they make good sense. As has been mentioned, you gain easier access to the third row and have better cargo capacity with the space between the chairs open--I've put skis, lumber, sails, etc right down the middle of the deck.
bloom2708
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by bloom2708 »

Is the third row 2 seats or 3?

Some are 2-2-2, some are 2-2-3 and some are 2-3-2 and some are 2-3-3. Some older suburbans were 3-3-3.

Do you see needing 6,7 or 8 potential seats? We have 3 kids, so the 2-3-2 allows grandma and grandpa to come with sometimes. Sometimes 3 in the far back is pretty squishy.

With 6, that wouldn't work. I prefer the 2-3-2. Often 1 kid will sit in the 3rd row. Also, some 2-2-3 have a center console in the middle which makes getting into the 3rd row just like a 2-3-2 car.
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birdog
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by birdog »

I much prefer 2nd row captains chairs over bench seats. As long as 7 is enough seating, that is. It always has been for us. Bench seats make 3rd row access harder.
NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by NotWhoYouThink »

They were vans, but we had a bench in the second row of our Previa, and were overjoyed (after 200K miles) to switch to captains chairs in the Odyssey. Much better access to the back, more comfortable for kids, adults, car seats, and every other situation. Not even a question.
niceguy7376
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by niceguy7376 »

Our 12 Hihglander has a two seats with a center detachable cup console or small seat.
We can have below options:
1. Have it as two captain seats with hand rests
2. Insert the center cup console so that passengers can use it
3. Insert the small seat and fold up the hand rests of captain seats and it becomes a bench

This is very useful for all scenarios.
The 3rd row highlander seats of that model year are not comfortable for 12+ year olds to sit for long time.
SuzBanyan
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by SuzBanyan »

We went with 2 row bench because it was a better option for our dog on long trips when the cargo area is full of stuff. Yes, she is our spoiled princess. And she loves that we can crank up the separate air conditioning for the 2nd row. See above, re: “spoiled princess.”
btenny
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by btenny »

Loved our Chevy Astro van with second row Captain chairs. My two kids set back there and did not fight much or do the "he touched me" routine. I also took out the back bench seat for many months at a time to get more luggage space or for road trips.

Good Luck.
jrbdmb
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by jrbdmb »

I'm going to post an alternate opinion here. I prefer bench seats solely because they can easily be folded down and create more room for hauling stuff in the back. We never said "I wish these 2nd row seats were more comfortable" in my wife's Pathfinder, but we sure as heck would have noticed the number of times we couldn't haul something if the 2nd row didn't fold out of the way. (This became less of a concern when I sold my VW Jetta for a F-150.)

Note we also have 3rd row seats in the Pathfinder but they are for emergency use only - hard to get to and uncomfortable.
Last edited by jrbdmb on Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:03 pm, edited 5 times in total.
H-Town
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by H-Town »

Gort wrote: Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:02 pm Friends,
I'm considering a new 3-row SUV and the second row seating options are either bench seats or 2 captain's chairs. I would rarely have more than 4 people in the vehicle, including myself as the driver. For those of you who have second row captain's chairs, do you miss having a bench seat?
Thanks,
Gort
If you rarely have more than 4 people, why 3-row SUV then? A Genesis G90 backseat is a lot more comfortable than bench or captain chair seats.
Lalamimi
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by Lalamimi »

Had bench seat in our Trail Blazer and then a new Explorer. We travel with dogs and the bigger dog loved the bench. Then got a Tahoe - 2 seats. Dog is not comfortable, and we can only carry 4 people without setting up the back seats. Bench was much better for us.
Kagord
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by Kagord »

Used to have captain's chairs, went to bench. Captain's are nice with small children, and maneuvering around the vehicle (while someone is driving, cough) on long road trips, and overall comfort and personal space. The bench seat is sure nice when you have 8 people going somewhere, and you don't need a 2nd vehicle.

So I'd say, if you have kids, up until middle school, captain's. Middle school/early high school, shuffling people and family around more, bench. Don't have kids, mainly adults, captains.
texasdiver
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by texasdiver »

When we were shopping and looking at Toyota Highlanders (to replace a Toyota Sienna minivan) we tried out both types of 2nd row seats.

Our kids greatly preferred the 2nd row captains chairs and found the 3rd row to be really cut off and claustrophobic to sit in when the 2nd row is a bench seat. You are basically cut off from the rest of the car and they didn't like it. Plus, it's much harder for kids to scramble back to the 3rd row when you have bench seats. You might want to try both types of seats with the crew who is usually going to sit back there.
Last edited by texasdiver on Fri Jan 31, 2020 4:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Housedoc
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by Housedoc »

Toyota Highlander owner here. Captain Seats are marvelous. Road trips are very enjoyable from 2nd row.
mrc
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by mrc »

Bench is easier if you transport dogs.
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by lazydavid »

jrbdmb wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 12:54 pm I'm going to post an alternate opinion here. I prefer bench seats solely because they can easily be folded down and create more room for hauling stuff in the back. We never said "I wish these 2nd row seats were more comfortable" in my wife's Pathfinder, but we sure as heck would have noticed the number of times we couldn't haul something if the 2nd row didn't fold out of the way.
Captain's chairs usually fold down just like benches do. Do you regularly carry very long, wide things in your vehicles that would collapse or be damaged if the middle 8" was unsupported for part of their length? Because I don't. For reference, here is a Pilot equipped with Captain's chairs, with rows 2 and 3 folded:

Image

I don't see why this is a concern.
MathWizard
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by MathWizard »

I replaced the middle bench seat with individual seats.
Everybody liked it much better.
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by Pegasus_RPG »

Gort wrote: Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:02 pm I'm considering a new 3-row SUV and the second row seating options are either bench seats or 2 captain's chairs. I would rarely have more than 4 people in the vehicle, including myself as the driver. For those of you who have second row captain's chairs, do you miss having a bench seat?
So can I ask why you are even looking at a 3-row vehicle?
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Gort
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by Gort »

Pegasus_RPG wrote: Fri Jan 31, 2020 4:56 pm
Gort wrote: Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:02 pm I'm considering a new 3-row SUV and the second row seating options are either bench seats or 2 captain's chairs. I would rarely have more than 4 people in the vehicle, including myself as the driver. For those of you who have second row captain's chairs, do you miss having a bench seat?
So can I ask why you are even looking at a 3-row vehicle?
Looking at the Subaru Ascent. I like its styling. It has 3 rows. I don't need the third row. I currently have an older Forester but don't like the newer styling. Would like to stay with Subaru.
rj342
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by rj342 »

Had a Toyota Sienna minivan in the Oughts with the middle row captains chairs and the double sliding doors. Made that row much more comfortable if an adult had to ride there. A few times I ended up in the third row, and the captains chairs made it both easier to get to and also more pleasant to ride in, re opennness to rest of vehicle. All at the cost of only losing one occupant slot.
jrbdmb
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by jrbdmb »

lazydavid wrote: Fri Jan 31, 2020 4:09 pm
jrbdmb wrote: Thu Jan 30, 2020 12:54 pm I'm going to post an alternate opinion here. I prefer bench seats solely because they can easily be folded down and create more room for hauling stuff in the back. We never said "I wish these 2nd row seats were more comfortable" in my wife's Pathfinder, but we sure as heck would have noticed the number of times we couldn't haul something if the 2nd row didn't fold out of the way.
Captain's chairs usually fold down just like benches do. Do you regularly carry very long, wide things in your vehicles that would collapse or be damaged if the middle 8" was unsupported for part of their length? Because I don't. For reference, here is a Pilot equipped with Captain's chairs, with rows 2 and 3 folded:

Image

I don't see why this is a concern.
Agreed, captain's chairs that fold like shown above are fine. I'm thinking of the older non-folding variety.
Big Worm
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by Big Worm »

captains without a doubt
bumblebh
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by bumblebh »

Dogs prefer the bench seat because the can spread out better and have more room to move around if desired.
lazydavid
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by lazydavid »

Pegasus_RPG wrote: Fri Jan 31, 2020 4:56 pm
Gort wrote: Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:02 pm I'm considering a new 3-row SUV and the second row seating options are either bench seats or 2 captain's chairs. I would rarely have more than 4 people in the vehicle, including myself as the driver. For those of you who have second row captain's chairs, do you miss having a bench seat?
So can I ask why you are even looking at a 3-row vehicle?
Not the OP, but when we were shopping 2 years ago, we quickly found that pretty much the only way to get a roomy 2nd row for tall passengers was to get a 3-row. So we shopped and eventually bought a 3-row, and in 20k miles, we've used the third row exactly twice. We actually bought a cargo mat that covers the 3rd row when it's down, which has to be completely removed from the vehicle in order to put the seats up. But that's not an inconvenience because of how infrequently we use it. Ours doesn't have captain's chairs in the 2nd row, but we absolutely would have gotten them if they were available.

Another possibility in the OPs case is they said they "rarely" carry more than 4, not "never".
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by White Coat Investor »

Gort wrote: Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:02 pm Friends,
I'm considering a new 3-row SUV and the second row seating options are either bench seats or 2 captain's chairs. I would rarely have more than 4 people in the vehicle, including myself as the driver. For those of you who have second row captain's chairs, do you miss having a bench seat?
Thanks,
Gort
I prefer bench seats, but then again I frequently have 8 people in the car. They also lie down nicely allowing me to sleep in the car at trailheads or haul cargo. I don't think captain's chairs usually do that. When people put in captain's chair I start wondering whether they need that big of a car at all. If you rarely need more than 4 seats why not get a 2 row SUV or a crew cab pickup? That's what I would do.
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Gort
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by Gort »

White Coat Investor wrote: Sat Feb 01, 2020 10:18 am
Gort wrote: Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:02 pm Friends,
I'm considering a new 3-row SUV and the second row seating options are either bench seats or 2 captain's chairs. I would rarely have more than 4 people in the vehicle, including myself as the driver. For those of you who have second row captain's chairs, do you miss having a bench seat?
Thanks,
Gort
I prefer bench seats, but then again I frequently have 8 people in the car. They also lie down nicely allowing me to sleep in the car at trailheads or haul cargo. I don't think captain's chairs usually do that. When people put in captain's chair I start wondering whether they need that big of a car at all. If you rarely need more than 4 seats why not get a 2 row SUV or a crew cab pickup? That's what I would do.
Good points.
igotashoe
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Re: Bench seats vs captains chairs in SUV second row?

Post by igotashoe »

The captains chairs work best IMO. Although you say you may not need it, it’s easier to access the back seats by going in-between the captains chairs.
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