Chrysler created Stow 'N Go — second-row seats that stow in pockets in the floor of its minivans to expand cabin cargo capacity — and Swivel 'N Go, which lets those second-row seats swivel around to face the third row. You can even install a companion table between the two rows so the kids can lunch or play games while you drive.
But Chrysler can't have all the fun.
Mark Kudla, senior manager of product planning at Chrysler, says "We saved an 'N Go for Dodge."
It's called Crate 'N Go, and it's offered as standard equipment in all but the base Crew Cab versions of the redesigned 2008 Dodge Dakota pickup, and it ranks up there with the cupholder as one of the neatest novelties in the industry.
Crate 'N Go resembles those stackable plastic storage containers used to hold toys, games and stuffed animals in kids’ rooms, or those mini milk cartons at school. To make them practical in a vehicle, Chrysler made them collapsible so they can be stored flat under the rear seat bottom cushions.
Lift the 60/40-split rear seat cushions, and a few flat sheets of plastic rest under each. Pull up the sides, snap them in place like Legos and you've created two stowage crates that lock into the rear floor so you can carry groceries or the kids’ soccer or baseball gear without it being tossed about the cabin.
Once home, just press the release lever and the crates remove so you can carry the groceries inside. When you’re done, fold them flat and put them back under the seats, out of the way.
Kudla said Chrysler is looking at putting Crate 'N Go in other vehicles in the future.
"All I need is 1.5 inches of space under the seat to install them," he said.