By Sara Lacey on February 14, 2013
A recent automotive trend has my kids jumping for joy: seat heaters for rear passengers. This feature seems to be an indicator that things are movin' on up for those in the back. What's even better is this feature, once common only in luxury cars, is now available in cars that cost less than a bazillion dollars.
Want proof? How about the 2013 Kia Optima? The midlevel Optima EX (photo above) starts at $24,425, including a $775 destination charge. Adding the EX Premium Package for $2,950 will get you not only seat heat on the bench but a panoramic sunroof to keep those in the rear from feeling like they're trapped in a crawlspace. Total price is $27,375.
Another player in the first-class backseat game is the 2013 Hyundai Elantra. Heated rear seats are standard on the Elantra Limited, which has a starting price of $21,910, including a $795 destination charge. The Elantra also has great passenger space with 33.1 inches of rear legroom. Though it's a compact sedan, its roomy interior begs to differ.
Of course, if rear legroom is important then full-size sedans fit the bill. The 2013 Chrysler 300C not only has 40.1 inches of rear legroom, but it also offers standard heated rear seats and a rear power sunshade for keeping the kiddos out of the sun. The 300C starts at $36,990, including a $995 destination fee.
The redesigned 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid also offers standard heated rear seats and a rear sunshade on its top-of-the-line Limited trim, which has a starting price of $40,445, including a $795 destination charge.
Maybe it's because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that kids ride in the backseat until they're age 13 and 80 pounds that automakers are giving them some attention. Maybe it's because they're feeling the heat from people who want to start carrying their families in sedans again. Whatever the case, who doesn't appreciate some wallet-friendly features?