By Kristin Varela on September 18, 2013
I've driven thousands of cars during the past decade, and many had a pass-through from the trunk to the backseat through a compartment disguised behind the pull-down armrest. How many times did I actually make use of this secret passageway? Um ... maybe two.
One was just the other week in the Acura RLX. I took a quick trip to the hardware store, basking in the glory of this luxurious sedan's ventilated seats. I needed a 2-by-4 and didn't even stop to think that it might not fit in the trunk — well, it didn't. Luckily, my RLX had a pass-through. I opened it up, slid the 2-by-4 in and was on my way.
Carting around a 2-by-4 isn't a usual occurrence; what else is the pass-through really good for? Does anybody actually use them on a regular basis? I polled some of my resourceful colleagues, and they've made much better use of this thoughtful feature than I have. Here a few things they've been put to use for:
Skis/ski poles/snowboards: An overwhelming majority of my co-workers have utilized the pass-through for skis, poles and snowboards. Many vehicles with the backseat pass-through have an integrated waterproof bag so your wet skis won't mess up the car's cabin. One of my co-workers mentioned the added benefit of being able to tote skis without folding down the sedan's backseat entirely, also allowing seating space for a few buddies hitting the slopes together.
Hockey sticks: Whether for the hobby hockey player or the parent of a serious competitive hockey player, a couple of people mentioned using seat pass-throughs for those extra-long, unruly hockey sticks. Side note: the "aroma" from rest of the odiferous gear in the trunk is guaranteed to infiltrate the cabin of the car if you open up the pass-through, one of the many reasons our Pickuptrucks.com editor prefers the cargo-hauling and smell-reducing benefits of a pickup truck.
Trunk refreshments: Another co-worker suggested keeping a cooler of soda and water in the trunk for road trips, concert jaunts and more. It keeps the floor of the sedan free for legroom, yet backseat passengers can easily reach through and grab some chilled (non-alcoholic!) refreshments.
Photography supplies: While it might not apply to the average iPhone, Instagram, Snapseed photo Joe, our staff photographer uses the pass-through in his own Honda Accord. He can fit a 9-foot roll of seamless background paper through there, just in case you were wondering.
Kid stuff: One of our editors was recently in the car with a friend when her daughter (strapped solidly into her car seat) needed immediate access to her blankie in the trunk. Her friend quickly rifled through the pass-through and grabbed the necessary calming device. Bam! Potential toddler meltdown averted! The kid stuff category does not mean actual kids, though one of our mom-reviewers confessed that her third child tries to fit herself through the pass-through on a regular basis. Don't worry, she only tries this when the car is safely parked in the driveway, and she has yet to be successful!
Absolutely nothing: In second place for the largest number of votes for what people use the pass-through for, following skis, was (drumroll please). ... Absolutely. Nothing. Ever.
What about you? Do you utilize your vehicle's trunk-to-backseat pass-though, and if so, what for? Tell us in the comments section below.
Senior Family Editor Kristin Varela blends work and family life by driving her three tween-teen girls every which way in test cars. Email Kristin