CARS.COM — I’m on a quest for a new family car, one with three rows to accommodate seating for my three tween/teen daughters and the occasional friend or grandparent. My pool of available options is limited by one hard fact: We must have captain’s chairs (also known as bucket seats).
While many families may think they want the extra seating capacity that a second-row bench seat allows, I’m here to save you from making that mistake.
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While offering room for three passengers, bench seats can create problems in family cars. If you have kids in child-safety seats, you’re most likely to put them in the outboard position of the second row, where you have the easiest access to help them climb in and out of the vehicle as well as get buckled and unbuckled. The problem is that in most three-row SUVs, the only access to the third row comes by sliding, folding or flipping one of the outboard seats in the second row. That’s difficult to do when a child-safety seat is installed there, though there are a few SUVs (that include the Infiniti QX60, formerly the JX35 up until the 2013 model year), that work around this problem. Most, however, do not. This leaves limited options behind the front seats.
Option 1: You could remove your child-safety seat from the second row and then fold, slide, flip and/or tumble the seat to let the kids climb into the third row. Then you’ll need to put the second-row seat back into position, reinstall the child-safety seat and hope your kids don’t repeat the foul language you’ve used while completing this maneuver.