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  1. #1
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    Default 2nd row capts chairs or bench in suv/minivan?

    Which would you choose and why?: capt.'s chairs in 2nd row OR bench seat

    We've narrowed down our selection for a new vehicle but are still waffling on which type of seats to get in the 2nd (of 3 rows). The captain's chairs would give us one less seat overall, but I've heard that the ability to move "through" the vehicle is nice if you need to pull off on long road trips (without getting out) or even sometimes when loading everyone in and closing the door behind you to keep the kids corralled.

    Any experiences/suggestions would be welcome help here. Thanks in advance for your input! :)

  2. #2
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    Default RE: 2nd row capts chairs or bench in suv/minivan?

    I like Captain's Chairs.

    I'm currently driving my MIL's hand-me-down minivan and if (when!) I get a new one, I will opt for the Captain's Chairs. Precisely for the reason you give. Actually, wanna know what I use it for most? DD falls asleep in captains chair, I pull over in a parking lot and take a nap in the shade in the back seat or just in the bed of the "trunk." Ahhhh. :) The windows are so dark that nobody can see us. Love it!

    When she was younger, I often used the 3rd row for nursing. It was nice not to have a carseat on it, so I could have arm room and the tinted windows.

    I guess I don't see much difference in a minivan with 2nd row bench and an SUV with 3 rows? The walk-through is so valuable to me that I'm looking into minivans and not SUVs.

    The one drawback: DD's carseat is RF on an outboard seat, since there's no middle seat in the 2nd row. This means that the front passenger seat can't go back very far. It's a Dodge Grand Caravan and a Britax Marathon. Not sure if this is an issue in other cars or with other seats.

    Good luck and congrats on the new car purchase. I'm totally envious! }( ;-)
    Fancy Nancy 8/04
    Snuggle Puppy 5/07
    "You know, you really wear me out. But I love you anyway."

  3. #3
    o_mom is online now Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Default RE: 2nd row capts chairs or bench in suv/minivan?

    Captain's chairs!

    For the reasons you gave, and a couple others. One is that to put in a bench, the side seats get moved out closer to the doors, and potentially closer to a side impact. Another is that with a bench you can't access the 3rd row without moving a second row seat - difficult to impossible with a child seat installed. Also, it is difficult to actually seat three on the middle bench, especially if two or more are in carseats. If you have one in the second row and an adult wants to sit next to them, the captain's chair is much more comfortable.

    I might consider something like the Honda Odyssey "plus one" seat - it can be removed and stored when not needed, but if you had people in town or something you could put it in. I don't think that they move the seats out on the Honda (Toyota does).

  4. #4
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    Default RE: 2nd row capts chairs or bench in suv/minivan?

    Thank you both for your replies. Anyone out there with a preference for the 2nd row bench and/or reasons other than just having one more seat available at some point?


  5. #5
    BillK's Avatar
    BillK is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    Default RE: 2nd row capts chairs or bench in suv/minivan?

    Well I don't have a minivan - I have a Yukon XL SUV and I specifically wanted a 2nd row bench and not captains chairs. I actually had a heck of a time finding the vehicle I wanted with a bench and not captains chairs.

    Anway - my reason for the bench was a 2 part deal - first (and most importantly for me) - I wanted to be able to put our son's carseat in the middle and not in one of the outboard positions - secondly - I wanted to be able to fold the bench down flat for when I go hunting so I have a nice large flat area to put all our "stuff".

    ~Bill

  6. #6
    o_mom is online now Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Default RE: 2nd row capts chairs or bench in suv/minivan?

    This doesn't apply to SUV that I know of, but for most minivans, you have the option of moving the passenger side chair to the center. We have our this way so DS1 is in the middle and DS2 is outboard.

  7. #7
    kboyle Guest

    Default RE: 2nd row capts chairs or bench in suv/minivan?

    I'm a bench seat person too. In our Odyssey when we only had DS1 he was in the center of the bench and it was easier for people to get into the 3rd row since there was a space right beside the passenger side. Now that we've changed the bench into captain's it's WAY harder for someone y=to get into the 3rd row because the rear facing car seat leans too far back and you have to squeeze past that and then go in between 2 seats.

    I also had a truck and preferred the 40/60 bench front seats to buckets.

  8. #8
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    Default RE: 2nd row capts chairs or bench in suv/minivan?

    As a child, my family had both a bench seat minivan (probably before they had captains chairs at all) and then a minivan with captains chairs.

    I remember LOVING getting the captain chairs when I was 13, becuase my sister and I didn't have to fight over who got the window seat anymore (luckily I won, because I'm older). As an adult, I also find it easier to move from the front of the van to the 3rd row easily. I don't do it often, but I like having the easy access.

    Like PP mentioned, having a bench seat makes for easier entry from the passenger side sliding door. But with captain chairs, once you lean the back down, you can easily climb in the back (unless there is a carseat in that chair).

    Caroline
    mommy to Kaylin 6/5/04

    http://tickers.baby-gaga.com/t/bunbunadb20040605_-9_Kaylin+is+now.png[/img][/url]

  9. #9
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    Default RE: 2nd row capts chairs or bench in suv/minivan?


    The captain's chairs would give us one less seat
    >overall
    >

    I'm not sure how captains chairs would give you one less seat. The second row bench seat in all the minivans that I have been in only seats 2, for a total of 7 seats. In the Ody and Sienna there are options for 8th seats when you have captains chairs. My preference is for captains chairs as long as you can slide the passenger side toward the middle of the vehicle.
    Daniele
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    dd1 watching over her brothers and sister from Heaven
    ds1 my adorable 8 year old
    dd2 my sweet 5 year old
    ds2 safely arrived 12/12/11 at 36 weeks
    Placenta Increta/c-hyst survivor

  10. #10
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    Default RE: 2nd row capts chairs or bench in suv/minivan?

    Thanks for all of your responses. They are helpful. I realize from reading your input that there are more differences in this question based on whether we're looking at a minivan or suv and even the length of the suv. We are looking at an suv -- trying to meet a variety of needs.

    After considering our options and the comments offered here, we've been leaning toward captains chairs in the 2nd row -- new problem though is that we're looking at an "expired" but new suv (no longer made) and it seems that the captain's chairs are proving more elusive than we'd expected. If we don't find one soon, we may wind up with the bench after all.

    We're still looking for now.

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