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2nd Row Bench or Captains Chairs

111487 Views 196 Replies 98 Participants Last post by  bdjfywi4$
Which would you choose?

I don’t know that we’d need the extra passenger space of 8 vs 7, and I kinda like the easier access to the third row between the Captains Chairs. Want to see in person how the load floor compares with the different 2nd row options and if there would be an easy way to bridge the gap left between the Captains Chairs when folded flat.

Also, if we were to go with the Touring model, that’s Captains Chairs only.
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With the seats, wish they had the option to totally remove the 3rd seat, as most of the time we won't need it. I am sure that would have allowed for a lower floor and more cargo space. But yeah, I know, that is not how they make them anymore...
I mean if you are just looking for two rows of seats and extra storage in the trunk, wouldn't you be content with a subie wagon instead? I definitely think they should provide more build options though, especially if they want to cater to as many buyers as possible. Not sure how much extra height we'd get with fully removable seats, as the last row definitely lays the most flat.
I mean if you are just looking for two rows of seats and extra storage in the trunk, wouldn't you be content with a subie wagon instead? I definitely think they should provide more build options though, especially if they want to cater to as many buyers as possible. Not sure how much extra height we'd get with fully removable seats, as the last row definitely lays the most flat.
No, we want the 3rd seat for occasional use, but also at times will want lots of cargo space to haul stuff.
I laugh at the Captains chair comments vs car seats. The bench seats slide forward and all these new seats are set up to allow access even with a car seat. I haul my two kids daily and often shuttle 1-2 more during swim season.

My Sequoia is very similar in size to the seating specs in the Ascent. Having a bench 2nd row offers far more seating configuration options than the Captains chairs.

A bench 2nd row lets you seat three in the 2nd row during trips where rear cargo capacity is needed. The bench also allows you to fit two in the 2nd row when a long item gets placed in the 40% fold down section. None of which Captains chairs can do.

The gap between the Captains chairs poses a packing challenge regarding cargo being able to come past the 2nd row.

The gap between the Captains chairs also removes the center seat space my kids use for stowing various stuff during road trips and said items remaining accessible to their reach.

Captains chairs are cool in full size vans but Wagon type SUVs its a head scratcher.
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I laugh at the Captains chair comments vs car seats. The bench seats slide forward and all these new seats are set up to allow access even with a car seat. I haul my two kids daily and often shuttle 1-2 more during swim season.

My Sequoia is very similar in size to the seating specs in the Ascent. Having a bench 2nd row offers far more seating configuration options than the Captains chairs.

A bench 2nd row lets you seat three in the 2nd row during trips where rear cargo capacity is needed. The bench also allows you to fit two in the 2nd row when a long item gets placed in the 40% fold down section. None of which Captains chairs can do.

The gap between the Captains chairs poses a packing challenge regarding cargo being able to come past the 2nd row.

The gap between the Captains chairs also removes the center seat space my kids use for stowing various stuff during road trips and said items remaining accessible to their reach.

Captains chairs are cool in full size vans but Wagon type SUVs its a head scratcher.
Some very good points there. I wanted the Touring model because of some of the extra features, but they only come with captain chairs. This could be a show stopper for me. Or at least might want to wait a year, until maybe they will also offer bench in the top trim. Don't know..., this has me concerned.
RP the touring is exactly what I would buy but the Captains chair only option makes it a deal breaker.

I have sent Subaru two messages one telling them it was a big mistake and second asking if a touring could be ordered with a bench 2nd row. Resonse was sorry no can do. I like the GMC Acadia its loaded SLT trim comes with ventilated seats, bench 2nd row option etc. I’ve never owned a GM ever but high probability I might become a GM owner.
Not to mention a proven V6 and solid transmission. The tech is well done etc. But is still no Subaru regarding awd ability.
My 05 Sequoia is a 2nd row bench seat they had an option for Captains chairs. Soooooooo glad we got the bench. No way would I get Captains chairs in anything other than a full sized conversion van. They simply reduce the utility of the smaller vehicles too much.
Yeah, this is emerging as a show stopper for me, too. However, I do like the Subaru's, and it is not essential that I buy the Ascent right away, despite having my eyes on it since the original concept.

I just a bought a 2018 Crosstrek, and wow, what a great vehicle, in all respects. It has far exceeded my expectations. Our other car is a Toyota, and nothing wrong with it either, and kind of hard justifying replacing it right now, too.

But if I could get the Ascent in the right config, I will go for it now. There is one more chance I have. I am in Canada, and they still haven't announced their model/trims for the Ascent. Sometimes (usually) they are a little different that the US. That was true with the Crosstrek and we got features that aren't even available in the US, like heated steering wheels and dual climate control. I believe Canada is supposed to announce their model/trims later this week (which is what my dealer told me). So will wait until then. Here's hoping...
Im can wait another year my hope is the message is very loud that the Captains chair only is a dumb move in the touring package. The Ascent woukd replace two vehicles in my case. The Sequoia and my 2010 Outback. I would get one vehicle with the best combo if aspects replacing two vehicles that offer the same combo today.
I like the GMC Acadia its loaded SLT trim comes with ventilated seats, bench 2nd row option etc. I’ve never owned a GM ever but high probability I might become a GM owner.
Not to mention a proven V6 and solid transmission. The tech is well done etc. But is still no Subaru regarding awd ability.
My last vehicle which was replaced by the Crosstrek, was a Chevy Avalanche, fully loaded (60+K). I really liked it at first, but just after the warranty ran out, had all kind of problems with it. Lots of problems with electricals (changed door panel twice), climate control, A/C, rear gate, and other little things. Pretty well every year, had some kind of repair, $1000 for this, $2000 for that, and was never sure what next would go wrong. And it had low mileage, only 80K kms when I sold it.

Have owned three Subies before the Crosstrek, all went to very high mileage, and only ever regular minor maintenance, no expensive repairs. My son still has our last one (2006 Impreza wagon) and still going strong at 350K kms. Still drives almost like new (suspension still solid). He also has an MDX, and it is starting to give him lots of trouble, too, with expensive repairs adding up. What's ironic too, is that older MDX's (2004, and was a 60K car, too) are selling for way less than my son's Impreza (25K car) right now.

So, at this point in time, the only brands I trust are Subaru and Toyota.
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I wonder if the seats will be interchangeable. They make it seem easy to order either version and no additional cost. I think the only reason you can not get the bench in a touring is because they do not make it in the saddle brown color. I wonder if it would be difficult to swap captains chairs for the bench if you found an owner who wanted to switch, or maybe buy it from the dealer..? I guess it would depend on the mounting points. I would think that they will use the same mounting points for both since you can get either the bench or captains chairs in most of the trims.
Well I ordered the Touring. I would have preferred a bench in the second row as I have two kids and a small dog (11 lbs) that would typically sit between the kids. Now he will have to be on the floor between the seats or on a lap. Not to mention you go from 8 seats to 7 and the back seat is a little small for three adults when I looked at the Auto Show. But I want the ventilated front seats and the Captains Chairs will work 95% of the time or more once we figure out how to best bring the dog in the car.


As most of the other vehicles I was considering had Captains chairs only or 2 seats in the third row I figure I could make it work in this vehicle as well.


Other cars I considered Chevy Traverse Premium (Captains Chairs only) and Ford Explorer (3rd row only has 2 seats).
We ordered the Touring with the captain's chairs. We have 3 kids and 2 dogs. I would have been happy with the bench but my husband really wanted them and I required a 7 seater minimum. I think the captain's chairs will make the school pick-up line a little easier and it will more convenient for our aging parents when they come visit.
We ordered the Touring with the captain's chairs. We have 3 kids and 2 dogs. I would have been happy with the bench but my husband really wanted them and I required a 7 seater minimum. I think the captain's chairs will make the school pick-up line a little easier and it will more convenient for our aging parents when they come visit.
This was my thought as well with the Captains chairs - ease of accessing the 3rd row with car seats installed on the 2nd row seats.
We're trying to decide too. We like the captain's chairs for the ease of the kids being able to slide between them to get in and out of the third row without needing assistance from us to fold/slide the second row bench, especially at school when you're trying not to hold up the carpool line or when it's raining and we all need to jump in quickly. We have an older Pilot that we're looking to replace, and the kids getting past the second row bench seems more of a hindrance than the one extra seat is worth.

However then we have the dilemma of....

Second row cupholders. As minor as it may seem, we weren't impressed with the second row cupholder situation in the Ascent Touring we checked out at the car show. For the captain's chairs there are a pair of cupholders on the back of the center console that fold out and sit at floor level. I didn't get a picture of them, but I did attach a photo I found online of the console where you can see the cupholder door folded closed just below the USB/AC ports. Then there are also three cupholders in each back door, one up top near the door handle and two down low in the map pocket area.

Problem is the fold-out ones on the floor at the back of the console are in the perfect position for cups to get kicked and knocked over, plus the assembly itself is at risk of being broken if kicked or stepped on when open. Also the arms that fold out and hold the cup have spring retention that keep them retracted until a cup is in place to hold them open. So for smaller kids it's not an easy one-handed operation to have to reach all the way down to the floor, pull open the little arm, and get a cup back in it without spilling it (plus a little unsafe if we happen to get in a crash when they're bent over trying to do all that). The door cupholders aren't an option for actual cups, just bottles, since they'll slosh around when the door opens or closes, as Subaru reminds you with a symbol of an open cup with a slash through it.

I wish they had done some fancy engineering and come up with a small folding or retractable console/tray with cupholders that could pop up between the captains chairs. Or two cupholders on the front console that are molded into the top and rear of the console, where the HVAC controls are now, so they'd be easier to access and out of harm's way. This cupholder issue, given that the Ascent will be used for many road trips with drinks in tow, may push us to pick the bench seat for the fold-down armrest/cupholders that we're used to in our other vehicles. Downside is then we lose the benefit of the kids sliding between the captain's chairs and the option of picking the Touring model.

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So I was thinking about this and I’m pretty sure if you do 8 passenger you probably end up with 21 cup holders!!
So I was thinking about this and I’m pretty sure if you do 8 passenger you probably end up with 21 cup holders!!
I believe with the 8 passenger configuration you gain the 2 cup holders in the arm rest, but lose the 2 cupholders in the rear of the center console. Either seating configuration has a total of 19 cupholders.
If your doing a 3 kid drop off the bench is faster they all exit the right side in one big slide across the 2nd row. If you do 4+ kid drop off then yes the Captains chair option speeds that up.

If 3 kids is the typical and 4+ is a random occasional thing the bench configuration is ideal. Plus the bench as noted offers far better seating and gear combinations during road trips
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https://giphy.com/gifs/brMTtGcIIuZA4/html5

You are really pushing your pro-bench agenda subisailor LOL.
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We're trying to decide too. We like the captain's chairs for the ease of the kids being able to slide between them to get in and out of the third row without needing assistance from us to fold/slide the second row bench, especially at school when you're trying not to hold up the carpool line or when it's raining and we all need to jump in quickly. We have an older Pilot that we're looking to replace, and the kids getting past the second row bench seems more of a hindrance than the one extra seat is worth.

However then we have the dilemma of....

Second row cupholders. As minor as it may seem, we weren't impressed with the second row cupholder situation in the Ascent Touring we checked out at the car show. For the captain's chairs there are a pair of cupholders on the back of the center console that fold out and sit at floor level. I didn't get a picture of them, but I did attach a photo I found online of the console where you can see the cupholder door folded closed just below the USB/AC ports. Then there are also three cupholders in each back door, one up top near the door handle and two down low in the map pocket area.

Problem is the fold-out ones on the floor at the back of the console are in the perfect position for cups to get kicked and knocked over, plus the assembly itself is at risk of being broken if kicked or stepped on when open. Also the arms that fold out and hold the cup have spring retention that keep them retracted until a cup is in place to hold them open. So for smaller kids it's not an easy one-handed operation to have to reach all the way down to the floor, pull open the little arm, and get a cup back in it without spilling it (plus a little unsafe if we happen to get in a crash when they're bent over trying to do all that). The door cupholders aren't an option for actual cups, just bottles, since they'll slosh around when the door opens or closes, as Subaru reminds you with a symbol of an open cup with a slash through it.

I wish they had done some fancy engineering and come up with a small folding or retractable console/tray with cupholders that could pop up between the captains chairs. Or two cupholders on the front console that are molded into the top and rear of the console, where the HVAC controls are now, so they'd be easier to access and out of harm's way. This cupholder issue, given that the Ascent will be used for many road trips with drinks in tow, may push us to pick the bench seat for the fold-down armrest/cupholders that we're used to in our other vehicles. Downside is then we lose the benefit of the kids sliding between the captain's chairs and the option of picking the Touring model.
My current SUV (Xterra) has only two cup holders in the back and it is the folding retractable ones near the floor. They are inconvenient, bumped a lot, and hard to reach for kids so yes they will not be used much or possibly at all in the Ascent. The Ascent does have cup holders high up on the door which will probably work just as well as the center seat in the armrest in my opinion.
So I was thinking about this and I’m pretty sure if you do 8 passenger you probably end up with 21 cup holders!!
No, sorry, if you get the bench it looks like you don't get the fold-out cupholders at the back of the console, so you're still at 19. The rear of the consoles are different between the two seating configurations; instead of the cupholders they moved the USB ports lower and into a recessed area. I attached a couple pics that better show the differences between the two.

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My current SUV (Xterra) has only two cup holders in the back and it is the folding retractable ones near the floor. They are inconvenient, bumped a lot, and hard to reach for kids so yes they will not be used much or possibly at all in the Ascent. The Ascent does have cup holders high up on the door which will probably work just as well as the center seat in the armrest in my opinion.
True, the ones at the top of the door are most likely the ones that'd get used, but I still worry about the reach for smaller kids and that the drinks will get jostled around and spill when the door opens and closes. I can't say for sure, but that one also looks kind of like it's angled forward and not completely level. Maybe it's just the angle of the cut at the top.

I'm thinking we may wait until they start to arrive at our local dealer. That way we can spend more time trying out the two different seating configurations and directly compare the pros and cons. Subaru only had the Touring with the captain's chairs at the auto show here so we didn't get to see the bench seat in person.
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