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Detroit 2013 – The best seat at the show

2014 mercedes-benz e-class wagon

I needed to get out of the basement that is the Detroit Auto Show press room, and take an automotive walkabout. Finding that stunning redhead Zach Bowman, we set off to find stuff that made us smile. There was a lot of folks wandering around, doing their job; i.e. making crap thirty-minute handheld videos of the front infotainment system in the Kia Rio. That doesn’t make me smile, and it doesn’t make you smile either.

So, eventually Bowman and I found ourselves standing in the Mercedes-Benz booth. A sea of various new E-Class variants splayed out before us, and someone reached out to open the rear hatch on the latest iteration of one of my favorite wagons. What lay hidden behind the hatch? Rear-facing jump seats!

I know the last version had them too, but I never got to see them in person. Now, before me and the Bow Man, there they sat, upright and glorious. I have no desire to have children, but if I did, I would seriously enjoy scaring the crap out of them while their crying faces look to those rapidly disappearing behind us for help.

These seats made me smile.

Currently there are "38 comments" on this Article:

  1. Alff says:

    Bah! Kids with any spirit use those seats to torment the drivers behind them.

  2. JayP2112 says:

    I disagree… (sorry- had to be done)
    <img src="http://hooniverse.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Audi-RS7.jpg&quot; width="450">

  3. Scandinavian Flick says:

    I dunno about the best seat, but it's certainly nice. I wouldn't mind try….

    …oh, you're talking about the car…

    …right.

    Neat!

  4. pj134 says:

    This is what it must have felt like when they found out that the Coelacanth wasn't extinct…

    It's glorious.

  5. 5keptic says:

    i really don't want a minivan- are those seats really useful? more than to tote your kid's friends along when you have no other choice? could I but one of these and not feel bad about making my children sit in those seats?

  6. muthalovin says:

    "Dad, enough with the burnouts already! You want to give us lung cancer?"

  7. P161911 says:

    So does the rear facing car seat go in facing the front or the back? Does this mean the little ones under 2 can actually see the world riding in the car? Did you check for LATCH connectors back there?

    I'm sure the M-B manual and the car seat manual forbid this type of thing. I seem to remember a specific warning against Land Rover Discovery style mid-facing seats.

    As the parent of a 1-1/2 year old these are concerns.

    • Jeff Glucker says:

      Since I don't have kids, I pretty much never look for LATCH connectors. I'm allergic to them…

    • Maymar says:

      I had to open up one of these seats this week – to the best of my recollection, there were no LATCH connectors back there (there's definitely nothing on the seat unit itself, and there don't appear to be any in the cargo hold itself).

  8. jeepjeff says:

    I used to haunt ffcars.com, and they've got a thread for special moments in a C*bra. While I cannot find the thread, one that stuck with me was a Dad taking his son somewhere, and when he was stopped before hitting a highway on-ramp, his son said "Go Five Fast!" The kid was referring to the tach. He'd figured out the correlation between RPM and powerband, even if he only understood it as seat-of-the-pants feel vs number on a gauge. My memory of how that post ended was after a moment of being stunned, he realized he hadn't wrung it out in a while and gave it the beans once he got on the ramp.

    Kids figure out fast=exciting=fun pretty quickly. (There's the odd timid child, but for the most part, they'll get with the program.) You might get one good scare, and then they'll egg you on for not going fast all the time. (This also goes for things like skiing. If you show a four year old how to tear down a hill on skis, well, you better be ready to do some chasing.)

  9. GG_YYC says:

    As a former owner of a Volvo 960 wagon this gets thumbs up from me. My daughters always had a blast and there was lots of communicating with drivers coming up behind us.

  10. Rust-MyEnemy says:

    Trav'lin in the trunk is inifinitely cooler if you have a set of 0.303s.

    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/dd/Avro_Lancaster_VR-A_tail_turret_2.jpg/800px-Avro_Lancaster_VR-A_tail_turret_2.jpg&quot; width=400>

    Well, we used to call it the tailgunner position when I was growing up, anyway.

  11. schigleymischke says:

    Let's talk about this. Why don't we see rear facing seats like this anymore? Of the few remaining wagons available in the US, only the Mercedes E-class wagon offers them. None of the SUVs offer them. My gut reaction is it's about apparent safety. You kids wouldn't be any safer in a forward facing 3rd row seat, but at least they wouldn't see it coming. So, you feel safer putting them back there.

    Here's another question. Why have we never seen forward facing 3rd row seats in a wagon? That was always an option that SUVs had over wagons, a 3rd row. If you can make the 2nd row fold forward for access in an SUV, why not in a wagon? And, if you don't really care about foot room or actual comfort in the 3rd row of an SUV, why would you in a wagon?

    • JayP2112 says:

      Probably the rear axle would cut into the foot well of the car-based wagon.
      The CUVs like the Rondo and MPV are taller and the rear suspension is less intrusive.

      • schigleymischke says:

        That's what I meant about not really caring about comfort. Most 3rd row SUV seats barely have room for your feet. I've ridden in the 3rd row of a Suburban before. The seat was barely elevated from the floor, and there was nowhere for my feet. Had my knees at chest height and my feet up on my toes.

    • danleym says:

      Bigger and taller doors in SUVs, more space to be able to get in around the folded seat.

      Just a guess, best I could come up with.

    • mr. mzs zsm msz esq says:

      Because not French?
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&a...

      Three across, facing forward, in the way back, Viva La France!

    • mr. mzs zsm msz esq says:

      <img src="http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/71-interior-e1332799685740.jpg">And I did not mis-remember! "1971-76 GM wagons was the third seat faced forward" Link to CC post

    • ThirdPedalGirl says:

      "Why don't we see rear facing seats like this anymore?"

      One reason may be the current generation of parents and their helicopter parenting style. Parents don't have a hope of seeing what rear-facing ankle-biters are doing while Mom or Dad is in the front seat, driving. Heaven forbid they lose complete micro-control of the child's every movement for a half an hour or so.

      Also, a trend towards smaller families, plain and simple. Even the modern minivan rarely has all 7-8 seats loaded, where once upon a time families with 3-4 children (and more) were quite common.

      • P161911 says:

        If you do have 7-8 seats full in a minivan you won't be taking luggage for that many. Most people I know with more than two kids have a Suburban, Expedition, or full size van.

        • mr. mzs zsm msz esq says:

          We've taken three vacations with eight in a minivan, to as far away as FL from IL even. It works, you can cram stuff under the seats, between the two front seats, and (in the Honda) under the floor. We did not even have to use the roof rack. I am the guy that made three kids (two in car seats) work with a Golf though.

  12. Van_Sarockin says:

    Children out back behind the driveline? That's my idea of traction control.

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