Car Backseats You Want to Sit In


We’ve told you which cars to call front-seat dibs to avoid being stuck in the backseat with leg cramps and neck spasms. It only seems appropriate to fill you in on which cars allow you to relax comfortably in the backseat and let the friend who called shotgun play road-trip navigator while you chill out and enjoy the scenery. 
It’s a safe bet that anything with L or XL after the model name will be an obvious candidate for calling rear-seat dibs; you’ll likely be lounging in extended-wheelbase luxury. But luxury cars aren’t the only class with big backseats. Some gems within their own classes have enough backseat room and surprise features to feel like the car was designed just to provide maximum comfort for rear passengers.

2013 Ford Flex

The Flex’s second row dwarfs other three-row crossover SUVs with an abundance of legroom and headroom. The huge second row comes as a standard bench seat, and captain’s chairs are available. We know the Flex looks odd, but there’s more room than traditional-looking SUVs like the Chevrolet Traverse, Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander. Sometimes it pays to embrace the weird.   

2012 Hyundai Azera

The all-new 2012 Azera is a full-size sedan that offers more than just a spacious backseat. All three rear windows (sides and rear) have sunshades that pull over the glass to keep heat out of the cabin on hot summer days. The rear side shades operate manually while the rear window shade is powered by a button up front. When the temps drop, heated rear seats are an optional feature; they’re part of the same Technology Package that equips the shades.

2012 Toyota Avalon

The redesigned 2013 Toyota Avalon will be available this fall, but our rears would rather sit in the 2012’s roomy backseat with reclining backrest. Unfortunately, that feature is axed for 2013, and the new Avalon doesn’t gain a folding rear seat despite losing the reclining feature. We’ll miss the unique configuration of the 2012.   

2012 Dodge Challenger

Your friends may look at you funny if you call dibs on the rear seats in this car, but you’ll rest easy knowing the Challenger’s backseats are the roomiest out there among similar coupes. The Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Hyundai Genesis Coupe don’t offer the same headroom and legroom as the Challenger.

2012 Volkswagen Passat

With the 2012 redesign of the Passat, Volkswagen took the opportunity to stretch the midsize sedan and make the backseat one of the Passat’s strongest selling points. Its rear room borders on what extended-wheelbase versions of luxury cars provide, but every Passat gets all that space rather than offering an extended-wheelbase model.

2012 Toyota Tundra CrewMax

We’re running out of synonyms to use for “massive,” but the rear of Toyota’s CrewMax is the definition of large. The CrewMax is the largest cab offered on the Tundra, with full four-door configuration and an extra 9.8 inches of rear legroom compared with the next-smallest cab. The rear seats’ sliding and reclining adjustments are not typically found in the rear seat of pickups.
2012 Chevrolet Equinox

The Equinox impressed with its sliding second-row seats in our recent $25,000 Compact SUV Shootout. When slid back, the rear seats give generous legroom; one editor said he felt like he could take a road trip back there. The big storage space plays nicely with the sliding row, as the gap created by the movement is bridged by a sliding plastic flap.
2012 Nissan Versa

You won’t find anything appealing about driving the Versa sedan, so shack up in the back and enjoy more room than in other subcompacts, as well as some sweet relief from your friend's questionable taste in music: The Versa’s standard stereo doesn’t come with rear speakers.

Related's $25,000 SUV Comparison's $16,000 Subcompact Comparison
Car Backseats to Avoid



300/Charger, Lacrosse, nor any of the lambdas make the list? But Versa does.


Relative to their competition, the Charger and 300 have unexceptional backseats. The specs mislead: Headroom runs out if you lean back, the floor has a significant center hump, the seat sits low for adults. The sightlines are pretty tank-like, too. Neither car has the most appealing backseat.


Matt C.

@ Sheth

I can attest to the Versa's rear room. It was more roomy back there for myself and my brother (220lbs and 175lbs respectively) than the back seat of the last generation Charger.


the chrysler sedans are less hospitable than the Challenger? Humps come with RWD cars for obvious reasons. We cant pretend that people buy sedans with the intention of using the middle seat in anything but a pinch. At 5'10" I didn't notice any need to slouch when sitting in the back of the 300. What about Lacrosse? Big back seat, small hump due to FWD architecture.


The Flex appears on this list, but not minivans?

Derrick G

They never said the Challenger had a better rear seat compared to the LX sedans; they said it had a better rear seat than similar competing COUPES.


the point is they are identifying back seats you would WANT to sit in. I'd would much rather be in the 300 than the Challenger. Wouldn't you? And that doesn't answer my question about Lacrosse not being mentioned.

Derrick G

I think the phrase "Some gems within their own classes have enough backseat room and surprise features to feel like the car was designed just to provide maximum comfort for rear passengers" makes it pretty clear that the article is meant to call out stars within their own class, such as the Challenger's coupe class. And the Azera and Avalon simply outclass the LXs and the LaCrosse.


I know the Element is gone, but if you could get over the stadium seating and clam doors, the rear leg room was astonishing.


I believe, Highlander would challenge Flex. Did you test Highlander??


Tony - perhaps should test your reading comprehension.

The third sentence in the paragraph about Ford Flex states, "there’s more room than traditional-looking SUVs like the ...Toyota Highlander."



If they were picking best backseats in each class the avalon AND Azera wouldnt be on the list. Same class of car. Nice attempt at a justification though. I don't want to be in the backseat of the Challenger and neither would any other adult. Same applied to Versa.


Are you seriously making an issue of this?

If you like the Lacrosse back seat then go use it, girlfriend willing.


Are you seriously responding to this? If you dont like the comments skip the thread.



Are you seriously responding to this article? If you don't like it, then skip it. You can save many people some frustration without your comments.

They say that they're including cars with comfortable backseats within their class. Would you rather sit in the backseat of a Mustang or Camaro or the Challenger? Would you rather sit behind a driver in a Fiesta or a Versa? And why wouldn't you want to be in the backseat of a Versa? Is it not comfortable? Yes, the Versa is an underperformer in its class, but it does have an extremely large backseat- Nissan is touting better than the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

And you arguing about the Chrysler cars just doesn't make sense. The Avalon and Azera have bigger, more comfortable backseats to the reviewers, period. And apparently, the backseats are more preferred to sit in compared to the LaCrosse and other full-size sedans as well. As for your arguing that the Avalon and Azera are within the same class, the article says "...some gems within their own classes..." and not "We picked a gem within each class." So we could put the 300 and Charger on the list, but then we would have to include every single full-size sedan to justify that because the 300/Chrager's backseats don't exactly stand out within their class.

I would've included one other car on this list: The Volkswagen Jetta. It has pretty much the same story with the Versa.

Tito M

You could have included the VW toureg, I would say as good as the flex, the only reason for snaging the front seats is because it is so fun to drive, and it has 4 heated seats; the subaru outback has decent rear seats two although I havn't tried them on a longer road trip.


By back seat leg room, I am referring to a 6'5" driver with a 6'4" rear passenger behind him! Even the Suburban does not have the leg room for that. The BMW 750Li has the leg room to accommodate the size of passengers that I am referring to. I am asking which SUV on the market can provide the leg room for truly tall people? Most cars/suv's become two seaters in our family.

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