In the 1990s, rock band Cake musically declared that stick shifts, bucket seats and seat belts have to go. Those who agree may be sad to learn that the only vehicle left in America with front bench seating will soon go the way of the rest into memory. Currently, according to the New York Times, the Chevrolet Impala is the last car with the front bench seat and will be discontinued in a few months. However, anyone wishing for that style seating in a car will be able to upgrade with an extra $195 on the Impala LS and LT.
For the greater part of the auto industry's history, bench style seating was the default for American cars, according to the news source. They were less expensive to manufacture than bucket seats, and like the Cake song suggests, allow those in the vehicle to snuggle close if they choose.
Many trucks and SUVs still come with bench style seating. However, few consumers are seeking that style in cars, encouraging automakers to discontinue it. Older model vehicles, such as the Chrysler Concorde and Dodge Intrepid, may be good options for those with fond memories of the bench seat. As with all used models, drivers are encouraged to take the vehicle in for a full car tune up and inspection.
As the new fuel standards set by the Obama administration take effect, full-size sedans - the last cars that have featured the bench seat - are under scrutiny and may become go the way of the Dodo as automakers seek to make vehicles with lighter bodies, the Washington Post reports. As both consumers and automakers turn to smaller and alternative-powered vehicles, bucket seats and safety belts are likely here to stay while the classic sedan and bench seat fade into automotive memory.