Why don't all saloons/sedans have folding rear seats?

edkwon

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Spinning this off from a discussion on another thread I pose to the collective wisdom, knowledge and automotive experience of the forum.

I think rear folding seats, especially the 70/30 split folding variety is a great feature especially when it comes to the obvious like transporting big things that may not fit in a regular trunk like IKEA flat pack furniture or just moving a load of possessions on moving day or road trips

example:







Then this question was posed to me:

Don't all sedans have this feature?
So my question is response is...what sedans don't have this feature and why? As we know pretty much all estates and hatches have this feature to increase the little cargo space they have (hatches) and increased utility (estates, SUVs). But the presence of this option is highly variable in saloons across the board.

I can think of two situations where they are consistently NOT found:

1. really cheap low end, base model compact sedans - reason? I'm guessing its cost issue

2. really expensive high end luxury sedans i.e. S Class, A8, XJ, 7 series, etc.... reason? Obviously its not a cost or weight savings issue. Could it be that feature is seen as too 'bourgeouis' for the type of ppl who own and drive these kind of cars? i.e. manual labour and moving stuff is beneath them, they're not the type to buy cheap flat pack furniture, the trunks are spacious enough for most transport needs, etc...

Discuss away...
 

Labcoatguy

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I think one of the issues is gas tank location; argatoga mentioned previously that the Jag XJ has its tank or filler pipe in the area where a split-folding rear seat would be located.
 

_HighVoltage_

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Spectre explained it in another thread that it has to do with the gas tank location. Placing the tank behind the rear seats is safer than placing it right behind the rear bumper (Ford Pinto anyone?).

I guess it makes sense for cop cars, but for daily drivers I don't think it makes that much of a difference. Very few cars get rear-ended at high speeds. The impacts are usually lighter (considering the driver behind had the reflexes to at least attempt braking).
 

edkwon

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Spectre explained it in another thread that it has to do with the gas tank location. Placing the tank behind the rear seats is safer than placing it right behind the rear bumper (Ford Pinto anyone?).

I guess it makes sense for cop cars, but for daily drivers I don't think it makes that much of a difference. Very few cars get rear-ended at high speeds. The impacts are usually lighter (considering the driver behind had the reflexes to at least attempt braking).
I think almost all the cars I've driven (not police cars) have had the gas tank visibly behind the rear bumper. Every car I've owned I've had on a lift and inspected underneath.

That leads to a different question then, aside from the aforementioned XJ, I wonder how many other manufacturers put their fuel tanks behind the rear seats...and does that preclude the ability to put an armrest pass through for transporting narrow things like skis and such.
 

Timbits93

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In some cases, it's because of the rear suspension brace (if its there) since it makes the opening smaller.
 

CAPT_Howdy

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I think the reason that high-end sedans don't have that feature is twofold: first, if you can afford a high-end luxury sedan, you can also afford an estate or SUV as a "carryall". Second, the space that would be open in a car with folding seats is taken up by structural bracing and insulation - on the theory that your luxury sedan buyer wants a solid car with a quiet ride.
 

AiR

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Mostly because the designers suck at their job or because the company they work for like to charge people extra for features that should be standard (BMW). That said I haven't come across many a sedan which do not have folding seats.
 

Lastsoul

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Yeah, all European basic sedans (or hatchbacks of course) have that as standard and it's most of the time option for the rest, like 3 and 5 series BMWs etc. On some cars it's not possible for structural reasons: creating a hole behind the rear seats might lose some rigidity of the body (and that means: creating a body with the same rigidity and folding seats would cost more), or the opening would be so small it would be almost useless. If I remember correctly, the CH1 chassis Accord Type R didn't have folding seats just because of this reason while all normal CH1 Accords had this as standard.

And of course one reason is the already mentioned fuel tank issue, but it's normally not the case with FWD platform, because there's lots of space beneath the rear seat for the fuel tank.
 

Night_Hawk

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My acura only has the rear armrest unit that opens to fit skis. But it's a full class beneath something like an S class or 7 series.

The Corolla`s seats don`t fold in the back but the Corolla is a Corolla... at least it`s got the ultra-rare baby seat mounting thing in the passenger side rear seat.
 

Eye-Q

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I had two Audi 80 B4, the first one didn't have folding rear seats, the second one did. In that case it wasn't for rigidity but just for keeping the price down (it was the very basic model, I don't think it had any options, but it got crashed after three months anyway). The Audi 80 B3 had the fuel tank behind the rear seats so there was no way to get folding ones.
 

Lastsoul

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Normally Audi, BMW and Mercedes leave the folding seats to options list just to push the prices down: it's to options that really bring the money, not the basic car. Similar sized non-premium family cars have more competition and that's why foldining seats have been standard feature for years.
 

MWF

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I'd personally be more puzzled as to why certain manufacturers spend the money to fit rear seats into coupes when only ET or a dwarf amputee would stand a smowflake in Hades chance of fitting in there.
 

AiR

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when only ET or a dwarf amputee would stand a smowflake in Hades chance of fitting in there.
They're called children :p
 

edkwon

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I'd rather have a rear seating area to stow stuff in. 2+2 coupe configuration than nothing at all like in a pure two seater. At least that way when you go for a weekend trip with the supermodel GF it's easier to reach for stuff in the backseat than have to stop, pull over, open the trunk to get access to things
 

thevictor390

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It also changes the classification of the vehicle which may or may not be important for complex bureaucratic reasons.
 

p0w3r

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heres something to think about...

the Toyota Camry has the split folding seats in ALL models except for the XLE model. why? idk...

edit: its because the Camry has reclining rear seats in the XLE. I think thats also the reason why 7 series and such dont have it also...since their seats recline too
 
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public

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Sometimes it can be because of structural rigidity.
 

Adunaphel

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As posted before, it's mostly to do with options on the "premium" sedans than anything else. My C-class doesn't have a folding rear seat, but it was available as an (expensive) option, which the first owner of my car (like many other options) didn't want to spend money on. This way the premium saloons can get low base model prices, which is good for company car lease scenarios, and image, while raking in the cash on the options everyone (except Dutchies and Finns) specs anyways.

It also changes the classification of the vehicle which may or may not be important for complex bureaucratic reasons.
Afaik a lot of 2+2s are like that indeed for tax or insurance reasons, the US market being one that differentiates.
 
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