Home » You’re Road Tripping As A Passenger In The BACK Seat. What Car Would You Choose For The Journey?

You’re Road Tripping As A Passenger In The BACK Seat. What Car Would You Choose For The Journey?

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We hit you with What’s Your Ideal Road Trip Duration, Destination, and Vehicle? in a previous installment of Autopian Asks, and we’re back to the theme today but with a finer point: what if you’re road tripping in the back seat? What car do you choose when that’s your fate? (As in, a car you might reasonably find yourself in. NOT a limousine, Flying Spur, Maybach, etc.)
No Limo

The back-seat Q probably takes you right back to your childhood, peak back-seat years for any kid who wasn’t raised by a single parent with a sportscar. The 1970s were my youngster years, and I assure you kids growing up in the 80s or later had it way better back-seat-wise than us polyester-clad youths of the Sonny and Cher era. I never even knew back seats could be made of anything other than vinyl, and you can forget about any kind of ergonomic shaping. Or a center armrest. Cupholders? Ha ha … no. And I assure you, you got thirsty back there in the 70s, because that vinyl bench reached temperatures most often associated with spacecraft reentry.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Popemobil Mai Credit

The gang was helpful as always in Slack. Thomas Hundal‘s first suggestion was the Popemobile, which Torch immediately and wrongly shot down citing lack of ventilation. See? The window goes down! It’s fine. But would you really want to to be displayed in a cage of Pope-proof glass for an 8-hour stretch down I90? Probably not.

Thomas Swg Lhs Lexus430 CreditStephen Walter Gossin (yes, he’s one of those a three-name badasses) recommended the first-gen Chrysler LHS, citing important spring-break buddy experience. That kind of endorsement makes J.D. Power look like H.R. Pufnstuf, so I believe him. Also authoritative: Thomas at it again, this time with the Lexus LS430 and optional Ultra Luxury accoutrement. Massaging seats and a fridge? Ideal back-seat spec right there.

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How about you? If you’re stuck in the back seat for a multi-hour mission, what vehicle would you most like to strap yourself into? We’re certainly interested in your actual back-seat experiences (you know what we mean, ya pervs), but you don’t have to name a car you’ve actually been in–theoretical choices are fine! And if you’ve had to endure some awful back seats while logging big miles, you can tell us about that too. We’re easy.

To the comments!

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Not The Ford 289
Not The Ford 289
6 months ago

Motorhome… wait. Does a van conversion motorhome count?

CUlater
CUlater
11 months ago

Agree that van is the correct answer. Just spent an hour in the second row of the Pacifica for the first time and the comfy seat, space, entertainment screen and built in games almost – almost – made me not worry about not driving.

JDE
JDE
11 months ago

Vans are not cars! So I will go with a Toyota Crown Majesta. Left Seat in a right hand drive version

The Dude
The Dude
11 months ago

If we’re talking any car world-wide, give me one of those Toyota vans that start with an A that I’m too lazy to look up the name.

If it’s limited to whats available in the US, give me a Kia Carnival. Either way, a van is the correct answer.

VanGuy
VanGuy
11 months ago

My old ’97 Ford Econoline-150 conversion van. Plush. Ass. Captains’ chairs. Legroom for miles. Not a limo. Reclines (albeit without a leg panel, but still).
No contest, from my experience.

Carpediashow
Carpediashow
11 months ago

I’m 6’7 so my 2013 ls460L extended wheelbase with executive level 1 package (level 2 has captains rear seating with no center seat). Only car I can sit in and recline the back seats and NOT hit my head unlike our 2018 LS500 with panoramic glass roof. Plus it has a small refrigerator, massaging seats, avs suspension with air shocks, laminate windows and powered window curtains. Bought it for $26k 2 years ago with 103,000mi from orginal owner who serviced at same dealership, custom ordered it for $103,000 in 2013 with $31,000 in options????. As far as SUV’s I’m in the minority but I would travel in a second generation Sequioa. Only suv that someone can recline the captain chairs in the 2nd row and I can sit in the 3rd row and recline and not hit my head let alone how much room is in the second row. Outside of that one suv or an older ls where I can’t hit my head just give me a minivan.

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
11 months ago

It may be sorta against the stated rule about limousines, but Maserati Quattroporte. You can get these bad boys for about 25k€ here so it’s not unattainable (although maintaining that Ferrari V8 can be a can of worms). The smell of Maserati leather is enough to want to spend time in the back seat, listening to that glorious V8 purr for hours on end.

Sc00t3r
Sc00t3r
11 months ago

1973 Pontiac Catalina: My folks had custom ordered one, fully loaded royal blue with a white roof and white leather interior. Nice, soft suspension provided a cloud-like ride down the road. The rear bench seat was a massive playground or plenty long enough to sprawl out on for a nap. Rich Corinthian Leather didn’t compare to the seats in that car. The ravages of time and lots of miles eventually did it in, but the memories live on. This is why it is my ultimate rear seat road trip ride.

Ben
Ben
11 months ago

Having road-tripped in an LHS that is a great answer. I will also see all the recommendations for minivan and raise to conversion van. The captains chairs in ours would not have been out of place in a living room. I freaking loved that van. Sadly, it got mileage in the single digits so we only kept it for a few years.

Oh, and the van is only valid if I get to sit in the second row. The third row was horrendously uncomfortable the one or two times I got stuck back there.

STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
11 months ago
Reply to  Ben

Like your style.

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
11 months ago
Reply to  Ben

I happen to think the LHS is a woefully underrated car. I was glad to see Gossin giving the car its due.

CUlater
CUlater
11 months ago
Reply to  Ben

Outside of the minivan, the LHS was the most comfortable car second row I’ve ever owned. LHS was a great car except for the myopic headlights.

Zorn Zornelius
Zorn Zornelius
11 months ago

1986 Chevy Caprice Classic Station Wagon, in the way back jump seats. I loved the feeling of being fractions of a second away from instant death on the freeway of the road trips of my youth.

Opa Carriker
Opa Carriker
11 months ago

I would gladly ride in the back of my 2019 Cadillac CT6 for as long as whatever trip entailed.

Aaron Bowen
Aaron Bowen
11 months ago
Reply to  Opa Carriker

This was my pick as well. A CT6 with the rear seat luxury package. Bonus points for super cruise.

LarsVargas
LarsVargas
11 months ago

Around 1999, I had a 1986 Mercedes 300 SDL, and I’d pick any similar diesel long wheel base Benzes of the era (presuming it was in good enough condition). Fair acceleration but would hold 80 or 90 all day long getting well over 20MPG.

And the back seat was palatial. Plenty of room for everyone. Three-Hoffa trunk. Bonus: no worries about the engine. It’ll outlast all of us.

ColoradoFX4
ColoradoFX4
11 months ago

My grandfather was a Lincoln Man, and I have few more comfortable memories than slipping into the ridiculously soft rear couch that inhabited his long line of fully-equipped Town Cars. So I’ll take a ’98 – the last year of the properly formal styling – in Cartier trim.

RataTejas
RataTejas
11 months ago

New Kia Carnival with the business class second row. Maybe a nice Toyota Century. Heck my old MKT was pretty good with the fridge as the second row console.

Duke of Kent
Duke of Kent
11 months ago

Growing up, my parents loved minivans even though I am an only child, so I had the entire cavernous back area to myself. It’s really the way to go. Comfortable captain’s chairs in the second row — or remove them and have a limousine-like experience by sitting in “the way back”. Good storage all around (be aware that crayons and gummy bears WILL melt into a disgusting clump if left in those backseat storage bins when the van is parked in the sun). New ones have fancy flip-down video screens, separate climate controls for the back, and power outlets everywhere. Plenty of space when it comes to headroom, legroom, and cargo stowage.

I don’t particularly want to drive one, but if I am to be the passenger, give me the damn minivan.

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