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Old 7th August 2013, 19:25   #1
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Default Why no cars with front seats that can accommodate 3?

Dear friends
This seems like an obvious staring in your face problem.
The market is going for gaga over 7 seater SUVs and MPVs having 3 rows of seats.
Why cant car makers come up with a six seater vehicle which has 3 proper bucket seats and seat belts in the front?
We all grew up with Premier Padminis and ambassadors with steering column mounted gear shifts and front bench seats. Of course there were no seat belts then so it had its share of safety hazard.
Many cars e.g ambassador, almost all SUVs are broad enough to accommodate a third proper bucket seat in the front by modifying the placements of gear shifter and handbrake.
This will eliminate the danger posed by having the third bench too close to the rear windshield thus having no crumple zone at the back in an event of a rear end shunt.
This six seater car can have a descent boot too.
Also we keep hearing of our regulation regarding 4 mtr length but yet to hear any thing about the vehicles breadth, or maybe I am oblivious to it so the gurus please educate me.
The car that comes to mind is the Fiat Multipa.
Is this question as simple as it looks to me or is there some regulatory and engineering issue involved???
Cheers
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Old 7th August 2013, 19:33   #2
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Default re: Why no cars with front seats that can accommodate 3?

I think its cause of the Fact that India has a big market with Manual Cars, Shifting with the transmission on the steering column is a pain! for automatics it doesn't make a difference, hence why we don't have a third seat in the front

This is my personal opinion!
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Old 7th August 2013, 20:52   #3
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Default re: Why no cars with front seats that can accommodate 3?

Quote:
Originally Posted by norhog View Post
The car that comes to mind is the Fiat Multipa.
Is this question as simple as it looks to me or is there some regulatory and engineering issue involved???
Cheers
Multipla's width: 1871 mm (much more than mercs / renault). Swift etc are like 1690mm.
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Old 7th August 2013, 21:24   #4
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Default re: Why no cars with front seats that can accommodate 3?

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Multipla's width: 1871 mm (much more than mercs / renault). Swift etc are like 1690mm.
Yes sir I agree having a wide bodied car has its disadvantages on narrow roads but on descent stretches of the road it is ok.
Also a wider track provides more cornering stability.
Also though it will be wide the car can be made shorter, so parking between cars on the side of the road will be easier as compared to a longer car.
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Old 7th August 2013, 21:44   #5
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Default re: Why no cars with front seats that can accommodate 3?

Bagheera - 1734 mm (from Wiki)

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Sutripta
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Old 7th August 2013, 22:01   #6
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Default re: Why no cars with front seats that can accommodate 3?

Nice topic. Curious to know why 3 abreast is not the norm in any car. What stops anyone from designing such a car?
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Old 7th August 2013, 22:30   #7
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Default re: Why no cars with front seats that can accommodate 3?

There is a big difference between 3 ppl in Front vs 3 ppl in the rear.

Even if you have a column shift, the driver has to move his left hand to work the gears and that can poke the middle passenger constantly making things uncomfortable.

3 people in the rear can just be jammed in there.
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Old 7th August 2013, 22:33   #8
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Default re: Why no cars with front seats that can accommodate 3?

Always felt that TMC missed a trick by not having a column shift on the Sumo.

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Sutripta
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Old 7th August 2013, 22:48   #9
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Default re: Why no cars with front seats that can accommodate 3?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Nice topic. Curious to know why 3 abreast is not the norm in any car. What stops anyone from designing such a car?
Our 2001 Bolero 8 seater had the option for a 3rd passenger upfront.
But we never got a chance to utilize that.
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Old 7th August 2013, 22:55   #10
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Default re: Why no cars with front seats that can accommodate 3?

perhaps it hampers visibility towards the passenger side? never seen this in practice, so do excuse the lame idea.
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Old 7th August 2013, 23:24   #11
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Default re: Why no cars with front seats that can accommodate 3?

With proper seatbelt arrangements, how much space will be taken up by the three bucket seats? The Innova comes with captain seats for front two rows. It surely is a wide body vehicle. But I don't think the space is enough for a third captain seat.

Also with a bench seat upfront if the passengers doze off, the middle passenger will sooner or later rest his/her head on the driver's shoulder. Depending on circumstances, sometimes it may be desirable to the driver, but it mostly is a safety hazard, specially when today's cars are running at speeds of 80kmph and above.

Then you would demand a third airbag for the middle passenger, which will push the prices even further north.

The middle passenger would be most uncomfortable, whether in the front, middle row or the back row.
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Old 7th August 2013, 23:32   #12
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Default re: Why no cars with front seats that can accommodate 3?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Nice topic. Curious to know why 3 abreast is not the norm in any car. What stops anyone from designing such a car?
Datsun has taken a shot with new GO hatchback, but from the looks of it, its best suited for someone < 12 years old or petite ladies.

But starting with clean sheet of paper you would need
  • A flat dash (like the old amby) completely dispensing with the waterfall center console to liberate legroom
  • A proper column shift like the Padmini and unlike i-10/GO. (not sure if its ever been done with FWD cars)
  • Headrest & 3 point belt for front middle pass. (this is a challenge because you cannot reach the B-pillar.
  • The trans tunnel in that area is usually much larger. This needs to be trimmed
  • Blower assy is usually located in the F.center. This needs to be re-desigined to liberate legroom.
  • Ensure IRVM is still usable

Last edited by Mpower : 14th August 2013 at 02:12.
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Old 7th August 2013, 23:48   #13
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Default re: Why no cars with front seats that can accommodate 3?

I've been shouting about this feature since ages, very good topic touched upon by OP. I too always loved the bench seats on erstwhile Amby & Fiats. Was super excited to see the interior pics. of new WagonR which show joined front seats. Hope the feature makes it to the Indian version.

Actually the front 2 seats is a carried over/copied concept from the West where family size is restricted to nuclear or singles. So it suits them, not our needs or wants. From Indian perspective this is a serious omission of much needed essential real estate.
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Old 8th August 2013, 02:18   #14
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Default re: Why no cars with front seats that can accommodate 3?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mpower View Post
Datsun has taken a shot with new GO hatchback, but from the looks of it, its best suited for someone < 12 years old or petite ladies.

But starting with clean sheet of paper you would need
  • A flat dash (like the old amby) completely dispensing with the waterfall center console to liberate legroom
  • A proper column shift like Padmini unlike i-10& GO. (not sure if its ever been done with FWD cars)
  • Headrest & 3 point belt for front middle pass. (this is a challenge because you cannot reach the B-pillar.
  • The trans tunnel in that area is usually much larger. This needs to be trimmed
  • Blower assy is usually located in the F.center. This needs to be re-desigined to liberate legroom.
  • Ensure IRVM is still usable
Hi M power
The middle seat can have seat mounted seat belts like as shown in the image.
The HVAC system can be pushed up in the dashboard.
I am thinking a broader car might have rigidity issues of the monoquoc hence the makers don't make cars wider.
General observation tells me that a wider generally has thicker sheet metal on the floorpan and the roof as compared to narrower, but that's just an observation.
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Old 8th August 2013, 07:12   #15
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Default re: Why no cars with front seats that can accommodate 3?

Yes, convertibles use a similar system because they dont have a B pillar
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