Team-BHP > The Indian Car Scene

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Old 5th March 2008, 18:33   #1
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Default Why the fascination with the back seat?!!

This is something that’s been on my mind since a while now. Why the heck do chauffeur-driven owners sit only on the back seat?! Rear bench space can’t really be termed as luxurious in any sub-10 lac sedan. Further, most of these cars don’t even have the backrest angle set ideally for comfort.

Think about this for a moment;

• The front passenger seat offers substantially more leg, shoulder and head room.

• The front seat is recline adjustable, so much so that you can even put it all the way back for a quick nap!

Or let’s consider the guys who sit on the backseat of a hatchback. Almost all hatches are pretty darn cramped at the rear, while the front passenger seat, even of an Alto, is infinitely more comfortable! That doesn't stop the bossmen from jumping in the back of an 800 on the drive to work, does it? The rear benches of the Indica / Getz / Palio etc. may have a decent amount of room, but, here too, the front passenger seat is far better.

In the rare occasion that I travel with my driver, I always sit on the front passenger seat. Why this obsession with the back seat? Prestige? “Sethia”?
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Old 5th March 2008, 18:37   #2
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May be some prestige issue or like follow the trend.
Apart from all the reasons you mentioned, there is one more, most of the cars come with Airbags at the front seats only, so sitting on the front seats are much safer compare to back seats but still people prefer the back seat.
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Old 5th March 2008, 18:37   #3
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Saw the title and thought it would be an interesting topic to liven up the afternoon.

Turns out we're talking about chauffers instead!
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Old 5th March 2008, 18:38   #4
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Perceived privacy!

Especially when traveling alone in a chauffeur driven car.
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Old 5th March 2008, 18:43   #5
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My dad always rides in the front seat with the driver and I have seen many celebs in Land cruisers riding in the front seat. Mostly ladies ride in the back when they are chauffeured around.

The funniest sight I have seen is one (rather tall) person riding in the back seat of a M800 with driver driving.
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Old 5th March 2008, 18:43   #6
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hey nice question that GTO. has gotten me also thinking why would some guy spend money on a car + driver and yet chose to travel in the generally cramped and uncomfortable back seats. Guess like someone pointed out, it just seems to be a question of pride. Last thing you want is somebody to see you with the driver in the front seat and mistake your car driver(unless he is dressed appropriately) for the owner and that he is giving u a drop. And quite a few owners end up looking like cleaners sitting besides the driver.
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Old 5th March 2008, 18:43   #7
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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Prestige? “Sethia”?
A bit of both. Sitting on the rear seat clearly demarcates who is the driver and who is the boss.

Also we have been seeing, the rich and famous sitting on the rear bench and that has perhaps been imprinted on the minds - if you sit on the rear, you are looked upon as RICH and FAMOUS.
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Old 5th March 2008, 18:44   #8
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On the contrary, I have seen people I know sitting on the front seat with their drivers when they travel alone.
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Old 5th March 2008, 18:45   #9
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I traveled in a Hertz Baleno from Pune to Mumbai. I sat behind initially, but sat up front when we stopped for a 5min break on the expressway. I again sat in a Hertz Esteem from Agra to Delhi. I switched places at Kosi.
The leg space plus the overall comfort at the rear wasnt pleasing at all for long trips. At mumbai, i didnt even think about sitting at the rear and sat up front for the trip to pune. this time it was a Swift.

in all the three cases, i noticed that the overall comfort up front was far better. plus the fact i could recline my seat back. I personally feel that if the owners of chauffeur driven cars sit up front and recline the seat, it will be far more comfortable than sitting at the rear. as for privacy, i dont see any major point.
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Old 5th March 2008, 18:47   #10
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Reat seats have more space around the passenger. Ofcourse, this is valid only if there is just one person sitting on the rear seat.

Privacy is another reason.

"Status" is another.
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Old 5th March 2008, 18:49   #11
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in my town i see all owners sitting in front seat only. Some sit at the rear so that they cant be seen easily
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Old 5th March 2008, 18:52   #12
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It could be perceived this way - Despite being cramped, it gives ample space to spread out a newspaper, work on the laptop, answer phonecalls without disturbing the driver and last - eyes on the driver !
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Old 5th March 2008, 18:52   #13
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Guess 'Sethia-giri' would be the right term for men while 'safety and privacy' would be the right word for women.
But I do find this scenario more with elderly people
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Old 5th March 2008, 18:53   #14
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should be status. Or it should have come all the way from bullock carts --> rickshaw -> Auto -> and now car hehehe
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Old 5th March 2008, 18:53   #15
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inherited from the 1-HP carts :-)
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