We love to travel with our loved ones : be it for shopping grinds, a Friday movie or a road trip over an extended weekend. And more than often when we are planning our next car, we overlook this important factor of rear seat comfort. By this, I don’t only mean the space on offer but other parameters like ingress / egress, seat cushioning, visibility and features like an arm-rest, rear air-con vents and so on.
We went down to the basics to do our homework and finally came out with a winner each across ten different segments. Here we go:
Entry level hatchbacks : Renault Kwid
Starting Price: Rs 2.67 lakh
The Kwid not only offers a baby SUV design theme, it is also the only car in the segment which can seat three adults in comfort at the back. Further, the ‘height’ offers good headroom for tall passengers. Icing on the cake is the value tag and ample versions for all kind of buyers – 2 options each for the engine and transmission.
Mid-size hatchbacks : Mahindra KUV
Starting Price: Rs 4.51 lakh
Yes, we will not call it a SUV – its still looks like a grow up hatchback. The plus point here is the size of the KUV – the width allows for a lot of shoulder room at the back. The rear bench is flat and so is the floor, lending that extra space for the middle passenger. Want more? The higher versions even offer a centre armrest and adjustable headrest for all three passengers.
Premium hatchbacks : Honda Jazz
Starting Price: Rs 5.9 lakh
Though the Jazz does not sell as much as the Baleno or the Elite i20, it offers the most spacious rear seats along with best in class visibility. Both headroom and shoulder room are excellent and the higher versions also offer ‘magic seats’ : the rear seats can be folded down in various configurations. The Jazz is also the only car in the segment to get reclining rear seats, a feature found on much expensive cars.
Compact sedans: Honda Amaze
Starting Price: Rs 5.6 lakh
It was a close call between the new Maruti Dzire and the Honda offering. Both compact sedans offer excellent legroom but Honda earns more brownie points due to the seat design. Japanese know how to get passenger comfort right and the rear seats of the Amaze are brilliant. Aiding visibility are the large windows. Another practical touch are the handy rear door pockets for big bottles.
C segment sedans: Honda City
Starting Price: Rs 8.7 lakh
Another Honda in the list is the City. Inspite of the headroom being an issue for tall passengers (Ciaz has the same problem), like the Amaze, the seats here are excellent in terms of cushioning and support and show their true strength during long commutes or extended non-stop drives on the highway. Last but not the least, visibility is excellent and the sunroof on top end versions lend an airy feel.
Compact SUVs: Tata Nexon
Starting Price: Rs 5.99 lakh
Tata has upped the ante in various segments including that of compact SUVs. It is the second highest selling car in its segment after the Breeza and customers have appreciated various parameters include the rear seat comfort. Knee room / legroom is best in class and so are the rear bench contours. The seats come with varying hardness in terms of foam density and get bolstered sides too. Rear arm-rest and air-con vents complete the package.
Full sized SUVs: Tata Hexa
Starting Price: Rs 11.85 lakh
Though both the XUV and Hexa offer terrific middle row comfort, the Hexa has an edge in terms of features. There are multiple rear air-con vents (door pillars and lower central console), the manual sun-blind for windows come handy and unlike the XUV, you can opt for two independent captain seats in the middle row – this along with a better ride quality does make a huge difference, and the reason we picked the Hexa over the XUV.
D segment sedans: Skoda Octavia
Starting Price: Rs 15.87 lakh
Although the Toyota Corolla Altis outsells the Octavia in the segment, it is the latter that offers better overall comfort at the back. In true Skoda fashion, you are never short on space. The Octavia also offers rear air-con vents which are shockingly absent on the Altis. So if you are going to be a back-seat driver most of the times, pick the Octavia.
Family MPVs: Toyota Innova Crysta
Starting Price: Rs 13.52 lakh
The Innova has been the most comfortable family MPV from day number one, taking it up from where the Qualis left. The captain seats in the 2nd row offer unparalled comfort and this combined with best in class ride quality makes this a very comfortable place to be. Nice touches include digital display for rear air-con, one touch tumble second row seat and even an option to slide the front seat easily from the back.
Luxury SUVs: Ford Endeavour
Starting Price: Rs 25.65 lakh
The all-new Endeavour, launched in January 2016, improved in every single department, most importantly, in terms of passenger comfort. The Fortuner is a close call but in terms of ingress and egress, the Endeavour scores higher points. The active noise cancellation feature also makes the cabin a quite place to be in and the massive Panoramic Sunroof that covers almost 50% of the roof area makes the cabin feel airier.