Take a look at the second-row seats in most any SUV or CUV. There are different designs, but most have hefty tracks on the floor and supports on their backsides that you have to step over and around to access third-row seating.
Seat supplier Magna International – which created the Stow ’n Go seating now in its fourth generation in Fiat Chrysler minivans, then followed with innovative Tip Slide and, most recently, Easy Tilt and Pitch Slide (the latter featured since 2016 in Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia three-row SUVs) – is now touting what it calls its next-gen EZ-Entry seat.
This slick-looking perch – at least the example recently demonstrated at Magna’s Novi, MI, headquarters – looks lighter, slimmer and sleeker than the current Pitch Slide unit that was shown for comparison. Yet it offers 3 ins. (7.5 cm) more cushion width for added comfort.
With no latch or striker on its rails, the EZ-Entry seat provides what Magna calls industry-leading foot clearance for third-row occupants, 4 ins. (10 cm) more than the comparison seat.
Thanks to elimination of those parts and an innovative linkage that reduces its links from nine to five, it is 6.4 lbs. (2.9 kg) lighter. And, like its Pitch Slide forebear, it flips forward for access without having to remove a child seat.
Wearing an attractive “FREEFORM” compression-molded covering instead of traditional cut-and-sew material, the EZ-Entry seat looks more like a form-fitting front-row than a second-row seat and, in fact, “feels like a front seat,” Magna Seating engineering director Joe Meyer says. “It’s designed to give second-row occupants a first-row experience.”
Asked about cost, Meyer says that in unpowered form, this next-gen EZ-Entry seat (pictured left) is no more costly than current seats.
Whether in captain’s-chair or 60/40 split configuration, it folds and dives to provide a flat load floor and can be partially or fully powered to the point of remote operation from a smartphone app. “This power seat allows you to control all functionality from an app on your phone,” Magna says. “With the push of a button, the seat can reconfigure so loading cargo and kids is hassle-free.”
Magna is busily pitching these innovative new seats to a number of OEMs and expects to see them in production in 24 to 36 months in 2023- or 2024-model-year vehicles.