McLean, VA (written by Chris Woodyard/USA Today) -- When the 2013 Chevrolet Impala goes out of production to make way for a completely redesigned 2014, it will take with it an American classic -- the bench seat.
The Impala is the last car that has bench seats as an option.
When they finally go, gone will be the days when teenagers would squeeze in elbow to elbow. They will also lose the ability to stretch out or turn the front seat into a little love shack.
"There is certain nostalgia for bench seats, like being able to snuggle up with your date at a drive-in movie, and some customers still like them," GM Design Director Clay Dean says in a statement. "You never know, we might see bench seats re-emerge someday, possibly in very small cars like the EN-V urban mobility concept vehicle, in which the feeling of open space may be very desirable."
GM, in noting the passing, said few buyers bought them anymore. Only one in 10 Impala buyers chose the $195 option last year on the LS and LT models.
"A lot of people prefer bucket seats because they're sporty, even in models that aren't sports cars," says Dean. "Our customers also appreciate having the center console as a convenient place to store their phone and other personal items."
Bench seats lasted 101 years on Chevrolets. They first appeared on the Series C Classic Six of 1911. And while they are now gone from cars, they will continue to show up on pickup trucks and sport utilities.