Chevrolet Asks: “Who Is Coming Along For A Ride” In 2016 Volt’s 5th Seat?


2016 Chevrolet Volt With Seating For 5

2016 Chevrolet Volt With Seating For 5

The 2016 Chevrolet Volt has 5 seats, but that middle rear seat has been deemed for “occasional use” by General Motors.  That’s why we found it odd that Chevrolet posted this quesiton to Twitter:

The #NextGenVolt has a fifth seat and we want to know: who is coming along for a ride?

The responses were largely positive, with one responder stating that “without that little person seat I couldn’t buy it” and another stating “the carpool kids!”

But this response takes the win:

Dogs Appreciate Bench Seats

Dogs Appreciate Bench Seats

It seems that even though the 5th seat is small and its usefulness is limited, the vast majority of potential buyers see seating for five as a plus, regardless of the sacrifices that must be made to occupy that 5th seat.

We stated on countless occasions in the past that a 5th seat was necessary in the next-gen Volt and we’re thrilled to see that General Motors delivered what we asked for.  Now, if we could ask for one more fix, it’s this: GM could you please make it so that that cupholder is less intrusive upon the 5th seat occupant?

Always A Lively Topic - The Chevy Volt's Rear Seating! - Image: Mike Anthony / InsideEVs)

Always A Lively Topic – The Chevy Volt’s Rear Seating! – Image: Mike Anthony / InsideEVs)

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54 Comments on "Chevrolet Asks: “Who Is Coming Along For A Ride” In 2016 Volt’s 5th Seat?"

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Answer… the back seat was only for little people before… and apparently still is with a straddler counting for 5. My teens complain about the LEAF backseat when there are 3 across… After test riding in the original VOLT my daughter never wanted to ride in it again.

The new VOLT back seat is a marketing experiment… not a seat. Only real use would be baby car seat and that would infringe on both rear seats possibly making them useless.

Is this a continuation on the old no-arms-or-legs jokes? (ie. “What do you call someone with no arms or legs in your mailbox? Bill”)

Hmmm… what do you call someone with no arms or legs that sits in the 5th seat of a Volt?

I must be in the minority of people who would never try to jam five adults into my Volt, or any car that small. I tried fitting five adults in my Mazda-3 once. And only once.

Since the Volt’s center seat is really only viable for Children, I think folding rear-facing seats (ala Model S) may have been more practical.

Any forward facing car seat. A million examples. Why are people so narrow minded?

Right on with regard to the cupholders. That’s just a bad place for them.

Absolutely. it looks like there’s a fold-down armrest, put them in there so they are only accessible when the armrest is down. They do this on other cars. I’d think that would make the 3rd seat much more usable.

The armrest could even be just a little shorter. Then with the cupholders being retractable you could even make the middle seat a little deeper.

I am happy that the 2016 Chevy Volt will have a fifth seat. What I am not happy about is the cup holder on the hump. GM said that the center seat (fifth seat) is for occasional use only. Did GM put the cup holder there to make sure it isn’t used more than that?
GM could you please put the cup holder some place else?

That cupholder is a major ball-buster, that is for sure!

No doubt there will be those times when you need to squeeze somebody back there. This is the one-and-only advantage the 2016 Malibu hybrid will have over the Volt. I can foresee a plug-in Malibu hybrid with an honest 25 mile AER being a solid option for folks looking at Volt but having 5 kids, or a mother-in-law who often comes along for the ride.

I don’t see why they couldn’t have the cupholder built into the 5th seat pull down arm rest.


Here’s to hoping they change it before production.

Putting cup holders in a fold down armrest is a bad idea because it is unstable compared to a firm footing on the tunnel.

The Volt 2 solution is a good compromise that retains solidly mounted cup holders and connector ports whilst catering to the 5th seat complainers that really aren’t suited to the compact car class anyway.

It’s done in many other cars (not that it makes it right). I had a Honda Civic with them in the fold down armrest and it was stable.

Truth is the middle seat in any car is best left for occasional use, or use by children.

Meh. Unless they completely redesigned the chassis, there was not much they could do.

I like what they did in adding a 5th seat that can handle the occasional need for a 5th seat. If you need to drive with 5 people regularly, then don’t get this car. But if you occasionally need the 5th seat, this works.

Right, with five, don’t get this car. That’s the problem.

All that matters to me is that a rear facing car seat fits in that middle section. Maybe I just need a 3 row plug-in… oh wait, there are none here in Arkansas.

+1, that was deal breaker on the 1st gen Volt for me.

And nice how the pic on Twitter so cleverly is positioned so you can’t see the cupholder… I applaud the 5th seat and agree it was about the best they could do in this generation without a major shift, but pretty sure that 99% of the population would rather that cupholder not be there.

Ha ha, yeah. I noticed that too. Clearly they didn’t want to feature the lack of space in front of that middle rear seat.

Do the seats still fold down flat? The seatbacks lined up nicely with the hump in the middle in the current gen Volt giving a nice and level load floor.

They fold flat for the most part, with a very slight incline due to cushions.

Also measured it at the auto show and the distance from the tailgate to the back of the front seats is about 5 1/2 feet. A bit short for a snooze, but otherwise quite spacious for a compact.

The overall back seat room is a greater concern to me than the middle seat. I have two kids who will be one and a half, and almost 5 by the time the next generation Volt is released. I am 6’2″ and even now my oldest complains there is no room for her seat, and i don’t even drive with my seat all the way back.

I love my Volt, and for my work and family life it is the best EV out there other than a Tesla. But forget about the middle seat, there really isn’t enough leg room in the back seat for a kid, let alone and adult for an extended trip. Despite my love for the car and amazing gas savings, if it doesn’t have enough room for my daughter to be comfortable i will very likely look elsewhere.

That said, we should also fault the other car companies who make plug in hybrids for not offering meaningful mileage. A car like the Fusion or the C-Max with a mileage rating of 20 miles on the battery should be castigated far, far more strongly than Chevy for the back seat.

I’ve always found the lack of 5th seat complaints rather odd. It just seems like you’re talking about a percentage of a percentage of potential buyers.

Sure there are people who decided against buying a Volt because of the lack of a 5th seat but how many?

I have a new baby and we use the middle position for the rear facing car seat because it is the safest location in side impact collisions.

No middle seat was a complete deal breaker in me getting a Volt.


Many parents will tell you, including myself, that this 5th seat is NOT really suitable for young ones.

The 5th seat, for a brief moment, will be good for the baby seat.

But babies do grow up.

The 5th seat, in its current configuration, is EXTREMELY BAD for toddlers and kids. Take a look at the image that scottf2000 post. Here’s a hint – kids LOVE TO KICK when they are in their booster seats.

Also, if you plan on having 2 kids, neither you nor spouse (or grandparent/babysitter) can sit in the middle. It happens actually very often for short drives to the doctors, schools, libraries, sports games, etc. Having an adult sitting in the middle can help with story reading, singing, and most importantly, controlling any outbreak of fights or arguments.

Sure, the person in the middle may feel a little squished, say, in a LEAF or other with real center seat. But it’s definitely doable and manageable. Not so in the Volt as you can’t spread the legs over the big hump with 2 car seats.

Get something else like a LEAF.

“Also, if you plan on having 2 kids, neither you nor spouse (or grandparent/babysitter) can sit in the middle”.

LOL. Seriously? Have you ever tried to mount 2 child seats in a compact before? Have you ever measured the distance between the two child seats after installation?

I did. After mounting 2 Britax child seat in the Volt, there are about 8 inches left between the seat.

I tried with LEAF, there are about 10.2 inches left.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t know many people that can fit between 10.2 inches of space either.

Even the full size Accord, Avalon have a tight space when you install two Britax child seats (the safest child seat on the market today).

So anyone who tries to “imagine” fiting adults between two child seats should try it personally before making that silly claim.

Well, realdb2, it seems the 5th seat whiners happen to whine louder than anyone else with an issue. Probably because they cant afford to buy a proper sized car for their needs, so all they can do is whine about it as a distraction.

So tiring for the rest of us…

17% have 3 kids but others can’t mis it too because of friends or family so you end up with 25% having a requirement for it.

Body parts trump cup holders. Remove them so small children have a place for their feet or at least make it optional one way or the other.

Meh, I have sat in the back seat of the MY 2016 #NextGenVolt Extended Range Electric Vehicle in an arranged private event at the North American International Auto Show, back on January 15th, 2015.

I was quite impressed as the full bench seat(Heated Leather Seats Option, Included) seemed to welcome another (3rd) person.

At 6′ tall I found the center cushion comfortable and I believe others will as well.

Know that the MY 2016 Volt EREV seemed to have a roomier back seat then the BMW 4 Gasser.

Link Goes To My Pictures As Posted On Twitter-

Once, a few years ago, when responding to a rather critical post as to seating capacity of the #FirstGenVolt I staged a Photo Op with a 6’6 car porter in the back seat with our office gas and two 265lb+, 6’2″ Salesmen in the front seats. It worked!

So, my thoughts to all of you with not so pleasing back seat comments is to reserve until you sit.


Thomas J. Thias

Sundance Chevrolet Inc.


I think more people care about mounting a child seat in the 5th seat position than actually fitting a 5th person there.

I have ridden in just about all cars in those class before. Having a 5th seat is just a joke in the compact class. Even Prius and LEAF aren’t much better. I certainly wouldn’t even try to squeeze people into those size of cars. You might fit your butt, but you certainly won’t fit your shoulders…

I’ve sat in the 5th seat. Both Prius and LEAF are much, MUCH better in the center seat because I don’t have to spread my legs afar due to the cupholder.

Also, if you have ladies of medium size sitting in the rear seats, both LEAF and Prius fit well. Not the Volt, even in 2nd generation.

“I’ve sat in the 5th seat. Both Prius and LEAF are much, MUCH better in the center seat because I don’t have to spread my legs afar due to the cupholder.”

Apparently, you must be very thin or passenger in the back seats are equally thin. But putting 3 adults in those cars are just joke. I don’t care how you call it.

Sure, having better legroom is better than none. But none of those cars have “acceptable” solution in my opinion. Maybe you are just more flexible or below average BMI…

We ride around with 5 often in my LEAF. Adults included. Its not bad at all. Its a real seat, a little tight hip room wise. Its padded with nothing to obstruct legs. But we don’t have a headrest which seems dangerous.

“We ride around with 5 often in my LEAF”

We? As in 2 adults and 3 children or 5 adults?

If you truly have 5 adults in your LEAF often, then either those adults are losers who likes to get “free rides” or you really bought the wrong car for the purpose.

Just insult others doesn’t prove your point; in fact, it just show how immature you are.

I want to see the CEO of GM sit in the fifth seat, flanked by two members of GM’s board chosen at random, and then go for a 200-mile drive.

GM sized the gen 1 Volt the right way, given technological and economic realities, and they did what they could to shoehorn a 5th seat in for 2016, but it’s nothing more or less than a stopgap until the next major reworking of the car or the introduction of a bigger PHEV with a more reasonable 5th seat.

That won’t happen because the CEO, unlike you, would actually pick a larger car class than a compact if she really wanted to have 3 adults in the back seat, regardless of brand.

How about showing another compact car that can seat 5 adults?

Most adult “buyer” who need to carry 5 adults will buy a larger midsize car like Honda Accord or a full size car like Impala or Avalon.


Most that you know maybe?

I know a lot of man that are very fit in size, and women that are petite to medium in size.

Your most does NOT represent my most, apparently.

LOL. GM highlighting the worst part of the car. Calling that a 5th seat is disingenuous.


Stuffing 5 adults into a LEAF is just torturing..

Or you like to drive “hunger strike” people around.

I thought the Gen 1 Volt was actually one of the few cars that was being quite honest about the capacity of a compact class car by only having 4 seats.

Really any compact car with 5 seats is being somewhat disingenuous, especially in North America.

1 thing – well, a few things – that many of the people who continued to state “now we’ve a 5th seat, so the [2nd gen] Volt is good for most now, especially those with babies” (something similar) but tried to ignore (or didn’t really know)… Those with babies or young ones will need strollers. Strollers are quite large. They will also need diaper bags. A potential buyer, especially those with babies, will definitely need to bring his/her stroller to test whether it will fit in the trunk. Just because the center seat fits a baby car seat, it doesn’t mean that you will have to carry your baby around on your arms once you’re out of the vehicle. From what I’ve observed, it’s going to be extremely tight to fit a stroller. Again, diaper bag too. Then consider the options of going shopping with your babies. You can pretty much forget grocery shopping in this case. Volt is not really a family friendly vehicle if car seats are necessary. Don’t sacrifice the comfort of your family for the sake of just buying a Chevy; there are other, better, choices out there (in terms of buying a plugin hybrid, or… Read more »

Londo Bell, you said, “there are other, better, choices out there (in terms of buying a plugin hybrid, or a electric vehicle).” Tell me what other vehicle on the market today that can give me 50 all electric miles, then another 370 miles of uncompromising driving comfort and pleasure (non-stop)?

The better choice is for the comfort of your family, not for the 50 mi electric range which you are sacrificing for.

Based on your comments, Londo Bell, I’m pretty sure you’ll be back posting when your kids get to high school that the Volt is inadequate because it can’t carry a full set of football or hockey gear for 4 huge kids (and the gatorade bucket too).

My suggestion is you let your spouse choose the next car (most likely a more suitable minivan) so you won’t have to hear about your bad choices for the remainder of your marriage.


I strongly urge you to read what this article is about, and what most commenters are talking about, before commenting your own.

It’s about Chevy bragging its “5th” seat, and people talking about how this 5th seat is great for children and baby.

If you complain about people whining at this 5th seat, then you probably be better off directing your dissatisfaction of us whiners to Chevy instead – why brag on something that is really useless?

IOW, if people would like to talk about Volt being a family car, then show us whiners that it really is a family car, or, just don’t brag.

“5’2″ – 5’6″ sitting at the back of the LEAF without complaining (to the seat)”

They didn’t complain to you or they didn’t have a choice to complain?


Volt’s trunk will fit a double B.O.B stroller just fine and that is how I bought the stroller and took it home. A diaper bag will fit there too with it. Granted, it will be full. But if you need more spaces than that, you should have bought a minivan or SUV…

You are just nitpicking at this point.


Nitpicking or not, it’s the truth.

Just because you don’t know many people who can fit in between, doesn’t mean there isn’t any. More importantly, and I’m surprised that you aren’t realizing it (or trying to avoid saying it), whoever is going to seat in the middle seat of the Volt will need to spread the legs sideway. So hip space may be 8 inches or whatever, but no space to place the 2 legs.

That, MMF, is where you are failing to see the problem with the 5th seat of the Volt.

Meh. It is a compact people, get over it. The fifth seat is never suitable for anything more than children. Or dogs for bench seating. Honestly the complaining sometimes is borderline ludicrous. This isn’t a Volt specific thing, it is a compromise for this size class of vehicles, plug in or not, GM or not.

I think most of us see the 5th seat for what it is: A bone thrown by GM to pacify the complainers who don’t fully comprehend the size of a compact car. Had they foreseen it would make you even less happy, they might have considered sticking with the old seats.

BTW, has your spouse picked out the new minivan yet?

Great an oil burning SUV sponsored by the oilies, that’s a real modern marvel isn’t it? What a “choice”!

I don’t see the problem with that 5th seat.
It’s a compact car guys, it’s not designed for 3 people abreast for long trips.
Maybe it’s because I’m from Europe, but We sit 5 adults in cars smaller than the Volt very often when we do short trips. It isn’t comfortable, the passengers are shoulder to shoulder, and are often forced to sit slightly sideways to make more room, there’s barely enough space for everyone’s feet because of transmission tunnels in the floor but we do it anyway when we don’t want to use 2 cars.

The only thing with the new volt is that the person in the middle seat should be a little smaller. It’s an acceptable compromise, and it’s better than having no seat at all.