Hooniverse Asks- What Car Has The Most Flexible Interior?

//Hooniverse Asks- What Car Has The Most Flexible Interior?

Hooniverse Asks- What Car Has The Most Flexible Interior?

Flexibility is an important aspect of both relationships and automotive interiors, the most adept at either often being the most successful. In getting along with other people, it’s often helpful to be less than rigid when faced with the situation where someone might not share for views on, say politics, or personal hygiene. When it comes to cars, who doesn’t enjoy the shock and awe of the discovery of a well designed cup holder, or an under-seat storage place for your gun?
But flexible car interiors are about much more than just a place to put your latte or your lupara, it’s about convenience. After all, how cool would it be to camp out in your car – even if the economy didn’t make that your only option?  And what about transporting excessively long things like Yao Ming or Pi to the seven hundredth decimal place? Having seats that fold down in those instances can be of benefit, don’t you think?
So, we’re all in agreement that being flexible is good, and in cars it’s great, but what car is, in your mind, the most flexible one of all?

Image source: [porscheperfect.com]

By |2011-09-29T07:00:42+00:00September 29th, 2011|Hooniverse Asks|91 Comments

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  1. pj134 September 29, 2011 at 7:07 am - Reply

    The Honda Element actually has a really well thought out interior. The only problem with it is that it it's a Honda Element.
    <img src="http://i.imgur.com/rg3lR.jpg"&gt;
    <img src="http://i.imgur.com/pMYKf.jpg"&gt;

    • rtfact32 September 29, 2011 at 7:18 am - Reply

      Only problem is you've never driven/ridden/used one? Make ti a five-speed and you've actually got a fun vehicle that can get 25mpg on the highway.
      The Honda Element, hands down, has the most flexible interior, relative to the size and capacities of the vehicle. Sure an Econoline (never gonna be an E-series, sorry ford) can haul more, and a Focus is going to get better mileage, but I've driven my Element over 130k and camped in it on several extended trips. Air mattress, screens on the windows presto – mini-RV.
      Take the rear seats out entirely, and you've got far more room than you'd think possible. Only hindrance is the pitiful load capacity.
      Every. Single. Time. a new person climbs into the Element, the *first* thing they say is "wow, I didn't realize this had so much room!"

      • pj134 September 29, 2011 at 7:49 am - Reply

        Why yes, good sir, in working for a car dealership I have driven, ridden and used one! There is something that happens mentally when you're car's best assets couldn't be used to describe any of the various qualities of kitchen appliances. While I think it is a decent crossover it still ends up being a crossover. If my vehicle design is inspired by the two box movement, I want it to be able to play in the mud.
        I meant no offense, they just aren't for me.

        • Alff September 29, 2011 at 7:56 am - Reply

          My BIL has one. Versatile but far from sexy. Loses points on versatility for the lack of a fifth seat.

          • Lotte September 29, 2011 at 9:30 am

            Yeah, I was surprised the first time I sat in one to see there's no seat in the middle. It makes no sense, especially when the CR-V can have three across.

        • rtfact32 September 29, 2011 at 8:34 am - Reply

          Sorry my good man…I am quite defensive about the Elements…who would have thought a box on wheels would inspire such passion! All in good fun my friend!

          • pj134 September 29, 2011 at 8:39 am

            I have a love of box on wheels. My first car was a lifted XJ and I'm thinking my next one might be a slightly rounder V70R. Hard to find one in a stick though.

          • OA5599 September 29, 2011 at 10:24 am

            With one notable exception, every box on wheels I've owned has been used to tow a car trailer, so I've never considered a crossover.
            I guess you could say they're out of my Element.

          • yellofury September 29, 2011 at 12:44 pm

            [youtube BO-QRfW4sTw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BO-QRfW4sTw youtube]
            Pretty nice Westfalia-type top
            too bad the operation is in California and I am in Florida

      • tonyola September 29, 2011 at 10:28 am - Reply

        25 mpg on the highway is nothing to brag about for a four-cylinder cute-ute.

    • mr. mzs zsm msz esq September 29, 2011 at 7:35 am - Reply

      Has there ever been a car that screamed more for a front bench seat?

    • nofrillls September 29, 2011 at 8:32 am - Reply

      The Element was what I was going to suggest as well. Any car/van can be improved with Westfaliazation or of Starcraftified. the element has it right out of the box.
      I actually like the utilitarian Element…although the gray plastic fenders can look waaaay out of sync with the wrong color body. Orange, for instance.

      • MrHowser September 29, 2011 at 8:43 am - Reply

        When they first came out, someone in our town had repainted the fenders to match that orange body color. It looked so good that I was surprised Honda didn't start doing the same thing sooner.

        • pj134 September 29, 2011 at 9:26 am - Reply

          Companies really need to understand that if they want a black fender treatment, a little bit of paint goes a long way in the look of it. It doesn't fade and get all shitty in a couple years, which is also a plus.

      • Jeff September 29, 2011 at 11:30 am - Reply

        Hey…..I had a 2005 Sunset Orange Element until July of this year….. Loved that thing, we named it Elton… remodeled by house using that little ute. I could fit 2x4x8 inside of it with the hatch closed. Hauled drywall too, although I had to leave the hatch open to get than home. Really loved the tailgate too, was great for sitting on while camping. We even put a roof top tent on ours. Dogs slept in the car while we slept on top of the car. It is a great little car.

  2. OA5599 September 29, 2011 at 7:12 am - Reply

    I'd think a fullsize van would be the most flexible. Haul 14 kids to the soccer match, get home, pull the last three rows of seats and take your motorcycles to the track with a couple of buddies, then camp out in the van.
    Or build a bed in the back and shag carpet on the walls and "free candy" signs on the outside.
    Or slide the side door open, put a freezer in the back, and sell ice cream to the neighbors' kids.
    Or pack your engine hoist, head out to the self-serve junkyard and grab all the Studebaker parts you can find.

    • Max K. September 29, 2011 at 7:41 am - Reply

      Gotta be careful with full size vans though. They flip like a mo.

      • MrHowser September 29, 2011 at 8:01 am - Reply

        That's why you have the track vehicles – so you can drive the van like my grandma. Problem solved.

        • pj134 September 29, 2011 at 8:17 am - Reply

          What, and run into shit all the time? That's terrible advice! Have you ever seen an old women driving a very large van? I'm pretty sure WWII started when they let Hitler's grandma take control of a tank and she ended up running over shit in Poland.

          • MrHowser September 29, 2011 at 8:27 am

            My grandma's DD is a stickshift E36 Convertible, and she's been known to take the wheel of their 40-foot motor home on long trips. She's a pretty good driver – well above the median, as far as old ladies go.
            But I lol'd, so you get a thumbs-up.

          • pj134 September 29, 2011 at 9:37 am

            I guess I should have read the "…my Grandmother" part with more emphasis. See, my one grandmother was 5' on a good day and a lead foot, so not a good choice for van duties, plus she's dead so that doesn't help. The other one is dead too, but she probably could have handled a van if she wanted to. She was the speaks 7 languages, was a concert pianist and opera singer, would have been Olympic swimmer if not for WWII and survived through the concentration camps as a political dissident Polish types. She did have pretty bad arthritis though… maybe she couldn't handle a van… hmm

  3. muthalovin September 29, 2011 at 7:36 am - Reply
    • Feds_II September 29, 2011 at 4:16 pm - Reply

      To match the flexibility of the frame, of course 😉

  4. $kaycog September 29, 2011 at 7:39 am - Reply
    • OA5599 September 29, 2011 at 7:44 am - Reply

      Is that engine cradle welded/bolted to the floor? Otherwise, try not to slam on the brakes.

    • TurboBrick September 29, 2011 at 9:26 am - Reply

      Isn't that going to be kind of loud and hot inside with the engine open in the back like that?

      • $kaycog September 29, 2011 at 9:31 am - Reply

        WHAT? I can't hear you!

        • TurboBrick September 29, 2011 at 4:06 pm - Reply


    • craigsu September 29, 2011 at 4:08 pm - Reply

      Nice of Ford to consider the space needs for the spare engine.

  5. Alff September 29, 2011 at 7:41 am - Reply

    Dodge Grand Caravan with Stow N' Go. Some or all of the seats stash away to create a flat load floor large enough to carry plywood. With the seats up, you've got huge hidden stowage compartments in front of the middle row.

    • pj134 September 29, 2011 at 8:00 am - Reply

      Yeah, just don't leave your windows down in a rainstorm and get the middle row seats all wet and then decide the best course of action is to hide it when you return it to rental place so that it gets all mildewy. The guy who cleans it up might want to stab you… or so I've heard.

    • vwminispeedster September 29, 2011 at 10:01 am - Reply

      I put the seats down, blow up an air mattress and go to sleep at LeMons races in my parent's 2008 "Fiat" Town & Country. It holds my 6'4" frame quite well. Just watch out for the remote start when you lay on your keys. It'll scare the hell outta you at 2am.

  6. Mr_Biggles September 29, 2011 at 7:42 am - Reply

    My in-laws have a Ford Flex. I know, it's already there in the name, but I quite like the fact that you can flatten out not only the 2nd and 3rd row seats, but the front passenger one as well to accommodate even really long Yao Mings.

  7. OA5599 September 29, 2011 at 7:51 am - Reply

    From Wikipedia-
    The Aztek was able to carry within its interior the standard 4 feet by 8 feet sheet of plywood, a common and useful task most of its SUV competitors were unable to perform. The Aztek was also available with two rear cargo area options, a pull-out cargo tray that held up to 400 pounds that rolled on built-in wheels when removed from the vehicle, or a versatile cargo net system that held up to 200 pounds and could be configured a claimed 22 different ways. In support of the Aztek's intended role as an accoutrement for a youthful, active lifestyle it offered a number of novel options/accessories, such as a center console that doubled as a removable cooler and a tent/inflatable mattress package that, along with a built-in air compressor, allowed the Aztek to double as a camper. Extending this image was a seat-back mounted backpack, and a number of specialty racks for bicycles, canoes, snowboards and other such objects. An optional 10 speaker Pioneer stereo system provided a set of controls located within the rear quarters of the vehicle for tail-gate parties as well as an unusual 2-piece tailgate with built-in cupholders and contoured seating area for added comfort."

  8. Devin September 29, 2011 at 8:02 am - Reply

    Conversion vans!
    <img src="http://www.happyvans.com/images/van_interior2.jpg"&gt;
    If you can't make dinner in it, it's not the most flexible.

  9. PowerTryp September 29, 2011 at 8:07 am - Reply

    You can basically make it whatever you want.
    <img src="http://crcarlot.com/pictures/1987gmcbus.JPG&quot; width="500">
    Oh, you said car. NVM.

  10. MrHowser September 29, 2011 at 8:09 am - Reply

    Minivans in general get my vote – it's amazing how much interior flexibility has improved since the '95 Caravan we had growing up. With all the seats up in our MPV, you can fit two rows of groceries, or enough suitcases for a week-long trip for 6, if you pack reasonably lightly. 6 adults is possible in reasonable comfort, 7 in a real pinch. The middle seats are captains chairs, and the passenger-side seat slides left and right to allow for easier access to the back. Then, when you need to haul, the rear seats fold flat into the floor, making a set of wheels/tires easy. Pull all the seats out, and you could almost buy a Snap-On Franchise.
    I know everyone derides them as mom-mobiles, but they really are the best way to haul a lot of people and gear, while getting decent gas mileage and a good ride.

    • pj134 September 29, 2011 at 8:27 am - Reply

      Minivans are definitely awesome. The only problem with the Pentastars (Grand Caravan, Town&Country, Routan) is that the seats aren't made for adults in the middle and back. They would be awesome if they offered support and knee room for someone over 5'5" and 150 lbs. The Sedonas do a very good job of this but lack in versatility, unfortunately.

      • MrHowser September 29, 2011 at 8:30 am - Reply

        That's why I like our Mazda. The captain's chairs in the middle are just about as comfortable as the ones up front. The rear bench isn't great, but it's about as good as the backseat in many small cars, and is not in regular use, so I'd let that slide.

        • pj134 September 29, 2011 at 9:08 am - Reply

          I just wish they had pentastar features in the Mazdas, unless they do now and I wasn't aware of it. I guess I was trying to compare it with the Sedona that is also very good in the middle and rather acceptable in the rear, but doesn't have the added bonuses of the chryslers.

          • MrHowser September 29, 2011 at 9:11 am

            Which features are those? The newest ChryCo van I've driven is a 2000, so they must have made some significant improvements in the last 11 years.

          • pj134 September 29, 2011 at 9:24 am

            The entire interior can fold flat on the captains chair models, if you would like to forgo that and want captains chairs you can have the seats turn around and a table in the middle. There are large pockets that can be used for storage when your seats are up, and there is quite a lot of space in the last row because they have a pocket cut out for when you fold that row down. I know the newest Sedonas have middle windows that roll down, but this is also a pretty nice feature that I don't know if the Mazdas have. Everything is still removable if you prefer. The infotainment set ups are rather decent for chrysler products and the vans aren't anemic. The Volkswagen's seats are a little more bolstered all around which is nice, and it has some Volkswagen touches but the captains chairs don't fold down which is a bit of a drag. I've had quite a bit of experience with them from working at a rental place and the features may not sound very significant, but they are nice when you have them.

          • MrHowser September 29, 2011 at 9:29 am

            Middle windows that roll down: check. Everything else, not so much.

      • Mechanically Inept September 29, 2011 at 9:51 pm - Reply

        You're right on the money about the Chrysler's inferior rear seating. I've said it before, but I had the supreme displeasure of riding from Michigan to Tennessee and back in the third row of a 2005 (I think) T&C, and it was torture. I'm a hair over 6 feet and 160 lbs; there was insufficient legroom, the seat is very thinly padded, and the bottom is set at an angle to numb your legs. Not to mention that riding in the back of that van, with a shitty driver at the wheel, amplifies the already substantial body roll. Perhaps the seats need to be thin in order for the Stow 'N Go to work?
        What kills me is that I daily drive a 1997 base model Dodge Caravan, and it's like a couch on wheels: seats 7 in relative comfort, or pull out the middle seat and seat 5 in absolute comfort, with all the legroom in the world.

  11. mdharrell September 29, 2011 at 8:24 am - Reply

    That's easy:
    <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3227/3563752378_dcee40bd5c.jpg&quot; width="450">
    It's a funeral car AND an ambulance!
    Oh, wait, my mistake. I thought you wanted the car with the most Flxible interior.

    • LTDScott September 29, 2011 at 8:36 am - Reply

      You could have posted a Bus, too.

      • mdharrell September 29, 2011 at 8:40 am - Reply

        True, but PowerTryp already posted a Blue Bird above. Besides, the question did ask for a car and this is a fine looking specimen.

    • tempesjo September 29, 2011 at 8:46 am - Reply

      That's not what I was expecting from you. I figured we'd be seeing something French with enough flexible cargo space to hold your sack lunch or an extra shoe.

    • OA5599 September 29, 2011 at 8:47 am - Reply

      Why would you need a Flxible interior for hauling stiffs?

      • dukeisduke September 29, 2011 at 9:23 am - Reply

        That Buick is awesome.

  12. Tanshanomi September 29, 2011 at 8:26 am - Reply

    I gotta give props to the Kaiser Vagabond/Special.
    [EDIT: Of course, when I think about it, it's actually LESS flexible than a plain ol' wagon. Or the Ford Flex that's already been mentioned.]
    <img src="http://www.tanshanomi.com/temp/kaiser-vagabond.jpg"&gt;
    <img src="http://oldcarandtruckads.com/Kaiser/51-09.jpg&quot; width="500">

  13. OA5599 September 29, 2011 at 8:46 am - Reply
    • MrHowser September 29, 2011 at 9:16 am - Reply

      Nice try Dodge, but that ad doesn't really make sense. You've got three couples taking possessive positions next to their Darts, and then you've got Fred, Susie and the kids over on the left, who apparently arrived on a magic carpet. Now, I like the Dart, but between a Dodge and a flying carpet, I'll take the carpet, thanks.

  14. dukeisduke September 29, 2011 at 9:27 am - Reply

    This has plenty of room, but it's not exactly inconspicuous:
    <img src="IMAGE URL" width="600">
    <img src="http://www.tensionnot.com/pictures/images/Car/Free-Candy-Van.jpg"&gt;

  15. salguod September 29, 2011 at 9:45 am - Reply

    Late 80's Nissan Pulsar. It's a car! Remove the hatch, it's a truck! Remove the T-tops too, it's a convertible! Install the 'sportback' and it's a wagon!
    <img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4132/5172862583_509c84b1e5.jpg&quot; width="500" height="229" alt="Nissan Pulsar NX Sportbak">

  16. SSurfer321 September 29, 2011 at 9:50 am - Reply
    • pj134 September 29, 2011 at 2:42 pm - Reply

      … Does it suck AND blow?

      • SSurfer321 September 30, 2011 at 5:26 am - Reply

        There's a squeeze and bang in the middle.

    • sporty88 September 29, 2011 at 6:21 pm - Reply

      Isn't the backseat of a Volkwagen supposed to be a really uncomfortable place?

  17. Lotte September 29, 2011 at 10:15 am - Reply
  18. ZomBee Racer September 29, 2011 at 11:26 am - Reply

    I can actually watch the floorboards flex.
    Well, the part that isn't already full of holes…
    <img src="http://a8.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc6/261730_10150230348029495_36766739494_7510087_6482446_n.jpg&quot; width="600" >

    • Tanshanomi September 30, 2011 at 5:52 am - Reply

      Are you ever going to take that engine back out, or is that for roadside emergency swapping, like a spare tire?

      • ZomBee Racer September 30, 2011 at 2:48 pm - Reply

        Half spare-parts, half Slacktivism.
        I've already stolen a valve from it, which I was going to post about… but again Slacktivism.

  19. Robert September 29, 2011 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    The VW Westfalia
    [youtube X8BZGfMWPrU http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8BZGfMWPrU youtube]

  20. yellofury September 29, 2011 at 12:46 pm - Reply

    What no Aztek?
    The Aztek could have been great if only stuck to the looks of the concept vehicle
    what they ended up with was a big slab sided turd on wheels with the occasional tent clingon

  21. P161911 September 29, 2011 at 2:20 pm - Reply

    The 1967-68 Chrysler Imperial Coupe with the Mobile Director option.
    The passenger seat rotated 180deg and a table could be fitted. The best picture has to be the formal candle light dinner in the '67 ad.
    <img src="http://www.oldcaradvertising.com/Chrysler%20&%20Imperial/1967%20Chrysler/1967%20Imperial%20Ad-05.jpg&quot; width="600/">

  22. craigsu September 29, 2011 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    OK, I'll mention the pachyderm in the room. Although it is much derided, the PT Cruiser has a pretty flexible interior for its size.
    I still don't want one, though.

    • ptschett September 29, 2011 at 7:40 pm - Reply

      That's alright, it makes it easier for me to fulfill my dream of owning one!
      (OK, I don't like it that much. But the PT Cruiser is on my short list of readily available, inexpensive and multi-purposed cars to buy in a vehicular emergency, like if my 4×4 pickup gets totaled in the winter or if my commute suddenly gets an hour added to it from a change in which customer's site I'm working at.)

  23. Feds_II September 29, 2011 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    The L300 Delica is definitely up there, especially considering the factory add-ons
    <img src="http://www.comoxvalleydelica.com/tidepages/set_0/bit_13/delica07.jpg&quot; width=500>

  24. suju89 September 29, 2011 at 6:29 pm - Reply

    I present to you, the Falcon 'Overniter'
    <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3473/3817291114_3c01252203.jpg&quot; width="500">
    "As a weekend playmate it offers the driving comfort of a Falcon 500 Utility plus the advantages of an easy-to-mount luxury motel room"
    "…specifically designed to blend with the weight distribution of the Falcon utility"
    or perhaps a Holden Sandman Panelvan, preferably optioned with the "van tail tent"
    <img src="http://gallery.oldholden.com/d/112317-3/image01-2_001.jpg&quot; width="500">
    "There is a little gypsy in all of us. And nobody knows it better than the escape artist at GMH."

    • west_coaster September 30, 2011 at 5:38 am - Reply

      I cannot, for the life of me, imagine what it'd be like to take a corner in that thing at any speed over about 10 miles per hour.
      Or drive it in a crosswind…or try to back out of a parking space…or change lanes…or…

      • Tanshanomi September 30, 2011 at 5:55 am - Reply

        Seriously? Then you wouldn't want to drive this…
        <img src="http://www.tanshanomi.com/temp/chevpanel.JPG&quot; width="500">

        • west_coaster September 30, 2011 at 6:10 am - Reply

          I was referring to the Falcon ute with the humongous camper laughably stuck on the back, not whatever's in the second photo you posted (which just shows up as a red x for some reason).

  25. buzzboy7 September 29, 2011 at 7:53 pm - Reply

    Boring but…my vote goes to the GMC/Chevrolet/Holden Suburban/Yukon XL
    It is quite comfortable with many people/dogs/crap inside the car. I've been a few hundred miles myself and many others I know have been much further. It's really not too bad in there. However it's also good for this
    <img src="http://thescraphouse.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/2010-07-17-16-07-29.jpg&quot; width="600">
    <img src="http://thescraphouse.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/2010-07-18-20-29-01.jpg&quot; width="600">
    And it may not look like it but you can also fit a golf cart into the back as long as you remove the roof. Amazing.

    • west_coaster September 30, 2011 at 6:14 am - Reply

      Yet seemingly 99.9% of them on the road never carry anything more than a botoxed suburban mommy, her iPhone, her Venti Starbucks cup, and her yoga mat.
      At least here in SoCal.

  26. texlenin September 30, 2011 at 12:11 am - Reply

    My first car, the '64.5 Plymouth Barracuda! Back seat folds down flat, and so does the forward
    trunk wall. 4.75ft wide front/3.25 wide at back. All under 14.4sq ft of glass!
    Good for …uhmm…all sorts of things!

  27. dglynn October 3, 2011 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    Fun is fun, but the answer is the Honda Fit.
    Flip up the seat bottom in the rear seat, and you have created what was known as "the beer hole".
    Our '09 Jetta wagon also holds disorienting amounts of junk. A 7,000 miles Western loop was done with the rear seat bottoms removed and left behind. Added lots of storage space for assorted loose items.

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