What Options Are Available for Rear Defender Seats?

We get a lot of questions about rear seats in a Defender – especially options for folks with small children, and those who want forward-facing rear seats in a 90.  While 99% of the time, the side facing bench seats will be exactly what everyone needs, there are times when a forward-facing seat is necessary.

We’ve built a lot of Defenders over the years with just about every seating configuration.  We’ve even had a customer ask us not to put anything other than the front two seats and a cubby box in.  Their reason?  They didn’t want any other passengers than their spouse.  It’s hard to argue with solid logic.  However …. should you have small children that you want to keep around for a while, or the desire to haul passengers in the rear on longer trips, there is a lovely solution from Exmoor Trim.

Forward Facing Rear Lock and Fold Defender Seats

Later model Tdci/Puma Defenders came with factory options for forward-facing rear seats, but pre-2006 (or so) there weren’t many viable options.  The North American Spec (NAS) Defender were often fitted with a tiny bench seat in the back, but the Rest of the World (ROW) Defenders were pretty much limited to:  nothing, benches, or tip-up single seats (which aren’t much good for more than taking up space).

Over the years, Exmoor Trim has done quite a bit of development when it comes to seating for Defenders – making them more usable, comfortable, and beautiful.  While we don’t love their lead times (nobody does), we have learned to appreciate what they’ve brought to the Defender seating market.

Using the Cargo Area of a Defender

You could technically install the forward-facing seats in the back of a Land Rover Defender 110, but there’s probably few instances when you would need that much seating.  Most of this article is focused on those who want to have the Defender 90, but occasionally have extra passengers.  This is especially true of smaller passengers, as noted above.  Many of the seating options simply take up space, leaving very little room for inflatable beach toys, camping gear, and supplies from your local big-box home improvement store.

With the tip-up rear seats you can lock them out of the way most of the time and still have plenty of room for goodies.  For most folks, getting into the back seat could be troubling, so we suggest they add a bulkhead reduction or bulkhead removal bar (cutting down the barrier between the front seating area and the rear).  This allows passengers access through both the front seats and the rear door (or tailgate).  Additionally, if you only have one passenger in the back you only need to fold down one seat.

Bench Seat Alternatives: Short Trips with the Ice Cream Seats

We like to call the rear bench seats (the side facing ones) the Ice Cream seats.  They’re good for piling in a bunch of people fora  quick drive to get dinner, ice cream, or a beverage – not so good for long or extended trips.  We think they’re a blast and don’t have any problem having the entire Bishop+Rook team pile in the back of a Defender to grab lunch or supplies.  We haven’t lost a team member yet.

These seats are probably the most practical and offer the best balance of utility and comfort.  When not being used by humans or pets, they can sit there and do nothing, while taking up little space. If you need to fold them up for extra parcel space, it’s fairly easy.  Even better, most of the bench cushions can be easily removed and used for sporting events, outdoor dining, or other leisure activities.

They’re also the most affordable option.

Our Thoughts on Rear Seating

You could probably guess from the paragraphs above:  we like the benches.  It’s not that we don’t like the forward-facing lock and fold seats, it’s just that we don’t see most people needing them.  On top of that, they cost around $1500 USD per seat (installed).  That’s a pretty big premium.  But if you like the kids and passengers that much, we suppose it’s a good investment.