Patent 8,632,113, brought to our attention by Steven St. Laurent, shows two interesting possibilities for the 2016 Chrysler minivans.
First, the patent shows that Chrysler may make eight-seat minivans — likely only with front wheel drive versions, since all wheel drive will require driveshaft space down the middle. In this case, the middle seat can be folded down into its own compartment.
In addition to this innovation, the outboard seats could provide quick access to the rear “by rotating or pivoting an outboard seat forward without having to collapse and/or tumble the seat” (as shown in Figure 12, at left, above). The illustration shows that the inventors probably do not mean a return of the rearward-facing swivel seats of 2008-09, but having the seat move up-and-forward to allow easier access to the rear. (See our 2016 Chrysler minivans page.)