I had to search 500 miles from my dealership to get my truck with the bench seat. I wanted it in red,but that was not to be. I have 5 grand kids so had to have bench. I like the looks of the console better.
I just picked up my new Ram 2500 a couple weeks. This is the first truck I have ever owned with bucket seats and I absolutely love them! I had the same thought as you about being able to haul an extra kid to ball practice been after thinking about it I could only recall a few times in the last 10 years that someone sat in the middle seat. This is also the first vehicle I have owned with ventilated seats and with the heat of summer upon us I am glad I splurged for that option. It is all about personal preference but the leather bucket seats are just like sitting in my recliner watching t.v.
Had the bench seat on my 94 reg cab, felt it was important to do it again on my 2005 but for my 2013 I went buckets when I could count only a couple of times I used that middle front seat and just how awful it was when I did.
If I didn't have a back seat I wouldn't but with a quad cab I couldn't not and I'm really happy I did
Just spent 1000 miles driving my Brother in Laws 04 CC Laramie to and around a vacation spot down south, and back... his had the "bench" option. I am going to order the bench option on my 2014 laramie as it is the exact same driver and passenger seats, and what I give up in console storage, I gain in flexibility of having a 6 passenger vehicle / having my wifey sit next to me occasionally for sh1ts and giggles, not having my pantleg rub on the console ( I'm 6'3") and the option to sleep 2 adults on roadtrips if ever needed...
giving up the heated rear seats in a laramie is something I'm sure I can retrofit, and I would miss the ability to drop my large nalgene waterbottle in the big console hole with the 'buckets'... but I think the extra storage space will just encourage me to store more crap there...
one of the benefits of the console would be installing electronics under it in the small hollow below the console and above the transmission hump, like the amp/brain for my Whelen airhorn pap112. But having the rarity of the 'bench' along with the versatility seems to have sold me on it.