By on June 23, 2014

TTAC Commentator BigOlds writes:

Hi Sajeev,

I have a bit of an odd one, I suspect: I currently drive a fullsize pickup, but I may be taking a new job, trading my 38 mile country drive for a 38 mile drive into the city, complete with undersized garage parking. The truck will severely limit the number of acceptable spaces, and generally be a pain in there. My solution is to take over the wife’s 2008 Milan (which has been truly flawless for 75,000 miles) and buy her something else. Naturally she’s thrilled with the idea, and this piles the tough commute onto something that is well this side of new. Win-win, right?

Well, the issue is that I can NOT get comfortable driving that car. My wife adores it, and as a passenger I am fine, but when I drive I feel like the seat isn’t deep enough, or maybe not tall enough, and the backs of my thighs get extremely uncomfortable. I don’t know if this is the lateral support reviewers always talk about, but it becomes unpleasant very quickly. I have tried adjusting the seat every which way, but to take another stab at explaining it, it’s like my knees are higher than my butt, so all the weight shifts to the back of my thighs, and the seat won’t go high enough off the floor to bring my thighs level.

Anyway, since the fiscally prudent thing is for me to drive this car, I would like a way to solve this issue. Otherwise, I will probably leave the Milan with my wife and find myself the cheapest commuter car I can.

Thanks
BigOlds

Sajeev answers:

Oh my damn, Son! You done hit one of my hot buttons!

Thigh support became a thing for me back in ’03: when I drove my Mark VIII from Houston to Atlanta with almost no discomfort.  After that I was cognizant of my legs’ warning signs in many an auto show vehicle sit-down. A somewhat unfounded generalization?  Sure, so I’m certainly interested in the B&B’s opinion. 

Damn near every auto manufacturer was guilty of half-assed design at the beginning of the current millennium. And thigh support certainly took a back seat (get it?): everything from C5 Corvettes to Town Cars (but not other Panthers), the Mercedes E-class (not AMG) to the Camry sported shorter seats, thinner pads and much less support. All of which drove my right hip and both knees into spasms of discomfort.  The only brands I remember giving a free pass were Volvo, Saab and BMW.

What’s your solution? Get another car, leave the Milan with the wife. There’s no way you can enjoy the seats.  Adding more padding and/or longer cushions to cradle your thighs (then fitting new seat covers) is beyond foolish.  Swapping seats with another Ford is doable, except the seat mounts/tracks and airbag wiring could be a nightmare.  I wouldn’t even try those messaging wooden seat beads (the ones that Cab drivers supposedly rave about).

Whatever you buy, make sure you drive it for an afternoon before you pull the trigger. And never fear, as there are plenty of new cars with better seats: even the dirt cheap ones.  And, after spending a week with the new Fusion, there’s no doubt Ford fixed that seat too.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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84 Comments on “Piston Slap: Front Row Seating for Milanese Discomfort?...”


  • avatar

    It’s too bad there isn’t a company building a “luxury seat” with built in heating, cooling/ massage units that can be installed in your average car and wired to the 12-V.

    They make racing seat modules.

    Why not luxury seats?

    I nominate a design based on the W221’s multicontour seats or the XTS’s.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      I agree with the seat idea. There really isn’t good options to upgrade your seats. Which seems strange.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      There’s a whole industry around rebuilding/customizing motorcycle seats, but none for cars? I suspect regulations somehow.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      Recaro should be famous enough for most people to have heard of by now?
      https://www.recaro-automotive.com/en/product-areas/aftermarket-seats/products/seat-finder.html

      • 0 avatar

        I know all about Recaro, but so far I’ve only seen sport buckets from them. What I’m asking for is basically them to give me the seats out of a CTS-V and drop them into any car I want. I suspect that this isn’t a growth industry due to airbag positioning, seat sensor communication, etc.

        • 0 avatar
          Zykotec

          Recaro makes everything from simple rally buckets to the most amazingly comfy adjustable in ‘every direction ever’ seats (they also build and design a lot of oem seats for the car industry). (and not just for cars btw). They are very popular replacements for driving schools and taxi-drivers who spend the whole day in cars they often wouldn’t buy for themselves, but have to use at work. They even sell seats with airbags as far as I can tell.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Amazing seats it’s true, but we shouldn’t have to spend $2,995 on Recaro Seats for a new sedan that’s not a subcompact throwaway stripper. They don’t have patent on comfortable/supportive seats. Not enough consumers making noise about crappy seats. Look at all the junk options consumers would rather spend good money on.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      because airbags. Racing seats don’t need regulatory clearance via crash testing vehicles. Luxury seats? If they have to amortize crash testing each involved vehicle line, the price would be very prohibitive. I’m even shy of putting SAAB seats in my Subaru (saabaru seats specifically) for the better thigh support because of questions about safety system integration. Even if both the Saab seat and the subie seat have air bags, I’d have to know it’s the same shape, timing, … not doing it.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      First, physicality: There’s no One Standard Seat Size, and mounting rails are kind of a pain, especially when people want power adjustment. This isn’t impossible, but it makes things much more complicated.

      And the minor annoyances people might put up for “to get Recaros!” are perhaps not what the luxury buyer might tolerate.

      Then, electrics and the like: Heating and massage would be easy enough. (Hell, you can get heater pads aftermarket…)

      Cooling, though?

      Damn near impossible; the waste heat from the cooling process has to go *somewhere*, and that means ducting – and it’d be pretty inefficient to have a one-seat cooling unit in the first place. Heavy and bulky and probably loud if it was a standard A/C system, and I don’t know if you could do it sensibly with Peltier-junction coolers, of if there’d be enough power.

      (And 05lgt’s airbag thing, for the people who care about Maybe Slightly Impairing their side-airbag system.)

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        slightly impairing? If the thing has to explosively inflate and begin deflating before I touch it messing with the timing means either it’s (too) empty when I get there or worse yet it explodes into me. If it’s not right I’ll disable it, but side impact protection is almost exclusively on the bags due to negligible crush zone.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    If you want a pickup and don’t really have much of a payload and you are fond of Fiat, buy a VM powered Ram.

    Or, if you want to drive the Fiat, buy Recaro’s for the front.

  • avatar
    bryanska

    Airbag connectors are standard within mfr’s. Either just find a Ford seat with the same number of airbags and thus connectors, or wire up 10-ohm resistors to fool the system into thinking an airbag is present. Sometimes all seat airbags are wired through a single connector, which means you’ll have to add the same number of resistors as airbags.

    Then contact your local hot rod shop and have them weld up an adaptor bracket.

    Voila!

    • 0 avatar

      Seats are my pet peeve. I spend WAY too much time in the car, so seating is vital. I have a base Aeron in the office, but for the car…..

      Seats run from couch like benches to racing. I drove a GT-R with seats that would be great for track day but horrid for a commute.

      I once rented a chrysler ragtop in LA. A week of driving on seats with no lumbar, and short seat bottom meant that both the wife and I had back pain…I’ve hated short seat bottoms forever after, and the back pain went away when the car was returned.

      Best seats ever…BMW sport seats. They don’t get better than that…even the highest line BMW cars have the same basic seat with more gadgets.

      Car makers have to accommodate everyone from my 4 foot 11 90 pound sister in law to my 350 pound six two buddy…it isn’t easy.

      I don’t fit the standard smaller Japanese cars, but euro cars are cut more to my size.

      I’m guessing the huge seats in the pickup are what you are used to. You won’t be happy if your DD has non-fitting seats…..I’ve been known to buy cars beginning with the seat…..and I’m not an unusual size.

      • 0 avatar
        zamoti

        I must disagree with the idea that the BMW Sport seat being comfortable; I recently drove from central Ohio to Chicago and back in 24 hours and I felt like Wolverine gave me a kidney massage.
        There’s no adjustable lumbar support and no way to raise the rear portion of the seat pan so it feels like you’re sitting in an upside-down number seven with one’s posterior pushed down into a 80 degree angle slot. Also, for a “sport” seat it has almost no side bolstering unless they’re using the word sport in the way that Mazda uses it (aka, lowest trim). I loved my Volvo seats, but this BMW seat is for the birds. Maybe I can score a Comfort seat instead–the kind with the adjustable side bolsters and lumbar support, because the Sport seat has neither. It just has an extendable thigh support which is worthless for me due to my lack of personal embiggenment.
        To my mind, the best seat was in a 2013 Ford Focus ST. That was more like wearing a car which I found to be extremely comfortable.

        • 0 avatar
          Chris FOM

          My BMW’s sport seats have plenty of side bolstering (adjustable on the top part), adjustable lumbar (4 way on the 3-series), and independently adjustable front and rear seat height.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Depends on the options. There is no adjustable lumbar support if the car doesn’t have the premium package. Which is one BIG reason my car HAS the premium package – it was the only way to get the lumbar adjustment, and I found it a must-have. Even the manual seats a front and rear height adjustable though, so he must not have found the right lever to pull.

            One nice thing about the manual seats is they go lower – so for me it was a win-some lose some. I got the lumbar support, but I would have had more headroom with the non-power seats. No way I can wear a helmet in my car, so it will never see a track.

            I’m just too broad to be comfortable in the sport seats, and my legs are too short for the thigh bolsters to be useful, so I prefer the standard seats. The multi-adjustable “comfort seats” in the 5’s and 7’s are REALLY great for us “big-boned” folk. Thinner folks sure love the sport seats though!

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      I seriously would not “wire” up some sort of resistor to the airbag circuit to save some coin.

      Also with the car having seatbelt pretensioners, and side airbags I fully expect the drivers seat to be equipped with a track position sensor as well.

  • avatar
    McKeith

    Can we get another photo of Jill Wagner with the Milan?

  • avatar
    sketch447

    I have the same car, labeled the Ford Fusion. True enough, the front seats are abominable thrones. I’ve sat on vinyl-covered barstools that are more comfortable. The bottom cushion is far too short for anyone over 5’7″. It barely supports half your thighs. The seats are not painful or uncomfortable; but you don’t sit in them, you sit on them.

    My Alero had front seats that were utterly superb. Wide with deep bolsters, supportive yet soft. And the Alero seats supported my thighs almost to the kneecaps. (That’s typical GM; when it gets something right, it is very right. But it doesn’t get enough things right to call the car excellent.)

    BigOlds, just live with it. It’s not worth buying another car. What you say about the seats is true, but that short discomfort won’t justify getting another vehicle……

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Bummer, dude. I have a 2014 Fusion in the Titanium trim level, and the seats are nigh unto perfect. The seats alone are worth the Titanium trim level.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      They’re buying a new car anyway, it will just have to be for BigOlds and not his wife.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “BigOlds, just live with it. It’s not worth buying another car”

      I have to agree. Unless you’re willing to part with $20K for a new four cylinder commuter, just drive the paid off car. Retail used is just ridiculous to the point you’ll just buy new.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      “BigOlds, just live with it. It’s not worth buying another car”

      If ever there was a reason to replace a functional car, it’s uncomfortable seats. Especially commuting 38 miles one way. If the commute was no more than 15 miles one way I could see suffering for the savings, but 38 miles is too far for an uncomfortable seat.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    My wife and I have both had the same car two times.
    I had a 2005 and she a 2006 Scion tC and now I have a 2007 Legacy GT and she has a 2009 Legacy GT.
    Both cars have seemingly the exact same seats. And both times I have had no issues with my cars’ seats.
    Both times I have been incredibly uncomfortable in her cars’ seats.
    With her tC I had thigh problems. In her Legacy I have lower back problems. And just this weekend we were taking our first long trip in her car with her driving and she started complaining of lower back pain. Her reaction was the exact same as mine when trying to relieve the pain.
    I don’t really understand what could be different and how it could happen both times. Part of me thinks it’s psychological but now that she had issues, I’m convinced it’s not.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    I’m not really commenting on the question, I’m just glad to see Jill Wagner again! Wow!

  • avatar
    BigOlds

    Thanks for taking my call, Sajeev

    I guess I knew what the answer would be, but as I said, smartest money would be in driving the Milan. I’ve worked in the city before (Boston), and it takes a toll on the vehicle. Since the Milan is not pristine, it wouldn’t break my heart to see it used up.

    The two most comfortable automotive seats I have ever had are in the pickup I have currently, and believe it or not the bench seat in the 67 Olds. Interestingly, the bench in that has no contours, it’s just two vinyl slabs, but it is comfy all day long.

    Fortunately, since my wife really likes the Milan, she won’t mind too much if I buy something. I use the truck quite frequently for my various projects, so I will probably keep it as a spare.

    It’s been a while since I drove into the city on a regular basis, and during the interviews I was reminded of how small the spaces and aisles are in the garages. Given the beating inflicted therein (doors, mirrors, people pull in until they bump the car in the space ahead) I will never understand why so many people are driving $40,000+ cars in there every day.

    Assuming this all pans out, I think something like used corolla or focus is the way.

    • 0 avatar

      Good plan, just buy something cheap and comfy with a fair bit of service history.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        It’s Boston – buy a brand-new leftover ’13 FIAT 500 Pop for $12K and call it a day. They have very good seats, IMHO. Cheap and cheerful, and you can park it anywhere.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Never compromise. I use the city parking garages without a problem. It’s an F-150 super cab and I’ll just center it in the space and pull in my driver’s mirror. Totally worth it.

      But I do love its clamshell doors. Total privacy for changing. I’ll drive to the city wearing sweats and change into a suit and tie on the spot.

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        That may play in the wide open spaces of Colorado, but good luck getting your truck down the ramp at half the garages in Boston, much less into a space. I can barely fit my sedan.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Then you’d better not bring an full-size SUV to Chicago if you plan on parking it! No, a stock 4×4 F-150 will clear any garage in Chicago. They’re 6’4″ tall trucks and the lowest garage clearance I’ve heard of is 6’6″. 7 feet is the common height for parking garages, even in Chicago and Las Vegas.

          But how do you think they get tow trucks in there? Hmmmm…

          darkangeltowingchicago.com

          • 0 avatar
            brenschluss

            You might have 6’6″ of vertical clearance, but good luck getting a long-wheelbase pickup down one of the narrow spiral ramps unless you can cut it in half and reconstruct it at the bottom.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            They’re designed for much longer wheelbases than my F-150. I’ve got lots of room to spare. You’ve gotta figure many drivers in midsize cars and SUVs feel they need much more room than they actually use/take up.

            I often have to (quickly) block the street, in my field, and if I can only leave a 10′ gap, most will drive through. But there’s always some chick or geezer in a midsize car that just stops, honks at me, and throws up their hands, as if to say “wtfs?”.

        • 0 avatar
          JCK

          Second this. I work in Boston. I mostly take public transit to work, but usually end up driving once or twice a week.

          Although many do it, you don’t want anything bigger than a midsize sedan.

          Many garages charge extra for SUVs.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      Big, folks below mentioned Volvos and Saabs. Trust me, if seating’s your thing, there’s no better car for the Boston area. They’re great in the winter, they’re plentiful (and Saabs are dirt cheap) used, and there’s nowhere in the Boston area that’s not within a sand wedge of an indie Saab or Volvo repair shop. Just remember to put all the money you save buying one into a savings account as your designated maintenance reserve fund.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I think you should get a matching car and get a big final-gen Sable in the same color as the Milan. Presumably those had better seats?

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Seats are certainly subjective, but I’m impressed be the seats in the current Focus. Definitely give one a shot. It helps that they are easy to find at the rental counter, so you can get decent time in them before pulling the trigger.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      “Otherwise, I will probably leave the Milan with my wife and find myself the cheapest commuter car I can.”

      Sounds like you already knew the right answer. Good luck with your car shopping.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    All this time I thought I was alone in the world. I am not tall and I find almost every car I sit in the seats are too short and too low.

  • avatar
    salhany

    This is what Volvo should be pushing in their ads, their seats are stupidly comfortable.

    • 0 avatar

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      That’s why I bought a Volvo.

    • 0 avatar
      Charles T

      And something that Saab forgot to make a big deal about. I have a friend whose latest-generation Sonata gave him back problems after four hours, but ten hours in my 9000 Aero’s Recaros were quite okay.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      One of my first cars was a 1978 Volvo 242L (as in stripper base model)
      The only seats I have had later that could even compare were the Recaro designed seats (licensed to Ford) in some of my Sierras , and some of the more expensive BMW seats (possibly recaros those too tbh)Saabs are also usually comfortable, but some models have too little side support for my taste. In general I guess I really like Recaros, I’ll have to check if they have any options to replace the torture instruments in my CRV…

  • avatar
    Zackman

    “I wouldn’t even try those messaging wooden seat beads (the ones that Cab drivers supposedly rave about).”

    If you do, you also need the huge gold crown air freshener to put on the rear shelf… ;-)

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    They could likely still sell those model cars if they brought back the model spokes person.

    What’s up with Jill Wagner these days?

  • avatar
    Spartan

    I had a Milan V6 Premier some years ago. What a fine automobile it was. Conservative styling, perfect options, but man I hated the seats too! It was the perfect car minus those seats!

    FoMoCo best seats are in their SUVs and trucks. My F-150 seats are the absolute most comfortable seats I’ve ever sat in, especially for long trips.

    • 0 avatar
      BigOlds

      My wife really likes the Fusion/Milan, and chose the Merc. because it has more conservative styling. FWIW, we were in our early 30’s when we bought it.

      She likes Buicks too. Thinks Toyotas & Hondas are too dull, thinks Fords are a bit over the top, thinks Mercury (RIP), Buick, Lexus have it just right (previous Lexus, not the current Catfish Face).

  • avatar
    wbwarren

    It’s an ’08 Milan, right?

    I’m curious if its a vintage which might share some similarities with Volvo (since I’ve heard their seats are amazing) – which would lead me to think maybe installing a set of Volvo seats might make your life easier (and just doing what was mentioned previously and install some resistors to trick the system re: airbags if needed). Might be easier than expected since Volvo was part of Prem. Auto Group – but any local machine shop could make you necessary brackets. And seats are cheap enough on EBay.

  • avatar
    Domestic Hearse

    Like Jack, I’ve broken many important bits. Two most important to my automotive comfort: spine and hip. So seat comfort is absolutely important to me — a bad fit and I’ll be in agony in a half hour or less. (I’m six feet tall with legs long enough for a guy 6′ 3″, so the knee-high, butt-low, short thigh support issue gets me every time.)

    What about this: Drive to the park-n-ride nearest your home, then bus or train it into town.

    Vehicle seat comfort and a new vehicle would not be necessary. Heck, you can still use the truck.

    (I’m assuming your city has a decent commuter system – if not, please disregard.)

  • avatar
    stodge

    I too struggle getting comfortable in any car. I have a bad hip and I find most seat bottoms are too short. The only seats that I have found comfortable so far are those in the Maxima and the current Volvos. By current I mean probably 2014+. I drove a 2012 S40 and didn’t like the seat, nor did I love the seats in the C30 or S60 of the same generation.

    The Maxima’s driver’s seat has an extender for extra thigh support and in the right model, sufficient padding for the back and butt that isn’t too soft or too firm and the right contouring for the back. Oh it also has lumbar adjustment. It’s a shame it’s a thirsty, unsafe Nissan, otherwise I would have bought one.

    Typically, seats have the following flaws:

    * seat bottom too short
    * seat padding too soft or too firm
    * contour of seat back is too arched, pushing the middle of my spine out

    Something else that people forget is the level of adjustments makes a huge difference to comfort. I hate seats that angle as you raise and lower them; I can never get comfortable in them. 10+ way adjustments offer more comfort becuase you have finer control over the seat bottom and seat back.

  • avatar
    Eiriksmal

    I’ve done soooooo much research on this topic and have yet to find a good solution for my own uncomfortable seat woes. Like BigOlds, I did finally figure out that both my Maximas (’02 and ’05, two and one generations older than the above commenter’s) have lacked this mystical “thigh support” that my ’01 Taurus (apparently) had in spades. It’s good to know Nissan finally included the GT-R/Infiniti-sport-seats-only thigh extension for the Maxima’s driver’s seat.

    In my car, I can tinker with the seat height to raise my butt up enough to compensate for the lack of thigh support, but then my head grazes the ceiling. 6’2″ + moon roof = not quite enough room in the full-size car.

    Extremely frustrating. I want to drive a car and not be forced to drive something with a higher center of gravity just so I can use seats that support my body. ESPECIALLY since the rear seats in many cars are often bigger than the fronts and offer a more comfortable seating position. Strange, I know, but I went on a measuring binge and measured a bunch of seats to contrast office chairs to car seats.

    My advice would be to forget the people telling you to “live with it” and take your body’s complaints seriously. Life is too short to be made miserable by your commute. Does it take money to solve the problem? Undoubtedly, but your body is worth it! Weigh the cost of purchasing a different vehicle versus the lost productivity later in life when your lumbar is shredded from years of commuting in a pain-box. 38 miles isn’t a joke.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    The one thing I find crucial is removing wallet from back pocket on long trips. Specially on a car without adequate thigh support.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Wife has far more sensitivity to this issue than I do, and she has been comfortable in quite a few 2012 – 2014 non-luxury sedans (Optima and Camry come to mind first). Sajeev is not wrong on this, the newer cars seem (at least mostly) to have addressed this in the front seats. Rear seats are another matter entirely. Lexus has her ratio’s dialed in quite well, but Acura and Jeep would make her a front seat only passenger.

  • avatar
    George B

    BigOlds, the most comfortable seats I’ve experienced from the previous decade were in the Volvo XC90. If I had a long commute and knew I was parking in a parking garage everyday, I’d test drive various cars from the Volvo family and look at getting a good price on one in a color combination that’s less popular in the summer heat. A black car with black interior loses much of its negatives if it spends most of its life parked inside.

  • avatar
    GST

    Actual BMW experience. Purchased a 2014 BMW 320i in November. Immediatly put on a 4,000 mile road trip. At the end of day two, I realized I was driving all day in comfort with no squirming around. These were the regular seats and I am 6″1, 220 lbs. They work for me. Just had the 10,000 mile oil change done. Good all around car, got 38 mpg on the road trip. My wife likes the seats too, and she is particular.

    • 0 avatar
      Silver Bullet

      We’ve kept a Volvo 850 running since 93 because it sits comfortably and cool fresh air can be added to the dash vents with warm air warming our toes. It is hard to drive a car if it hurts to sit in it.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I have yet to find ANY American or Japanese cars with seats I can go more than a couple hours in comfortably. I have yet to find a European car that I can’t go all day in. Some are slightly better than others, but they are all really good in my experience. The absolute worst are those sofa soft American car seats. They feel great for 15 minutes, then the agony starts as they have no support at all.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        Chevy Cruze seats had me in pain inside 10 minutes! Maybe the worst seats I’ve sat in.

        In defense of American cars, I think the current Focus seats are at the other end of the spectrum, though maybe that’s only because the car was designed for a global market.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    Subaru generally has good seats too, so you might not have to spring for a Volvo/BMW/Saab to solve this problem – though Subarus come with their own long distance comfort issues (noise).

  • avatar
    ShoogyBee

    In this day and age, one *MUST* get a car with a power driver’s seat. No exceptions. Most manually-adjusted seats have an insufficient number of adjustments. The least expensive cars won’t even have a height adjuster, and those that do only raise/lower the seat cushion as a whole. One cannot adjust the seat cushion angle in this case.

    That’s one reason why the 2010 Accord LX I leased a few years ago was so uncomfortable for trips longer than 30 minutes. I had to raise the seat so high in order to get decent thigh support, but that moved the seat closer to the pedals in the process, leaving me with insufficient legroom. I would’ve bought the Accord at the end of the lease if it had a power driver’s seat. Wished I had gone for an LX-P or EX instead.

    When that lease was done, I ended up buying a CPO 2010 Camry LE with a power driver’s seat. The seat cushion is shorter than I’d like and the shape of the seat isn’t perfect, but being able to adjust the height of the front and rear sides of the seat cushion independently, and generally being able to fine-tune various adjustments with a greater degree of precision, goes a *LONG* way toward making me more comfortable for longer stints behind the wheel. The icing on the cake is the power lumbar support, which really helps when my back is especially sore.

    Any car I get in the future will absolutely have to have a power driver’s seat. No exceptions.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      I think many manual seats are decontented to push buyers up several trim levels. Power seats usually mean leather seats, which usually means all manner of optional equipment you may or may not want. Those power seats will cost at least $3k when most manufacturers are through with you.

      BMW makes excellent manual seats for the few cars they are offered in. In addition to adjusting every way the power equivalent adjusts, they can usually get lower to the floor.

      The manual seats in my ’02 Mazda Protege could adjust front and back seat height independently; though that level of adjustment in a mainstream compact might be a pre-recession relic.

      • 0 avatar
        bomberpete

        I had great manual cloth sport seats in my 2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse GT. I’m 5′ 11″, 190 lbs. and even drove it x-country TWICE with no problems. But Mitsu makes decontented trash now. I agree that most car makers want to move you into power leather seats and do the same.

        The best recent seats I’ve spent time with were in, of all things, a Hyundai Sonata.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    If Jill Wagner couldn’t make Mercury the #1 brand – let alone keep it afloat – then nobody could.

    $ex sells $ex, but $ex doesn’t sell cars.

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    I had the same problem a few years ago with a 650 mile weekly commute in the dreaded PT Cruiser – a vehicle with a known problem with driver comfort over long trips, and it was seriously kicking my ass at the time.

    There were three possible solutions:

    1. Get another vehicle – the main issue here is that for the retail buyer, the transactions cost of selling one vehicle and buying another is well over a grand (USD) plus your time and effort. Furthermore, is the next vehicle going to be any better?

    2. Recaro seats, the comfort variety – installed, probably $1,500 USD unless you can find a deal.

    3. Exercise. Get your sorry ass back in shape – for my 65 year old bag of bones (at that time) this was a big deal, but the story had a happy ending.

    A few years later after feeling some chest pains, a cardiologist found that three of my four major coronary arteries were almost totally blocked. He asked me, “how many heart attacks have you had?” None sez I. Ridiculous said the doc, you must have been distance runner. Yup, and I still am at least as best I can.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    I drive 35 miles one way and understand 100%! I had great seats in my 2005 Sentra with the SE-R interior trim package. Could sit in them on long trips.

    But for the past 4 years, I have had 3 new cars, since my back hates sitting/ I am on 2nd Civic, the 13’s are better than the ’12 I had for a year, but not much.

    I say get a seat with many positions, or power. My Sentra had good height adjustments, for example.

    If you plan to “live with it”, then go for long walks to keep back fit. And don’t be sedentary.


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