Leading From Behind: Vehicle Seat Comfort and Owner Loyalty
Are comfortable seats the secret behind the popularity of the Jeep Compass/Patriot siblings?
Many would argue that rock-bottom pricing and a lack of knowledge of better choices could have something to do with it, but a study by J.D. Power finds that drivers stay loyal if their seats treat them right.
In its 2016 Seat Quality and Satisfaction Study, J.D. Power ranks the top cushions in each vehicle category, based on feedback from 80,000 people who bought or leased a 2017 car or light truck. Drivers were asked about any seat defect, malfunction or design problem in their vehicles.
Seats aren’t sexy. Well, the non-massaging kind, anyway. But we spend a stupid amount of time in our vehicles, and an uncomfortable seat can break a driver-vehicle relationship (in addition to our backs and asses). Reliability isn’t everything.
When asked to rate their loyalty to their vehicle, 68 percent of drivers who gave their seat comfort a perfect score said they’d “definitely” re-purchase the same vehicle. Only 45 percent of drivers who gave their seats a nine out of 10 would do the same. What about seven out of ten? Seats that are just okay? Less than one-third of drivers said they would buy the vehicle again.
The Jeep Compass and its boxier sibling will die early next year, and this study hands it a solitary accolade as it heads to the gallows. J.D. Power claims the fantastically old model has the best seats in the mass-market compact SUV category, followed close behind by the Ford Escape and Chevrolet Equinox.
The Acura RDX carried the luxury SUV field, while the Toyota 4Runner pleased the most backsides in the midsize/large SUV category. Ford’s Super Duty topped the list of mass-market trucks and vans.
Among compact cars, the funnest entry (Mazda MX-5) nailed the top spot. In the midsize/large car category, the far, far less fun (but still comfortable) Toyota Camry ranked the best. We’re not sure how many taxi drivers J.D. Power surveyed. The best luxury car seats are found in the Porsche Cayman, a vehicle that would still be fun if there was a pin in each cushion.
[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
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