QOTD: What Price Do You Put on Comfort?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd what price do you put on comfort

Thinking back on the vehicles I’ve owned over the course of my life, not a single one stands out for reasons related to discomfort. Physical discomfort, to be clear, as a couple drove me to drink due to embarrassing unreliability (Hi, Chrysler Corp!) and infuriating electrical gremlins (Ahoy, Honda!).

I’m sure my back (and backside) would factor more heavily into this discussion if tinkering on cheap foreign exotics played any kind of role in my life. It’s not easy squeezing this lanky frame into a cramped cockpit, and that could surely drain the joy from any man-machine relationship. Yes, front seat comfort ranks extremely high on my list of automotive demands. If a vehicle is to be anything more than a pastime plaything, comfort needs to be assured.

Some very common vehicles are simply out of the question for this reason alone. Ford Taurus? Unacceptable. Toyota Corolla and (outgoing) Corolla iM? No way. Third-generation Nissan Altima? Forget it. Nissan Rogue? Maybe if I was shorter. Fiat 500? Maybe if I was much, much shorter.

In the Taurus’ case, it’s a matter of cramped footwells making this big-on-the-outside sedan a non-starter. The Corollas and older Altima couldn’t be better suited for causing spinal implosions, all thanks to overly soft cushions and nonexistent lower back support. As for the Rogue and Fiat, the issue boils down to legroom and headroom, respectively.

No matter how good the deal, ownership of these models would assuredly become a lesson in misery and regret.

A vehicle might boast dodgy reliability, lackluster performance, and embarrassing styling, but physical discomfort trumps bank balance woes and behind-your-back snickers any day, in my books. Do you agree, or have you purchased a vehicle before where comfort ranked dead last on its list of attributes? Is it something you found you were able to live with, or did your muscles and vertebrae eventually make the case for a replacement?

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2 of 70 comments
  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Apr 17, 2018

    NB Mazda speed Miata. I had an NA and intended to sell it after the NB purchase. But they changed the seats or something and one of the bows for the top was right on the top of my head. That plus the fact that I despised the 6 speed compared to the 5 meant I kept the NA and sold the Mazdaspeed. Now I want an NA with the blistein suspension, motor, and torn LSD from the Mazdaspeed.

  • JLGOLDEN JLGOLDEN on Apr 19, 2018

    I have mistakenly bought cars for the wrong reasons, and now COMFORT WINS for me. I consider my compatibility with all of these things: seat shape, seat padding, leather feel, steering wheel reach, steering wheel rim thickness, driving position, arm rest touch points, outward visibility. If these all fall into that sweet "ahhhhh" space, I can consider the vehicle. If I cannot dial-in a sweet spot with adjustments, I will not even consider a test drive. The best fits so far have been Mazda3 and Chrysler Pacifica. The Subaru Outback just barely makes the list.

  • Bullnuke Well, production cuts may be due to transport-to-market issues. The MV Fremantle Highway is in a Rotterdam shipyard undergoing repairs from the last shipment of VW products (along with BMW and others) and to adequately fireproof it. The word in the shipping community is that insurance necessary for ships moving EVs is under serious review.
  • Frank Wait until the gov't subsidies end, you aint seen nothing yet. Ive been "on the floor" when they pulled them for fuel efficient vehicles back during/after the recession and the sales of those cars stopped dead in their tracks
  • Vulpine The issue is really stupidly simple; both names can be taken the wrong way by those who enjoy abusing language. Implying a certain piece of anatomy is a sign of juvenile idiocy which is what triggered the original name-change. The problem was not caused by the company but rather by those who continuously ridiculed the original name for the purpose of VERY low-brow humor.
  • Sgeffe There's someone around where I live who has a recent WRX-STi, but the few times I've been behind this guy, he's always driving right at the underposted arbitrary numbers that some politician pulled out of their backside and slapped on a sign! With no gendarmes or schoolkids present! Haven't been behind this driver on the freeway, but my guess is that he does the left lane police thing with the best of 'em!What's the point of buying such a vehicle if you're never going to exceed a speed limit? (And I've pondered that whilst in line in the left lane at 63mph behind a couple of Accord V6s, as well as an AMG E-Klasse!)
  • Mebgardner I'm not the market for a malleable Tuner / Track model, so I dont know: If you are considering a purchase of one of these, do you consider the Insurance Cost Of Ownership aspect? Or just screw it, I'm gonna buy it no matter.The WRX is at the top of the Insurance Cost pole for tuner models, is why I ask.