Humans seem to be more sedentary than ever, due to the proliferation of technology and sheer number of desk jobs. Our necks and backs take a lot of stress, and that translates to spine and health issues down the road. For those of us who drive a lot, having seats that cradle our bodies instead of strapping them to a thinly-covered piece of plastic molding is key.
I’m a big fan of manufacturers that put a little extra thought into seating ergonomics. And I don’t mean airline-seat ergonomics that meet the bare minimum; I’m talking about those that truly take into consideration the comfort of each person in the car not just for short distances but for long road trips, too. I have some favorites and I’m curious to know how many of you factor in seat comfort when you’re looking to buy a vehicle.
It would be interesting to read a review that starts with “this car has an x.0-liter engine with x horsepower and seats that earned a five out of five on our comfort scale!” To me, the driver’s seat has priority over the others and requires cushioning that is soft enough to support our bony backsides and firm enough that we’re snugged into place when we round the corners. It’s not that we shouldn’t care about passenger comfort, of course, but the driver is the one who has to sit upright in a fairly stationary position for the most amount of time.
The new Escalade, for one, has big, plush seats that match the rest of the gigantic vehicle. The driving position is thoughtful and doesn’t skimp on padding. My back thanks you, Cadillac. Chrysler’s Pacifica minivan in the Pinnacle trim takes it a step further with quilted pillows in the second row. Some might use one as lumbar support, but you should consider the safety ramifications of doing that–if you get in a crash, sitting on a pillow or using one behind your back changes your body geometry.
I’m also partial to massaging seats, because they keep your muscles active while you’re driving. Mercedes-Benz GLE-AMG 63 has a massage function accessible via its infotainment system and a 3.0L Inline-6 turbo, and that’s a winning combo. Nissan doesn’t offer massaging seats, but it does include Zero Gravity seats in many of its models, which are specifically designed to relieve pressure on your body.
It does make a difference; I have a neck injury that I sustained 20 years ago, and it can make sitting for long periods of time difficult. When I’m taking a road trip, the last thing I want is an uncomfortable seat or a head rest that angles awkwardly toward me. I’m taking suggestions: which seats are your favorite, and why? Weigh in below in the comment section.
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