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Back pain re: VW seats! - gail
Dear Honest John,

Four months ago I purchased a brand new VW Polo Match, after about a month I noticed my back starting to hurt which got worse to the point of great discomfort and pain.
My husband drove all over Xmas and New Year and suffered too!
I have seen an osteopath and I have realised it is the car seats in the front being very hard and badly shaped in my opinion.
Volkswagen just didn't want to know saying the seats were firm in all VW's.
We are now selling the Polo back to Volkswagen on Tuesday.
We are buying a second hand Renault Clio, we had one for seven years previously with no problems, what a mistake I made!
I am aware of three other people that suffer back discomfort with VW seats, anyone else like to comment?

Thank you Honest John,
Gail Atkinson
P.S. Found you website address from the Stephen Rhondes consumer Programme on BBC Three Counties Radio.
Re: Back pain re: VW seats! - Tom Shaw
I've had a Lupo for just over a month now, and like you I found the seats to be very firm at first. However, I have not suffered any discomfort despite spending all day in the car, including two trips of 300 miles. I think with car seats it's a case of horses for courses - I had three consecutive Fiestas from new, two mark 2 shape and one mark 3 and my back used to play up to the extent that I thought I actually had a back problem. When I changed to using Peugeots and then Citroens the problem disappeared. Last year I had use of a Fiesta Ghia for about six week, and lo and behold the back ache returned, despite others being full of praise for Fiesta seats.

We all have spines that are slightly different in shape to one extent or another, and I guess VW seats and yours are just not comptable, like me and Fords. I can understand you getting rid of the car, as there is nothing worse than walking round bent double after you get out. I just hope Ferrari make a seat I can live with for when the lottery comes up.
Re: Back pain re: VW seats! - David Withers
Car seats really are a problem area. My wife Janet suffers back trouble and this was a prime concern when we decided to find a replacement car, having run a very comfortable Vauxhall Royale Coupe for 11 years (plus our old Triumph 2500 as a second car, this also being very comfortable).

Janet tried out seats in dozens of cars of all types but shook her head each time. Then she spotted the seats in a 1992 BMW 5-Series and thought they looked promising. I didn't want a BMW, thinking that these were nothing more than a poseur's car, but saw no harm in trying out the seats. "These seats are lovely and comfortable" she said, following this with the instruction: "I want this car!".

We bought the BMW just for the seats, the only other thing attracting myself being that the car was obviously designed by an engineer, not a salesman. Now, almost two years on, I have grown to love the car and would not change it for any other make. I enjoy every minute of driving it, there are no rattles or sqeaks even after ten years and 110,000 miles, and servicing is an easy D-I-Y job.

Oops, I've gone a bit off topic. I hope Gail finds that the Clio answers her back problem. As someone else has said, we are all shaped differently and one person's answer is not necessarily another's.
Re: Back pain re: VW seats! - MPA
I have had quite a lot of treatment for arthritis in my spine so car seats are (literally) a pain to me. BMW seats are absolutely awful to someone with my condition, MB were OK but I have been most comfortable in Audis, SAABs and Volvos. VW are fine but most lack lumbar support adjustment as standard.

The specialist that I saw showed me a report from the BMA that basically said the best car seats score 2/10 and the worst 0/10.
Re: Back pain re: VW seats! - Andy P
I assume you took the car for a test drive before you bought it. How long did the drive last?

Re: Back pain re: VW seats! - Honest John
There are a couple of outfits that can help people like Gail listed on The Scratchpad. Backfriend and Seatbak by Gorman design. I'll shift them to a proper FAQ answer once I get editing access to the FAQs in early February so they are easier to find.

Re: Back pain re: Audi seats! - Penport
I had the same problem with my Audi A4 (1995) that I bought in the summer. Despite an adequate test drive, my back became unbearable after the first longish run and went downhill rapidly afterwards.
The solution? a Recaro seat purchased with a grant from HMG - a little known scheme called Access to Work which contributes a (large) proportion of the cost if you need your car for your job.

In my line of work (I'm a GP) I see loads of people with bad backs directly attributable to car seats. My unofficial pecking order puts Ford and Peugeot at the bottom of the pile and SAAB at the top (their seats are designed by an osteopath)
Re: Back pain re: Audi seats! - Andrew Smith
When I first got my A4 I had terrible problems with the seats. Basically after more that half an hours driving I would find the base of my spine would go numb (most unpleasant).
The solution was to wind the lumbar support out as far as it would go and I've not had any problems since.
after talking about this with friends the only conclusion I've come to is that the seat base is quite short and with the lumbar support wound in the seat base was short enough to provide no support for my legs.
Re: Back pain re: Audi seats! - Guy Lacey
I've always thought the hard seats of, mostly, German makes were fantastic and have never given me back trouble. The softer seats and almost deckchair manufacture of French and Spanish seats give me nothing but jip. Seat now much improved. Audi seats seem to be the most firm - I love 'em.

Definitely, IMHO, rate Ford at the bottom of the pile. Cannot *ever* get comfortable in a Mondeo - only the ST24 comes close and even then I can hardly walk after a 300 mile jaunt.

Peugeot 406, current company motor, is also hell. Seats are dead flat so any roundabout at over 15 miles an hour results in back strain from trying to remain seated. What's wrong with a few tiny bolsters? Also, seat is about half the length (arse to knee) of my personal MkII Golf - ache, ache, ache. I'm not that lankey so why such short seats? Is it only BMW who have adjustable lengths?

Most important thing, I suppose, is we are all different and, like the 3 bears - we all have differing tastes. I like it *hard*......
Re: Back pain re: Peugeot seats! - Marcus
I can't understand this at all - I have a Peugeot 406 and I'm 6'4 - this is just about the most comfortable car I have driven, Hard seats are not really good for your back.

I had a choice of VW Passat or Peugeot 406 - The Passat seats gave me backache on the test drive and there wasn't room for my left foot by the clutch. OK the Passat is more "prestigious" and seems better built - but when you spend so long in the car you have to be comfortable. I had a Rover 600 Before - with Leather seats, and that was comfortable, yet the seats were "soft" Earlier Vectras have the worst seats known to man. - like breezeblocks !

Also you see loads of Peugeots in Africa so they must be tough ! it handles much better than the Passat too.
Seats and Feets! - ian (cape town)
Pedal positioning and travel is another big problem. Some cars seem to have the pedals too close/far away, if one's arms are to reach the steering wheel or gearshift comfortably.
Maybe (as discussed before), they design these cars for Mr Average, so anybody over 5'9" must suffer the consequences.
(Or maybe I haven't finished evolving yet, and my arms are too long?)
Re: Hardness of seats not the cause - speller
I was under the impression that "hard" seats are actually good for you. The problem you have suffered is caused by poor posture caused by incorrect adjustment of seating position for your body shape and size.
Re: Hardness of seats not the cause - Cockle
IMHO the seats in the Ford Escort van are about the worst there are. Unfortunately I have a chronic back problem and after about 50 miles in the Escort van I can hardly walk, strangely no problem in a Fiesta. Also no problem with SWMBO's Cavalier, can do 300 miles and not even know it.

I have found that the only answer has been to buy a proper lumbar support to add to the van seat, not cheap (about £40), from my local Motability centre. At least I can now drive without feeling a total cripple when I reach my destination.

The problem is that everyones back and posture is a little different so what is comfortable for one person is purgatory for another. Plus if the manufacturers can save £1 on every seat they produce without too much comment from the public then obviously they will, basically car seats are as cheaply made as can be realistically achieved.

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