Bad Car Seats - FergusTheDog
Lots of threads mention which cars are good / bad for those of us with back problems. So which ones are truly good and bad?

I have ankylosing spondolitis - a degenerative back problem - and I find lots of cars really bad to drive, some after as little as 20 mins.

I find BMWs particularly bad, some Audis are OK but not the ones with "sports" seats, Volvos were fine up to the old 850 but since then I find them agony.
Bad Car Seats - chris p crisps ©
I agree with you about volvo seats, i drive a V40 its the most ergonomically porly designed car i have driven,I suffer from a bad lower back and trapped sciatica nerve. I think seat designers should employ people with bad backs to get their designes correct.

chris
Bad Car Seats - Steve S
Chris,

I'm surprised at your problem with a V40 seat. I've always found Volvo & Saab seats to be the best. Which, when I read the reviews, seems to be consistent wit what other's find.

I had a 5 Series and, good though the car was, the seats were definately not as good.
Bad Car Seats - chris p crisps ©
Chris,
I'm surprised at your problem with a V40 seat. I've
always found Volvo & Saab seats to be the best.
Which, when I read the reviews, seems to be consistent wit
what other's find.
I had a 5 Series and, good though the car was,
the seats were definately not as good.

the reason I find the V40 seats very uncomfotable is that the seat swab is too shallow,worse when lumber support adjusted,this gives very little support to my legs and backside. also the curve of the back rest deforms my shoulders and makes them rounded,not agood posture position .Although I am only 6 feet tall if the V40 seat is adjusted to near a suitable position I sit with my neck twisted as my head hits the roof lining.When I was attending physio on my back and shoulders, my V40 seat was assesed and proved to be the main culprit plus the 35000 miles a
year I drive of my back problem.

chris
Bad Car Seats - Steve S
Chris,

"my V40 seat was assesed and proved to be the main culprit plus the 35000 miles "

I've obviously been lucky.

I'm 6'3" and do 35k a year - never had a back problem. I few years ago I was shown that most people place their car seats in too "upright" a position.

The result when viewed from the side was that your shoulder girdle sits vertically aligned with your lower back which then minimises any lumbar support.

The position I was shown as correct involved a more "laid back" posture so that the weight of your shoulders and upper body was more evenly absorbed by the back of the seat.

It felt a bit strange at first but I soon got used to it.

Anyway I dare say you've had plenty of advice - I hope it improves for you soon.
Bad Car Seats - Arfur
Most comfortable car I've had in recent years was a Laguna. Of course there were a good number of other reasons why you shouldn't get one of those!
Any car with electric seats seems to be a good idea for two reasons. Firstly you often have more and finer adjustment. Secondly you can move the seats whilst siting in a natural position (no leaning forward and hovering) so you are more likely to get them in the right position.
I'm also against lumbar supports. They seem to be a nice idea but if you have longish legs like me all they do is reduce the already inadequate seat squab.
I note from another thread that you have a focus. How do you find it? I've found ours comfortable but feel a little perched with no support from side to side.
Bad Car Seats - FergusTheDog
Focus is fine thanks Arfur. I have a Ghia with the lumbar adjustment, I found the Zetec quite uncomfortable. It isn't as good as my wife's A6 but not much is.
Bad Car Seats - TrevorP
SAAB's have always had excellent seats.

The worst I ever had was a Nissan 200SX. Dreadful.
Bad Car Seats - andymc {P}
Last year, the Honda Civic got the What Car award for ergonomics - don't remember if the seats were singled out for particular praise or not.
Bad Car Seats - FergusTheDog
I agree - a former boss had a 9000 and I could drive it for hundreds of miles. I did try a new 9-3 recently and found it odd - not really uncomfortable but not terribly nice to sit in.
Bad Car Seats - TrevorP
"not terribly nice to sit in"

- would that be driver AND passenger?

It is possible that the seat itself is very good, but, for example, now the Steering Wheel is offset.

(YES, does happen. The NEW Mondeo is much worse than the previous model in this respect)
Bad Car Seats - TrevorP
checkout www.car-seat-data.co.uk/

for ergonomic data.

This does not however tell you (with certain exceptions - like Merc seats are firm and Citroens are soft - surprise) what the actual seat is like.

The website tells you what cars to avoid - because you drive them "twisted".

Some of the WORST offenders:-

Daewoo Matiz
Fiat Seciento
Hyundai Atoz
Hyundai Accent
Hyundai Elantra
Vauxhall Corsa (old)
Vauxhall Agila
Vauxhall Zafira.
Bad Car Seats - DavidHM
Hmmm... I'm spoiled with my banger. The softest, plushest, most comfortable seats for a long journey, with lumbar support, that everyone raves about.

The car? A 1989 Renault 19. I'm quite happy to take this 13 year old car for a 200 mile journey and get out the other side feeling quite refreshed.
Bad Car Seats - PatriciaX
I found the Merc A Class absolute agony in a run up from London to Leeds: made my feet numb after 70 miles!

Patricia
x
Bad Car Seats - 3500S
My car seat in my Rover 623 is the best I've sat in. It's all fully adjustable (and electric). The lumber adjustment is the best positioned one I've found too, it fits exactly with the small of my back but the head rest is too small and too far back. The ET headrests in my P6 are better, it actually keeps your head totally stationary and fits snugly. And that seat is also adjustable and so is the steering wheel for yaw.

The worst two I've experienced are the Pug 106 and Polo Mk1. Criminal pedal placement and the seats offered no support at all.
Bad Car Seats - Oz
It's very much a personal matter. (If the cap fits, ...)
I suffered the same very painful condition - an acute burning sensation in my back near my left shoulder, and achey left arm, and inability to turn my head left without extreme pain - therefore unable to drive. I had a Volvo V40 at the time.
For the last 2 years I've owned a BMW 3-Series with no recurrence, nor of my 'dodgy disc'. My car seat actually seems to bring relief.
Other sufferers may find the complete opposite!
Bad Car Seats - Cardew
"but the head rest is too small and too far back"

Without being pedantic I don't think many cars have head 'rests'- they are surely restraints for safety purposes.

Perhaps the experts will correct me, but IMHO they are not designed for your head to be in contact with whilst driving
Bad Car Seats - Dan J
I find my Vectras seats very painful and uncomfortable on long distances (2001MY). This isn't all down to the actual seat itself being also related to the position in relation to the pedals.

When sat so you can press the clutch to the floor, your right ankle is bent back uncomfortably far along with a poor leg position. Correct this and it isn't possible to press the clutch fully. This situation almost requires two seating positions - one for town, one for motorway, simply due to bad design of the car. In the automatic (I drive an auto Vectra pool car occasionally) this problem is not apparent.

Still bad seats though - I think the best I have ever sat in have been in a Volvo 960.

Anyone notice a vast number of cars have offset steering wheels - is it really that hard to get this in the centre?

Dan
Bad Car Seats - terryb
Surely the best seats are fitted to Renaults, but that's the only best they rate for.

Worst? I nominate the deckchairs in the Citroen 2CV/Dyane.

Happy New Year to all
Terry
Bad Car Seats - P.Mason {P}
Most comfortable seats- Renault 4, C.1970. Almost as good, Peugeot 305. Worst, 1962 Minivan, the 'sit up and beg' posture of which left me with a back problem that lasted years.(I'm 6'3")
Current car is a Civic with leather seats which are comfortable on a 500 mile journey.
P.
Bad Car Seats - PB
The transfer of stresses in your body can have quite an effect. I always found BMW's good because you can 'rest' your foot on the accelerator at any speed, so don't have to hold your leg in one position. Especially without the right thigh support, this transfers strain to your back. The Saab 9-5 has really comfortable seats, but not enough throttle resistance. The BMW's have the throttle right and work well for me.
PB.
Bad Car Seats - Big John
My old Saab 9000CS had superb seats, I could drive the full length of the country without a single back twinge.

My worst was a Renault 21 Savana, initially it felt like a comfy arm chair but crucified my back after onlt 150 miles.

My current car (Octavia) is not too bad as the driving position is adjustable in all sorts of directions, but I did not like the position of the clutch foot rest (now removed!) and the seat itself coukd be a touch bigger (I'm 6ft 4). I dont get any back ache though.
Bad Car Seats - FFX-DM
I found the linked web site very interesting. If you don't go and read it yourselves, basically here are the main points to check

1) enough head height (should be able to get a bunched fist between your head and the roof)

2) centre of steering wheel should be central (left/right) to your body

3) legs should be equally positioned, left and right. Check again after driving for a while as most people twist their right leg to compensate for pedal offset.

4) steering wheel should be parallel to dash (some are at a slight angle)

5) on getting out of car, if you swing your legs out and put your feet on the floor with your knees at right angles your knees should be below your hips. If above, this causes lots of strain on getting out from the car.

The other things which are harder to visually check are quality of support given by the seats.

All of the above are pretty self explanatory, if you sit with a twist or badly supported, you will eventally cause strain on your joints and back.

The worst car I ever drove was a Lada (suprise!) which gave me severe lower back pain and sciatica, which affected me even when I was not driving. I only discovered the true cause when I junked the car and got a Polo. My bad back went away. After discussions with the physio, I now use a lumbar support in my car, which is a small firm roll, about 5" diameter, which goes in the small of my back. Actually, it was in my SO's Ford 'Mundano' and I nicked it, so gold star to Ford!
Bad Car Seats - CM
Isn't a lot of it to do with people driving with their seat backs too far down? I find the most comfy setting with the seat back as upright as possible with the seat lowered to its max.

I find the seats in the Golf Mk3 awful. I am 6ft3 and the top of the seat is well below my shoulders

 

Value my car