Back friendly vehicle

We’re going on a family adventure this summer, driving from Montana to Alaska and back. I currently drive a Subaru Legacy, which is fine for me, but lousy for my husband’s back. He does better in a seat that lets you sit up taller, like in his van. We need to get a different used vehicle suitable for the trip. Our priorites are: good seats, decent gas milage, reliability, and room for 3 adults,and their gear. Any suggestions?

Is there anything wrong with his van for you? It sounds like it might be best to just take the van, you’ll have plenty of room for all the gear and people.

I had similar trouble with the two Subies we’ve owned. The seat base seemed to be tilted down slightly in the front. I solved the problem with some washers and longer mounting bolts for the front of the seats.

Reply to bscar: The van is a '88 e-350 diesel with many problems. Not to be trusted, or endured, but he won’t get rid of it.

reply to NYBo: We’ve wondered if a different seat or cushion would make a difference, just haven’t gotten around to testing… Guess it would be sensible to give it a shot. My subie has 210,000 on it, but seems reliable, although did notice some wear on the front cv joints. Whatever we end up with will get a through going over by our true-friend mechanic. Thanks to both

I suffer with rather advanced degenerative disc disease to the point of being at times disabling. Believe it or not, the only really comfortable vehicles I’ve found for myself are my Scion tC and older Civics, 2001-2002 models. With the Scion I use a back pad that’s been with me for many years, but it took me quite a few tries to find one that worked. I bought a 2005 Corolla (in 2005) that didn’t work and I had to trade it after only 2 months. I learned to take VERY long test drives before buying.

I guess my points are that you and hubby need to spend plenty of time on a test drive, and continue searching for a good back pad properly shaped for your hubby’s use. Also, I thought a more upright position was best for me, but discovered that in actuality a laid back position was much better. Make no assumptions.

I have had 3 cars where the front seat back was too steep. In all cases I loosened the front seat bolts and had extensions of about 1 inch fabricated and with the right number of washers, ended up having just the right kind of support. Total cost per car about $30.

An alternative is to go to a custom shop and pick a Recaro or similar custom bucket seat, make sure it feels jut right, and have it installed. Cost about $400 installed.

Both solutions are much cheaper than getting a new car or van, which may or may not solve your husband’s back problem.

I don’t know if this is what you’re looking for or not but what about a Crown Vic, Grand Marquis, Lincoln, or something like that?
I’ve had 2 major lower back surgeries, a near-death C3 neck surgery a year ago, and currently rehabilitating a right shoulder surgery that took 4 incisions. Believe me, I hurt a tad and have for about 25 years.

My Lincoln is the most comfortable car I’ve ever owned. Whereas many of my cars have required me to get out about every 100 or so miles to work out the kinks, I’ve actually driven that Lincoln 425 miles several times without stopping at all. It’s been rock solid reliable and gets 27 MPG even with the V-8 and loaded down.

(Yes, I’ve owned 3 Subarus and their seats were like plywood slabs to me. I got so fed up with the seats on the last Subie I pulled them out and threw them away followed by replacing them with a plusher pair out of a Chevy of some sort. They fit, worked fine, and color matched, so…) :slight_smile:

I recommended an Explorer or Expedition yesterday but I don’t see that post now. Some of those seats are great.