Driver seat ergonomics



they have cut down on quality in seats since I bought my 97 camry.

I have driven a camry 07 and lexus 07 ES350 and both threw my back out. Help. What other mid size sedan can i try???


I know one older gentleman that loves his 05 Impala’s seats. He travels out west(from ohio) and says he doesn’t feel as tired as he did with his last car. Your dilemma will require several trips to several different dealerships in your area to get a feel for the seats. Don’t limit yourself to just one brand, test them all out. Ask for extended test drives, not just an around the block deal, if they don’t budge, don’t shop there


Interesting question. I would guess that everyone is shaped differently and what works for some doesn’t work for others. So there are several things you might want to consider.

First, what do you not like about the seats in question. Did they work OK for you when you bought the car, or did they break down (reform) over time? Were the cars new, or was there the possibility that a former owner was overweight and caused changes to the seat design? Is the seat padding too thin? Is the back angle not right (most all seats have an adjustable back angle). Is the seat too close to the floor causing your legs to extend too far forward? Have you tried moving the seat forward/back to see if that works?

Smaller import cars (and most imports in general) have somewhat stiffer suspension than domestic cars. Bucket seats often have restrictive bolsters on the seat cushion and sides that limit body movement on turns. These work for most “average” sized bodies but may be too restrictive on larger persons. Thigh pads can also be too high, restricting blood flow to the upper legs.

So I would first identify what you don’t like and then try to find a seat you can live with. Recognize that sporty cars will have you sitting closer to the floor, although they commonly do have better quality seats. Try driving a light pickup truck to see if the upright bench-type seat might suit you better (at the cost of handling and fuel mileage).


As an afterthought, you say you “threw your back out.” I was a new car service manager years ago and ruined my back getting in and out of dozens of cars every day. It had nothing to do with the seats. Pay close attention to body position and try not to twist your upper body as you enter and exit the car. Also, a smoother leather seat makes it easier to pivot your butt as you swing your legs in rather than twisting your lower back. If you do have lower back problems, prolonged sitting in any seat will give you problems.


Saab has always done well in this department.


You’d better go see a doctor if you have a problem with your back. Or, you may try Recaro seats:

Recaro sit training


Have you seen a professional about your back? I assume yes but making sure. They can help with posture etc.

As far as back you may want to borrow a new used car for the day. New car dealers are reluctant to have miles placed on new cars but more flexible for used. Also used cars are much better buys in your situation since your only losing the profit in a sales not the huge depreciation of the sale of a vehicle.

No one here can recommend a specific car to your needs as they are so unique. Best of luck.


Like the old saying says, “one man’s meat is another man’s poison”. What feels good to one person may be terrible for someone else.

As an example of what I am talking about, I have found that I get a terrible back ache if I sit or drive in my friend’s Accord for more than an hour or so, but I can drive all day in my Outback in comfort. However, in previous discussions on this board, others have stated that the opposite was true for them.

The lesson here is that you just have to keep trying seats until you find what is good for you. Bear in mind also that a higher-end model of the same car will frequently have better seats than a more basic model of the same car. Case in point–my Outback VDC has better seats than the entry-level Outbacks, thus possibly explaining my comfort, as opposed to the discomfort of others.

So–there is no quick solution to this other than to keep trying various car seats until you find what fits you comfortably. Also–when my back does act up, I find that soaking in a hot tub, followed by the application of a goodly amount of Tiger Balm works wonders for me.


… soaking in a hot tub, followed by the application of a goodly amount of Tiger Balm works wonders for me

Hot tub/Tiger Balm is a great combination. It works for me too.


Ford Five Hundred/Taurus or the Merc sister.


I liked the standard issue seats in my 05 E-150 van. 3,000 mile trip with no pain. Get the cruise control. The cowl latch was tough on the right foot. Or wear thick shoes instead of sneakers.


I’ve driven both the Camry and Lexus ES350 and find the seats one of the most comfortable seats I’ve ever been in. Seriously doubt it’s the seats.