I’ve been looking for a car with the latest safety features and all of the newer cars, including a volvo s60, give me some kind of pain. I am short and have both sciatica and a fused spine. It looks like my best bet right now is to get one of the ergonomic recaro seats and a compatible car. Anyone have relevant experience here?
My wife has considerable leg and back problems and we found the Subaru Forester allows easy getting in and out plus the seat has a pretty wide range for vertical, forward and tilt. You might try one. Maybe try some other makes too before going the added expense of a special seat. The Forester rates pretty high in the safety department.
Mother-in-law has similar back issues and found the Volvo S40 the most comfortable car out there. Give it a try–it is a little smaller than the S60.
She also liked the seats in the Scion xA but could not deal with the choppy ride due to the short wheelbase.
If you have tested all the cars (check out those that are less expensive, most all are quite safe) you’ll have to some how test out Recaros. While they’re great seats, they still might not fit you well.
The trick will be getting a “compatible car”.
Among the latest safety features that all new cars have is side airbags. These devices deploy from the seatback of the standard seats that the car comes equipped with, and in order for them to deploy when needed, it is necessary for the various speed and impact sensors on the car to interact with both the onboard electronic equipment and the seat-mounted side airbags.
The problems as I see them are:
Recaro seats may or may not come equipped with side airbags. If they do, there is a likely problem with the compatibility of the car’s software and hardware with Recaro’s software and hardware for deploying the airbags. (However, I doubt that the Recaro seats even have side airbags.)
If the Recaro seats do not have side airbags, and if you decide that the Recaro’s comfort is more important than the presence of side airbags, there is still a potential problem with the remaining airbags (front and side curtain) that the car is equipped with. Since all of the car’s safety systems must “talk” to each other electronically, it is very possible that none of the remaining airbags or the pre-tensioning seatbelts will actually work upon impact.
I think that your best bet is to contact the Recaro folks in order to determine if their seats do come equipped with side airbags. If they do, then you will need to ask for a document listing the cars with whose software and hardware the Recaro airbags are compatible. DO NOT take anyone’s verbal assurances on this topic. Demand documentation.
If, as I suspect, the Recaro seats do not have integral side airbags, and if you do decide to order them, then you first need to contact the company that manufactured your car in order to determine if the car’s frontal and sidecurtain airbags, as well as the pre-tensioning seatbelts will function in the absence of the side airbags that were installed at the factory.
While your plan may work, I tend to doubt it, and I think that it would be more practical to begin testing the comfort of the standard seats on new cars to see which ones provide the most comfort for you.
Have you checked out the Recaro web site and found a dealer in your area? They should have samples of the seats to try. By the look of it, none have airbags, but some cars have them built into the car body, rather than the seats. You can tell by looking at the seat, it will have a “SRS” lable on it somewhere if it is built into the seat.
I have been testing the seats of new cars for at least 2 months now. Many are OK on the test drive but all have failed when I rent the car. But I’ll give the scion xA, subaru forester, and the s40 another shot.
The ergomeds e has “universal” side airbags:
I will inquire as to a compatibility list and more details about the side airbags, thanks for the pointer.
All the newest cars have almost all of the latest safety technology. All are far safer than even the best cars of 20 years ago.
I have debiliating degenerative disc disease complete with all the side effects. I found in my case that my Scion tC with an added seat pad is perfect. It allows me to lay back comfortably. I simply had to learn how to roll out of the low seat. But I confess that I went through a pile of seat pads and a new car (had to trade fater 2 months) before finding something that worked for me.
Sincere luck in finding something that works. Rule nothing out.
Their airbag has only been tested with a limited number of cars, I’d only put it in one of the tested models:
Audi: A3 (8L, 8P), A4 (8E), A6 (4B, 4F);
Mercedes-Benz: E-Klasse (W211);
Ford: Focus (DA3, DB3), Fusion (JU2), Galaxy (WGR), Mondeo (B4Y, B5Y, BWY);
VW: Caddy (2K), Golf (1J), Bora (1J), Golf Variant (1J), Golf V (1K), Golf Plus (1KP), Jetta (1KM), New Beetle (9C), Passat (3B, 3BG, 3C), Polo (9N), Sharan (7M), Multivan, California, Business Transporter, Caravelle, Touran (1T).
Recaro seats may still not answer your problems. There are cars out there that include these types of seats but are not badged as such.
I would look at slightly used cars since you can test drive for a whole day and see if it fits your needs. Dealers will allow this type of test drive usually if prearranged.