I can totally relate to Katie from Portland when she said her leg was going numb while driving. I had a Sonoma pick up years ago and did a lot of traveling and I ended up with sciatica. I switched vehicles with my husband who traveled quite a bit, long distance for work and he developed the same problem driving the Sonoma. It got so bad with him that he thought he might have to have surgery. We sold it and have not had any sciatica problems since. It was like the seat sat too low and our legs were stretched almost straight out or something. Switch cars Katie!
Or experiment with seat ANGLE.
A seat that is too high in the front will squeeze the leg as it passes over and down to the floor.
If the seat is not adustable in that manner, try a pillow on the seat so your legs just go out and down , not over and down.
I had a 1993 Oldsmobile 88 with the power seat and I could never adjust it to a comfortable position and my leg always became numb when we took trips in the car. We found the 1990 Ford Aerostar we owned much more comfortable for us on long trips. I don’t like to sit almost on the floor with my legs stretched out at an uncomfortable angle.
I never understood why auto manufacturers made cars uncomfortable in the interest of style. Back in 1959, my parents had finally gotten ahead financially that they thought they could afford a new car. Their good car was a 1954 Buick that had about 100,000 miles. When we tested a new 1959 Buick, it was so uncomfortable due to the low seats that were also hard in the middle due to the driveshaft tunnel that we were happy to get back in our old Buick. My dad told the salesman he thought he would drive the Buick another 20,000 miles which he did. The next year he bought a Rambler because the seating position was so much more comfortable for him than the Buicks of that time.
I find the seating comfort in a full sized pickup truck much better than most automobiles that are available today.
Another idea for Katie is to ask her physician if this might be an irritation of the sciatic nerve rather than poor circulation. A common symptom of sciatica is a sharp burning-like pain originating in the hip area, and running down the rear of the buttocks (usually on one side only), and extending down to the knee and/or foot. Either way, it could be caused by the seat, but the solution might be different.
We just returned from a trip to visit our son and his family. Usually, we take our 2011 Sienna. However, due to the chance of bad weather, we decided to take our 2003 Toyota 4Runner. The trip is about 360 miles each way. Usually, after 150 to 200 miles in the Sienna, I have to stop and walk around because of numbness in my right thigh. I attributed this to my age. However, in the 4Runner, I didn’t experience this numbness. The 4Runner sits higher and the seats are firmer. Everyone has different needs, but for me a high seating position and firm seats are best.
I’ve found that putting my wallet in a front pocket greatly improves long distance comfort.
I can also relate to Katie’s and some of the other respondents stories. In my case, our 2005 Subaru Forrester is doing a major number on my right hip, also causing some amount of sciatica and gnawing, continuous pain even after relatively short rides (eg commute of 20 miles or less). I’ve had a “car seat” expert tell me that most of the Japanese -made cars, with bucket seats, are an ergonomic nightmare for most folks (obviously there is a wide range of individual variabililty). I’ve tried pillows and other adjustments, but the problem is just getting worse. Don’t need a doctor’s help on this (I’m an RN anyhow, we usually know more than docs!:), just need a new car! Can anyone recommend a model, hopefully in the small to mid-sized SUV range, that would combine best features of the AWD -Subaru Forrester, with my need for a more comfortable seat and hopefully a smoother ride? All suggestions welcome! Oh, and I need to go with a used car too, as I can’t take “new car smells” and seem to do better if the car is a few years old. Thanks for any suggestions! Cheers!
@Rebrue–I made a 300 mile round trip in a Ford Escape Hybrid that was assigned to me from my institution’s fleet. I did about half the driving and my research partner did the other half. I am 6’ 2" tall with long legs and she is about 5’ 2" tall. We both were able to adjust the seats to be comfortable. I think the Escape we used was a 2007 or 2008–I really didn’t pay much attention. I have no idea about the reliability of the Escape or much else about the vehicle. You will have to do some research on this. The gas mileage was over 32 mpg as I remember.
Thanks for suggestion about Ford Escape and Forerunner, folks! I’ll take a look. Any other ideas from anyone else are also welcome…Appreciate it! FYi, as a general “ergonomic-car seat point”, it is better for most people to not have legs higher than hips, as gentleman above was saying. This situation puts strain on the pelvis (including hip and rear end) and thighs and can cut off blood flow, impinge nerves, etc. This is a great forum, very grateful for it!