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Seats like a Honda Element

Hi all,

My wife has driven our 2004 Honda Element since it was new, and it’s starting to get long in the tooth. We’re looking for a new car, but are having a really difficult time finding one that she finds comfortable. She loves the Element seats - very little bolstering, and a very upright seating position. It seems that virtually every vehicle sold today has highly bolstered seats that tilt back so that your bottom is below your knees.

Does anybody have any suggestions for what we should try?


Does the new CR-V, one with electrically adjustable seats, not have enough tilt options?

Funny you should mention that. We actually bought one - but after driving it for a couple months, it’s causing her leg pain. When she goes back to driving the Element, her leg doesn’t hurt. She can’t seem to get the adjustment right - and I think it’s also because the seat in the Element is higher up than the CR-V.

Does your CR-V seat adjust up and down? Maybe you can find a low mileage version of the Element on the used market.

try a Subaru Forester

Try a number of different vehicles with electrically adjustable seats. Seat comfort is entirely personal, what some like others can’t stand.


My only gripe with my 2012 Camry is that as you put the seat back, the track curves sharply downward lowering the seat and the back of the seat more than the front. If the seat track went back flat it would be fine. The seat has a height adjustment but when you raise the seat it moves it forward.

Because of the length of my legs, I need the seat up and back and it just won’t do it. I think this summer I will pull the seat out and make some adapters out of some 1/8 steel plate I have.

The only suggestion I can offer is to keep looking and don’t be afraid to bring a seat pad with you when you go for test drives, assuming your wife has one she likes.

I have long complained that modern car seats and ergonomics are terrible. In 2005, after test driving countless cars, I bought a new Corolla that felt okay on the test drive but was so crippling in daily use I had to trade it for something else (Scion tC) after only two months. The tC worked for me, but I’ve been driving cars for a very long time and realized how poor seat design has become.

And these past years it’s gotten worse. Manufacturers are adding large “side bolsters” that make it damned near impossible to get in and out of the seats. Yeah, they may look sporty to the kids, and on a track they keep the driver more stable laterally, but they can make daily driving miserable. I can barely even get into or out of my son’s Audi with the “sport seats”.

Every now and then I have an opportunity to drive an old car with comfortable pleated bucket seats, from before “high absorption foam” and “infinitely adjustable bladders” and all that crap, and every time I do I realize how much more comfortable the old seats were. They were simply made right.

I know my rant doesn’t help, but hopefully it’ll make you realize that the problem is the designers and not you. I don’t know what they’re teaching these kids in “ergonomics” design classes, but it’s pathetic. :smiling_imp: