Uncomfortable car seats in new subaru outback


I sold my older 03’ Subaru Putback a few months ago and bought a 2013 Outback, 2.5 premium model. I really like a lot about the car, everything, except…the seats. When I test drove it, I noticed right away, that the seats were different, harder, a bit shorter. I thought, well, I’ll get used to it. I haven’t. I am always playing with the buttons to adjust the seat, and there are lots of ways to do so. I just don’t feel comfortable. I drove it for about 2 hours straight, and came out with a cramp down my entire driver leg. I am quite frustrated, I feel like maybe I should just sell the car, and get something else, but there is no guarantee that the new car will feel better. Is there anything that I can do to make the seat more comfortable. It’s hard, and short, and I feel if there was not this hard cushion behind me, and the seat was about an inch longer, I could live with it.

thanks!!! Shari

It has an 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat with height adjustment. Have you tried different heights? You may also be able to adjust the angle of the seat bottom. I know that you said you tried a lot of adjustments, but that doesn’t tell me which ones. I like leg support so I adjust the front of the seat bottom higher than the back end. I then recline the seat back to sit comfortably. Last, I move the whole seat to touch the pedals and handle the steering wheel.

In addition to what @jt says, think about a seat cushin. You maybe just one of those who prefer something softer. It may not take much. Perhaps a thin foam pad. Feel fortunate though. We sold a Subaru after only 120 k miles because seats were poor for me when When wife got a new car and I planned on using it as a third. Everyone is a little different.

You can get an aftermarket seat cushion, but then that will block the seat heater from warming your tush on cold days. One thing I would recommend is that you move the seat a little further forward so that your thigh is not resting on the seat cushion, this a common cause of leg pain.

I just bought a new Legacy and I believe the seats are the same. The lumbar is adjustable in and out. but not for height and as far as I am concerned, it is too high up on the seat, and I am 6’ tall.

By the way, you will never get used to seats that are not comfortable for you, but you needn’t trade the vehicle. The best seat cushions and lumbar supports are found at truck stops. They are a little more expensive, but are usually very high quality and very comfortable. Truckers know stuff about comfortable seats. Its a lot cheaper that buying another vehicle and they may actually be better than any seat available in any other vehicle, so a plus plus. And you might even find a comfortable seat cushion/back support with a heater in it as well.

This is the second one that hates their Subbie seats. Sounds like there might be a market out there for rebuilt seats.

I have a friend that bought a Sub back around 2000 and the seats were very uncomfortable. He bought new seats…and was able to get the fabric from Sub for an upholster to stitch new seat covers. They looked like they came with the vehicle.

I’m going to be blunt here

If you’re looking at a new car and don’t like some aspect of it, don’t buy the car. It will not change.
It is sold as is, not how it might be a few months later. You should have said “The seats are uncomfortable. Show me another car.” If you had a cramp down your entire leg, that means the car you just looked at is unacceptable for you and it’s time to look at other cars.

The same thing applies to new shoes, at least for me. I’ve noticed that the best shoes are the ones that are comfortable right from the start, when I try them on in the shoe store. With the others, it was always like flipping a coin. Some of them did break in and were eventually comfortable, while others were always stiff. But shoes are a small purchase versus a new car

If you're looking at a new car and don't like some aspect of it, don't buy the car. I

My friend who bought his Sub…BEFORE he bought it - he checked the availability of getting aftermarket seats. The dealer actually steered him to the place that had the OEM Sub upholstery. I think that this might have happened before. I know that if this option wasn’t available he never would have bought the vehicle.

It’s hard to mimagine some one woud build uncomfortable seats to begin with. When car companies try to add support, they run the risk of not making it adjustable enough for everyone. Having said that, buying a car with uncomfortable seats that cannot be easily adjusted to, is a big stretch for me. Though I tend to agree with @db4690, at at very least, OP should have at least, delayed buying a car until options like @MikeInNH has commented on can be examined. All dealers would be well served by suppling this information to respective customers. I agree about the shoes too. The best ones tend to fit well from the get go, and seats should too.

thanks for all your comments and support. I rode tested another car before the subby, and felt that the Subaru had better features and that I wanted one. When I tested it, I noticed I didn’t like the seats much, but loved everything else, and felt I could get used to them. I know I loved my 03 outback, the seats were not nearly so hard. So maybe dumbly I thought they would soften up. They do adjust a LOT, but the back of the seat digs into my back, and the seat cushion feels short. I am super bummed, I will call my dealer tomorrow, and just lay this whole thing out and see what they suggest. If I have to get another car, so be it. I want a cushion I can settle into, and not even notice it for hours, because I do sometimes drive for hours and hours. Why the current newer model, the 13, has such HARD seats, I’ll never know. Really sucks, though, as it drives like a dream, like a luxury car. I so miss my old 03 car, though.

They have a really nice gel pad seat at Costco. I like my Legacy too and I have found that adjusting the lumbar support to the minimum position (thats what is sticking into your back), tilting the lower seat a little forward and moving the whole seat forward an inch make a big difference, but for any drives over three hours, I’ll be using my gel cushion.

Have you tried changing your seat position regularly on a longer drive? My wife’s BMW has two memorized seat positions for each driver, which makes it easy to do this, but I think it might be worth doing even if you have to change it manually on your car.

thanks all…I don’t think I will get used to this seat, I just have to deal with it, or sell the car. I will try some get cushions as well, and check Costco. I didn’t think the Subaru seats would feel that different in a newer car, and I was quite happy with the old seats, they are just really hard, too supportive, maybe that’s the style not, not to get too comfy, who knows!

I noticed that on all the new cars. I haven’t found a truly comfortable seat on any car since my 1990 Dodge Colt.


Just like in church, right?

Wouldn’t want anybody to get too comfy, doze off and miss the sermon . . .


BTW . . . I visited England a few times, and I clearly remember the church seating was far more uncomfortable than in the US. To fall asleep over there, you’d have to be a masochist or near death

There are aftermarket seat companies like Recaro but they are pricey. If it were me I would get comfortable seats from something from a wrecking yard and make brackets to adapt them to the car but I don’t know if you could find someone to do that for you. Hot rodders do it all the time.

I am trying to get comfortable, the rest of the car is super. I keep pushing back into the seat to try to soften the back a bit, I have played with the electric buttons so much I will need to replace them before my first car payment which I haven’t done yet. I long for my old Ford Taurus, like sitting in an Archie Bunker barc-0-lounger…I think I will try the seat cushions, thanks!!


The car doesn’t have an adjustable lumbar support?

"I long for my old Ford Taurus, like sitting in an Archie Bunker barc-0-lounger…"
In her job at a university, my wife was on the road a lot recruiting graduate students. She would request a Ford Taurus from the vehicle fleet. The seats she disliked the most were in the Honda Civic Hybrids. She also found the Chevrolet Malibu wasn’t as comfortable as the Taurus. One of our friends leased a Buick Verano and is unhappy with the seats.
If you are going to travel long distances, you need a car with comfortable seats. I once owned a Ford Maverick and was initially using the car for local driving. When I started making road trips in the Maverick I realized how uncomfortable it was to ride in. The car was really reliable, but when I found I was spending more money on Preparation H than on upkeep for the Maverick, it was time for a better car.


Weren’t those Mavericks known for literally rusting away around you?