Uncomfortable car seats in new subaru outback

@db4690–I think most of the money I spent on the Maverick was for fiber glass kits to repair rust holes in the fenders. I got to the point where I could apply the fiber glass, sand, spray the primer coat from an aerosol can, lightly sand, and then use an aerosol can of matching paint and have a patch that was difficult to see.

Reliability includes rust prevention. CR made a comment once about the Maverick. They said if engineering was determined by parts comparability, the maverick was the best engineered car they have ever seen . Everything seem to break down at the same time.

so I went to Bed, Bath, and beyond, and bought a memory foam bath mat, folded it in half, and put a thin piece of foam between it, this has helped, not ideal, but is better than the seat cushion.

My wife and I are seriously looking at the 2017 Outback. We love everything but, during our multiple test drives, most unfortunately, my wife complained that “this is the most uncomfortable seat (front passenger) I’ve ever sat in - it feels like there something jamming me in my bottom. I don’t think I could stand sitting in this seat for very long” By the end of the test drive, she was ready to get out. The driver’s seat was somewhat better for me, it seemed, but not at all comfortable. The “lumbar support” jammed me in the mid-back, and made me feel like I was sitting on cross-beam of a medieval church seat (designed for fanciness, not comfort). Releasing the lumbar inflation (only available on the driver’s seat) mitigated it somewhat, but it still was not comfortable. When she drove it, and made some adjustments, she agreed he driver’s seat was better, but still complained about the same things. I sat in the front passenger seat and agreed. I couldn’t stand it.

(I might add that my wife and I are trim, average height, no unusual body features. In short, we’re the people that this ought to be designed for.)

We tried the plastic seat model as well (some call it “leather” but I call it “sweaty” after 10 minutes of sitting in any weather, especially summer), A little better, but still terrible.

So, Subaru has obviously not fixed this problem since the comments from 2014!!!. When we mentioned this to the salesman, he just shrugged, laughed and said “we sells thousands of them…” In other words, “you people are fussy and making this up.”

Having lived in Japan for 15 years, we can attest that the Japanese do many things well, but making comfortable seats (home, office, car, anywhere) is not one of them. Clearly Subaru doesn’t get it.

Also, this doesn’t seem to bother the backs and tushes of their many happy U.S. customers. That, I don’t get. I drive about 25-30 different rental cars a year on business. Subaru isn’t much in the fleet business, so I don’t have a chance to rent them., however, I’ve never gotten a rental - Ford, GM, Toyota, Nissan, Chrysler - and brought it back because I couldn’t stand the seating. It’s just not something I think about. Yet as soon as you sit in a Subaru, you think, “What idiots designed this uncomfortable seat?!”

The other problem - not unique to Subaru - is the idiotic headrests in some cars, and unfortunately Subaru is one of them - that slant forward, so you either have to drive with you head down, or recline your seat way back so that it isn’t touching your back, a la “LA pimp style”. Who drives like this? What idiots design seating like this? And if you’re a woman with a pony tail, or any sort of braid, it’ll be hard to lift your head up to see where you’re driving!

It’s unbelievable that such fundamental ergonometric factors are completely overlooked by Subaru!

Having said that, it’s obvious that Subaru won’t change because there are plenty of odd-shaped Americans whose tushes conform to rock hard seats and whose eyes work with their heads bent down who can drive comfortably in these cars, or have much higher pain-thresholds than us. My wife and I aren’t among them. We’ll be buying something else. Too bad. Every other detail about the car is nice.

Yeah, a pastor friend was thinking of buying a Subie last year and I told him to be sure to check the seats first. He’s tall and lanky but seemingly had no problem with them and bought the car. I really don’t know which model. While I agree you should not buy something that doesn’t have the features you want, often you don’t have much choice and purchases are a matter of compromises. I really can’t stand the new navigation system in our Acura but the other features are what we wanted so we live with the archaic electronics and navi system. They think they have to improve this stuff every year but just make it worse. Try to find the right button for the garage door too at night and you end up calling Acuralink by mistake. Its just silly some of this stuff that passes their marketing folks and never should leave the factory.

Your point on “buying a car is a compromise” is well taken. Though, it’s one thing to compromise on a $4,000 camera, or a $600 phone, or maybe even a $400,000 house that you can “fix up” and which will increase in value. But it is more difficult to “compromise” on a fundamental thing in a $40,000 car that you really can’t fix. We’ll give the competition a go, and then see what compromises we have to make with the competition, then maybe circle back to Subaru and take another look. It’s just very disappointing to read all these comments from 2014 now in 2016 for a 2017 model, and see that nothing has been improved. Shows that Subaru isn’t listening to customers or paying much attention to the market…

The seats in my car started breaking down, got one like this and it really helped, even use one in my hon leather cair at work. $20 or so.

hmmmm what’s the cut-out for in the middle? Seems this thing is made for truck drivers that don’t have time to take a nature break.

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Had a broken tailbone a real treasure then, but used it before that with much happiness.

The guy is thinking about buying a new car

Somehow, I don’t think he intends to buy a car that actually requires that device, in order to be able to sit down in reasonable comfort

Personally, I would absolutely rule out any car, which required that contraption . . . even if it was excellent in all other respects

But that device might be useful for somebody with an older car, who has no intention, or no means, of buying a new car

lumbar support.jpg

This is the only way any car is bearable for me.

OK why can’t I post a picture here?

Copy to computer, drag and drop or use html
(less than sign ie <)img src=“pic_mountain.jpg”(greater than sign ie>)
No parenthesis or verbage, just the symbol.and copy and paste image web location, right click on any image copy image address or something similar in other browsers and paste between quotes

I got used to my Subaru seat, had to…just happened over time, after being
miserable about it…

I have an Apple Mac, it doesn’t do drag and drop. But I figured out that you have to use that symbol with the arrow pointing up in the tool bar. That’s a new one on me.

Ughhhh! I wish I researched and found this website BEFORE i purchased my 2017 Outback! My lower back i killing me! No other car seat or piece of furniture affects my back the way this car seat does!

Did anyone contact their dealer? Or corporate? Any positive outcome from either discussion?

My dealer basically said there is nothing they can do - but their service manager admitted he has heard of this before - which would mean corporate is also aware of it! And they continue to do nothing about it. I am going to a chiropractor hoping that would help (it is starting to, but when i drive the car more than to work and back, it becomes worse again) and i bought the ‘wedge’ - that helps, but only for short trips.

Hoping someone has some positive feedback and direction to help fix this!!


In 2005 I bought a brand new Corolla. I have degenerative disc disease with all its complications (spinal osteoarthritis, stenosis (4), etc.) and the seat and ride in the Corolla was crippling me. I traded it after only two months, swallowing hard and mentally accepting the $3500 loss as a “health expense”. It truly was.

At my age, I cannot think of one friend who doesn’t need some form of booster in their car. I’ve long believed that the art of designing a comfortable seat has given way among the young seat designers to “ergonomics”, a IMHO false science that attempts to force everyone’s back into the shape it should be in rather than accommodating reality. The sarcasm is intentional. But grounded in fact. I’ve often exclaimed “what the h*** are they TEACHING these kids in design schools these days?”.

The only thing I can suggest is lots and lots of long test drives. Try to avoid making the same mistake I made.

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I have a 2015 Forester bought new in 2014. I like the seats. I have minor back issues, but I was able to drive 8 hours with only minor discomfort.

Probably the forester seats are different from the outback, as the seating position is higher.

edit: on second thought, I use cruise control much of the time, which allows me to change the position of my right leg.

We have a 2016 outback limited and the seats are very comfortable.

I find I need do slip a coin or clip to keep the seat belt loose, that really helps my back and hips on long trips. I am not sure of the safety ramifications, but I feel your pain.

Like mountainbike, I learned–the hard way–of the importance of taking an extended test drive before buying a car.
If I had driven a Honda demonstrator more than 10 minutes, I would have learned that the seats in the '90s-era Accords were terrible for my back.
I tolerated the seats in that car for 4 years, but I learned that I couldn’t drive it for more than 30 minutes without it setting-up a severe sciatic pain in my lower back that radiated down my legs.
As a result of that experience, I have never again bought a car without driving a demonstrator for at least one hour. If a dealership says “no”, then it is time to go to a different dealership!

My next three cars after that Honda have been Subaru Outbacks, and their seats all proved to be very comfortable, even after a few hours behind the wheel. However, I always opted for the “Limited” model, which comes–along with other niceties–with much better, leather-upholstered seats than the more basic versions. While many people don’t realize it, the upscale seats in a manufacturer’s “top” model are almost always superior to the seats in the cheaper models.

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