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Old 06-27-2010, 01:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Why the Outback seats suck

After spending some time trying to get comfortable in my Outback's seats (and failing), I've come up with some thoughts on why the design sucks.

The Outback's seats have a greater ergonomic shape to them (greater curve) than many other car seats. Ergonomic seating is nice, but it's not a one size fits all thing. The location of a seat curve's high point is important as it is usually intended to fit into the rider's lumbar area. If this high point is too far down it will push the driver away from the seat, leaving a gap in the lumbar area. If it is too far up it will press into the driver's mid back creating pressure and discomfort instead of support. This is the problem with the Outback's seats - they high point of the seat curve is too far up.

In creating such an ergonomically curved seatback it's inevitable that the seat is going to give good support to some and great discomfort to others, depending on the rider's body size. This is why many ergonomic office chairs have adjustable lumbar curves, where the high point of the curve can be moved up and down. I don't expect that Subaru would feel the need to have such an adjustment in their seats, but without one many drivers simply aren't going to fit the seats properly. Really, they'd be better off with flatter seats, which wouldn't be as supportive, but at least they wouldn't cause unavoidable discomfort.

Anyways, that's my rant on seats The headrest is another story, but at least one that is easy to fix as many members have pointed out.
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Old 06-27-2010, 02:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Must be your body shape...I have now had 3 Outbacks and have NEVER been as comfortable in any of my previous 60 odd cars...
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Old 06-27-2010, 04:26 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Your comments apply to virtually all cars - manufacturing economics dictates that one-size has to fit all unless you're really prepared to pay for it.

The most comfortable seat I had was an '85 Vauxhall Cavalier SRi (GM Europe) which had OE Recaro front seats - in the showroom it felt terrible as my wide backside just perched on the rather narrowly positioned outer bolsters and the backrest bolsters made it feel like a straight-jacket BUT it was so supportive on long journeys it was actually good therapy for the osteo-arthritis I've got in three places in my spine. The seat also had an extending piece so that even long-legged drivers like me got support under their thighs.

The Outback driver's seat isn't as good but not by much - I keep the lumbar support on minimum.
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Old 06-27-2010, 04:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruperts Trooper View Post
Your comments apply to virtually all cars - manufacturing economics dictates that one-size has to fit all unless you're really prepared to pay for it.
Agreed, one size fits all is to be expected. But like I said, the Subaru seats are more curved than other seats.

You can make a very curved seat that fits some people well and other people horribly, or you can make a lesser curved seat that doesn't offer as much support but at least doesn't cause discomfort.
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Old 06-27-2010, 09:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Our 2000 is lacking in much comfort on long trips. To me they are just too hard and lacking in back support. The lumbar does not do much. Fine for everyday driving. Not to good for long trips for me.
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Old 06-27-2010, 10:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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+1 on paulo's comments. i've done several 18 hr days in my 01 and a 22 1/2 hr day. just did a 15 hr day in my 09 and felt just as good at the end as i did at the start.

i can move the lumbar support slightly by adjusting the the angle of the seat bottom. for me, the lumbar is set at the minimum.

for the record, i've had 4 back surgeries. i also operate heavy equipment and drive single and tandem axle truck. so i know chitty seats...
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Old 06-27-2010, 10:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Must be my skinny ars...
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Old 06-27-2010, 10:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Or alternatively, the same argument can be turned around:

"Why the Outback seats are good
The Outback's seats have a greater ergonomic shape to them (greater curve) than many other car seats. Ergonomic seating is nice, but it's not a one size fits all thing. The location of a seat curve's high point is important as it is usually intended to fit into the rider's lumbar area. If this high point is too far down it will push the driver away from the seat, leaving a gap in the lumbar area. If it is too far up it will press into the driver's mid back creating pressure and discomfort instead of support. The Outback's seats put it in a place that is comfortable for most people.

In creating such an ergonomically curved seatback it's inevitable that the seat is going to give good support to most (but discomfort some), depending on the rider's body size.

Really, they're better off with these supportive seats, which are a lot more supportive than flatter seats for the majority of drivers, but for some cause some unavoidable discomfort."

It all depends on perspective.
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Old 06-27-2010, 11:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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It doesn't depend on whether your hind end hurts???
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Old 06-27-2010, 11:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Of course yep - and your back, thighs, etc. That's what determines your perspective on the seats
It was just in response to the taboid-esque thread title, which included the blanket assumption that they suck when in fact they just don't suit some people.
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