What are the best seats you’ve ever experienced in a car?


This week’s question to you, members of the Hagerty Community, is based on your experience while ensconced in the cars of your past and present. Which one had the best seats?

I came up with this question after buying new seat foam for a pair of bucket seats in an old Mercury. Holy cow, the difference between 50-plus-year-old foam and its modern replacement simply cannot be put into words! What can be explained are reasons that inspire you to choose a seat for multiple reasons, as there’s a fair bit of science in these critically important components.


A well-sorted seat is crucial to having a pleasant experience in an automobile. Saab knew this, and went into painful detail in its sales literature in the 1980s. It ensures you know why its seats are soft at first but supportive ’till the last mile. Saab explained how the chairs adjust for everything, including a variety of thigh lengths.

As one of Hagerty Media’s steadfast fans of American Iron, I hate to say the following statement: the Europeans (namely Saab and Volvo) made better seats to accommodate a variety of needs. If it weren’t for the competition, Detroit would have taken longer to add the level of support we now expect in automotive seating. And it picked up the slack quickly: Not long before GM tapped Lear-Siegler for optional seats in third-gen F-bodies and C4 Corvettes, Ford had spoken to Recaro for performance derivatives of their Fox-body platform. And Ford’s headrest designs in the 2000s changed drastically upon its purchase of Volvo in 1999.


Seats must do a lot of things while appealing to a wide cross-section of body types and safety regulations. My choice for the best seat I’ve ever sat in comes from a vehicle I neither own nor have spent a significant amount of time with: the Mercedes-Benz W124 E-Class.


These are my favorite chairs for several reasons, few of which actually pertain to my needs or wants. First, they came in a wonderfully luxurious and grippy cloth fabric, something we never (rarely?) got in America. Second, they were immensely supportive, as they held you in perfectly without resorting to aggressive bolstering that made ingress/egress difficult.

But lastly (and most importantly) the W124’s seats were so accommodating that just about any body type could be blissfully relaxed in them. The latter is something that body-hugging seats in performance cars can’t touch: Very few seats are fantastic for everyone. The W124 catered to all, and never discriminated once you entered. That’s why I voted for it, but what are the best seats you’ve ever experienced in a car? We can’t wait to read your answers!

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    The seats in my Fiero are Lear and work well.

    They hold you well but they do not restrict you. The size is not too big or small. They are difficult to find as many people take them out as soon as the car hits the yard. Kit cars, street rods, other sports cars and even Corvettes are found with these seat as they fit many applications.

    My Bonneville SSEI was great with adjustable everything. Even the side bolsters were electronically adjustable.

    The one I really enjoyed were the GM performance seats in my HHR SS. Comfortable and grippy.

    About any 70’s-90 Porsche seat.

    Fantastic choices. Not gonna lie: the seats in the Cobalt/HHR SS are probably my favorite parts of those cars. The fabric was even more impressive than the engineering underneath it.

    I had a first year SS that only had the good seat on the drivers side. I bought the parts and converted the passenger seat to the same performance seat. Only the bottoms were different.

    The next year it became an option then standard.

    What is amazing is a seat that holds you in but not to the point you feel squeezed. I like a sold hold in a race car as it is needed but street it is annoying.

    Once drove cross county in a friends 504 and they were quite comfortable indeed. I was lot younger though. The seats in my 1968 122s made multiple non stop drives from NJ to Wisconsin easy. Finally, my wife’s 2015.5 S60 seats are firm but so supportive. No problems at all driving long distances.

    VW Touareg by far, all day comfort for a guy with a bad back. I like them so much that I’m on the hunt for one at the junk yard to convert into an office chair. I keep being told they can’t sell them bc of the airbag in them.

    i know Volvo seats get mentioned a lot when discussing good seating, but the ones in my 1991 240 are like sitting on boards, and the ones in my 2014 BMW F30 with the sport seats are painful after an hour or two. I did drive a 2019 or so (Avis rental upgrade) XC90 from Saginaw MI to Louisville KY in one 12-hour sprint and didn’t feel too achy afterwards.

    1993 Honda Prelude seats designed by Recaro, one year only. Work great in my 1934 Chevy Master Sedan restomod.

    I worked for a good part of my career in seat engineering and especially comfort research. There are a lot of things that increase, or decrease, comfort in seats. The smoother the car rides, and the lesser the engine vibrations, the mor critical peole are of seat comfort. Intrusions into the foot area that force pople to sit with their feet in different positions decrease seat comfort. Your spine is distorted.

    I was really impressed with the seats in the first Lexus LS400. The Chevy Caprice Classic, 77 to 79, were equally good. Both had seats with very deep foam, and no spring suspension. The Roadmaster Sedan, 92-96, had very good seats. None of these had a lot of side bolstering, but for long freeway drives, they couldn’t be beat. My favorite seat was the one I designed myself, the Chrysler LH sports seat. Very rare, I think they only sold about 1000 cars with these. It was a Lutz sponsored project.

    Volvo seats from the late 60s, early 70s, were very good when they were new, but they degraded very quickly.

    The sport seat in my BMW E92 coupe, 2013, is very good. Supportive, good driving position, the right amont of padding. BMW is the only car company that makes its own seats. Everyone else, including Bentley, buys part or all of their seats from a supplier. The seat in my wife’s new Audi A6 is equally good.

    The best rear seat I ever spent time in was in the previous generation Mercedes S Class. It reclined, it was supportive, heated and cooled, and there was an adjustable footrest on the floor.

    Seats are different in the UIS and Europe. Part of it is regulation, but a larger part is customer preference. Europeans like manually adjustable seats, even in expensive cars, while Americans insist on power tracks, recliner and lumbar. Even when Americans have manual recliners, they insist in the lever style, with incremental notches, while the Europeans insist on continuously engaged rotary recliners, infinitely adjustable.

    US rules put the headrest closer to the occupant than they used to, also generating comfort complaints.

    Seats with lots of adjustments are rarely comfortable because most people can’t get the adjustments right. It is far better to make the seat properly than to cover over problems with adjustments. Nobody could possibly get one of those Lincoln 22 way adjustable seats to fit them properly.

    Any velour-covered tufted pillow-back bench seat from the late 70s-late 80s found in full size Buick, Olds, 5th Avenue/New Yorker, Mercury etc sedans. Lumbar support? No. Lateral bolsters for cornering? Ha! Leather, Rich Corinthian or otherwise? Nada. But as a country club valet back in the day and an occasional passenger, those automotive couches were comfy as heck and accommodated all shapes, sizes, and weird sitting poses. From a time when we were less concerned with the first 10 seconds of acceleration of the ride, and more concerned about how comfy we would be during the next four hours.

    My 77 Buick Electra had my 2nd most favorite seat. Just a plain bench with the right padding in the right places.

    These days, leather, or faux leather, seems to be the seat trim of choice in America. And, I have to admit, I kind of like the fact that cows died to make my car. In the Bentley, lots of cows.

    But some of the most comfortable seats have been covered in velour or another fabric. In Europe, even high end cars can have fabric covered seats.

    As we’re asked what “the best seats you’ve ever experienced” were, as opposed to the best we’ve sat in,
    I recall many fine times with ladies, (or is that “ladies”?)

    Most seats in todays cars and in recent years were supplied by large name suppliers. Same for wheels.

    Lincoln used to come with BBS and others had OZ and other big names. My Pontiac came with wheels made at Rockwell international. They were made near the Space Shuttle plant Rockwell was involved in.

    The thrones in the SAAB 9000 Aero. I have driven a lot of vehicles with a lot of different seats and the Recaros in the Aero are peerless when it comes to driver comfort.

    Strangely enough, my favorite seats were a set of buckets in a 1985 Pontiac Grand Prix. Didn’t look like much, but I could drive that car longer and more comfortably than any euro or Japanese car I’ve owed. 2nd place went to a plain jane split bench in a 1997 Chev S-10. I’ve had numerous seats over the years and these two still sit high in my memory.

    HyperV6 mentions Porsche seats from ’70s-’90s, and I’m kinda there with him on that – I had a couple within that range and really did feel comfy yet well-supported in them. I also went several million miles in great air-ride seats behind the wheels of various 18-wheelers in the ’70s, that were obviously designed for many miles-per-day. (the exception to that was in a Cornbinder I was forced to take one trip and blame for many of my neck issues)
    However, the “best seat” I’ve experienced was and always will be any one that I was pushed back in when the accelerator was mashed. I don’t ever recall being disappointed with padding, covering, bolsters, or adjustability when my focus was on hitting the next shift point. 😚

    My top three in ascending order were the velour buckets in my mom’s ’82 280ZX Turbo, the vinyl buckets in my ’77 Camaro RS (I eventually found two extras and converted them to chairs in my living room), and my all-time favorite was the pillow-top leather “bucket” seats in my Dad’s ’83 Chrysler New Yorker Fifth Avenue. Those were so good for long distances that I was never tempted to pull over and stretch until the gas tank was nearly empty. Honorable mention to the heated cloth buckets in my ’96 Subaru Legacy Outback Wagon. Not quite as “all-day comfy” as the Chrysler thrones or the Camaro seats, but by the time I bought the car my back was messed up and those were still very comfortable indeed. The heating elements sure did add to the comfort, but I quickly learned that leaving the heat on for too long was a recipe for excruciating pain after exiting the car.

    The cloth seats in my 2011 Tacoma are incredibly comfortable. My 1997 Alfetta also had surprisingly comfortable seats. My old Passat wagon 2000 ( basically a rebadged Audi A4/6 of the era were also incredible. None of these vehicles are what you would expect. Real seats for the long hall.

    The optional sport seats in my 88 C4 are the best. Difficult to get in and out, but once in them, I don’t want to leave. The next best are the leather option seats in a 1985 Toyota Supra L I had years ago. For more current models, the seats in my 15 Golf SEL are very nice, just not quite as good as the other two I mentioned.

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