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!
2008 Ford Edge Limited
Most comfortable seat I have ever sat in.
Just like a big comfy living room chair. Could sit in them for hours
Mercedes Sprinter. The seat was cross-country comfortable, and could be raised where your feet could be flat on the floor or stretched out.
By far the Dodge Ram SRT-10 Truck seats. Oh my…I want these in all my cars.
The best seat I ever had was in my Datsun 240Z. My head fit exactly against the headrest and did not require any tilting to remain in contact. My line of sight was exactly what it should have been. I could drive the car great distances without even thinking about it and never suffered from any discomfort or fatigue.
I have several favorites. The sport seats in my various BMW E30 cars, the E21 (320is) Recaros that I’ve transplanted into my early Bronco, the Recaros in my ’12 Boss 302, and the seats in my ’01 Ford Super Duty.
1990 honda CRX SI. Great long distance seats. 14 hours one day. Got out, stood up, no aches or pains. Fantastic cars with fantastic seats. Shame they are gone.
1981 Rolls Royce Corniche with parchment seats and black piping ( black exterior )….. hands down! Better than my couch. Probably only reason I kept the Rolls for 5 years because mechanically it was a dog. Worse than a dog!
I hae now owned over 100 cars (yeah, I’m an addict!). For my size frame (165 lbs, 5″9″) my bought new 1974 Audi 100LS coupe had the most fabulous seats ever! udget While not infinitely adjustable they supported where they should and reclined flat meaning that if necessary you could sleep in the car if necessary. Skiing alot in those days on a tight budget there were a few nights in the car. Car is long gone, wish I had kept the seats!!
I still fondly recall the seats in my 1957 Karman Ghia. Bought it in Lafayette Louisiana from an Air Force Captain in 1961 when I was a senior in high school. The bottoms and sides were contoured and felt like nothing I had experienced in the Fords and Oldsmobile I had driven. Still miss that car.
’08 Viper seats. Bad back, screwed up neck, tall, doesn’t matter. Firmly encased without pressure points. They feel great accelerating, cornering or just cruising. Smooth ride helps. For all-day straight-line cruise, the 5th Ave/New Yorker was pretty good.
Considering the seats of vehicles I have owned or still own, I would have to say the driver seat of my 2016 MB Metris van are the most amazingly comfortable for hours of driving, and still is after 45k.
The stock seat of my 1973 BMW 3.0CS Coupe comes close to the Metris. I drove it from San Antonio, Texas to Des Moines overnight and I had no aches. My 1985 BMW 533i red leather comes in a close 3rd, and was the best interior overall, of all my vehicles.
The most surprisingly comfortable seating with horsehair padding are the the seats in my 1950 VW Beetle Deluxe. The spring rate of the seat pad has a fair amount of travel which seems to act as a harmonic dampener for the stock torsion bar/lever shocks/16” wheels suspension.
The ‘86 Vanagon and ‘03 Eurovan had the best armrests. ‘85 MB Gwagen seats are definitely utilitarian with their “iron” cloth plaid, though they need refurbishment.
In my classic cars the Porsche 356 have great seats, very comfortable. Of course they are from other era. In a modern car the KIA Telluride is my best experience.
1983 VW GTI Recaros
The best experiences I’ve had in any vehicle relegated seat design to a non issue.
To me, seats matter the most in cars with sporting aspirations. I’ve owned a few of those over the years, including: ’68 Datsun Roadster, ’71 Datsun 510, ’76 BMW 530i, ’84 VW Rabbit GTI, ’90 Ford Taurus SHO, ’90 Nissan 300ZX, ’95 BMW M3, ’95 Volvo 850 Turbo Wagon, ’98 Volvo V70R, ’04 Subaru WRX STi, ’05 Subaru Legacy 2.5 GT Wagon, and a Classic Mini (with NA Miata seats). All of those seats had their plusses and minuses for sporting and/or daily driving. Some were overly complicated, some were simple. Some were hard, some were squishy. Some were slippery, some were grippy. In the end, I keep going back to the Recaros in the GTI. They were simple (seatback rake and lumbar [I think] were the only adjustments), grippy (snazzy striped velour), laterally supportive (just enough side bolstering), and comfortably firm. Everything you need for a sporty vehicle, and nothing you don’t.