Aching backs, fatigued muscles, eye strain and cramped limbs can make your commute miserable. Factors that affect your driving position include nonadjustable seats, insufficient lateral or lumbar support, and dashboard controls out of comfortable reach and view. The upper back, lumbar region, thighs and head are critical areas of the body that need support. Some seats strain your back by flexing your hips upward; others are too low to the floor, causing drivers to strain their necks or tip their heads back.
The seats in top-of-the-line Cadillac, Jaguar, Lexus, Lincoln and Mercedes-Benz models are equipped with the best lumbar support, plus inflatable bolsters and multipositioning choices. The Lexus LS430 has a 14-way power driver's seat, front and rear vertical height, four-point lumbar support and fore-aft adjustments. Lincoln's Aviator, LS and Navigator luxury models have seats with side bolsters, heating and cooling, and lumbar support. Jaguar's XJR sedans have 16-way seats, lumbar support, and headrest height and cushion extension adjustment. Saab's Aero 9-5 sedan has the best seats in its price class (starting at $39,465), with adjustable lumbar support, large side bolsters, and heating and cooling. Several Toyota car and truck seats are made by Araco Corp., rated by J.D. Power & Associates as highest in overall seat quality.
A foam wedge or roll-shaped pillow, backrest cushion, add-on headrest, or ergonomic seat cover with built-in lumbar pads and side bolsters can improve seat comfort; or you can replace your driver's seat entirely. Find products on the Web at www.truckstuff.com, www.effective-ergonomics.com.au, www.addonheadrest.com and www.precisionfit.com.
Editor and consultant Jill Amadio has been reporting on the automotive industry for 25 years.