Now our car seats are more comfortable and controlled than ever. For instance, a $24,000 Volkswagen Passat is provided with a 12-way power seat. Personally I can’t even imagine how, to hell with it, a seat can move in 12 different ways?! To make the problem clear we decided to investigate cars at the Chicago Auto Show. We were intending to investigate a dozen of vehicles whose prices range from $13,000 to over $100,000 to see all the ways the car seats can be adjusted.
Here the results.
Two- and Four-Way Manual Adjustments
The Toyota Tacoma’s front seats move in two ways – forward and backward here the backrest is fixed as well as in some other bench-seat pickups. If the car offers a reclining backrest, it is a four – way adjustment. Some cars have additional bonus for the fit. Their front seats are provided with additional levers situated near the head restraints. They allow moving the seats along their track, so backseat occupants gain additional room for their legs.
Six-, Eight- and 10-Way Manual Adjustments
Most car seats also provide height adjustment which allows the driver to position himself comfortably to drive. Such cars as Chevy Aveo offer knob height adjustment, some like Nissan Sentra offer pump-jack-style adjustments. The last variant is preferable as it is easier to yank a lever a few times than to press a knob again and again.
More perfect seat adjusting system is offered by such vehicles as Toyota FJ Cruiser which offers not only height adjuster but also a seat angle adjuster that changes the tilt of the cushion. Hyundai Elantra Touring introduces also lumbar support adjuster. The Volvo C30 comes with lumbar support and an angle adjuster (to adjust angle here it is easier to use lever instead of knob). The car offers ten ways of adjustment. Not bad, isn’t it?
Basic Power Adjustment
Levers and knobs take too much room and have a critical mass and still they do not offer a fully-adjusted seat as move seats in limited numbers of positions. That’s why most modern cars offer a few power adjustments, for instance, the power backrest tilt in the Volkswagen Jetta. The Volkswagen R32 offers four-way power lumbar support. All other adjustments are manual in this car.
Six-way power adjusters are more typical. They move height and angle of the cushion and move the seal along the track forward and backward. The backrests in these vehicles are regulated manually.
Eight- and 10-Way Power
Most garden-variety power seats allow six adjustments moving in eight ways. They provide height up or down, forward or backward and angle pitching forward or back adjustment and powering the backrest recline. Such adjustment is offered by the Mazda CX-7, for example.
The 10-way power seat is designed for business class, like the Hyundai Azera’s leather-trimmed seat.
Comfort and Luxury: 12-, 14- and 16-Way Power
To add some adjustment to the 10-way system car makers should involve some creativity as it is difficult to group together the controls. The brightest example is the Cadillac STS. It offers a 12-way adjustment which allows eight-way cushion/seatback and four-way lumbar movements. Cadillac DTS offers additionally a back massager.
A real bonus for sportsmen is adjustable cushion and seatback bolsters offered by the Infiniti G37.
The Jaguar XK, at the same time, has no seat-cushion bolster adjustments (the seatback bolsters are still adjustable). However, it adds four-way power lumbar and a power cushion extender. It is necessary to mention that all the controls in this car are placed at the door which is much more suitable than alongside the seats. This is a good example for other luxurious cars.
If you are a happy owner of deep pockets and 12-way adjusting is not enough for you, then…..
18-Way and Up is really what you need.
It seems that car seat perfection knows no limits. The Lexus LS 600h< for example, offers a power cushion extender and power-elevating head restraints (to tell the truth we are not sure that car seats really need these options). Together with adjustable seat belt the adjusting system includes 18 ways to seat as comfortably as possible.
You want something more…? No problem. The Audi A8 L besides of all adjusters mentioned above offers a backrest that can adjust for lower and upper angles. Total adjustment in this car count 22! And all this is only for the front seats. This is more adjustments than Camry has for all seats combined.
We do not know exactly but it is quite possible that such cars as Mercedes, BMW, Maybach and Rolls-Royce have even more adjustments.