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Registered
2021 Subaru Forester Touring
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8 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello,

I took delivery of a 2021 Forester Touring approximately 6 weeks ago. I'm now questioning if I made a horrible mistake due to the driver's seat being uncomfortable - specifically, the lumbar support seems to be too pronounced and too low (?), which has been causing issues with sciatica from an old lower back problem. I've tried adjusting the seat various ways and it's of no real help. I'm average build at about 5'9" and 170#.

This was not obvious from the test drive (not long enough behind the wheel).

I'm now painfully aware (no pun intended) that others have had similar experiences. From what I've read on this forum, some people have taken their seat apart and made modifications which might or might not work.

I'm kicking myself for trading in a paid off 2014 Outback which had decent seats for a new Forester with painful seats, and not sure where to go from here. I didn't get a new Outback in part due to not being a big fan of the infotainment system (also I wanted something which sat up a bit higher), but now I'm wondering if that was an error in judgement since people seem to love the new Outback seats.

Has anyone recently dealt with this and been successful in alleviating the discomfort?

Thank you.
 

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Registered
2020 Forester Touring
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57 Posts
I've been suffering with sciatica for decades. I love my 2020 Forester Touring seat. My bad back loves it. Most comfortable seat I've had in a car.

Of course that will be the case with any seat in any car, some will love, some will like and some will hate them.
 

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Premium Member
2019 Crosstrek 2018 XT
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14,578 Posts
The most comfortable seat for some can be the most uncomfortable for others.
 

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2017 Foz 2.5i CVT
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2,060 Posts
I've had sciatica since I was 25 and I'm now 68 so it's been a while... (I did have a spinal fusion in 2011 which changes but does not cure things.) I have been fighting car seats for all these years. I am comfortable in about 20% of vehicles tops. I had a pair of Recaros that I used in 3 different cars but you can't do that any more with safety interlocks and air bags. What I need, and my spine does not resemble that of a human, is no exaggerated lumbar support. I have ripped lumbar support systems out of my Acura TL years ago. I have lots of memory foam pads wrapped in pillowcases, etc...

I loved the seat in my base '09 Foz; drove it 120k. The seats in the '08 Outback had a huge lumbar hump and killed me in 15 minutes. When it was time for the '09 to go to my son (who does not like the seats) I thought I'd be OK in our '17 Premium. Not so--it has a prominent lumbar hump. I extended the lumbar support cable an inch with a chain link type connector (which "deflates the bump") and that helped.

I tried a number of different seat cushions and they didn't really work. After a year and 12k miles, my wife got this Foz because her old car aged out, and I bought a Nissan Murano (A++ seats out of any vehicle in the world for me--and about the cost of a Foz Touring.)

I am able to drive the '17 Foz easier now with the following suggestions:
1. Break-in: Have your wife drive the car for 20k miles with the seat heater on. This helps collapse the foam. Failing that, you drive it with the seat heater on if you can stand it as much as you can. The seats will break in and shape to your body over time.

2. Aids: My problem with the Foz lumbar support is that it's too firm and too high but you say you find it too low. My spine is not typical. If you think letting the cable out will help you it's worth a try. But what I've lately found works is based on my chiro saying that my tailbone needs padding--he drives with a sponge in his pants but I didn't want to do that. I have a towel wrapped into a flat 3" rectangle maybe an inch thick and use it across the base of the back cushion to "round out" the intersection. This seems to make a huge difference. I have also played with thin/thick slabs of memory foam inside seat covers or pillowcases and in the end, I just want the dang seat to fit me and I like the look of factory upholstery. But laying a full memory foam pad over the back cushion might help. Using a seat cushion under your butt lifts your body in the seat and lowers the lumbar hump and that changes your relationship with the seat.

3. I am not sure if leather is better or worse than cloth in terms of breaking in. Subaru uses the same foam density in leather and cloth, I think, and the leather feels harder (exaggerating any lump for me). I think Honda as well as home furniture makers use a softer foam under leather than they do under cloth. In general, I don't do well with Honda seats (small and hard) and went as far as driving a Lincoln MKX with 22-way seats (includes massagers). I did not like the Lincoln seats because I could feel the massage rollers thru the hard seat regardless of how I set it up.

I've got way more stories and mad scientist ergonomic ideas....
George
 
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