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2008 GRB 20th anniversary 6 MT
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6,572 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
Due to re-occuring lower back pain problems (seems like I have a bulged disc) I need to replace my daily driver with an automatic as I am having too much difficulty pressing the clutch at the moment.
The needs for the "new" car are:
- very good driving position
- automatic
- medium size
- reliable
- doesn't cost the earth to run
- budget up to £7k or so

I've thought of the Suzuki SX4 but the AWD version is only available in manual. It doesn't have to be an AWD vehicle though so I may look at the FWD one.

What do you guys suggest?

Thanks!
 

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MY05 Forester 2.5 XT 5MT
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2,929 Posts
With a bad back in mind, you may want to look into older Volvos (60, 70 or 90 series) or a proper Lexus (LS, GS, RX) - Not cheap but the more comfortable seats I have had the pleasure of being in with my own ruined back. The older 2009 era BMW 5 series seats were pretty ok for me too

Are you looking for a proper automatic with gears or open minded to modern CVTS too ?
 

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2010 Forester 2.5 XPremium 4EAT
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863 Posts
I have similar back issues to you and I can honestly, unbiasedly, say that of all the cars I've driven my current 2010 Forester is the most comfortable. You should be able to pick up a nice one for 7 K GB Pounds.

I'm in the USA (expat Brit) and I'm assuming that the seats on the UK Foresters of that era would be the same. I hsave the 'Premuim' which gives you the electrically adjustable drivers' seat - with really good electric lumbar support.

Regarding your back issues - I can highly recommend swimming, pilates and floor stretching exercises to help lumbar decompression. If the pain gets worse, insist on MRIs etc - I didn't and paid a big price.
 

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96 Posts
Had to switch vehicle for same reason and I got a Nissan Murano. They have something called zero gravity driver's seat (whatever that means). I can honestlly say I've never had a more confortable seat. I drive to AZ taking three days and it just as confortable when I get there as when I leave.

On the road I'll get 27-32 mpg. In town it's 22-25.

Just bought a forester for running around in town but don't think the back would take it for a long trip.
 

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04 FSTi Manual
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706 Posts
It may too big for you, but the seats in my '09 mazda 6 sport where very comfortable. Luckily I don't have an on-going back problem but I did pick up a climbing injury while I had it and the combination of heated and comfortable seats definitely felt like it was helping. My '08 mazda 3 MPS seats were good as well but the suspension was very firm.
 

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2004 forester sti
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2,406 Posts
just curious if you have numbness/tingling down your leg? or if its localized pain just in the back?
yes sciatica ive got it too , collapsed disc , mri ,= operation at worst .

I actually think its bad car seats that cause some of the discomfort but my back has never been better sitting in my sti .
My back / lower spine felt like glass for a number of years then I got rid of my landrover 90 defender (which I loved) and over time im back to full health .
 

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yes sciatica ive got it too , collapsed disc , mri ,= operation at worst .

I actually think its bad car seats that cause some of the discomfort but my back has never been better sitting in my sti .
My back / lower spine felt like glass for a number of years then I got rid of my landrover 90 defender (which I loved) and over time im back to full health .
collapsed disc, herniation, stenosis, etc. Those are 'dysfunctions' that can be seen by mri, but not necessarily pain generator.
Sciatica is usually tightness from muscles in your buttcheeks.

98% (number i came up with based of all the patients i treat), assuming the symptoms are painful (sharp, soreness, achey), rather than numbness, tingling, deep ache, it is muscular pains created by poor movement and apprehension. Fear of movement. Since the MRI suggested that you have collapsed disc and herniations, you probably started moving a bit different to protect the back. Keeping it stiff with most movements and activities. its a cycle that most people have a hard time correcting.

To decrease the tightness that was caused by guarded and poor movement, Get a lacrosse ball (or something similar in firmness and size), roll out the buttcheeks and ..TFL.
TFL
butcheeks, similar to above video, but just roll the buttcheeks.

You dont have to use 2 balls.. 1 works just fine

Roll in the morning when you wake up and at the end of the day, 1-2 min each on both sides.

let me know if you have questions.

Oh also figure 4 stretch
If you feel this stretch when the legs are still down, you dont have to lift the knee to your chest.
 

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2006 2.0 XE Manual N/A
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Since you mentioned the SX4, I have a Vitara S which is similar in size and available in automatic (although mine is a manual).

It's a great car, narrow enough to fit in my garage with room to spare but with a decent size boot. It's also tall enough to allow me to use a memory foam cushion because I suffer from hip pain on longer journeys. I've heard that these are good for back pain too.

The 1.4 litre turbo petrol engine is a hoot and I've seen 50mpg on long journeys. It also has a very competent AWD system.
 

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2004 Forester XS 5MT
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2015 Mustang GT, I kid you not, best ergonomics for driving out of the dozens of cars I've run, power seats only for full range.
 

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Sahuarita, Arizona USA 2018 Forester Limited
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Had to switch vehicle for same reason and I got a Nissan Murano. They have something called zero gravity driver's seat (whatever that means). I can honestlly say I've never had a more confortable seat.
I've driven Nissan Altima rentals and have to agree. No body fatigue whatsoever. The front passenger seat is also zero gravity.
 

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2004 Forester
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46 Posts
Based on personal experience, I like the idea of regular stretching and exercise. Bummer that you have to give up the stick.

I have always favored the seats in German cars, with lumbar adjustment mandatory. If the BMWs are too pricey or high maintenance, check out the VWs. In the Suburbs family I like the more upright position in the SUVs. The Forester does the trick. Good luck. Keep driving.
 

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2006 Forester XTE 5 speed manual
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284 Posts
I think a lot of people interpret the best driving position as the best seat. It is actually seat and position.

I managed to haemorrhage a disk around 30 years ago and have been through a fair number of cars since. What I have found is:

The higher the seat from the floor the better (reduces stress on spine, as the thighs take some of the load).
Short squabs are a no-no (which includes a fair few japanese cars).
The covering of a seat can make a significant difference to its character (BMW sports seats are brilliant in cloth, but a bit firm in leather).
Offset pedals are horrendous for sciatica and associated back problems.
Avoid cars with limited headroom, as it will encourage you to recline the seat to get you head away from the roof.

My favourite driving position was a Discovery 2 (although the seat was not perfect), but you will have no end of trouble finding one that is not well used and abused. Best seats I ever found were BMW sports seats in cloth. Having said that, both vehicles were new, so were in their best state.
The one I have been in (but haven’t driven) that seemed to combine the two, was a Lexus RX400H. Should be able to get one for your £7k with maybe 100k miles on it (don’t worry about mileage too much, as they are capable of massive mileages).

HTH

Pete
 

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2004 forester sti
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2,406 Posts
I think a lot of people interpret the best driving position as the best seat. It is actually seat and position.

I managed to haemorrhage a disk around 30 years ago and have been through a fair number of cars since. What I have found is:

The higher the seat from the floor the better (reduces stress on spine, as the thighs take some of the load).
Short squabs are a no-no (which includes a fair few japanese cars).
The covering of a seat can make a significant difference to its character (BMW sports seats are brilliant in cloth, but a bit firm in leather).
Offset pedals are horrendous for sciatica and associated back problems.
Avoid cars with limited headroom, as it will encourage you to recline the seat to get you head away from the roof.

My favourite driving position was a Discovery 2 (although the seat was not perfect), but you will have no end of trouble finding one that is not well used and abused. Best seats I ever found were BMW sports seats in cloth. Having said that, both vehicles were new, so were in their best state.
The one I have been in (but haven’t driven) that seemed to combine the two, was a Lexus RX400H. Should be able to get one for your £7k with maybe 100k miles on it (don’t worry about mileage too much, as they are capable of massive mileages).

HTH

Pete
30 yrs ago ? how old are you now ?
 

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2004 Forester XS 5MT
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Well shave them legs then! I have a fused C6-C7, buy an old stang and a new set of seats!
 
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