Few factors can make a great car even better--or kill the performance thrill entirely--like car seats.
In the 260-plus cars we review each year here at High Gear Media, most just pass across our backsides without much positive or negative impression. But a few seats stand out in our minds as some of the best you can plant yourselves in. And a handful make us reach for the Doan's Pills (look it up, children).
The best seats in the house? You'll find them here:
2011 Volvo S80: They seem spare and lean, but the S80's front seats are the stuff sagas are written about, even in English. We can't rave enough about the seating position itself, the just-right support foamed under each piece of leather, and the sense that not an ounce of material sits where it shouldn't.
2011 Ford Flex and 2011 Lincoln MKT: We're making a great assumption here--that since our fine-tuned rear ends think these chairs are related to the Volvo seats, they are. Ford and Volvo shared much in common until their recent split, and the familial-feeling seats in the new S80 sedan and the big Ford and Lincoln crossovers are about the best on the planet. All have wide, well-shaped cushions with just enough give for long-distance support. The Flex and MKT have active headrests that sit a bit too far forward, but we'd still rip them out and use them as office chairs if no one at the media-fleet offices would notice.
2011 Honda Accord SE: After spending a week with the latest Accord, some of its other class-leading qualities surfaced--but it's the leather-trimmed seats on the SE model that ranked near the top. The power-adjustable buckets have just the right amount of bolstering, and the rear of the amply long bottom cushion tilts down more than most.
2010 Lincoln MKT 4-door Wagon 3.7L FWD Front Seats
2010 Dodge Charger SRT8: His favorite seats "bar none," says our bigfoot Arkansas editor Nelson Ireson. "I've loved them for a year or more, and this one in my driveway just confirms it. Like the seats in the Challenger, the Charger's chairs are big and bolstery, and have good thigh support instead of running out halfway down the cushion.
2011 BMW 750iL: What's not to love about the multi-adjustable, ventilated and heated, massaging seats in the big BMW sedan? Very little. Like the similar seats in the Mercedes-Benz lineup, these Bimmer chairs feel as regal as you'd like for the nearly $100,000 sticker price.
And to finish, the downers:
2011 Honda CR-Z: Three editors, three concurring opinions, three aching backs.
2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe: The CTS lineup has sport seats with narrow seatbacks and an oddly concave seating surface that'll leave you in need of chiropractic care. Opt up to the CTS-V in an emergency: its Recaro sport seats are world-class.
2011 Volkswagen Jetta: The optional sport seats themselves are comfortable, but they're all-vinyl--and stitched to look like leather. Points off for the fauxness and VW's usual tough-to-reach adjusters.