Millions of Americans suffer from chronic back pain. Getting behind the wheel and sitting for long stretches at a time doesn’t make driving very enjoyable if all you’re thinking about is your aching back. Whether the back pain is caused by an injury, muscle aches, herniated discs, or some other reason, the only way to drive in better comfort is to look for a car with appropriate (for you) levels of seat support, seat adjustability, and seat position memory.
Other items that should be on your check-list to help minimize pain from back problems are adjustable gas pedals and heated seats. Switching on heated seats on chilly mornings will help your back feel less stiff.
While most new car models feature either standard or optional power driver’s seats, more levels of adjustment (including power lumbar support) are usually reserved for upper trim models or as standalone or part of optional packages.
2014 Acura RLX – The flagship of the Acura line, the 2014 Acura RLX sedan, features standard 12-way adjustable front seats for the driver and passenger. This includes lumbar support that adjusts the seats up and down, as well as in and out. Four distinct levels of firmness and softness are designed into the seats to provide “an ideal combination of comfort and support,” says Acura. The two-driver automatic memory system records preferences for the driver’s seat, steering wheel and side mirror positions. While dual-level heating is standard, the Advance Package adds three levels each of heating and cooling.
2013 – The full-size 2013 Ford Taurus five-passenger sedan, in Limited and SHO models, has standard 10-way power seats (fore/aft, tilt front up/down, tilt rear up/down with power lumbar and recline) for the driver and front passenger. Optional in the Taurus Limited and SHO models, Multi-Contour with Active Motion seats provide driver and front-passenger with relief from back pain. How it works: seven-seat bottom and lumbar air cushions are designed to help reduce muscle fatigue in the lower back and legs by changing the contour of the seat back and bottom. Power-adjustable pedals are also standard in the SHO. Heated and cooled front seats and heated second-row seats are optional in Limited and SHO.
2013 Lexus LS – In the luxury 2013 Lexus LS460 line, 16-way driver’s (including dual-function lumbar) with auto slide-away and 12-way front passenger’s (including lumbar) power seats are standard. For rear-seat passengers, power-adjustable outboard rear seats with memory, two-way power lumbar support and lumbar massage is optional on LS460 and LS460L RWD and AWD and standard on the LS 600h L model. A right-rear power recliner with ottoman and multifunction shiatsu massage is optional on the LS 460 and LS460 RWD and AWD and the LS 600h L.
2013– Having the ability to adjust the driver’s seat 14-ways, including four-way power lumbar, is an optional feature in the 2013 Mercedes-Benz C-Class luxury cars. The 14-way power driver’s seat also features memory that recalls three stored positions for the seat plus the power steering column and side mirrors. Another useful choice for those suffering from back pain is the optional heated front seats with three warming levels.
2013– The redesigned 2013 Subaru Legacy has 10-way power driver’s seat with power-adjustable lumbar support and four-way manually adjustable front-passenger’s seat standard in Legacy 2.5i Premium. In Legacy 2.5i Limited and 3.6R Limited, in addition to the 10-way power driver’s seat, the passenger’s seat is four-way power. Heated front seats are part of the optional All-Weather package available on Legacy 2.5i Limited and 3.6R Limited.