Take a seat and see if that car really suits you
Published 18/06/2014 | 02:30
I REGULARLY get enquiries about which cars are the most comfortable and what would I recommend.
On a specific case-by-case basis that is relatively easy to do.
But the one thing buyers have to do before anything else is so basic it is often overlooked.
So I tell them: just sit in and stay there for a while.
You would be surprised at how many people become so preoccupied with the engine, the equipment, the upholstery and, naturally, the price, that they forget to find out what the seats are like.
I often use the analogy of all the rounds you go to when buying a couch for the living room.
You imagine yourself sitting watching the TV. You ask your partner or children or housemate what they think, how they feel. Is it too soft, hard? Has it decent support for the bottom of your back, your thighs?
Can you imagine being comfortable in it for three or four hours?
And then you go to another furniture shop and go through the whole routine all over again.
But so many pay scant attention to the seats in cars, despite the fact that large numbers of drivers can spend two, three or four hours a day behind the wheel.
And that's just commuting and picking up a few things at the shops or dropping the children to school/piano lessons etc.
Research by Skoda has found that, after passing our driving test, we spend the equivalent of at least three years of our lives at the wheel. This is the equivalent of driving 765,920km. It's a lot of time to be uncomfortable.
I drive a variety of cars on a regular basis and, in some cases, I find it can take me a long time to get my seat the way I want it. Adjustments are not always that great. To be honest there have been occasions when the poor quality of the seat support completely took away from my enjoyment of the car.
That doesn't happen too often, admittedly, but many times lack of lumbar, or proper thigh support, or the sheer narrowness of the basic seat has detracted quite a bit.
I believe an uncomfortable, uneasy driver is never quite 100pc right behind the wheel. They are constantly shifting and adjusting and (in my case) whingeing. Not the proper mentality to have while driving.
And that is just the driver's seat.
If the front passenger and those at the back are uneasy, my goodness you're in for a tough time.
So spare yourself all that by taking the time to check. When I say 'time' I mean a good while, not just a few minutes.
I often suggest that people talk to the salesperson and do any other business while in the cabin.
Like all good decisions, you will feel better when you sit on it for a bit.