Thank you for the recent article considering the Santa Fe, CR-V and Rav4 for hip-replacement challenges. We appreciate the advice and would like to add two more factors: spine and bilateral knee replacements on Driver Two. We both would prefer one vehicle. It will be used for both in town and cross country road trips. Any thoughts? – Dawn and Fernando
Richardson: Hmmm. What Dawn and Fernando are asking for is the vehicle with the best seats in the business, whichever that is.
Gentile: Seats have come a long way in just the past decade. Manufacturers invest a lot of research into them, because they want buyers to be comfortable. That way they’ll buy their next vehicle from them again.
Richardson: It’s tough to say which would be best for individuals. Buyers should sit in as many different seats as they can, but even then, some will be more comfortable after an hour than others.
Gentile: And also, a lot of the comfort comes down to the seats’ adjustability. You can often pay more for seats that adjust more ways.
Richardson: I think the record is in the Lincoln Continental and Navigator, with 28-way adjustment. They even adjust the stretch of each individual thigh.
Gentile: Dawn and Fernando aren’t looking for a six-figure Lincoln, though.
Richardson: No. I think they should start with the Nissan Rogue. It’s not too big, not too fancy, relatively tall as an SUV so easier to access and exit, and seats designed in co-operation with NASA. They’re formed to fit the same shape as the human body when it’s not stressed and floating in space.
Gentile: But those seats aren’t the most comfortable, especially on long drives. I like the egress and ingress on the Mitsubishi RVR, but the seats are manually operated (only the top trim is power operated) and they don’t move in a lot of positions. That’s also important.
Richardson: I disagree completely. I’ve driven much of Route 66 in various Nissans, including the Rogue, and was never uncomfortable. I guess we’re all built differently, because the RVR’s seats didn’t impress me at all. It’s good value and reliable, but I think Dawn and Fernando have other priorities, too.
Gentile: Like cars, we are all built differently. I like the seats in the Honda CR-V; I find them very comfortable and supportive on long drives. Its ride height isn’t too tall, either, so it is easy to enter and exit the seats.
Richardson: None of the seats in the new SUVs are bad – there’s a huge amount of research and development that goes into them – but it’s a question of which best fit Dawn and Fernando. And of course, the seats are often different in the same cars, too. The more you pay, the better the quality of seat. It’s not always just the outer material that costs extra.
Gentile: And you can add heat functions, ventilated functions and even massage functions to the front seats, too. Love these factors, but again, we’re getting into Lincoln territory and there’s no need for all of those fancy extras for Dawn and Fernando. But with spine and knee replacements, the egress and ingress will be key for their comfort. Wouldn’t you agree?
Richardson: Getting in and out will be a huge dealbreaker, so we can agree that a taller SUV or at least CUV would be best.
Gentile: Agreed. No sedans and certainly no coupes!
Richardson: Dawn and Fernando haven’t given us a budget, but if we’re poking around Honda CR-V prices, they should be prepared to pay for a higher-end trim to get the higher-end seats. Maybe this is where that Mitsubishi does come through: The top-end RVR is a good $3,000 less than the top-end CR-V.
Gentile: If they want to save some money and there’s a Mitsubishi dealer nearby, there’s no harm in them paying a visit to just try out the seats.
Richardson: I still think they should try the seats on the Nissan Rogue. It’s the same price as the Honda and Toyota, but some things you just shouldn’t cheap out on.
Gentile: I agree. It doesn’t hurt to test out the seats in the Rogue, too. It’s time well spent to figure out which seats fit best. And it’s definitely worth it if you can pay extra for a high-end trim to get the most comfy seats possible.
What car should you buy? Write to Mark and Petrina at email@example.com.
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