New Foresters long distance comfort?

calden3calden3 Member Posts: 11
Hey all:
I searched for this topic but found discussions dating back several years, so thought I'd try again since cars update so much.

I am looking at buying a new or recent (2013, 2012, 2011) Forester. My wife and I do mostly small in-town driving, but one of the uses we have for a new car is visiting our college age kids, a 5 hour drive for one and a 6 hour drive for another. We can do this in our 2002 Mazda MPV minivan, but it's just fatiguing. After 3 or 4 hours the road and wind noise gets to us, and the seats leave my upper back achey and don't do too well on the lumbar softness either.

So the sit-in test in newish Foresters feels great, but I am looking for comments about driving half or all day on freeways. I am large ( 6', 230 lbs.) and my wife is small and slim, and both of us struggle with seat comfort, so it may be just that after 10 years the Mazda is shot.

I am totally willing to get the premium seat packages (leather, etc.) to get a sturdier seat.

I know that the long distance comfort of a car involves the seats, the road and wind noise levels, vibrations, and the particular ergonomics of the car, so I am not necessarily looking for perfection. It may be that the Forester is great for what we want yet lacking in one of those areas, which would be fine.

Thanks for any comments and advice. Personal experience comments would be great.



  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILMember Posts: 694
    I am totally willing to get the premium seat packages (leather, etc.) to get a sturdier seat

    That's good because only the Limited (leather) seats are really comfortable in the current design. My 2010 Forester XT Limited seats are MUCH better than the seats in either of the less expensive versions (2011)that we have driven.

    I find our seats somewhat more comfortable than those in a 2013 Outback Limited that I drove for a while. I'm 6 feet and 200 pounds.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    We also chose leather and I recommend closing the moonroof shade for quietness. We're happy with ours.
  • saedavesaedave Chicago, ILMember Posts: 694
    An odd note: I sat in a new 2013 Legacy with cloth and it seemed quite comfortable.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaMember Posts: 16,209
    That's encouraging. I find the seats in my 2010 Forester X Premium to be quite comfortable over range. We run down to Palmer several times a year, which is a 320-mile trip (one way), so it probably takes us about six hours to run it with minimal stops. Occasionally (once a year) we push a 550 mile trip down to Kenai, but we're generally pulling a trailer (making for a slower trip), so I much prefer to break that one into two days if possible. Otherwise, it is about 12-13 hours of driving, often times during the wee hours of the night.

    Now that I have my Fiesta, though, the seats in the Forester feel "loose" to me (they could use bigger bolsters on them).

    Neck discomfort is my primary concern while driving, and the head rests in newer cars (not just the Forester) are fantastic in that they support the head in a position that actually allows a driver to use the rest and be able to continue driving comfortably. That made a big difference for me when I first bought the car. I drove it, solo, 2,200 miles in 49 hours to bring it home, and I felt great (albeit a little tired!) when I arrived. Prior to that trip, it would take a couple weeks for my neck pain to dissipate after a trip like that.

    In general, the biggest complaint about the seats that I have heard involves the lumbar support. I can't really comment, though, as I have had no issues with lumbar support in any car seat; it is simply a non-issue for me so far.
    2018 Subaru Crosstrek, 2014 Audi Q7 TDI, 2013 Subaru Forester, 1969 Chevrolet C20, 1969 Ford Econoline 100, 1976 Ford F250
  • calden3calden3 Member Posts: 11
    Response to my own question here.

    We test drove a used 2009 XT, leather seats with lumbar support. In five minutes I knew I would be writhing and uncomfortable after half an hour. The salesman said those seats were basically what was in the newer models as well. Just not my body geometry.

    We also noted that this thing was not a quiet car. Our current ride, a 2002 Mazda MPV, is quieter for road noise and engine noise. Also drove an Outback and athough it was quieter we also found the seats not quite there for us.

    Back to reinvestigating possible cars. Next up: Acura MDX.

    Thanks for the helpful comments.
  • robert142robert142 Member Posts: 18
    we have a 2009 with cloth seats and find them very comfortable. we specifically chose the cloth seats since we found the leather to be uncomfortable: cold in the winter, hot in the summer and less pliable than cloth.
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