egaeci

Finding the perfect driving position with or without accessories

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Hello everyone, I just got my first Corolla and so far I'm very pleased with it. However, I've been having some trouble finding a comfortable and relaxed driving position for long drives. I'm 5'6", I have pushed the seat up as high as it goes, I have lowered the steering wheel and pulled it towards me as much as possible (I have short arms), and I have found a good position for the seat where I can comfortably reach the pedals. But I just can't find a relaxed position for the back! I bought a neck/shoulder support pillow, but I'm not sure if it was maybe too thick because now the rest of my back has less support. What do you use to make the seat more comfortable? Lumbar support pillows? Seat cushions? I know that this is very individual and everyone is different, but I'd love to hear some ideas!

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Yeah, I've got a new Corolla but I do find after long drives that my left foot feels a bit numb. It's a hybrid so of course my left leg has nothing at all to do but it's not been a problem with other cars. Also I've noticed that if you raise the driver's seat height it puts your head at a perfect height to hit the pointless grab handle above the window. I was also a bit surprised that the head restraint can only be adjusted up and down. Luckily it's at a comfortable angle for me anyway. 

I've managed to find a reasonably good position eventually but it was harder than with other vehicles even though this is the first one I've owned that had a telescoping steering column. One problem with that is that if you push it too far back your fingers can catch on the central console. I also find that the car is a little bit low for getting in and out. At 52 years old I'm okay with it but I'd be concerned if someone older decided to buy the vehicle.

 

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1 hour ago, AndrueC said:

...the car is a little bit low for getting in and out. At 52 years old I'm okay with it but I'd be concerned if someone older decided to buy the vehicle.

which is exactly the mistake I made when I got my 4th generation Prius three years ago.

Once inside it's very comfortable, but to get the superb aerodynamic drag coefficient (0.24, which at launch was one of the 5 best world production car figures) one thing they did to achieve this was to make the car lower.

After about a year I started having hip problems (I'm now 63) which have got steadily worse to the extent getting in and out is now very painful and puts awful pressure on my hips due to the clumsy way I have to do it.

It was until the last 6 months that in discussing with my GP Practice's physiotherapy team that the car may have aggravated or even caused the problems.  Reluctantly, I've arranged to trade the car for a new RAV4 Hybrid which is currently somewhere en route from Japan (I hope!).

Interestingly, two other (slightly older) friends have recently had to change their choice of car for the same reason.

Ironically, when I bought my first Mk 1 Prius in 2002, the floor and seats were much higher, and somewhere in the marketing material was a diagram that showed how this made getting in and out much easier!

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I'm sure it's been noted that the original poster is from New Jersey and is driving a 2015 Corolla (maybe a bit similar to an Auris?).

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2 hours ago, egaeci said:

Hello everyone, I just got my first Corolla and so far I'm very pleased with it. However, I've been having some trouble finding a comfortable and relaxed driving position for long drives. I'm 5'6", I have pushed the seat up as high as it goes, I have lowered the steering wheel and pulled it towards me as much as possible (I have short arms), and I have found a good position for the seat where I can comfortably reach the pedals. But I just can't find a relaxed position for the back! I bought a neck/shoulder support pillow, but I'm not sure if it was maybe too thick because now the rest of my back has less support. What do you use to make the seat more comfortable? Lumbar support pillows? Seat cushions? I know that this is very individual and everyone is different, but I'd love to hear some ideas!

I've got similar problems with my Auris TS HSD 2015 ( think thats Corolla named in US) and I adjusted the lumbar support to maximum effect and tilted the backrest part of the seat just slightly backwards (I like an uppright sittng angle normaly) and adjusted the neckrest as high as possible to get more space for backside of my head to neck rest. The neck rest is to angeled forwards for my taste (which it was more adjustabel) and I think thats a part of my problem to really relax the upper side (sholders) of my back/neck

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25 minutes ago, PeteB said:

which is exactly the mistake I made when I got my 4th generation Prius three years ago.

Once inside it's very comfortable, but to get the superb aerodynamic drag coefficient (0.24, which at launch was one of the 5 best world production car figures) one thing they did to achieve this was to make the car lower.

After about a year I started having hip problems (I'm now 63) which have got steadily worse to the extent getting in and out is now very painful and puts awful pressure on my hips due to the clumsy way I have to do it.

It was until the last 6 months that in discussing with my GP Practice's physiotherapy team that the car may have aggravated or even caused the problems.  Reluctantly, I've arranged to trade the car for a new RAV4 Hybrid which is currently somewhere en route from Japan (I hope!).

Interestingly, two other (slightly older) friends have recently had to change their choice of car for the same reason.

Ironically, when I bought my first Mk 1 Prius in 2002, the floor and seats were much higher, and somewhere in the marketing material was a diagram that showed how this made getting in and out much easier!

Same to me (I'm 61 and think Toyota should be careful with loosing the older generation of drivers, often a economically quite strong group of buyers) .

I was very in to upgrade my Auris TS HSD to the new Corolla TS but my increasing back/spinal/hip problems stoped that.

Ive been very intressted in Prius gen 1/3 and 2/4 PHEV to but they feels a bit to low for me, to 

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 In 2015 I bought Hyundai i30. Lovely looking car, nice extras etc. Thought it was to be my car for good few years. Alas, any journey over 20 miles and my right hip was killing me. Adjusted everything I could, added a cushion (of different types), but nothing would sort out the problem. Just under 6 months later I part ex it for Qashqai, no problem, the mk2 Yaris I had before the Hyundai was no problem, nor the Auris hybrid after the Qashqai, nor the gen3 Prius after the Auris, nor the current Gen4 Prius. Why the i30 was a problem I don’t know, and I never sorted it. What I do know, when I was changing the Qashqai for the Auris Hybrid I insisted on a test drive in excess of 25 miles.  I now 72 and the Gen4 is no problem, one of the comfiest driver positions I ever had.

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Thank you all! I had no idea that the Corolla was different in the UK/US! Like Kenth I also find the headrest too forward angled, perhaps that is what's keeping me from being comfortable. I wonder if there is a way to replace it?

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5 minutes ago, egaeci said:

Thank you all! I had no idea that the Corolla was different in the UK/US! Like Kenth I also find the headrest too forward angled, perhaps that is what's keeping me from being comfortable. I wonder if there is a way to replace it?

I asked my local dealer/garage (in Sweden) but they coluldnt find any replacement. The suggested to (possibly) bend the metalbars slighly backwards but I thoght it sounded a bit risky, could possibly weeken the material

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After doing some more research on the topic of headrests, I found that they are an important part of the safety (I assume it's protection against whiplash). After reading that, I would not try to bend the metalbars. The owner's manual says that one should "Lock the head restraint in place with the center of the head restraint closest to the top of your ears". So I will check that when I get home, maybe I have mine too low and that's why they are pushing my head so much forward?

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Maybe it’s just me but Prius has has always better seats than Auris / Corolla, probably same with the latest generations. Prius seats are softer to touch especially on the sides and has better all around comfort. Maybe it’s just me. 

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30 minutes ago, TonyHSD said:

Maybe it’s just me but Prius has has always better seats than Auris / Corolla, probably same with the latest generations. Prius seats are softer to touch especially on the sides and has better all around comfort. Maybe it’s just me. 

Very comfortable seats and headrest in our Prius+  2016/17. Best seats of every car i've owned IMO know its individual  . Even slightly better than the Prius gen 3 and 4 I've tested. Have just tested gen 3 and 4 for some short 30 min drive though. 3 hours drive in our Prius+ is no problem at all for me (Prius + is IMO very easy to enter/exit to)

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1 hour ago, TonyHSD said:

Maybe it’s just me but Prius has has always better seats than Auris / Corolla, probably same with the latest generations. Prius seats are softer to touch especially on the sides and has better all around comfort. Maybe it’s just me. 

I've found the seats to be very comfortable on all the 4 generations of Prius (I've not driven a Prius+ so can't comment on that), but to different degrees.

IMHO, the original 2000-2003 Gen 1 Prius saloon and both the best seats of all and the most comfortable suspension.

The second generation, launched for the 2004 model year, was to me the least comfortable, having very firm seats and firm suspension that also crashed loudly over ridges and pot holes (very noticeable at low speeds because the car was so quiet).  It was still good, but just a shock (literally!) to those that had got used to the Gen 1 - in fact, at least 2 members of another group prevalent at the time who had swapped to a Gen 2, subsequently sold them and bought 2nd hand Gen 1s because they couldn't live with the comfort level.  Gen 2 owners who'd never had a Gen 1 were perfectly happy though.

The Gen 3 Prius (2009-2015) was much better than the Gen 2 for both seating and suspension, especially on 15" wheels which gave a softer ride than cars shod on 17" low profile ones.

The Gen 4, in my opinion is almost as good as the Gen 1 for both seat and ride comfort, especially on 15" wheels, although in fairness I've found the odd time I've driven one on 17" wheels the ride has been almost as good as 15"s, and certainly not as markedly different as the Gen 3 had been on the larger rims.

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2 hours ago, egaeci said:

After doing some more research on the topic of headrests, I found that they are an important part of the safety (I assume it's protection against whiplash). After reading that, I would not try to bend the metalbars. The owner's manual says that one should "Lock the head restraint in place with the center of the head restraint closest to the top of your ears". So I will check that when I get home, maybe I have mine too low and that's why they are pushing my head so much forward?

I must admit I cringe when I hear people calling them "headrests" - they are, as you rightly say, "head restraints" and are a very important safely feature, and certainly shouldn't be interfered with or removed.

Yes, they are a protection against whiplash which is why it's important to correctly adjust them.  Some rear head restraints are designed to dig into the passengers shoulders if they are too low to encourage correct adjustment when the seat is occupied (because they can be lowered to aid the view in the mirror when there rear is not occupied).

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7 hours ago, Gerg said:

I'm sure it's been noted that the original poster is from New Jersey and is driving a 2015 Corolla (maybe a bit similar to an Auris?).

The US Corolla is similar to the Corolla saloon (which for Europe was built in Turkey, as is the 2019 Corolla saloon). Longer wheelbase than the Auris (2600mm) - same size wheelbase as the Prius and Avensis (2700mm).

The Auris was sold in the US as the Scion IM - renamed as the Corolla IM in 2017 due to the demise of the Scion brand.

Between 2007 and 2019 the Corolla saloon was not sold in the UK due to this market's preference for hatchbacks and estates.

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I have a stripped-down 2013 Auris front seat in the garage at the moment, (until I work out what to do with it).  If there was some aspect of the seat skeleton etc. that you wondered about (shape, size, construction etc.) then I might be able to post a photo to better illustrate what it is that you are sitting on and against.

If I remember correctly, for the Derby-built Auris the seats are made for Toyota by Adient in Burton-On-Trent.   https://www.adient.com/products

I don't find the Auris seats that comfortable.  Perhaps these are from the 'budget' end of their range?  Just like many other systems in a car, I think it is the case that just a few companies make the car seats for most of the major car manufacturers.  It would be interesting to know how much the final part is supplier-suggested or manufacturer specified?

French cars are always said to have soft seats, whilst German cars are generally reckoned to have firmer seats.  But many VW cars have their seats made by Faurecia, which is a french company that was once owned by Peugeot.  Which sort-of answers the above.

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