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I have narrowed my search down to the Highlander and the Ascent. One of my high level issues is driver (and passenger) seat comfort. I am an empty nester and wife and I take a number of long trips....8 or more hours of driving each day.

I now have a Toyota Sienna and the driver's seat is very comfortable. What is your experience in this area. Can you compare the Ascent to the Highlander?
 

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The Ascent is certainly a nicer ride with a quieter cabin. Everything you read will tell you the Ascent feels more "luxury" than the Highlander, but seat comfort is very dependent on the individual. People vary so much in shape and size, there's no perfect solution for everybody. For this, you'll actually have to go out and sit in them yourself. You could be in the most luxurious vehicle in the world, but if the seat just doesn't work for you, then it won't matter.
 

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This isn't about seat comfort, but from everything I've seen, the Toyota infotainment system is ancient and is badly in need of an upgrade.
 

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I personally think the seat is a touch on the harder side (compared to my 2004 WRX, wife’s 2005 Camry, and our 2016 CRV). I think some of it is due to Normal breaking in of the leather and padding and such though... to be honest, it doesn’t really bother me too much on the hour or so long trips that I’ve sat in it so far. I’m about 5’9” and around 155 lbs so I expect the break in to take a month or two and I’ve only had the car for a week.

But yeah, if comfort is your main criteria, then I agree that you would really need to sit in one yourself and see.
 

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IMO it feels like sitting in a supportive lazyeboy (once you get the position right). Super comfortable on a 4.5 hour drive. Like all things after 8 hours of sitting youll feel some discomfort but its really a nice place to be for many hours.
 

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I have narrowed my search down to the Highlander and the Ascent. One of my high level issues is driver (and passenger) seat comfort. I am an empty nester and wife and I take a number of long trips....8 or more hours of driving each day.

I now have a Toyota Sienna and the driver's seat is very comfortable. What is your experience in this area. Can you compare the Ascent to the Highlander?
I traded a 2015 highlander for my Ascent. The seats in both are very comfortable. The more important issue for me was the adaptive cruise control. The highlander turns off at 25mph. If you will be in any stop and go traffic on your 8+ hour trips, the full range cruise control makes your decision a no brainer. Plus if you get the touring Ascent, you get rain sensing wipers which are really nice, plus steering responsive headlights. Good luck!
 

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Driver seat comfort

We currently have a 2015 Forester and the lumbar support for the driver's side is very good. I test drove an Ascent and liked the driver's side lumbar support even more. I am not concerned about long trips in the Ascent.
 

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Your mileage may vary, but in my opinion, the absolutely most comfortable seat I've ever been in. Not only is the seat comfortable as-is to me, the extended thigh support is AMAZING. I have a 33" inseam and it's amazing how much more comfortable it is. Back support and crazy adjustability in both the seat and the steering wheel make it easy to find a spot that works for you. Use adaptive cruise control, take the crap out of your back pockets and it's going to be sublime for a very long time. Again, you're going to have to try it to see if it works for you.
 

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In my opinion, it's not as comfortable as a 2018 Outback seat. You could go test a Crosstrek leather seat and get pretty close to the firmness and feel less the thigh bolster if that helps. Seems to be generally the standard style seat Subaru's using the latest chassis. The seat sits high like a Forester with a large bolster on the side. Kinda weird getting out of a high perched seat with a exaggerated bolster. You drag the side getting out. That bolster wear is going to be interesting in a year or so of use. If you're heavier, might not be a concern, you can flatten it I'm sure on exit. Lighter drivers might not have that luxury.
 

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The most important thing I've learned about comfort is that you have to sit in the seat yourself and try it out. Specs on legroom/hiproom/etc. are nice, but no substitute for "butt in chair".

Having said that, I think that the Ascent's driver's seat comfort is comparable to the (2018) Highlander -- subjectively, about 8 / 10. The 2012 OB that we currently have is slightly better (9/10) for me. The 2003 WRX wagon I had was also about 8/10 for me; it had slightly less legroom, but a little more support.

For context, legroom is my usual sticking point (I'm 6'2" / 175# with 36" inseam).

But it's highly subjective -- my wife is also 6'2", and found the Highlander significantly less comfortable, though she'd agree that the 2012 OB is slightly nicer than the Ascent. She really likes the thigh bolster, though I'm pretty indifferent to it.
 
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