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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone,

Thank you for being such a helpful community.

I am considering getting a 2020 Ascent Premium and my only current hesitation is the seat comfort, particularly the lumbar, which I unfortunately cannot tolerate. My back seems to only like flat, heavily padded seats like the one in my beloved '99 Odyssey:

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When I test drove the Ascent a few times, the seat did not feel very padded or comfortable to me after about 20 minutes of driving. In both the Limited (leather) and Premium (cloth) the lumbar bump was too much for me, even when turned all the way down (or non-existent in the case of the Premium). Ironically the seat in the 2020 Outback felt quite good, but that's too small of a car for us.

I saw on another forum post (google "2019 Outback Premium Lumbar Fix") that 2019 Outback owners sometimes find the seat uncomfortable, will remove the plastic lumbar "bump" piece from it (shown below), and all of the sudden it's a normal seat:
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My question to you all: Does the ascent have this piece as well? Have any of you found the seat uncomfortable and consequently modified it to your liking?

I wish I could answer this seat anatomy question for myself, but alas dealers don't like people taking apart seats before they own the car :)

Thank you very much for your help,
Michael
 

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Not sure if the Ascent has the piece. I have found the driver's seat uncomfortable but my complaint is the side bolsters are as hard as a rock. I totally understand your comment on the Outback. I have been given two new Outbacks as loaners both had leather and those seats were much more comfortable. The side bolster on both Outbacks I drove were much softer, had give, and did not put pressure on my legs as the Ascent does. It is interesting that one manufacturer can have their seat comfort be so different between models.

Here is the point to think about. You find the seat uncomfortable now. What if you can modify it and it doesn't work? Why take that chance when there are many more SUV's you can test drive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
as the Ascent does. It is interesting that one manufacturer can have their seat comfort be so different between models.
Totally, it's quite maddening! Even consumer reports noted that the outback front seat rating is a 5, while the Ascent is a 4. Why should this downgrade be the case when buying the flagship Subaru?

Regarding other SUVs you make a very reasonable point! It's just so frustrating that I love everything about this car (layout/cargo, mpg, reliability, drive, suspension, noise isolation, brand...) but the seat is not comfortable to me. It's very hard to find a single vehicle that checks all of these boxes. To me it feels like they nearly did it, but seat comfort is a large chasm keeping it from the finish line.

Are there other non-luxury midsize SUVs for which you have found the seat to be very comfortable?
 

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Seat comfort is very subjective. However you are not the first person that has complained about Ascent's seat comfort on the forum. I did drive the Honda Pilot and for me it was not a comfortable car. Kia Telluride is getting a lot of good reviews as is its sister the Hyundai Pallisade w many critics actually rating them one and two. They are slightly bigger than the Ascent and have better warranties. I did see one decibel report that had the Telluride as being of of the quietest of the SUVs. For my wife and I we find the Ascent to be obnoxiously loud especially on rough road surfaces. In fact tomorrow (the car was just there three weeks ago) it goes in for service because in the the last two days we now have a loud rattle in the area of the passenger front door. It happens mostly on rough roads but has now progressed to even smooth surfaces when you hit even a minor bump. This along w an intermittent noise from the suspension that they have checked twice and report unable to reproduce. Between the noise hitting the bumps and the suspension the car is awful. In fact if you read the Edmunds review it is also one of their complaints w the car. One of the biggest reasons I can't wait to get rid of the thing.

The Telluride and Palisade get great reviews on ride and comfort. 2020 Ford Explorer gets good reviews on handling and ride. Not sure of the seats. A new Highlander hits the dealer lots next month if you wanted to wait. However, in the past Toyota did not always get good reviews on their seats. Go to youtube and watch Alex on Autos reviews or Redline reviews. They are very good in detail Alex on Autos has posted his second review of the Telluride. This review is more detailed as he had the Telluride for a week. Edmunds also likes the seat comfort in the Chevy Traverse.

Good luck - but go drive other cars.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for the info about the issues with your Ascent. That puts more of these issues in context...

Honestly, the Traverse seemed like a great car as well with amazing cargo capacity (58 cu. ft. behind second row), and it drove very nicely, but i'm weary of getting a Chevy (never owned an American car for quality concerns), and Consumer Reports gave it a predicted reliability rating of 1/5. Hard to say how accurate any of these measures are, but it doesn't help my confidence.

Regarding the Telluride and Palisade, I'll have to give those a look. I assume you're entertaining both of those options in your current search?

Thank you!
 

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Actually except for the aforementioned lack of lumbar support, I find the Premium cloth seats to be very comfortable. I like hard side bolsters since I'm used to driving sports cars. And the bottom seat on the cloth seat is soft enough for me to drive 2-3 hrs at a time without buttock muscle pain.

Too bad there isn't a manual lumbar support mechanism that could be retrofited. I did that with my Mini Cooper. I ordered the cloth interior which doesn't come with lumbar adjustment. So I purchased the mechanism for the leather seat version, and retrofitted it to my cloth seats. Worked great!

Probably the cheapest and easiest thing to do is to just get a removable lumbar support cushion.
 

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Too bad there isn't a manual lumbar support mechanism that could be retrofited.
There's a company that makes such a thing. If I can find them, I'll share the name and link.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the info! To be clear, my concern is that it feels as if the Premium has too much of a bump in the lumbar area, even though it does not explicitly have an adjustable lumbar control. I'm definitely in the minority, but I can't really tolerate any push from the lumbar section - it just anatomically doesn't feel right.

Does anyone have a picture of the back of the inside of their Ascent seat (under the 2 zipper section)? I'm curious if it has that same piece as the '19 outback.

Here is the thread with that '19 outback lumbar removal info: https://www.subaruoutback.org/threads/2019-outback-premium-lumbar-fix.501029/
 

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Are there other non-luxury midsize SUVs for which you have found the seat to be very comfortable?
Before purchasing our Ascent, I read a lot of reviews, one of which comparing the Ascent and Atlas. Everything else aside, driver's seat comfort was brought up and both reviewers mentioned how comfortable the Atlas was as opposed to the Ascent. If you're not opposed to a VW, it might be worth test driving one.
 

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Lumbar support is one of those things where "most" folks benefit from it but some do not and some require it to be in a different position. My previous vehicle allowed me to move it up and down to zero in on "the spot". I got lucky with my Ascent in that the lumbar support is exactly where my back needs it to be vertically on my spine. For me, the Ascent driver's seat is extremely comfortable...slightly more-so than my previous vehicle because of the adjustable thigh support. I can appreciate, however, that for a few, it's just not the right setup. The choices there pretty much only include living with it, trying to modify it or choosing a different vehicle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Before purchasing our Ascent, I read a lot of reviews, one of which comparing the Ascent and Atlas. Everything else aside, driver's seat comfort was brought up and both reviewers mentioned how comfortable the Atlas was as opposed to the Ascent. If you're not opposed to a VW, it might be worth test driving one.
I've heard great things about the Atlas as well, and it fits so much stuff. The only thing that worries me is its consumer reports predicted reliability
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for whatever that's worth :p
 

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I've heard great things about the Atlas as well, and it fits so much stuff. The only thing that worries me is its consumer reports predicted reliability
View attachment 2046
for whatever that's worth :p
I suppose they have to make their seats comfortable for all the time spent waiting for the flatbed ¯\(ツ)
 

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I recently test drove the Subaru Ascent, the Kia Telluride, the Hyundai Pallisade, and the Toyota Highlander over a two-day period. The Subaru had one of the best suspensions of the bunch. It muted out bumps of all sorts. That said, I would never buy one because the seats are hard as a rock. There is no way I could ever stand those seats on a ride of any length. It is so sad they cannot put a softer seat in their top-of-the-line vehicle. All of the other vehicles had much softer seats.
 

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I recently test drove the Subaru Ascent, the Kia Telluride, the Hyundai Pallisade, and the Toyota Highlander over a two-day period. The Subaru had one of the best suspensions of the bunch. It muted out bumps of all sorts. That said, I would never buy one because the seats are hard as a rock. There is no way I could ever stand those seats on a ride of any length. It is so sad they cannot put a softer seat in their top-of-the-line vehicle. All of the other vehicles had much softer seats.
Auto seat fit and comfort is a very personal experience. I will say that when I first drove the Ascent I noticed the extra firmness compared to all other competitors. I thought I would like it. For the next few weeks it was rough getting used to it and now I feel good about it again after 25,000 and many long trips. It will either work for you or not. I do not have a large or heavy frame.
 

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I think seat softness is no different than the firmness of a bed mattress. There is no right or wrong, or better or worse. It's simply the preference of the user. Some people prefer firm mattresses and others can't fall asleep on anything other than super soft.

We tried all of the competition at the DC auto show before we test drove anything, and the Ascent's interior was the most comfortable to us, including the seats. I don't like soft seats, because the drive can feel "wallowy" or under-damped. There are, obviously, extremes on both ends of the spectrum. The Ascent's seats are definitely not firm like racing seats, and the softer seats available today (such as in the Highlander) are much firmer than the pillow-top velour we used to have in Oldsmobiles and Buicks and such. "Somewhere in the middle" is a large range and everyone will like it a little different. I'm sorry to hear you didn't like the Ascent's seats, @captain, but I am happy to hear you felt the driving dynamics of the Ascent (suspension) to be good. There's a recent poster here who hates the suspension and feels it was designed "incorrectly".

You can't please everyone, right?
 

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I found the Honda Pilot had hard seats but didn't feel that way about the Ascent. But I like all the Subaru suspensions. I feel subaru nailed the suspension part better than everyone else.
 

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This is very subjective...for me, firmer is much better for long journeys...soft seating gives me back and hip problems. The firm seats in my Ascent Touring any my previous Grand Cherokee Summit fit the bill for my body for sure.
 

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It would be wonderful.
Wow, I totally forgot to get back to this. Thanks henrywilson. Here's one such company. BUT, one must remember to take exceedingly special care to not disconnect or damage any of the airbag systems, heating elements or wiring. I'm not even sure if one of these would fit - someone would need to reach out to the manufacturer.


And another one:

I have NO experience with either company, so, I have no idea how good or bad their products are. It was something I was looking up for my 2010 Outback years ago, but never got to. It was far cheaper to buy a good lumbar pillow.
 

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Passenger seat comfort?
I've been on purchase-hold for several months due to the wife's medical recuperation. While technically this purchase would be my wife's car, she only drives locally. She's mostly the passenger on long trips. Which leads to the question of front passenger seat comfort.

Even the Touring level does not have height or lumbar adjustments, something that every 3 row top trim offers. As short people, we prefer height and lumbar adjustable seats. Anyone out there spend enough shotgun time to comment whether the seating position feels like sitting in a hole or that a lumbar adjustment won't be missed?

This is actually the make or break issue for the Ascent.
 
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