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Posted: 12/28/2005 3:19:25 PM EDT


www.azcentral.com/news/articles/1228gns-wideseats28-ON.html

Carmakers widen seats for wider ... seats

Chris Woodyard
USA Today
Dec. 28, 2005 12:05 PM

If you gorged at the holiday buffet, don't worry: You'll still fit in your car.

As Americans grow heftier, automakers are making seats wider, adding more space to interiors and using bigger virtual mannequins to help design vehicles.

Domestic automakers say they already had seats for increasingly rotund motorists. Now foreign brands are catching up.

Getting bigger:

- Honda. The 2006 Civic offers front seats that are three-quarters of an inch wider than those in the 2005 model. Purpose: "To meet the growing needs of our customers," spokesman Sage Marie says.

- Mercedes-Benz. The big R-Class Grand Sports Tourer, which went on sale at the end of September, has front seats about a half-inch wider than the smaller Mercedes M-Class crossover.

- Subaru. The first-ever B9 Tribeca, a crossover vehicle introduced this year that was specifically designed for the U.S. market, has front seats a half-inch wider than those in the Legacy, the next-largest wagon in the lineup.

- Mitsubishi. The Lancer Evolution was given front seats slightly wider than in the Japanese version when the performance car was introduced in the USA in 2003.

Extra-wide seats are important now that 62 percent of adults are considered overweight or obese, according to market research firm NPD Group. The figure has doubled since the late 1970s.

For the auto industry, the solution is not just about hippy seats. It's also wider cars.

Toyota added a half-inch of width to the RAV4 sport utility and up to 3 inches to the 4Runner, Sienna, Tacoma and Avalon. The goal was both comfort and extra interior space to help protect passengers in side-impact crashes, according to Toyota's Paul Williamsen.

For its part, Ford Motor recently started using what it believes are the industry's first set of virtual mannequins depicting nine different body types - including a hulking man - in computer-aided design. Reason: a finding that the average near-biggest man grew 27 pounds heavier and nearly an inch-and-a-half wider in the hips from 1962 to 2000.

"For the first time, we've made these virtual dummies to reflect people's growing sizes," Ford spokeswoman Jennifer Flake says.

Ford is also paying attention to comfort of the seats themselves. The automaker is researching whether to install power massage units in the backs and cushions of its seats.

It's also considering inflatable bladders in the seats to make them fit passengers of different sizes.

"When you think about how much time people sit in a seat - the average time commuting has gone up dramatically - it's staggering," says Susan Dehne, the automaker's chief engineer of seat systems.
Link Posted: 12/28/2005 3:26:23 PM EDT
that would be a much better article if "fat asses" had been used a few times.
Link Posted: 12/28/2005 4:07:03 PM EDT
Yeah, yeah. Make fun of overweight people. We don't mind. In fact, we love it.
Link Posted: 12/28/2005 4:10:30 PM EDT
well, taxpayers ARE paying for a lot of fat peoples' double bypass surgery and meds and such.
Link Posted: 12/28/2005 4:14:11 PM EDT
About damn time, and they better make my cup holder larger, I want my super tanker of coke to ride secure....
Link Posted: 12/28/2005 4:16:28 PM EDT
I'm sorta fat, but it's never been the lack of seat width that's bothered me.

What annoys me is that every vehicle on the road except for full-size trucks and luxury cars seems to be designed for someone about six inches shorter than I am. :|
~
Link Posted: 12/28/2005 4:22:01 PM EDT
I have tried to fit my big ass (6'4" and 250 lbs) in several foreign cars but I can't get comfortable in them.

My Chevy Malibu has plenty of both head room and leg room as does my Camaro (which is a little hard to get into but I am fine once I get there.)

I have tried the Subaru Legacy, Mitsubishi Galant, and Nissan Altima are all to small for me.

Link Posted: 12/28/2005 4:22:05 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Floppy_833:
I'm sorta fat, but it's never been the lack of seat width that's bothered me.

What annoys me is that every vehicle on the road except for full-size trucks and luxury cars seems to be designed for someone about six inches shorter than I am. :|
~



Me too. Being 6'5" sucks for driving sometimes.
Link Posted: 12/28/2005 5:05:03 PM EDT
My Honda CR-V has great headroom. I can't fit my head and legs comfortably enough in most cars to consider buying them. I pretty much have to have an SUV or a truck.

My motorcycle has good headroom too.
Link Posted: 12/28/2005 5:09:48 PM EDT
saw this on CNN this morning. What a shame that. We are become a nation of fat peolpe. I put on about 10 pounds over the holidays and now I got to try to get it off. I hate this shit.
Link Posted: 12/28/2005 5:13:42 PM EDT
It doesn't really matter to me, I'm skinny as a rail
Link Posted: 12/28/2005 5:15:59 PM EDT
I don't think a 1/2 inch is going to do much.
Link Posted: 12/28/2005 5:19:53 PM EDT

Originally Posted By deej86:
It doesn't really matter to me, I'm skinny as a rail





You do know I hate you, right......
Link Posted: 12/28/2005 5:22:16 PM EDT

Originally Posted By 1shott:

Originally Posted By deej86:
It doesn't really matter to me, I'm skinny as a rail





You do know I hate you, right......



I do say that cup holders should be bigger. The only car maker that can make a proper cup holder is Chevy. But good luck getting the cruiser cup from Taco Bell to fit in anything else.

The nod for the shittiest cup holders goes to the 1994 Ford Aerostar. Useless fucking cup holders.
Link Posted: 12/28/2005 6:12:54 PM EDT
I remember when you could sit 4 adults across in the back seat of a 63 Chevy Biscayne. Why did they make them so big back then? Was everyone fat in those days? I think the real problem is that they just make car interiors too damn small these days.
Link Posted: 12/28/2005 6:32:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/28/2005 6:33:25 PM EDT by rmstrjim]

Originally Posted By PVFD304:
I have tried to fit my big ass (6'4" and 250 lbs) in several foreign cars but I can't get comfortable in them.

My Chevy Malibu has plenty of both head room and leg room as does my Camaro (which is a little hard to get into but I am fine once I get there.)

I have tried the Subaru Legacy, Mitsubishi Galant, and Nissan Altima are all to small for me.




It's a real shame you have to resort to such a crapbox just cause you're tall.
Link Posted: 12/28/2005 6:34:37 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Sukebe:
I remember when you could sit 4 adults across in the back seat of a 63 Chevy Biscayne. Why did they make them so big back then? Was everyone fat in those days? I think the real problem is that they just make car interiors too damn small these days.



Because the only way to make a vehicle crashworthy back then was to add 2 tons of steel.
Link Posted: 12/28/2005 6:38:36 PM EDT
Forget wider seats...what about cars that fit long legs??? JiminyCrickets! I'm not overly tall for a woman, but my legs start at my chin, practically. My husband is 2" taller than I and I have an inseam that's 3" longer...Seats never leave enough room for me to be in the front and anything larger than an orange behind me...and because I am shorter in the torso, I have a hard time seeing over the dash in smaller cars. And back seats? Me??? Puhleez! I can't even begin to think about pretzeling myself to sit in the back.

Gah...I drive an Exploder because it is one of the few things I can drive/ride in comfort AND get around MA in the dead of winter in.



Link Posted: 12/29/2005 6:06:09 AM EDT

Originally Posted By rmstrjim:

Originally Posted By PVFD304:
I have tried to fit my big ass (6'4" and 250 lbs) in several foreign cars but I can't get comfortable in them.

My Chevy Malibu has plenty of both head room and leg room as does my Camaro (which is a little hard to get into but I am fine once I get there.)

I have tried the Subaru Legacy, Mitsubishi Galant, and Nissan Altima are all to small for me.




It's a real shame you have to resort to such a crapbox just cause you're tall.



Aint this internet thingy great, I can now be insulted by the Canadians. Whats next, I guess the French will start talking about how good Renault is.

Link Posted: 12/29/2005 6:07:22 AM EDT
I miss the benchseat in my Crownvic.

I drove on 94 explorer that seat was tiny, and Im not that big
Link Posted: 12/29/2005 6:13:56 AM EDT

Originally Posted By fight4yourrights:
I don't think a 1/2 inch is going to do much.



WHAT!!! A 1/2 inch is the only thing keeping me from being a Ms. McNasty!! So a 1/2 inch is very important!
Link Posted: 12/29/2005 6:23:15 AM EDT
Are they going to make the seats wider for the electric carts that the fat people ride at WalyMart?
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