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Why buy a nice seat?

Having to drive an hour to work each day, I am coming to the realization that the only difference between a luxury car and an econo box is only the seat and the steering wheel. After all, 99% of the time, you are just holding on to the steering wheel and sitting in the seat. When you are stuck in traffic, it does not matter what engine you have or what the car looks like on the outside. Therefore, if you have a Mercedes seat and steering wheel in a Hundai, for all that matters, you will feel as good as if you are driving a Mercedes.


Which seat is the best

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It is well known that Recaro makes the best quality seat period. Most OEM seats are not as comfortable. OEM car seats have improved greatly over the years. In my opinion, American car seats are not comfortable. They lack lumbar support. Japanese cars are slightly better. European cars seems to be the best. Some of the best OEM seat I sat in are Peugeot, Mercedes.  I heard that Jaguar seats are also good.  In aftermarket seats from talking to people, the order from best to good is Recaro, Corbeau which tie with Sparco. However, Sparco seats looks too much like racing seats.  It does not seem too practical for street use.

Comparison of Recaro and Corbeau

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Having bought the entry level Corbeau Sports seat for my little Chevy Sprint, I decided to get the Recaro SE for the Toyota truck. Corbeau's price for 2 seats was $760 with brackets. Recaro was $1060 with brackets. Two years ago in '97, I paid $450 for the two Corbeau Sports seat. That was a very good deal for a pair of quite comfortable seat. Corbeau's price has gone up quite a bit. Now with a differece of only $300, Recaro looks like a better deal, and Corbeau looks like a bad deal. Sitting in a seat at the store for 5 minutes is impossible to tell the difference between a comfortable and an uncomfortable seat. I have bought several seat attachments for my old seats trying to make a worn seat feel more comfortable. They all felt very comfortable at the store, but in a long drive, they were painful. My conclusion is that you can have two seats that feel very comfortable in the store, but one will be painful in a long trip and the other very comfortable. Since I already have the Corbeau, I am hoping that the Recaro is even better.

Initial Impression

The first impression that I get after installing the Recaro is that it looks much more luxurious than the Carbeau seat. The contour of the seat is very comfortable. It has good comfortable lumbar support. There is another support high up in the seat to support the shoulder. The side supports hold you quite tight. Overall the seat is very comfortable. I can drive all day and be comfortable.  However, that was the first impression.  After I went on a long bumpy ride in Death Valley, the seats never felt the same again. 

Long-term Impression

After a year of use, I am realizing that the Recaro is no better than the Corbeau.  A portion of the seat curves outward at the shoulder area.  This gives you a hunchback when sitting in it for a long time.  One of the seat tilt release lever broke.  A row of staples is holds the fabric that wraps around the seat back cushion. All the staples are starting to come apart now.  The fabric has not come off the cushion yet maybe just because there is friction on the fabric.  I would not buy Recaro again.  At least I would not buy the SE model.  This seat is a rip-off.


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Recaro SE

Corbeau Sport

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Would I Buy it Again

This is a hard question. If I had another old car, I would definately get an aftermarket seat for it. Most factory seats are uncomfortable especially if the car is 10 years old. A good seat makes driving so much more plesant. In my Chevy Sprint, before I got the seat, I would loath getting into the car for a long drive. Now with the Corbeau seat, I actually enjoy driving it even commuting to work in traffic for more than an hour each way. A comfortable seat is like sitting in your favorite sofa. It makes sitting in traffic so much more pleasant. Most of the time, I just relax, listen to the radio and look at the scenary. Had I still have my old seat, it would have been two hours of torture each day. My conclusion is if I ever buy a new car, the seat is probably just fine. If is a used car, chances are that the seats are beat up already. Aftermarket seat is almost an automatic purchase. No, repairing and stuffing the old seat is not the same. I would not waste money going that route. As for Corbeau or Recaro, Corbeau gets the pick unless the car is very expensive, and deserve the high end model Recaro.


5 Years Latter 5/2002


This is about 5 years latter since I got the Corbeau seat, and about 3 years since the Recaro. The Corbeau seat is somewhat softer than new, but still holding up quiet well. The Recaro held up quite well. The seats were soft to begin with, and is still about as soft.

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