Possible to relocate car seats?
November 20, 2005 5:14 PM   Subscribe

Is it feasible to relocate a car seat to provide more legroom? I'm tall, and the new cars I'm interested in do not have enough driver legroom. Are there companies who can move the seat hardware back? Will this void warranties or otherwise damage the car? I'm thinking of some of the smaller Hondas and Toyotas such as the Toyota Matrix and the Honda CRV.
posted by Jackson to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total)
A Matrix doesn't have enough room? Wow. I'm 6-2 and I thought there was plenty of room.

It comes down to this, though: liability. No company is going to assume the liability for messing with major components of a car's safety system, including seats and seat belts. Even airbag effectiveness is affected. If you're really intent on doing this, design some brackets that will allow you to attache the seat further back, and put them in yourself. But if you get hurt in an accident, don't expect insurance to pay for your injuries.
posted by Doohickie at 5:21 PM on November 20, 2005

Not a direct answer, but if you want to explore other cars, look here and rank 'em.
posted by Kwantsar at 5:26 PM on November 20, 2005

Some cars have alternative mounting holes in the seat bases so that the seats can be located further back - ask the dealer, but don't count on it. The only drawback is that the seats won't slide as far forward so, if you have one tall and none short driver, someone is shit out of luck.
posted by dg at 5:56 PM on November 20, 2005

My first thought was to call a custom car shop that does high-end work - they may have experience doing interiors for pro basketball players. Some place like this. They (or their counterpart in your town) probably aren't interested in taking on your boring job, but if you're nice they may give you advice.
posted by mullacc at 6:16 PM on November 20, 2005

Any race prep shop can do this for you, racing seats rarely fit the stock brackets and are often to far forward if they did.
posted by Mitheral at 6:54 PM on November 20, 2005

A classic car restoration place might be a good place to start, since they have to replace seats all the time, very often not with the same kind that were there originally.

However, the problem I have with some newer cars is not just that there isn't enough leg-room, it's that there isn't enough distance between the wheel and the pedals. To get enough room for your legs as the driver, you'd have to put the seat where you'd be reaching uncomfortably far for the steering wheel. Fixing that would be more complicated than just moving the seat back.
posted by sfenders at 7:18 PM on November 20, 2005

Seat replacement is common enough, so Doohickie's answer doesn't make any sense. In your case it's primarily a matter of relocating the brackets, which may depend on the chassis. Smaller cars might have less tolerance built into the chassis, though, and you might have to permanently sacrifice passenger use of the driver's side back seat.

Look into conversion places that cater to the handicapped, as well. They do all sorts of weird things to cars.

I think it's funny a big guy wants a custom pocket rocket, but I do know how fun they are to drive.
posted by dhartung at 7:40 PM on November 20, 2005

A friend of mine who's 6'7" and built like a linebacker is very, very happy in his factory-standard Matrix.
posted by padraigin at 9:22 PM on November 20, 2005

Unfortunately, I think Doohickie has a point. My Mom has very uncomfortable seats in her 2000(ish) Suzuki esteem wagon, she has asked numerous consumer oriented garages (and body shops, I guess) with no luck. They refuse to touch it, and they site liability as the reason. This is in Ontario, for the record.

I will pass along the suggestions here though, it does strike me that the liability worrywarts are just suffering from a failure of imagination.
posted by Chuckles at 1:23 AM on November 21, 2005

You sound like you're looking for the same kind of car I'm looking for: something small that's not a sedan. I'm 6'10" with long legs and I feel your pain.

Neither Toyota Matrix or Honda CRV worked for me. The 2006 Honda Civic LX (meaning no sunroof) was pretty roomy, but it only comes with a trunk. Only thing in Toyota that fit me was the Camry - again, only with trunk...

The only thing you can do is just try lots of cars. There are ones that will fit you. And you're probably aware of this, but NEVER let the salesperson think he knows more about how you'll fit in a car than you do. If you get one of those wise asses that steers you right to the mega-SUV, then get rid of that salesperson. End of story.

The cars on my list (meaning I can drive them comfortably with no seat modification) are: Ford Escape, Honda Civic, Toyota Camry, Mazda 6, Mitsubishi Galant, Misubishi Lancer, and VW GTI.

The GTI was fun to drive and is my current favorite. The new models are coming out soon. The dealer told me the new Golfs are coming out next month, so I'll see how I fit in that... I like the GTI, but I've heard a LOT of things about VW quality issues.
posted by Sasquatch at 8:37 AM on November 21, 2005

No idea about relocating seats, but the new Volkswagen beetle has excellent headroom.
posted by Nelson at 10:20 AM on November 21, 2005

Did you try the Toyota Scion line? The xB (the boxy car/wagon/minivan/whatever it is) has more head room and leg room than most cars I've been in.
posted by inthe80s at 9:15 AM on November 22, 2005

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