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Old 10-28-2017, 09:07 PM   #1
mattjb
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Location: Bainbridge Island, WA
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2018 WRX STI
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Thumbs up Recaro Sportster CS /w heat in 2018 STI

I'm not a tall guy at 5í 7Ē but even I feel like Iím sitting way too high in my new 2018 STI. Even with the seat adjusted as low as it'll go it's much higher than I'm used to. Seems like you'd need to be awfully short to need the higher adjustments on the stock seat. Not only do I sit too high, I'm too far forward since my legs are shorter than average. The ergonomics are all wrong and I've had enough.

The other day I replaced my driver's seat with a Recaro Sportster CS in leather with heat and, oh baby, what a profound difference! It's not all positive but, overall, a great change that I'd do again. From what I've seen this seat is not the same as the optional Recaros from Subaru.



For context, I've got 7000 miles logged in the stock seat. Yesterday I drove ~1000 miles from Seattle to San Francisco with four stops for fuel and food. Enough seat time time, I think, to review the Recaro Sportster CS.


The good

Oh my god, the driving position and ergonomics feel so much better! I feel like Iím driving a sports car, not a commuter car. I sit several inches lower in the car, eliminating that ďsitting onĒ feeling, I'm IN the car now. My legs are straighter, which I prefer, and also allows me to sit back a bit and still get the clutch all the way to the floor. The wheel is higher up and farther back, and the gear shift is in front of me instead of below me. All good, in my opinion. I feel more involved in the drive and am held in place. Getting some distance from the airbag is nice, too. Little things, like the placement of the arm rests, also feel improved.

Seat heat is great. My installer wired the power for them thru the stock heated seat switch, so it operates like a master on/off. High/low/off controls are on the front-left side of the seat, between it and the door. I like this so much better. Why Subaru thought the placement of the stock heated seat switches was acceptable I'll never understand. Adjusting heat settings is now easy and intuitive, zero effort or though needed. No more hunting around for controls while driving, no more akward bending to get at the switch. Heat itself builds fast and stays hot. The stock seats never felt predictable to me and these do. When I put it on high it gets HOT and stays HOT. Good stuff.

Comfort was a worry for me and Iím pleased to say I survived the all-day drive in one piece and ZERO BACKACHE the next day. I feel perfectly fine. The seat has more aggressive bolsters than stock, no better on lumbar support, or cushion softness. I haven't done that long of a drive in the stock seats but the Recaro performed above my expectations in this area. I had concerns that I'd be pummeled into oblivion and hurting the next day, I'm very happy to be wrong. On the move I found that 2.5-3 hours was my limit. My right hip would start to cramp and needed a break. That's about my limit in the stock seat, too. As I get older, find myself less inclined to power through long-ass drives like this without stopping so, for me, this is a wash. Overall, comfort feels improved for me. Your mileage may vary depending on your build.

The not so good

Being short and sitting lower in the car means I've sacrificed some visibility. Whereas before I could see all the way to the end of the hood, now I see the hood scoop and not much more out the front. Iím adjusting my sight lines to compensate and re-find the cars extremities while navigating tight spaces. Visibility out the passenger rear is more impacted. Right now I need an extra beat when looking over my shoulder for a lane change. I think it's an adjustment period thing and am not too concerned, but it is a decrease in visibility.

I'm still working on a way to get out of the car without looking like an idiot. Short legs and big bolsters result in feet that donít easily touch the ground. I can't just swing my legs out and stand up. It's not elegant or pretty. If youíve got a method for getting out of these race-style seats please share.
The recline adjustment on the Recaro seat is by an adjustment wheel, not a ratchet. Personally, I prefer the ratchet; I find it more intuitive and easier to adjust quickly. This is made even worse with placement which ends up being right at the bottom of the b-pillar. There isn't much room to squeeze and hand down there and the seat belt ends up competing for that space, which it wins. Adjusting the recline on the move is very difficult, to the point where its distracting to try while driving. Good thing it' comfy and doesnít need much adjusting once you dial it in.

I don't plan on replacing the passenger seat as all the benefits, in my opinion, are driving-position related. I think my wife would get sick of the adjustment wheel position, undignified exit, and decreased visibility. But, for the me as the driver, it's a winner.

So, there you go. Recaro Sportster CS with heat. Recommended.
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Old 10-29-2017, 10:18 AM   #2
Quatro Negro
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Can you add detailed photos of your assessments?
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Old 10-29-2017, 12:54 PM   #3
mr3sgte
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Any issues with the airbag sensor, or would that only be for a passenger seat?
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Old 10-30-2017, 07:58 AM   #4
Ivy1125
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Looks really good
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Old 11-29-2017, 11:17 AM   #5
Six WRX
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2017 Base WRX
WRB

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Thanks for the detailed review. Did you consider any other seats?
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Old 08-10-2018, 02:13 PM   #6
carlos.danger
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2015 WRX STi
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Where did you buy yours?
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