KIA Optima Passenger Seat

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twacapt
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KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by twacapt » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:34 pm

My wife purchased a new 2013 Kia Optima sedan. One of the things we overlooked was the front passenger seat. The sticker stated "power seat", but it turned out to not be a "full range" power seat. There is no adjustment, either power or manual, on the height of the seat. The seat is mounted so low that it is almost impossible to see over the dashboard.

I am 6', and it feels like my rear end is dragging the pavement, and I cannot see outside ahead or to the side.

When I complain to the dealer, I get a the run around. What king of engineer would design something like this?
Anyone else have this situation? Any suggestions?

Dopey
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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by Dopey » Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:00 pm

twacapt wrote:My wife purchased a new 2013 Kia Optima sedan. One of the things we overlooked was the front passenger seat. The sticker stated "power seat", but it turned out to not be a "full range" power seat. There is no adjustment, either power or manual, on the height of the seat. The seat is mounted so low that it is almost impossible to see over the dashboard.

I am 6', and it feels like my rear end is dragging the pavement, and I cannot see outside ahead or to the side.

When I complain to the dealer, I get a the run around. What king of engineer would design something like this?
Anyone else have this situation? Any suggestions?



I'm a product design engineer and your comment should read:

What kind of project manager would chose to save cost here?

Anyway, about the only thing you can do is remember to check that feature in the next car you buy.

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LAlearning
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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by LAlearning » Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:31 pm

Pay more attention to your purchases?

Try a booster seat. Buy a new car.
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jeffyscott
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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by jeffyscott » Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:40 pm

We had a Sonata rental car for a week last year. It too had a ridiculously low passenger seat, with no height adjustment.

I see someone has turned this poor design into a business opportunity: http://www.srautoshop.com/
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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by LadyGeek » Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:43 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (car seats).
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jeffyscott
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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by jeffyscott » Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:43 pm

Rammer wrote:I'm a product design engineer and your comment should read:

What kind of project manager would chose to save cost here?


That explains the lack of height adjustment, but it does not really explain the extremely low fixed height.
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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by Mudpuppy » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:50 am

jeffyscott wrote:
Rammer wrote:I'm a product design engineer and your comment should read:

What kind of project manager would chose to save cost here?


That explains the lack of height adjustment, but it does not really explain the extremely low fixed height.

Some people like the feeling of riding on the pavement that low seats provide. I am not one of them, but one of my coworkers is. He intentionally bought his last car to have low riding seats. He was lamenting its demise the other week and this was one of the points he brought up.

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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by kls » Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:29 pm

I bought the sr1a seat kit from SRAUTOSHOP. I installed in my 2013 Kia optima Sx for all the reasons being discussed here. The passenger seat is way to low. It is hard to see out, hard to exit from vehicle, and just not comfortable. The power seat still works fine with the kit. The seat is just in a better position. Finally I can say that I love everything about the car. :D

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jeffyscott
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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by jeffyscott » Fri Mar 08, 2013 6:43 pm

Mudpuppy wrote:Some people like the feeling of riding on the pavement that low seats provide.


At least in the case of the Sonata, it was the lowness in relation to things like the door sill and dash that is the problem. In the Sonata we rented the door sill and dash were at chin or nose height and we are both of average height.

There are a lot of comments about this flaw on the internets, for example: http://sonatahybridblog.wordpress.com/
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mike143
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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by mike143 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:38 pm

This is really surprising, even my wife's 12 Civic LX has this feature (manual). All the way down for me (6'4") all the way up for her (5'1"). My only concern with modifying the seat is changing the safety dynamics and the potential liability.
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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by Dave76 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:01 pm

Adding to what Jeffyscott posted -- It probably feels low because the window sills on late model cars are high. I've noticed that with a number of late model cars I've driven. I wonder if this was done to improve safety. I also notice it when I'm sitting along side them in my '87 Chrysler. Their window sills are a few inches higher than mine, but the occupants are not sitting any higher than me. I can barely see the driver and passengers' arms or shoulders. I feel bad for the small kids and short adults that have to ride in them.

300exsport
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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by 300exsport » Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:22 am

I talked to the shop at my dealership and he told me to take it to a custom auto upholstery shop and they could put a wedge of foam under the seat and I just went to my local upholstery shop and had them cut me out a wedge the height is 3" in the back down to 1" in the front of the seat you need to measure the seats width and length just the middle don't go to the edge because you will not get it to fit right mine was a little bit too big so I used an electric knife to cut it off it worked well it is just a little tricky to get the seat cover off but if you look close you should be able to figure it out I did mine and my inlaws and my wife and my mother inlaw were very happy it feels great it slides under the factory foam on the metal the seat is attached to the foam dont try and pull it off just put it under the foam. Good Luck and be careful I cut my hand on the metal putting the cover back on it is sharp on the edge. I should make a you tube video of this.

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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by deanbrew » Wed Sep 25, 2013 2:17 pm

I considered buying the Hyundai Sonata (kissing cousin of the Kia Optima), but found that the passenger seat was inferior in several respects to the driver's seat, including power adjustability and comfort. I wonder how many people buy cars based on the driver's seat without really testing the other positions. What a lousy way to save a few bucks that one might not realize until after they've bought.
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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by Dave76 » Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:43 pm

I have also noticed the high door sills on late model cars. Driver and passenger comfort (and general ergonomics) don't compare to cars built 25 years ago. The seats in new cars are too firm; the ride is choppy due to the tires not having enough sidewall; cheap seat fabric; less insulation to reduce weight (for better fuel economy); LCD displays instead of VFD; LED lights that are costly to replace; poor visibility all around, hence the need for cameras. I could go on...

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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by barnaclebob » Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:56 pm

Dave76 wrote:I have also noticed the high door sills on late model cars. Driver and passenger comfort (and general ergonomics) don't compare to cars built 25 years ago. The seats in new cars are too firm; the ride is choppy due to the tires not having enough sidewall; cheap seat fabric; less insulation to reduce weight (for better fuel economy); LCD displays instead of VFD; LED lights that are costly to replace; poor visibility all around, hence the need for cameras. I could go on...


Are you sure its just not you getting old and crotchety?

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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by Dave76 » Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:59 pm

I'm 36. :|

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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by bill88 » Wed Sep 25, 2013 11:44 pm

SUVs and crossovers tend to have higher seats. We rented a Lincoln MKX (Ford Edge fancy cousin). Very nice, very comfortable seats, front and rear; heated and cooled front seats, and power lumbar in both fronts, and, I think, the same adjustment ranges in the front passenger seat as the driver seat.

And, of course, power up and down in both fronts. Nice car, hated to turn it back in. But it starts around $40k. I think you have to go lux or near lux (Caddy, Lincoln, Lexus, Benz, BMW, etc.) to get the seats. Or maybe a high-trim large sedan -- new Impala, Toyota Avalon, Kia Cadenza?

I'm not sure why the car companies think I want my wife to be less comfortable as a passenger than I am as a driver. Hmm...maybe they want me to solve that problem by paying $40 to $50 grand for a car. :shock:
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deanbrew
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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by deanbrew » Thu Sep 26, 2013 7:24 am

Dave76 wrote:I have also noticed the high door sills on late model cars. Driver and passenger comfort (and general ergonomics) don't compare to cars built 25 years ago. The seats in new cars are too firm; the ride is choppy due to the tires not having enough sidewall; cheap seat fabric; less insulation to reduce weight (for better fuel economy); LCD displays instead of VFD; LED lights that are costly to replace; poor visibility all around, hence the need for cameras. I could go on...


I have to disagree with some of your opinions, Dave, though I understand where you are coming from. Many cars in the 70s and 80s did have softer, more cushioned seats, as well as floaty roads due to higher sidewalls and softer suspensions. I, for one, prefer a more connected feel with the road. As for seat fabric, I'm not sure what you mean about "cheap fabric". The fabric in most new cars holds up much better than decades ago, and is easier to clean, also. I remember lots of automobile upholstery shops when I was young, as the cloth seats back then wore out and needed reupholstered. I remember the seats in my mom's car wearing through before the car hit 35,000 miles (and warranties were only 12 months/12,000 miles then). I'm also not sure about less insulation, as I think most modern cars are quieter than I remember cars in the 80s.

I do agree that many new vehicles have poor visibility, but the worst offenders are the SUVs that most soccer moms and weekend warriors prefer. As for high door sills, that is a design style currently in vogue, I agree. I haven't sat or drove a new Kia Optima, but I have to admit I like the way it looks.
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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by pretzelogik » Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:38 am

Both Sonata and Optima forum websites have had numerous gripes about this issue.

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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by bertilak » Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:41 am

Dave76 wrote:I'm 36. :|

See a doctor. Sounds like you have "Early Crotchety Syndrome."

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tjschraf
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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by tjschraf » Thu Sep 26, 2013 11:24 am

all the more reason to not buy kia's

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deanbrew
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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by deanbrew » Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:30 pm

tjschraf wrote:all the more reason to not buy kia's


Reason to not buy Kia's what? :confused


:wink:
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Dave76
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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by Dave76 » Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:12 pm

deanbrew wrote:
Dave76 wrote:I have also noticed the high door sills on late model cars. Driver and passenger comfort (and general ergonomics) don't compare to cars built 25 years ago. The seats in new cars are too firm; the ride is choppy due to the tires not having enough sidewall; cheap seat fabric; less insulation to reduce weight (for better fuel economy); LCD displays instead of VFD; LED lights that are costly to replace; poor visibility all around, hence the need for cameras. I could go on...


I have to disagree with some of your opinions, Dave, though I understand where you are coming from. Many cars in the 70s and 80s did have softer, more cushioned seats, as well as floaty roads due to higher sidewalls and softer suspensions. I, for one, prefer a more connected feel with the road. As for seat fabric, I'm not sure what you mean about "cheap fabric". The fabric in most new cars holds up much better than decades ago, and is easier to clean, also. I remember lots of automobile upholstery shops when I was young, as the cloth seats back then wore out and needed reupholstered. I remember the seats in my mom's car wearing through before the car hit 35,000 miles (and warranties were only 12 months/12,000 miles then). I'm also not sure about less insulation, as I think most modern cars are quieter than I remember cars in the 80s.

I do agree that many new vehicles have poor visibility, but the worst offenders are the SUVs that most soccer moms and weekend warriors prefer. As for high door sills, that is a design style currently in vogue, I agree. I haven't sat or drove a new Kia Optima, but I have to admit I like the way it looks.


Seat fabric on late model cars may hold up better, but the fabric on older cars is softer. I sat in the back of a 2013 Ford Fusion. The seat fabric in that car is some type of mesh material, which is nothing like the velour seats in older cars.

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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by twacapt » Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:48 pm

We've had the 2013 Optima for a year now, and every time we ride in it, my wife or myself complains about the low passenger seat. We traded in a 2007 Camry and had no issue with the passenger seat. Wish now we had kept it. It is getting to the pont where we're considering trading the Optima for a 2014 model that isn't a Kia. Can anyone suggest a 4-door sedan with a passenger seat that is either adjustable or at a proper height??

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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by deanbrew » Fri Sep 27, 2013 7:54 am

Finding a car with a height-adjustable passenger seat will require some digging. You may be able to find the information on edmunds.com, cars.com or similar websites, but you'll have to dig into each model. It might be easier to go to the manufacturers websites and look at models you like and see the features for each trim level.

Being tall with most of my height in my torso, the first thing I do when I get into any seat is see if it is all the way down, and adjust it down if I can. Luckily, my wife is also tall, so neither of us ever want to raise seats. But I can see why this might be an issue for shorter people, and also see that it saves the manufacturers a few bucks. After reading this thread, I noticed that the car we test drove yesterday has height adustment on the driver side but not the passenger side. I suspect that is common.
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jeffyscott
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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by jeffyscott » Fri Sep 27, 2013 4:14 pm

twacapt wrote:Can anyone suggest a 4-door sedan with a passenger seat that is either adjustable or at a proper height??


I know that VW has typically had height adjustment on both, but I am not familiar with recent models, my wife has a 2005 and my son has a 2010.
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300exsport
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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by 300exsport » Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:34 pm

Another thing you could do is spent the $5000 that it costs to replace the seat with a power seat :oops: like the drivers seat.

Dave76
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Re: KIA Optima Passenger Seat

Post by Dave76 » Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:59 am

deanbrew wrote: After reading this thread, I noticed that the car we test drove yesterday has height adustment on the driver side but not the passenger side. I suspect that is common.


That's surprising. My car has power height-adjustable seats for both driver and front passenger, and it's a 26 year old K car. It seems they're trying to cut costs, which is understandable, considering the expensive government mandated safety systems.

I would use a seat cushion. I'm talking about the chair cushions that are commonly used for kitchen dining sets made of wood.

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