Maybe it’s because I haven’t travelled in the back of an MPV for a while, or maybe the average car seat has got so much better in recent years than the entire concept of the numb bum has been forgotten about, at least in my mind.
Either way, I’ve just spent two hours sitting in the back of a Lancia Phedra – being driven from Venice to Trieste to attend the launch of the new Maserati GranSport cabrio (well someone’s got to do it…) – and I’m fairly confident in reporting that it had some of the most uncomfortable rear seats I have ever sat in.
There are no arm rests, no padding beneath your backside to speak of, not a great deal of shape to talk about either. After 15 minutes on board I thought, hang on, I remember this. I remember vividly the weird feeling you get when your backside doesn’t fit the seat it’s sitting on and your whole body starts to vibrate as a result. It used to happen all the time when I was a child and we went on long journeys in my father’s Trans Am (don’t ask).
Anyroad, after 30 minutes in the back of the Phedra I couldn’t feel my legs much anymore. And as for my backside, you could have burned it with a branding iron and I swear I wouldn’t have felt a thing.
The whole car, if you can call it a car, reminded me rather obviously of yesteryear in fact. With its cheapo plastic steering wheel, its Integrale-style alcantara suede trim (which is actually rather nice) and its brace of hilariously low rent fold-out seat tables that look just like the ones you’ll find in a Ryanair Boeing 737. Which was de-fleeted in 2004 due to it being completely and utterly knackered.
We never got the Lancia Phedra in this country, mainly because Lancia had gone under in the UK by the time it appeared. We didn’t miss much. Because cars – and specifically their seats – have improved an awful lot since then.
So go on then, what’s the most uncomfortable car you’ve ever travelled in?