THE BOTTOM LINE

WHY OUR COTY WINNERí SEATS ARE A TUSHY SUBJECT

ALEX INWOOD

VOLVO XC40 T5

Price as tested: $62,710

This month: 722km @ 9.2L/100km

LIKE a Tony Greig pitch examination, which verged on forensic in its investigation of firmness, springiness and surface moisture, I tend to pay careful attention to where I place my bottom.

Hard-earned experience tells me this is an undervalued life skill, and one that is particularly useful when it comes to cars. Not because my derriere is especially sensitive, but because proper seat comfort is one of those things you never truly appreciate until itís gone, like having a full head of hair, or a healthy set of chompers.

And Volvos; well, Volvos have always had great seats.

The pews in the XC60 long-termer I ran last year were especially praiseworthy, and the plush, electrically adjustable, leather-clad seats in the XC90 T6 Inscription I drove over the Christmas break were, if anything, even better. Both major on comfort with brilliant lateral and lumbar support.

All of this serves to explain the niggling disappointment Iíve felt with the seats in our XC40 T5. They arenít bad exactly, theyíre just a little Ö flat. And narrow. And short in the base.

T5s use Ďsportierí seats than other XC40s, and both rows have issues with my 6ft frame. The fronts lack lateral shoulder support and are too narrow in the base, so the outside of your thighs can feel pinched. And while thereís oodles of space in the rear, the bottom cushion is too short and minors on under-thigh support.

Fickle complaints, you might suggest, considering the XC40 has just been handed our highest honour, but hey, no car is perfect, right?

ALEX INWOOD