Feature Friday: Seat Extender

Feature Friday: Seat Extender
The BMW M8 has a seat extender with a manual adjustment that makes the bottom bolster a couple inches longer to offer more support to taller drivers. (Photo by Jill Ciminillo)

In case you missed it: I’m short. So, I’ve never experienced a lack of support underneath my knees while driving. But if you’re taller than, well, me you probably know this is a thing.

What I have experienced is seat bottoms that are too long. Then I’m stuck feeling like Edith Ann in a too-big seat with my legs awkwardly dangling off the edge. I get this a lot in pickup trucks.

But the point here is: It’s really hard to make a seat that works for everyone — unless the automaker includes something called a seat extender.

Then you make small and tall drivers happy at the same time.

Basically, what this feature allows the manufacture to do is create a seat bottom that fits the fifth percentile female (aka someone who’s about 5-feet-tall) as well as someone who’s much taller, simply by allowing the seat bottom to grow or shrink.

Some automakers have a button you push that extends the bottom bolster, others have a manual adjustment that pulls out the edge of the cushion to make it longer. Some have an awkward ledge that pulls away from the main cushion (like pictured above), others have a bottom bolster that basically uncurls, making the overall cushion longer. However it’s achieved, the seat extender extends the comfort for a wider range of drivers.

While I used to only see this feature on BMW-level vehicles, I’ve seen it start to trickle down into mainstream vehicles as well — including Kias. So, if you have small and tall drivers in your household, this is definitely a feature to watch for.

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