How a Car’s Interior Cabin Can Make or Break Customer Satisfaction

January 7th, 2017 by


What do you look for most when buying a new car? There are so many factors to consider before deciding on which new vehicle to purchase, and it can be overwhelming. From safety, to in-vehicle technology, to fuel economy – the list goes on and on. While all of these are incredibly important to keep in mind, there is one thing that car buyers don’t pay a lot of attention to – and they should. Local car dealerships place such an emphasis on pricing, efficiency, and included amenities, that they forget to remind the buyer to consider how they feel when behind the wheel.

If you are looking to buy a new or used car, consider how you feel when you are on your test drive. While your emotional feels are important to consider before a major purchase, it is even more crucial to pay attention to how you feel physically.

An Uncomfortable Car = A Dissatisfied Driver

Oftentimes, a short test drive around town is not long enough to truly gauge how comfortable the seats or interior cabin of a new car actually is. While it may not seem as critical as whether or not your new 2017 Chevy has Apple CarPlay connectivity or includes a sunroof – trust us, comfort should be at the top of your new car buying list of must-have features.

A few years ago, a good friend of mine began a new career that took him farther away from home on his daily commute. Over forty miles each way, my friend was spending up to three hours each day fighting Chicago area traffic. Moving was not an option for him, so he opted to trade in his favorite Chevy S-10 pickup truck, for a more fuel efficient Honda Civic. The car was an older model, and a stark contrast from the vehicle he had driven in the past. The little Civic did its duty of saving my friend money, nearly $50 a week at the pump. That said, his change from a Chevy to this compact Honda did come at a cost – the expense of his health. After commuting 80 miles each day for three years, his back pain and posture had become so bad, that he is now swapping it out for another option. Unfortunately, my friend’s experience is not uncommon. Car buyers become so stuck on fuel efficiency or other “important” factors, that they ignore their own comfort entirely.

Seat Comfort and Quality Matters

In August of 2016, JD Power conducted a Seat Quality and Satisfaction Study that asked new vehicle owners to rate the comfort and quality of their car’s seating. The findings from the study were based on the responses of more than 80,000 buyers and vehicle lessees for new 2017 model year cars, trucks, and SUVs. JD Power asked each car owner to rate the interior comfort of their new vehicles, based on a sliding 10-point scale, with a score of one being the worst, and ten being the best.

Out of the 80,000 people polled, JD Power found that 68 percent of individuals who reported their comfort seat satisfaction a 10, said that they “definitely will” purchase the same make and model in the future. Vehicle owners who reported their comfort level as a 9, were 45 percent likely to repurchase the same vehicle, while a seat satisfaction rating of 7 found that just 32 percent of individuals would buy the same car again. These findings align with what most people tend to think regarding this subject, however, most new car buyers don’t end up thoroughly vetting a vehicle’s seating comfort prior to purchase.

The same study found that just 18 percent of new car buyers avoided buying a certain make and model due to interior design and seat comfort. That number indicates that 82 percent of new car shoppers don’t seriously consider their own comfort when purchasing a new vehicle. As my own good friend would attest, this is a serious problem that buyers should take into consideration prior to settling on a new vehicle to take home. Whether or not they have a long daily commute into the office, vehicle comfort is just as important when it comes to shorter trips around town, and even long family excursions and summer vacations.

Gauging New Vehicle Comfort

New vehicle test drives are not the most comprehensive way to discover whether or not a vehicle features comfortable seats for longer trips. While most test drives last less than twenty minutes, buyers aren’t truly able to gauge whether or not the vehicle in question will provide long-lasting support and comfort. While this may be true, you don’t have to give up on your new car purchase. Check out some tips for finding out whether the new car you want to buy will provide you with enough support and comfort on longer trips and commutes into the office.

  • During your test drive, take note of how you feel from behind the wheel. Your arms should be just as comfortable as your head, neck, and back. If the short test ride leaves anything to be desired in terms of overall comfort, you will want to consider a different model. These seemingly small issues now, will result in a major head (and back) ache later down the road.
  • Look at what type of seating is included on the car you want to buy. Sport seats are great for drivers who will be using their new car on shorter, quick trips. If you plan on taking your vehicle on longer road trips or have an extended daily commute, consider seats with strong overall support and adjustable lumbar capabilities.
  • If you live here in the Albany area, or another part of the country that experiences all four seasons, consider a car with heated and ventilated seating. This may seem like a pointless and excessive luxury, but these systems can end up increasing your overall comfort in both summer and winter.
  • Just because a seat looks nice, doesn’t mean it will be comfortable. Take your time sitting behind the wheel and see how it makes you feel. Seats that are cheaply made will not offer long lasting support, and will wear down over the years. If you plan to use your vehicle for more than a few years, consider upgrading the seats that come standard on the model you want to buy.

The Chevy lineup features a ton of great options that deliver comfort and support for both drivers and passengers. Come down to DePaula Chevrolet and spend some time inside the cabin to see which one is the most comfortable option for your needs. You wouldn’t buy a bed if it wasn’t comfortable, and you shouldn’t buy a car if it doesn’t deliver exceptional support and comfort either. We hope to see you down at DePaula Chevrolet, soon!