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Best and worst cars for comfort

The top five and bottom five comfortable cars

Last week we revealed the cars that you rated the most and least practical. This week, it’s car comfort that takes centre stage.

Car comfort is subjective. So a crucial part of how we rate cars comes from owners – the people who drive their cars everyday and know exactly how comfortable they are. Or indeed, aren’t. In the 2012 Which? Car Survey more than 39,000 people rated their cars in nine areas; including styling, build quality and comfort.

You’d probably expect luxury cars to sit at the top of the comfort leaderboard, but large 4x4s actually take three of the top five spots. Perhaps unsurprisingly, small and cheap superminis make up the bottom five.

“Its handling, road holding and smoothness are unsurpassed.”

Saab 9-5 owner,
2012 Which? Car Survey

The most comfortable cars – as rated by you

Saab 9-5 (1997-2010) – 98.4%

Despite not making cars at present, it’s Saab that takes the number-one slot, with the 9-5 rated the most comfortable car by owners. Many commented on the car’s ability to cover long distances effortlessly. One owner described it as a “reliable long-distance mile-eater”.

Volvo XC70 (2007-) – 98.2%

A kind of Volvo V70 on stilts, the XC70 combines comfort, luxury and practicality with off-road ability. It is solidly built and easy to drive, and has lots of space for passengers. Owners were particularly pleased with how well it “handles in all conditions”, and that it’s “extremely comfortable in summer and winter”.

“This is driving your living room around. A truly executive ride.”

Range Rover owner,
2012 Which? Car Survey

Land Rover Range Rover (2002-) – 97.9%

Even with a new model on the way, few can challenge the Range Rover in the large 4×4 class. It’s the epitome of comfort, off-road ability and luxury, with a very spacious and comfortable cabin. Range Rover enthusiasts told us that “it is eminently comfortable”, and many owners mentioned the “great driving position”.

Lexus RX (2003-2009) – 97.9%

Few cars can dispatch a long journey as easily as the Lexus RX. The interior is huge and well put-together, so there’s plenty of space for even the tallest of people to enjoy the drive. RX owners seem to agree with our verdict, and commented on the “effortless luxury” of the Lexus.

“I love the quietness of the car – from starting to cruising.”

Lexus RX owner,
2012 Which? Car Survey

Lexus RX (2009-) – 97.9%

Lexus is obviously doing something right as the latest generation of the RX also makes it into top five with exactly the same score. A lot of people are particularly pleased with how quiet the drive is: “Very quiet and excellent comfort”, “Comfortable, quiet motoring” and “It is a very quiet and comfortable car to drive” were among the comments

The least comfortable cars – as rated by you

Ford Ka (1996-2008) – 62.8%

This generation of the Ka sold well for all of its 12 years. It gives a nice drive, especially for the cheap price tag, but it seems that Ford has overlooked the car’s comfort with owners rating the Ka bottom of the pile. Many aren’t pleased with the “uncomfortable seating” especially “when using the rear seats for a long time”.

Kia Picanto (2004-2011) – 65.7%

The Picanto is the first of two Kias in the bottom five comfortable cars. This good-value supermini has been given the thumbs up as a “town runaround”, but owners aren’t enjoying out-of-town drives. As well as the “bumpy ride on country roads”, owners are frustrated with the “jittery suspension on poor road surfaces”.

Kia Rio (2005-2011) – 65.8%

The second cheap supermini from Kia to make it into the bottom five, the Rio scored almost exactly the same as the Picanto when it came to comfort. Again, owners aren’t pleased with the “ride comfort” and many commented that “noise levels are a problem”.

“The ride is the most uncomfortable I have ever experienced. The suspension is too hard for such a light car and the hard seats only compound the problem.”

Vauxhall Corsa owner,
2012 Which? Car Survey

Vauxhall Corsa (2000-2006) – 66.7%

There’s no doubting the Corsa’s popularity – it was the bestselling supermini in 2004. Although there’s plenty of space in the cabin for four adults, drivers mentioned the “poor driving position” and how it is “uncomfortable on long journeys”.

Citroen C1 (2005-) – 66.9%

The C1 is cheap to buy and run. Its size and good visibility make it an ideal city car, but owners aren’t enjoying the “vibration over longer journeys”. Noise is also a problem, and we had comments that the C1 is “noisy at speed” and “tends to be noisy in a low gear”.

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