For years now, there’s been a quiet battle fought between carmakers: Who can make the best, highest-tech seats? Volvo has its chiropractor-approved buckets (for whatever the approval of Ghost Doctors is worth), while Subaru updated the chairs in the current Impreza and Crosstrek based on medical data about motion sickness. But Toyota, it seems, is gunning for the high-tech seat crown with the new Tacoma TRD Pro—by adding adjustable damping directly to the front seats.
Most cars don’t even get adjustable damping in their suspensions, but the updated Taco gets it right in its interior. Toyota calls it the “IsoDynamic Performance Seat,” and its intent is to “stabilize the driver’s field of vision.” The company’s hope is that the seats can keep your eyes pointed forward while bouncing through rough trails.
The damping of these suspended seats is adjustable for your weight, which could lead to some very interesting interactions at the dealership. Do the sales folks have to set your seat sag before you leave? If they don’t, will the seats give you an under-damped waterbed effect, and make the driving experience worse?
If so, the shocks can at least be locked out. Levers on the seats can close them off entirely, turning your space-age seats back into regular, boring chairs. Of course, you’ll get the shocked seats with the TRD Pro trim no matter what—even if you turn them off, you’ll still impress any backseat passengers.
I, for one, am excited for this new era of seat extravagance. Will we see people upgrading their seat shocks, shelling out for Öhlins or Feal replacements when the stock suspension wears out? Will debates begin on the forums, arguing whether or not to match spring rates between driver and passenger? The future of “sitting down in a car” just got a lot more interesting.