Agree, I've just picked up my Classic Sedan about 2 weeks ago and both my wife and I believe the seats feel weird. They do not offer much support and if you stretch you legs out you can feel the base flex under your ass. I will be complaining to Mazda as well.
I picked up my Mazda 6 Luxury Sports Hatch on 28/11/02. Within a week I had a sore back.
Now I should point out that I am a very fit individual who has never had a sore back before in my life. I religiously ride road & mountain bikes (250km a week would be average) as well as running & I also swim several times a week. In fact my training time is around 12-15 hours a week. I race cross country MTB & road events. I have a strong back, I’m flexible, I’m 183cm (6ft1) & 75kilograms (165lbs). I don’t consider my height or weight to be anything than totally normal.
Like I say, I’ve never had a sore back before this Mazda. Previously I have owned a 1989 Honda CRX and a 1995 Honda Integra VTIR, both of which are physically smaller cars yet I had no problems at all getting comfortable & never gave me any back pain.
Back to the story.
Within a week of owning the car I rang my local dealership to explain that I thought the seats were giving me a bad back. From my conversation with the dealer I basically got the impression that they didn’t really care. They did a complete handball, and told me that I should call Mazda Australia. So I did.
I called Mazda Australia, spoke to a customer service representative whom I explained the whole situation to. They said they had never heard of such a problem & that I should give myself a week to adjust to the seats. The line given to me was “Mazda makes seats for the majority of people. If you fit outside that majority….”
I gave it 2 weeks, carefully adjusting the seat a little at a time to try out each possible seat combination & then driving with that position. This typically involved an adjustment in the morning, drive to work, see how it feels. Then adjust at night & drive home from work. I’ve even tried big adjustments here & there to find *that* spot. Throughout all this my back is still sore. For at least one day I’m lying on the floor of the office in pain because of my back.
Mazda Australia calls me for a customer satisfaction service. Again, I retell my story to another customer service person who seems a little concerned but not enough to actually do anything.
I called again and was told that changing the seats shouldn’t be a problem and the warranty wont be affected unless the mounting of the seats is a ‘cause of concern’ to Mazda.
On 30/12/02 I sent a letter to Mazda Australia requesting in writing what I was verbally told above over the phone. On 21/1/02 I did receive my reply. It said that the warranty may be limited when there is a condition contributed to by the installation of the seats. Fair comment, but the wording is far too open to interpretation. They closed by saying sorry for being unable to provide defined answers.
The pain itself starts in the middle of my back & extends up to my shoulders.
I believe the problem stems from the fact that the seat back is too low for me. Look at the way you sit in a good car seat and you will see that the seat back extends up to at least shoulder level & probably above it. This ensures your upper back is actually supported & that any bolstering or extra padding is actually supporting your shoulders.
The seat back on the Mazda 6 Luxury seats extends only up as far as my shoulder blades, leaving a large amount of my back unsupported. In addition to this, there seems to be a moderate amount of bolstering which extends horizontally across the top of the seat back and is more pronounced on the sides. I guess if you were in the 160-170cm range then this would probably hold you in the seat quite nicely. However I don’t know any adult males who are under 170cm tall so I can’t test this out. For me this bolstering sticks right into the upper part of my back / shoulder blades & must be hunching me forward.
I went to see an orthopedic seating specialist, who saw the problem immediately when I sat in the car. He told me that the seat back was too low me for & not a good shape. This pretty much confirmed my suspicions. I tried out a few seats & agreed that a Recaro SE seat base with a Recaro SR seat back was the best fit for me, and it felt GOOD. The SR seat back actually has more side bolstering, but none of this horizontal bolstering which I believe is partially causing the problem. The Recaro seat back also extends well past my shoulders so I am fully supported.
The immediate problem we struck was that the seats have airbags in them, so it wouldn’t be a straight forward fit. I asked what they normally do and that is to get an auto electrician to fit a resistor pack to fool the ECU into thinking the airbag is still there. He was going to contact Mazda Australia for specific instructions though, as it has never been a problem before apparently for other car manufacturers.
When Mazda Australia replied, they said that they will only assist in this where certification of a medical condition exists. Not a problem for me, an invasion of my privacy but if it has to be done. I also need to replace my SRS entire module, at my cost, in the car for the model below that only has front airbags. So I also lose my curtain & rear airbags as well. This module then needs to be programmed, at my cost as well I assume.., with the ‘as built data’ supplied by Mazda so the system ignores the side airbags.
So that’s about it in condensed form. At every step of the way Mazda have been very reluctant, unconcerned and generally less than helpful to me in trying to make me a happy customer. At the moment I’m not a happy customer.
I had a similar ( though not as bad ) problem with my old '90 Laser Ghia which also came down to the seat backrest not being tall enough and resting below my shoulder blades. And I also found salvation in a honda - in my case a Civic VTiR. Only problem for me was the lack of seat rear travel - but it was OK on all but long drives.
You've probably thought of this already, but couldn't you get an auto upolstry trimmer to modify the seats for you. It sounds as if they removed some of the padding from the backrest top, and possibly added a few cm of hieght, that it would solve the problem. It would also negate having to play around with the airbags and you wouldn't devalue the car by putting aftermarket gear in.
Just a thought. Anyway - good luck with the sale. What do you plan to replace your M6 with ?
Yeah I would have thought trying to uploster it would be easier too.. I must say that the bit across the top annoys me a little bit at times, but for the most part I'm happy with the seats. I've got the luxury model too