Front Headrest Tilt - 2013 Ford Focus ST Long-Term Road Test

2013 Ford Focus ST Long-Term Road Test

2013 Ford Focus ST: Front Headrest Tilt

April 12, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

Back in the days of our dearly departed long-term Ford Flex, several editors were not fans of the front head restraint positioning. Essentially, they tilted too far forward in their effort to presumably prevent whiplash. It wasn't a universal problem, as some seating positions put the restraint in a just-right place. I was thankfully in that camp.

Fast forward several years and Ford has largely heard what must have been a common complaint. Most Fords today either have head restraints with adjustable tilt or a completely different design altogether. Note that I said "most" because our Focus ST still has some semblance of the old tilt. Once again I found them to be perfect, but when my much shorter wife tried to take a nap in the Focus ST's snazzy Recaro seat, she couldn't find a head restraint position that wasn't pushing her head forward.

"I'm sorry," I said. "At least the seats are yellow."

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 9,460 miles


  • I wish they'd go with the active head restraints on more cars. Where in an rear collision the headrest moves forward to catch you head but stays back a bit the rest of the time. It isn't a problem for most people but for those that it is it can be quite annoying

  • ddougyy ddougyy Posts:

    Back in the day (read: a few months ago) I had a 2012 Mustang V6 base model (no leather) that had the same issue, except much worse. The headrest was not adjustable, and was tilted so far forward that if you rest your head against it, it would tilt you to look down at your legs.

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    My 5-4 wife had this same issue with our Forester, compounded by the fact that she likes the seatback almost straight up and down.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    That's the "chin-ups on the steering wheel" position. I see that a lot.

  • "That's the "chin-ups on the steering wheel" position. I see that a lot." It is m You don't have to be up close to the steering wheel for it to be an issue. I like my legs pretty well stretched out when driving but some headrests are just a bit annoying and others aren't as much. If you like sitting back into the seat with your shoulders against the seat it actually doesn't matter how the seat is tilted as many of the headrests will force your head forward even if the seat is back and reclined some. I think most drivers don't sit back into the seat like that so it isn't a large scale problem. Either they sit more upright than the seat and have it reclined back some so that just their lower and middle back rest on it leaving some space between their head and the headrest and some probably just slouch enough that it doesn't matter where the headrest is. So you have the alert drivers that sit away from the headrest and the tired slouching ones that sit away from the headrest and only the ones that like to be upright but have the seat fully supporting the length of their back that notice it. It takes a bit but usually they just adjust the a driving position where they sit at the same angle but the seat leaves them a bit farther down their back. The biggest place it is noticeable, as mentioned in the article, is for passengers trying to doze off on longer drives. Since tilting the seat forward or back doesn't change the angle of the headrest in relation to the seat back it will typically be at an uncomfortable angle for resting (something drivers shouldn't do). Unless they are the type that sleeps with their heads on a pile of pillows most aren't used to getting comfortable like that.

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    My Mustang had headrests that were about three inches high. Not much whiplash protection there, but at least I could lean my head back and look at the headliner.

  • mlavoie mlavoie Posts:

    At least you can mount them facing backwards. Sure looks silly but if it's an issue for you and you're making a long trip, that's a solution.

  • roadburner roadburner Posts:

    If they aren't mounted backwards you can't wear a helmet in the car.

  • anne101 anne101 Posts:

    I have a 2013 Ford Escape and I hate the head rest! It pushes my head to far forward. It's beginning to affect my back between my shoulder blades. Can I get another head rest? Please help!

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