I Can't Hack the Recaro Seats - 2013 Ford Focus ST Long-Term Road Test

2013 Ford Focus ST Long Term Road Test

2013 Ford Focus ST: I Can't Hack the Recaro Seats

February 19, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

I adore the 2013 Ford Focus ST, I really do. I love the way it accelerates, corners and stops. I dig the sounds the EcoBoost turbo makes when it's working hard. What we have here is a hot hatch with a soul.

But I could never own one.

It's the Recaro seats. I loathe them.

Sure, they provide tons of support when the road turns twisty, and I'm a big fan of the upper shoulder wings. Trouble is the side bolsters amount to a big annoying rib clamp when I'm driving to get the milk. The seats don't turn off or tone down when I don't need them so much.

Maybe it's me. I stand within a half-inch of 6-foot 3-inch James Riswick, but unlike James I weigh 210 and wear 34-inch pants. The moderate difference in build is enough to turn these Recaros from brilliant to bothersome.

Editor Mark Takahashi came to my rescue in the midst of my despair, helpfully pointing out the Recaros are optional. It's true, but they are not a stand-alone option that is easily jettisoned. Forgo them and you give up the chance to have dual zone automatic climate control, the Sony 10-speaker audio system, HD radio, satellite radio, an overhead console, heated mirrors, interior ambient lighting, cornering lamps or HID headlamps.

What it comes down to is this: If you don't fit the Recaros, your Ford Focus ST will need to be the bare bones version.

I believe I can live with that. Question is, do dealers ever order them that way?

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 7,346 miles


  • dw_fit dw_fit Posts:

    I can't get past the clown suit look of the Recaros either. I would definitely give up all that stuff for the Recaro-less bare bones ST.

  • vizcarmb vizcarmb Posts:

    My 2005 Jetta GLI has those seats

  • ed124c ed124c Posts:

    I don't need any of those things that Dan seems to want. I would buy a "base" model with a sunroof. I had the same rib crunching in a BR-Z. I got out of the car and chose not to take a drive in it.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    I love seats that hug me tight.

  • homer281 homer281 Posts:

    I've seen several on the lots with ST1 trim (no Recaro's) You could also order one just as a base model, I've heard of dealers doing this at X-plan/invoice pricing. Also, have you sat in the full-leather ST3 seats? These seats are also power adjustable and I believe some have found them more comfortable.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    The thing about even the best bucket/racing seats is that if you fall outside of the size parameters they are usually horrendously uncomfortable. Ask anyone who has extensive experience with them, and they will always tell you to try before you buy.

  • hank39 hank39 Posts:

    Or buy the Recaros and trade with any owner who has the bare bones version. I'm sure they would love the opportunity to upgrade and you make out like a bandit with some mula :)

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    It's the price to pay for good support (particularly if they're not wide enough in the first place for you). I think the Civic Si's seats has probably the best compromise between good support and all-day comfort.

  • hybris hybris Posts:

    If you don't like the seats unbolt them and put them up on Craigslist they be sold with in a week.

  • nsx603 nsx603 Posts:

    Tried to order a barebones one and dealer simply said NO, they are the unicorns of the ford focus world.

  • jerwhite jerwhite Posts:

    I'm ~157 lbs and fit in the leather ST3 seats comfortably. I first sat in the ST2 seats and wondered if I would be able to live with it. In the end I found the leather seats more forgiving but that could just be my imagination. I do notice the grip across my back but it doesn't bother me.

  • xianshep xianshep Posts:

    Dan EDMUNDS, huh? Coincidence? Anyway I, too, noticed the "clamping" effect during a test drive (I'm real close to Dan: 6'3" 210 with a 34 waist), but it was more on my thighs - surprising, as they're skinny. I certainly hope that Ford will offer the leather seats of the 2013 SE Appearance Package/Titanium as an option in future ST model years. I actually prefer the rest of the ST1 accoutrements (no MyFordTouch, for one), but would rather not to have the ST1's cloth seats.

  • vbrandolini vbrandolini Posts:

    Yes, in South Jersey I got a base model with the sunroof. I seem to remember (from perusing dealer inventories) that about 1/3-1/4 of ST's were base models. Like you, I found the Recaros bothersome and MUCH prefer the base seats. No dual-zone? I don't think it's such a big deal in a smaller car... and I'm installing an aftermarket sound/GPS system anyway. But even the base car is optioned pretty well.

  • jcounts1 jcounts1 Posts:

    When I first sat in those Recaro seats I new it was a deal breaker. And even if I could tolerate them, I doubt anyone else in my family could. It took me several months and a bit of luck to find a base version because dealers just don't sell them. What a huge mistake on Ford's part to put such extreme seats in what is an otherwise fantastic car.

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