Thousands of small details go into designing a new car. Buick recently announced the seats in its upcoming 2012 Verano took more than 1,000 hours to develop and were designed specifically with ponytails in mind.
According to Buick, Verano engineers benchmarked the small sedan's seats against rivals like the Lexus IS and Acura TSX to determine seat craftsmanship and comfort levels buyers expect from luxury automakers. Next, they worked hard to mold the Verano's seats for a wide variety of buyers, even shaping the sedan's headrests to accommodate ponytails without sacrificing posture and seating position.
"When we set out to design a comfortable interior for Verano our goal was for customers to feel like vacation begins as soon as they get in the car, and not when they reach their destination," said Brian Schell, program engineering manager for the Verano. "By making comfort our first priority, we were able to create seats that will make customers feel more at ease and connected to the car for a more-satisfying ride experience."
While Buick says the Verano uses the same grade of upscale leather as its larger Lacrosse sibling, the automaker is quick to add that the compact sedan offers larger side bolsters. That means passengers are given more side support, preventing uncomfortable "hot spots" from occurring when driving long distances.
"Developing comfortable seats is both an art and a science," Schell said. "Knowing how to translate a physiological impression into tangible design elements is the art, and knowing how to execute the design is the science."
But there's more to comfort than developing the perfect seat. Buick says thousands of additional hours went into fine-tuning the sedan's interior, from tweaking its ride to developing the optimal seating position. According to the automaker, people of all body types spent anywhere from minutes to hours in the sedan to provide feedback to the engineers.
The 2012 Verano will start just over $24,000 when it goes on sale later this year. While early versions will feature a 180-horsepower four-cylinder, Buick says a more powerful turbocharged engine will be available on later models.