The high-tier Japanese car seat company Bride is most often associated with really nice tuner cars and track cars. But did you know it also makes seats for a comfort-focused market, with a line of thrones designed for long-distance driving like you might do in a van? They look awesome.
Bride, typically pronounced "Brid" by Japanese speakers, might not be as widely recognized as, say, Recaro, and I'm not aware of any OEM applications of Bride seats. But it's a vaunted outfit among those who know, and its products are typically quite pricy. It has been making high-end seats for all kinds of different vehicles for ages, and it popped up on our radar this week announcing its new Ergoster model.
A high-performance seat with some styling cues that might remind you of the drift world does look a little funny in a van as we can see in this demo picture. But really, a long-haul van is an absolutely prime candidate for a super-sweet front seat.
If you're on a van camping trip you're probably covering major mileage; a supportive piloting throne would go a long way to fending off fatigue. Plus, the seats you find stock in camper vans are often particularly awful. An old VW bus sure looks like a romantic overland vehicle on Instagram, but spend a couple of hours in one of those springs-and-staples seats and your office chair at work will start to seem appealing again pretty soon.
We were joking about these a bit in The Drive newsroom this week because at first glance it looks like some of them are just racing seats with little armrests tacked onto the sides. But as I said—there's a real market for high-quality long-haul seats, especially now that overlanding is as mainstream as any other genre of car culture. And Bride is not a bargain-basement sim rig outfit; I would trust these seats to be well-researched and executed.
Looks like the Ergoster will list for under $1,200 per seat in Japan when it comes out in March, though I'm not sure how much it will cost stateside or when it will be available. The armrests are optional, as is a heater (my fave), and of course, mounting brackets will cost extra. And one final caveat I have to add: If your vehicle comes stock with seat airbags, you might want to hold off on aftermarket seats. I'm not saying you're going to die if you run them, but car airbags are described as a supplemental restraint system for a reason—they're all meant to work together. Removing some, or even one, will alter your car's crashworthiness in a potentially dangerous way.
But many vans don't have seat airbags, or particularly great safety stuff at all, so these Ergosters could be a huge upgrade for you. Bride lists eight distributors in the United States, if you want one I think your best bet is to drop one of those guys a line! I'm kind of tempted to try and get a couple of these in my Montero.
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