In the daily battle for optimal ergonomics, my back is often the losing party. I sit for hours in traffic in a different test car every day, then I'm planted for half the day in a finicky work chair while staring at a computer screen. Combined with a back already predisposed for discomfort, it's a recipe for that or far worse. Nearly once I week I seem to narrowly avert a full on back spasm. All this to say, I treasure a good driver's seat. A seat's comfort and support -- or lack thereof -- can make or break my day. So I was elated to learn that a new Cadillac Escalade I'd be driving on a 3-plus-hour trip from Austin to Dallas would feature a massaging seat. That's right, a seat that, in addition to being heated and ventilated, hid a mechanical masseuse under its leather lining.

The massaging seat evolves

Massaging seats aren't new -- they've been around for at least 15 years in luxury sedans like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the long-departed Cadillac DeVille -- but they are still an indulgent option. Now they are available in the 2015 Escalade luxury SUV, exclusive to the range-topping Platinum Collection models that start just over $90,000. (Massaging front seats are also newly available on the 2015 Cadillac XTS full-size sedan.) Both seats offer kneading and rolling massages to the back, while the driver's seat also has a third setting called anti-fatigue that stimulates the seat cushion and, consequently, your rump.

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New meaning for "relaxed ride"

I took advantage of all three settings for the majority of my drive, and felt far better for it. Selecting the program and intensity level does take some practice. The main controls are on the side of the seat, with their corresponding function shown on the 8-inch touch-screen in the center dash. Using the controls mounted on the lower side of the seat, you can toggle between the trio of massage programs and intensity levels. I recommend getting acquainted with this while parked. If you find a program you like, it can be saved similar to a seating position and then started with the press of a button.

Once familiar with the process, I essentially received a 3-hour massage while driving the Cadillac's luxury SUV to Dallas. I say "essentially" because the program times out after 10 minutes and must be restarted for further drive-time bliss.

Of course, no mechanical massage will replace human touch, but the Escalade's magic seats do an admirable job. I most appreciated the intensity of the massage. This is no mere vibration; you really feel the rolling and kneading, and the system does a good job covering the entire back. The anti-fatiguing butt and leg massage is interesting and felt fine on my rump and hamstrings, but I'm not so sure about its fatigue-fighting claim. To me if felt more like alternating pressure on each limb rather than a shot of espresso to the brain.

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More than a nice massage

No doubt 90 large is a sizable sum of money, but as equipped this top-line Escalade packs just about every amenity imaginable. From a wireless phone-charging cradle and rear-seat entertainment system with three LCD screens to a front and rear automatic braking system, Magnetic Ride Control suspension and a stout 6.2-liter V8 engine, the Platinum Escalade was loaded with amenities that made the miles fly by with ease. The Escalade's massaging seats were just one more surprising feature in a full-size SUV that is itself surprisingly luxurious.

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