I've been paying slightly more attention to how my seat heats, and I can't figure it out; seems very random. Within a minute of activating the heated steering wheel, it achieves max hotness. With the seat, if I leave the switch on (HIGH or LOW) when turning off the car, and then I start the car with that switch still on (in this example, the seat is stone cold) it takes roughly 6-9 minutes for the seat to achieve what I consider to be max hotness. Once it flares in temp, it reduces to basically nothing and the seat is nearly cold. Then, at some point (5, 10, 15 minutes later) the seat becomes hot again. Sometimes it almost seems like after the initial heating-cooling cycle, a sensor is waiting to detect movement on the seat in order to start heating it again. Maybe the "system" doesn't want to keep heating the seat if nobody's sitting on it, so it's waiting for some significant vibration before it starts to heat up again. Other times, it seems that if I'm accelerating a little faster, it's getting more power and starts to heat up quickly. When the seat has already been heated and has cooled, if I turn off the switch and then turn it back on, the seat tends to heat up more quickly. However I did that a few times recently, but the seat didn't heat up consistently within a certain timeframe. When I leave the switch on HIGH all the time, I sometimes think the "system" isn't sure if the seat is supposed to be heating, so it again awaits for some movement before kicking in. Possibly aside from power-consuming concerns, that's why the manual says to turn off the switch before turning off the car. Maybe if left on all the time, the BCM isn't properly triggered to activate the heat cycle. Maybe it needs to be "goosed" by hitting the switch.
Bottom line is, I don't know how the seats' heated elements work in this car. I tried keeping the switch at LOW for a few days, but didn't feel that was enough to really feel it, so I went back to high. When it gets hot on HIGH, it almost feels like it's going to burn through my jeans, but then the heat backs off.