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Best Vehicles for Tall and/or Large Drivers

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  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,226
    The Ford 500 is now the Taurus. Suggest checking that out.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • orbit9090orbit9090 Posts: 110
    Here is a link to an enlightening article regarding this topic.:

    Vehicles for Tall Drivers

    I especially like how the article describes the importance of gauging comfort based on ease of getting in-and-out of the car, in addition to measuring legroom, etc. after being seated inside.
  • I am 6'8" and about 340lbs, torso somewhat longer than proportional (35" leg inseam). I have owned many cars in my life, some of them I actually fit well in! I also rent a lot of cars for business travel, as well as take road trips with the family. Sunroofs are almost always out, except for the VW GTI. As far as rentals, I usually end up with a Chevy Impala. Not my favorite car by any means, but I fit very well. I actually hate Crown Vics, as there isn't enough legroom. Us really tall people only fit because it is a bench seat and there is no center console to force our legs straight. If you don't actually require any visibility, the Chevy Camaro has an incredible amount of room, just don't plan on being able to see anything except what's directly ahead of you, and good luck getting anything into the back seat. Haven't found a Hyundai I fit in yet, as well as most Fords. Tried the new Taurus last weekend, legroom was great but the center console is so intrusive it forced my big old leg right into the steering wheel, and no amount of adjustment could make it work. The Nissan Murano and Altima are pretty good fits. If I was a little narrower I would most definitely own a VW GTI. The super-aggressive seat bolstering is uncomfortable for us non-stork types, but otherwise it's a great fit, and super fun. I haven't driven a new Mini Cooper yet, but the last generation (2005?) my size 15 foot kept getting stuck under the dash when I tried to release the clutch. Otherwise it was a good fit as well. Sat in a Mini Clubman and fit great, but didn't get to drive it. Pontiac G8 isn't around anymore, but that was a fantastic fit, and would be my "realistic dream car".

    As far as what I actually own and drive, my every day commuter is a 2007 Malibu Maxx. Don't make them anymore, but I fit very well, and I have always been a big fan of hatchbacks. Our family vehicle is a 2009 Saturn Outlook SUV. Much more room in the first and second rows for tall/big people than even Tahoes and Suburbans. Saturns are bye-bye, but check out the Traverse/Arcadia/Enclave as they are the same vehicle. Trust me, the room is incredible.

    That's all I can think of right now, but hope this info helps someone out. I am actually looking forward to trying the new Honda CR-Z, just in the hopes I might fit, and could possibly relive my college days where I drove my '89 CRX to death...
  • I'm 6'5"+ and wear 34" long pants (Probably have a lot of torso). I'm fairly new to the world of driving, but when I'm home from college, I drive my father's '95 Mercury Grand Marquis, and it gives me about 2" of headroom.

    I fit fairly well in it, but even with the tilt steering wheel and the 6-way power seat, I can't get the steering wheel console clear of my legs. Before I knew how to use the tilt feature (too bad the wheel doesn't telescope, ugh!), I had to reach the throttle and brake by shifting my lower leg instead of using the entire leg like normal. To top it off, I have to hold the wheel at 10 and 2 o'clock to keep my hands comfortable, even though I prefer 9 and 3. :confuse:

    To be fair, though, my dad is 6'2" and it's worked well for him for, oh, the last 10 years or so. And I do consider myself somewhat fortunate since there are other cars that would fit worse.

    By the way, I've done a lot of research on the topic of fitting cars, and I highly recommend that anyone doing car shopping look into the 5 step test of car economics. You can find it on the Height Site.
  • By the way, as an undergraduate math major in college, here is my two cents on a guide to finding an automobile.

    For those of you that took high school algebra, you may have done those optimization problems like this: A farmer has x yards of fencing. Design a pen that will hold the maximum amount of area. In open space, squares are the best four-sided structures, but circles are the best overall. This is for two-dimensional shapes.

    Many cars, in their most basic form, have shoebox-shaped cabins, but we've already known that. Why is this an important nuance? Because the shoebox shape, while conventional, does not always maximize volume relative to the amount of metal in the car. Of course, tall people put a premium on the volume in a cabin because their bodies take up more volume to begin with.

    If a circle is the most efficient shape in 2-D for volume to area, one can argue that the sphere is the most efficient shape in 3-D. The VW Beetle, a car that has received arguable the most praise in this forum, has a hemispherical shape. Coincidence? I think not.

    But cubes (special shoeboxes where all the sides have the same dimensions) are also very good shapes for finding volume. Of course, the most notable example in today's automotive culture is the Scion xB, another car that has received high praise here. But many pickups (particularly full-size) and SUVs also make use of more "cube-like" shapes than cars, and, for a long time, have been considered the standard for the choice of a tall person vehicle. Noticing a pattern?

    Of course, this is not an end-all-be-all, as other factors play a role in cabin comfort. But I'm just bringing this factoid up, that's all. But even if you can't or won't drive a cube or sphere-shaped car, at least look for vehicles with curved rooflines and more "sphere-like" shapes, for example, the Vibe/Matrix or any Porsche models, new or used.
  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239
    I definately agree with your statement of "the importance of gauging comfort based on ease of getting in-and-out of the car". When I was attending college / early work days, I used to drive a Toyota Corolla. That thing was only a few inches off the ground. Good little vehicle for getting from point A to point B - and saving lots on MPGs. And, it was easy to fit between 2 yellow parking lines. For the last 20+ years, I've been driving large size van's, SUVs, medium sized cross-overs and large size mini-vans. Vehicles with high head room, leg room and most importantly, easy to get in and out of. Last week, I had to hop into a 2001 Toyota Corolla and move it over. It was blocking our garage door and it needed to be moved out of the way. After driving that little vehicle and feeling like cheese between 2 slices of toast, I'd swore I'd never get my own "sit down into and pull up out of" design vehicle again. That thing even hurt my back on the way out of it, and I only had to move it approx 30 feet away from our large garage door. I cannot imagine driving that "way too low to the ground" vehicle on a daily basis.

    Long post short... Definately get a vehicle that is "comfortable on your body, has head room and easy on your wallet". And don't be afraid to get a comfortable to drive vehicle and investigate the option of lowering its front seats. Like I did on my current mini-van. On my new mini-van, I lowered its manual control front seats under 3 hour time window...

    .
  • A good rule of thumb to gauge the comfort (which is one of the five ergonomic tests I previously mentioned) is this:

    While you're inside the car, swing your left leg out of the car and plant your foot on the ground, as if getting out. Your lower leg should be straight up and down, and your upper leg should slope downwards towards the ground as you exit the vehicle. If it isn't, you're putting your joints under extra stress and you should look elsewhere.

    By the way, has anybody had any unpleasant experiences with moonroofs? I figure that they might be tall-friendly because they're integrated into the roof, but I'm no expert on the subject.
  • spike99spike99 Posts: 239
    Not too sure about using left leg positioning to measure comfort.. I suppose it would work. For me, I use my `bum position`. If I get into / out of a vehicle and my bum changes height too much, then its stress on my back too much If my bum nicely sits on the sit while getting into, and my bum slightly lifts off the seat while getting out of the vehicle, then it puts less stress on my spine. Less stress means no pain. Bum positioning is a good comfort measure for me.

    I also use "line of sight" while seated inside the vehicle and looking out its front windshield as a "major comfort" rating as well. My line of sight needs to be at 2/3 window space. If my eyes are above 2/3 position, my vision sees too much front moving road. And if my eyes are below 2/3 postion, it sees too much sky. For me, 2/3 front window "line of sight" works great (regardless of vehicle's head room distance).
  • Yeah, that didn't make much sense to me either...until I did even more research.

    My conclusion is that this test only applies to cars with manual transmissions, which makes much more sense. If you're driving an automatic, and it certainly sounds like you are, this shouldn't be a worry because your foot does nothing where it is. But if you're driving a vehicle where that space is occupied by a pedal, your left foot has to go somewhere because it's not supposed to be there all the time. That, in turn, would form a logical basis for the aforementioned test.
  • davidm52davidm52 Posts: 1
    I did a search through this thread and here is two additional factors that I think have been overlooked:
    1) CAPTAIN SEATING - Often you can look at a car from the outside and just by the size and shape you think "Wow! This car should fit me easily!" But, then you open the driver door and realize that you have almost have to climb up a ladder to get into the seat. The salesguy proudly described it as "Captain's Seating" so all the little 5-foot nothing housewives can see over the dashboards. Well that would be all fine but then the power seats don't allow you to bring the seat back down low enough and all that space below is wasted. Another NO-SALE!!

    2) WINDSHIELD - Good headroom is great but I'm NOT going to drive around looking at the sun visor. I guess for "style" reasons and safety each redesign of vehicles during the last 30 years has resulted in the top of the windshield being lower and lower. I'm lucky if I'm only having to look through the tinted top part of the windshield meaning I can't see the traffic signals, etc. NO-SALE!!

    One other tip is look for a car that has a manual seat height adjuster. They allow you to lower the seat further than the power seats. (No motors, gears, etc.) Ala a 1998 VW Passat. That, combined with the bubble shape roof makes me look like I'm about 5'2" when I'm driving it.

    BTW, I'm 6'4" and love my Scion Xb...for short trips.
  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,018

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  • taringataringa Posts: 3
    Why put up with legroom issues??? Get your seat moved back by an auto upholstery ship. I recently bought a Nissan Rogue (no, not great). So I went to a car upholstery shop and had the seat set back almost five inches. The cost: $200. This shop, in Savage, Minnesota does a lot of work for major league sports guys. Believe me, multi-millionaire players do not put up with tight legroom. At $200, why should anyone? My Dad had this done at the same shop 25 years ago; he had a Pontiac van, about forty feet long, with a seat that slammed him up against the dashboard. End of problem.
    There really is almost no need for this forum, since the problem is easy to fix. But renting is another issue. My experience with Ford cars is that legroom is miserly. Crown Vics and Grand Marquis are way too cramped in knee room. I always refuse them or a Taurus when renting cars. I am 6'6", so that may not apply to others. But is there a Ford policy to shun tall drivers? European cars are mixed, but BMW’s are pretty much off limits. If I purchase one, of course I would send it to the shop for the fix.
    The Chrysler 300 is great, and GM large cars are certainly adequate. Mitsubishis are from hell.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,226
    And what did it cost you to extend the steering column?

    Yes, I'm being facetious. My point is, while I can't speak for the Rogue, I can tell you that cars that typically aren't good for taller drivers lack a telescoping steering wheel, in addition to the seat travel issue. So it is NOT an easy fix if you truly want a comfortable and SAFE driving position.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • carlupicarlupi Posts: 52
    Moving the seat from its factory setting will almost certainly void some of your car's warranty. More importantly, it will violate your insurance policy's rules and make you -- not the insurance company or the car's manufacturer -- 100% liable for any injuries you sustain in an accident in that car.
  • Hi i am 31 and I am overweight (working on it though) and would like advice on what car to buy. I currently have my dad's old cadillac but at 31 its really not for me. I would like a car like a scion xb but dont know if I could fit in it. I tend to carry my weight in my stomach and wanted to know before I went to a dealership if it is a roomy car for those type of people. Open to advice upon purchasing a hipper car.
  • bigvinbigvin Posts: 6
    Since you mentioned that you are carrying a lot of your weight around your stomach, it is in your best interest to find vehicles with plenty of hip room. In particular, look cars (or trucks) without center consoles, or center consoles that are not too much of an intrusion.

    A lot of trucks are great at this, but they do undergo style changes every few years. Be mindful that scions are designed more for people in the ages 18-30 demographic. Are you okay being seen with it several years from now?

    German brands might not be the most "hip", per se, but a lot of models have gotten positive reviews here, and a number of them have styling that still looks good after a number of years.

    Granted, this depends on how long you will own the car...
  • twinbtwinb Posts: 140
    A tilt/telescoping wheel is a must, along with plenty of leg room. You could go to dealers & sit in cars to see for yourself, but to save time why not use the Web to find out the interior dimensions of cars you might be interested in? The XB has plenty of room, front and back, but so do many sedans, vans, & crossovers.
  • I just wanted advice as a female I wanted to avoid public humilation. I was thinking a large person in this format would be able to help me. I found that some smaller cars are actually more comfortable than larger cars. I can fit in a honda matrix but I cant fit in a suv honda pilot etc. I just wanted to know if anyone of similar figure could help me to avoid a wild goose chase. (at car dealerships)
  • twinbtwinb Posts: 140
    I've found the center consoles can be space gobblers, they're getting wider and wider every year for no good reason. Combine that with the fact that cars are getting narrower, no matter what the dealers say, and the front room crunch is a very real pain in the butt. The six seater sedans with a front bench are almost nonexistent anymore. I can't recommend any smaller cars except to look at the Scion XB, I'm into larger sedans like the Avalon. I'd suggest narrowing down the field by looking at the specifications on the internet - front seat hip/shoulder space, head/leg room, etc. then when you've narrowed the number to 3-4, go to a dealer to drive each of them.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,194
    Try a search in here to see posts about the VW New Beetle. I've heard good things about it for years now for larger drivers.

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  • dochollydocholly Posts: 2
    Amazingly enough my 6'8" 350+ pound son fits very comfortably in a Mini Cooper and a Scion.
  • dochollydocholly Posts: 2
    maybe when you graduate you could design cards for Ford/GM. Just a thought.
  • Thanks for the response. Do you carry weight in the front? I carry all mine is the front and so its hard for me to find a good car. I dont fit in a honda pilot but i fit in a honda matrix even though its smaller because driver wheel sits back farther.
  • I am 31 eventhough that is old in America I am ok being seen in it in my old age.
  • Eco Wife of Tall thin man (6'8" 205 lbs, inseam 37inches) seeks fuel efficient vehicle. Any tall people tried driving the Fiesta or Leaf? It wouldn't have to be his every day car, but it seems silly to buy a car he can't fit

    For reference, He fits in Highlanders and Subarus (but not the Prius, Pilots or Rangerovers)
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,851
    Since you've narrowed it down to those two (for right now at least), you might have better luck asking in a discussion about each of those two vehicles. This discussion is more for those who don't have anything in mind yet, so you might not get feedback here on those two vehicles.

    If you need help finding your way to those discussions, let me know!

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    Share your vehicle reviews

  • jobiekjobiek Posts: 4
    He will fit comfortably in a Jetta TDI which is a diesel that is rated 29 city and 40 highway
  • I've been driving a 2001 Mazda Protege for 9 years now. I wasn't nearly this tall when I bought the car, but I kept on growing. I was sick of being scrunched up in that tiny car that I finally had enough. So, I test drove several cars and have found a few that should suite most tall folks like me very well. I'll rank them starting with the best.

    1. 2009 Dodge Charger--By far, this is the most roomy car I've ever sat in.
    2. 2009 Chrysler 300--Nearly as roomy as the charger
    3. 2010 VW Tiguan--I went with this one as I really wanted an SUV... very nice ride.
    4. 2009 Buick Enclave--Almost as roomy as the tiguan.
    5. 2009 Nissan Murano--Not as good as I had hoped. Still much more roomy than my protege. Not bad at all.

    I hope this helps some people. It's amazing that this thread has been going on for over 10 years. I know the frustration us tall guys experience when finding cars, shoes, clothes, or girlfriends to fit. ;) Perhaps auto manufacturers will begin paying closer to our needs.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    Thanks for the report, tallguy! I am sure that vertically endowed drivers will appreciate that. :)

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • Taringa,
    I know this is an older post from 6 months ago, but if you get this message, please let me know the name and number of the shop in Savage Minnesota that does seat modifications/moves - I've had that done here in Colorado on three different cars (they also did some of the Denver Bronco cars), but the main owners retired, sold the business, and the new owners no longer do seat modifications - they even did steering wheel/column modifications/adds that were incredible (I had it done once as it's expensive, and I saw a Mercedes with massive modifications done for a large Bronco player). Please let us know the name/number of the shop. Thank you.
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