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Best Vehicles for Shorter Drivers

krysiakrysia Posts: 1
edited April 2014 in Honda
My friend is 5'0" and is looking for an affordable
vehicle, priced around $25,000. Although she
prefers a family sedan, she's open to an SUV if
it's recommended. Her main priority is that she be
able to see out the window and reach all the
pedals and gearshift comfortably, without getting
too close to that darn airbag. Any ideas?
«134

Comments

  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    Being 5'0" myself, my first suggestion is that your friend put her running shoes on!

    The only way to really answer this question is to see for herself. I sat in and drove several cars before I settled on a second VW Golf. It was the car in which I fit most comfortably.

    Unfortunately, there is no replacement for been there, done that in this case.

    So, I suggest that she draw up a list of everything else she wants in a car (good mileage, room for the baby's car seat, space for the Great Dane...) and then start with those cars and "size them up." Worked for me!

    carlady/roving host
  • beanboybeanboy Posts: 442
    I finally convinced my great-aunt (towering 4' 11") to have a switch installed in her car. Owners have a legal right to this modification per order of the NHSA, finding a dealership/autoshop to do it is another matter (legal concerns).

    http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/airbags/rule/section01.html

    -Beanboy
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    Good link, Beanboy! Thanks!

    carlady/roving host
  • btroybtroy Posts: 92
    "An affordable vehicle, priced around $25,000" "she prefers a family sedan" and wants to be able to "see out the window and reach all the pedals and gearshift comfortably, without getting too close to that darn airbag"

    No problem. Check out the 2000 Ford Taurus or Mercury Sable with the adjustable pedal option and power driver's seat. It was designed for her.
  • fjw2fjw2 Posts: 15
    I'm picky when it comes to being comfortable driving in my car.

    The best comfortable I've ever own, was my Suzuki Samurai, which is now gone but drove it for 8 wild years! Everything inside was at my fingertips, good visibility, pedals, shifting EVERYTHING was easy to reach. I'm 5'2" and less than 115lbs. It seems like it was designed just for me! I didn't want to get rid of it, but because of all the bigger/heavier cars/trucks/SUVs out there, it's time to move on to something more heavier.

    The Oldsmobible Alero was another fit for a petite woman like me and I love it. You can find all kinds of good reviews (I have nothing to complain about mine) found under "Sports Cars/Coupes" topic. My Alero is a GL with S added to it for under $23K. You can also find a used '99 for $11K + if you want to buy used.

    I've seated myself first in the showroom, just to see how well I can look out before I took the cars out for a test drive.

    We bought our son a Dodge Neon, and it's also a good choice for petite women.

    We used to have a Nissan Pathfinder, and I drove that on and off. It's a VERY VERY HEAVY CAR for any petite person out there. Let me explain why it's not a SAFE CAR for any small person to drive.
    My PF was stalled in a red light and I was looking sideways. I got whiplashed. I didn't know it until days later my neck was hurting, it hurts so bad for days! That thing was so big and so heavy that it's just TOO MUCH FOR me to handle. The Suzuki have stalled MANY TIMES FOR ME, and not ONCE HAVE I been hurt from driving it.
  • mznmzn Posts: 727
    krysia, any update for us? I'd like to know how the story ends...

    carlady/roving host
  • kurzejeskikurzejeski Posts: 1
    I'm 5'1", with a depth perception problem. I drove a Nissan pickup (4x4) for 12 yrs and had no problem seeing over all corners of the truck. I now have an F150 and because of the rounded body style I can't see over the right hand side of the vehicle. I've also got the steering wheel pretty much in my lap. I'm looking for something w/ good visibility for the driver which also allows me to move away from the steering wheel & airbag. Any ideas? I want another 4x4, but none come w/ pedal extenders. Do any of the 2000 or 2001 model trucks include extenders? I'm currently focused on the small truck market.
    Thanks.. Lisa
  • silvercoupesilvercoupe Posts: 326
    My wife is 5'0" and has been driving Honda Accords for years. This might be one for your friend to consider.
  • qsubaruqsubaru Posts: 37
    Since I'm a Shorty, I consider the SUBARU one of the best cars for us little people.
  • md_techmd_tech Posts: 84
    What type of Subaru did you purchase???? An what attracted you to this model besides being petite?? I haven't driven too many Subaru's but I liked the way their Forester looked...

    Kristina/co host Our Turn
  • celeste2celeste2 Posts: 362
    I've had a Subaru for two months, the outback sport model (pared back Outback wagon). I really like it and try to keep the seat adjusted to the fourth notch from the front which keeps me a comfortable distance from the wheel. My 1984 volvo wagon I had was not as comfortable. The Subaru steering wheel adjusts up & down, too, which means you can adjust that for comfort.
  • md_techmd_tech Posts: 84
    I'm glad to hear that your happy with your Subaru. Sometimes it's so difficult to find that one car that fits just right...A lot of manufactures are starting to add adjustable steering to their models... Some cars even have memory seat position so when someone else drives your car you can always get it back to the exact same spot. Does your Outback come with this feature???

    Kristina/co host Our Turn
  • rav8rav8 Posts: 6
    Owned a Toyota 4wd van years ago(one of the first ones) I loved it. They stopped making them. Had it for 8 years before trading it in on a Nissan Quest. It was ok but missed the 4wd. Looked at the Subaru wagons. Did't seem to set high enough for me plus when I moved the seat up enough to reach the peddles the seat(leather) rubbed the console. Figured it wouldn't take long til that made a mark. Tried the Honda CRV and came close to buying it. Had some nice features and was comfortable to drive, etc. But, for me I didn't like the back.(you have to open the glass part first then the bottom door swings out.)Figured it would be a pain over time. Also tried the Chevy Blazer. Beautiful vehicle but not for me--Couldn't even reach the gas pedal and when the salesman put the steering wheel down it was in my stomach!!! My final choice I'm happy to say was the Rav 4. Fits me to a T!! I like everything about it. I love driving it and the back is a snap to get in to...just open the latch and swing the door open (one piece) Its also easy to wash being small and all oh and one more thing its a cinch to park, you have plenty of room in your space..front, back and sides! But I do have to tell you the first one I drove I didn't like it at all..no power. The one we bought drives a whole lot better(maybe there was something wrong with the first one?) Hope you'll check out the Rav 4
  • md_techmd_tech Posts: 84
    My mother is a petite women that sits too close to the steering wheel... She owns a Honda Civic,but has always wanted a truck built just for her. I mentioned the RAV4 to her because it seemed just the right size,although,she didn't like the price tag... She was looking into buying the Honda CRV but once again she's paying for the good name.. I think she will be a lot happier with the Toyota... I like the idea of a (small truck)with a car like feel. An being able to park and maneuver the vehicle is on one of my top ten lists... Thanks for the insight... Have you had any problems with your RAV4 since you bought it????

    Kristina/co host Our Turn
  • pocahontaspocahontas Posts: 802
    My 2 cents. My friends almost bought a Rav4; I helped them with the research. The rav4 has gotten decent reviews.

    As I recall, this is it's final year of production; for this reason one should be able to negotiate a good price on one.

    I know that Carsdirect can purchase it for you at 500 over dealer invoice. I think one could do even better on their own. IMHO.

    ;-)

    Pocahontas,
    Community Leader/coupes, Convertibles, and Sportscars Conference
  • md_techmd_tech Posts: 84
    I'll be sure to let my mother know about the extra incentive.. Why would Toyota decide to stop producing these mini trucks???? From what I have heard they have gotten some pretty good reviews. This is what I dislike about car companies, they come out with something have it on the market for a couple of years and than discontinue it....Like Toyota took their Tercel away and replaced it with the Echo, which looks like the Ford Focus... If you have a good product and consumers like it why get rid of it????? Ohh Well I guess that's how it goes in the car industry. Faster,Smaller,and cheaper on gas is the motto...

    Kristina/co host Our Turn
  • pocahontaspocahontas Posts: 802
    The current Rav4 is going to be replaced with a larger more powerful version, but it's still going to keep the Rav4 name. I think the current model lost it's appeal because of it's smaller size and "lack of power" compared to the competition. No offense to Rav4 owners.

    There are a lot of compact suv's to choose from; at least dozen on the market, not to mention new ones coming out such as the 2001 Mazda tribute and 2001 Ford Escape. Has your mother considered either one of these? They've both been getting pretty good reviews.

    Pocahontas,
    Community Leader/Coupes, Convertibles, and Sportscars Conference
  • rav8rav8 Posts: 6
    I've only had my RAV4 less than a month. But i'm pleased as punch so far. Just checked my gas milage today and I'm pleased to be getting 24 almost 25 MPG just driving around here. I read what was said about the new Rav being larger and bigger engine. Doesn't impress me. Of course mainly its just me in the car and sometimes one or two other peope so the size is fine for me. If I had a large family I'd probably buy something bigger. Guess I was just ready for something different and the Rav just happened to fit the bill for me. One thing I like about the Toyota is that the airbag is small. Have you seen the size of the one in a chrysler? its huge. They showed us deployed ones at the dealership where I bought my Rav. I'll take the smaller one anyday--less chance of injury I think.
  • fjw2fjw2 Posts: 15
    We spotted my old Suzuki Samurai, with same accessories added and everything on it! I missed it and I was having mixed emotions. I wanted to meet the new owner, parked in my neighborhood Taco Bell, but I was rushing home. Or even take a photo with her/him.

    Here's what I can't understand. That little jeep- like pickup may be as cute as a button, but I got rid of it because it was unsafe to drive, compared to all the heavier trucks/SUVs out there. It was cheap, any one can afford to pay it cash if they're on a budget, to get them to/fro. I've had it for 8yrs. and the new owner will probably take good care of it for even more years to come. It went really fast! I'm so glad someone wanted it, instead of sitting in a lot rusting away, waiting until hell freezes over.

    Sometimes, I wanted it back, real bad!!!!
  • pocahontaspocahontas Posts: 802
    And the most important thing is that vehicle fits your needs.

    Especially with the gas prices soaring, you must really appreciate the great fuel economy. One has to wonder how a bigger/more powerful version will maintain the current epa of 24/29. ;-)

    Happy Motoring.

    Pocahontas,
    Community Leader/coupes, Convertibles, and Sportscars Conference
  • md_techmd_tech Posts: 84
    When I first got rid of my car... I looked at every Daytonna driving bye,but unfortunatly it wasen't her.. After giving up your Suzuki Samurai what vehicle did you buy???? Whenever I would see those trucks going down the road around corners I would always worry that they would tip over... Your right it dosen't seem like it's heavy enough to handle turns or fast rates of speed,but they look nice...

    Kristina/co host Our Turn
  • md_techmd_tech Posts: 84
    I'm glad to here your RAV4 is doing so well. I see those little trucks all the time cruising down the street... They look small,but there not as small as they appear.. I was also looking into the Exterra ,although,it seems to be a little to large for my mom but just right for myself.....

    Kristina/co host Our Turn
  • rav8rav8 Posts: 6
    The xterra was ok. It just seems kind of bulky plus I didn't care for the roof rack.(you can get a removable one for the Rav 4) For me the roof rack makes it harder to wash plus I was told they cut down your milage some.But everyone needs to choose the best one for their needs. I'm still sold on my little ole Rav. Happy Motoring!
  • md_techmd_tech Posts: 84
    With the Xterra you actually have to remove the roof rack bolts,which can be annoying....It's not that hard to do,but I barley want to wash my car let alone remove a rack...

    Kristina/co host Our Turn
  • fjw2fjw2 Posts: 15
    I traded it in to a '99 Oldsmobible Alero. It was to be our 25th wedding anniversary gift to each other, but we're fighting over the new BMW M Roadster now. So, we take turns each week.

    A friend and I took the Suzuki for a short day trip to the beach one day, and I was having much to much fun there, forgetting that I have to meet the family for my birthday dinner/show. My friend was rushing us back to the city, driving the maximum speed of 95mph, in the wind and rain. Luckily we didn't got pulled over for speeding, and we made it back on time.

    I've seen several vehicles tipped over or heard friends tell stories about their: Jeep Cherokee, Chevy Blazer, F250, Jeep Wrangle or any truck or cars, but then again, it's really HOW you drive the car or HOW IT drives YOU. I'm here to prove that I could have kept it longer, if it weren't for those big heavy new vehicles on the road!
    I could SEE so much better that ANY CARS I'VE EVER DRIVEN.
  • md_techmd_tech Posts: 84
    I'm glad to hear you had such a good time with your Suzuki...That reminds me of the song "Happy Trails" I think I heard it off of a car ad. Anyway, so for your 25th did you buy the BMW Roadster??? Or where you thinking about it???? I've seen those little cars on the road the style alone would make me want one. The only thing stopping me is the insurance,price tag, and no room for a car seat...

    Kristina/co host Our Turn
  • fjw2fjw2 Posts: 15
    No, I sold my Suzuki to the dealer and bought the Alero. Husband always whining about Mazda Miata.
    Even after I talked him out of it, by buying a Nissan Pathfinder, he continues to whine. (Midlife crises thing, mine was the Suzuki).

    Once I spotted the BMW Roadster, two weeks later we were trading in the PF to a new M Roadster, the SAME YEAR we got the Alero.

    So, it's double 25th anniversary present for both of us! Luckily, our kids now have their own cars.
    The oldest, with his own money, he traded the car we gave him: '86 Nissan Stanza to a '00 Subaru Outback Impreza. The youngest one, a '00 Dodge Neon, which we sold the '86 Buick and paid the Neon in full for his Christmas/birthday/graduation present.
  • md_techmd_tech Posts: 84
    I'm glad after looking around you found the car that made both of you happy.. What do you like best about your BMW???? I hope when my little one grows up I'll be able to go out shopping for something a little sportier... I have a long way to go!!!!!!!!!

    Kristina/co host Our Turn
  • kate5000kate5000 Posts: 1,271
    I'm 5'3 and the best visibility and seat comfort that I found was in Subaru Loyale. Other Soobs are also good for short people, especially those with height-adjustable seats.
  • vimvim Posts: 1
    At 5'3", I'm looking for a car with the adjustable brake and accelerator pedals, not just adjustable seats and steering wheels. Are there any other cars out there with these options besides the Mercury?
  • fjw2fjw2 Posts: 15
    I like the way it drives, the shape, the fit, the way it goes when you're changing lanes, it's like a toy, it's hard to explain, it's so much fun and enjoyable driving long distance. You'll just have to test drive it so you'll UNDERSTAND where I'm coming from. It's just a well behaved, well built quality car all around.

    I'm thinking of leasing an M5 for winter driving with an option to buy. But others told me, it will cost more in the future.
  • md_techmd_tech Posts: 84
    I'm glad your happy with your BMW Roadster... Hopefully that toy dosen't cause you to receive to many speeding tickets... I would't lease a M5 for the winter months it does end up costing more in the future!!!! Leasing vehicles even with the option to buy still ends up costing more from all the hidden fees tacked on...

    Kristina/co host Our Turn
  • lakroclakroc Posts: 2
    I just noticed one of your responses above. You are right - just looking at the BMW Roadster makes you want to own one. Although I did not purchase the M Roadster (there were none in my area to be had :( ), I did purchase a Z3, the cheaper version of the car. No, the car is in not really cheap, but you mentioned insurance. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the insurance on my brand new car is going to cost me a grand total of $100 more per year than my current 5 year old Mazda. Believe it or not, I was originally looking into an SUV but was appalled to discover that those vehicles are every bit as expensive to purchase as the Z3 and would have raised my insurance by over $800 per year. So, I decided to "save" a few dollars and get the Z3!
  • md_techmd_tech Posts: 84
    I would have thought the insurance would higher on your Z3... Insurance companies are funny!!! Well I'm glad your getting the car you wanted and saving a few dollars in the long run....Are you still waiting for your car to come in????

    Krsitna/co host Our Turn
  • fjw2fjw2 Posts: 15
    I'm glad there's Edmunds.com, I just finished reading about the leasing posts frozen there, and it's helping me decide the best thing to do.
    I even e-mailed them to my husband so to save my breath, he can just read them himself.

    I have another friend who have leased before, and she told me exactly what you just posted.

    My husband's parents leased for many years, and didn't have much as far as ownership when they're done.

    It's great to have such a board as the women's turn!
  • md_techmd_tech Posts: 84
    I've just seem to many people fall into the leasing mombo jumbo. Don't get me wrong it works for some people,but in the long run the dealer makes the money and at the end of your lease you still are out looking for a vehicle...

    Kristina/co host Our Turn
  • would a PT Cruiser be practical for me?
    Thank You for all the good information.
  • pocahontaspocahontas Posts: 802
    I think the pt cruiser's dimensions could accommodate someone your height. I haven't actual driven one yet, but I did go along for the test ride in one with our local newspaper (Orlando Sentinel) reviewer.

    I also sat in the driver's seat and played around with the controls, so I kinda got a feel for what it's like. My impressions: comfortable, good handling, with enough pep for most people.

    Size wise: I would consider it to be on the petite side, especially comparing it to a van or wagon. But it's actually much more functional than many vehicles that are a lot larger.

    Btw, if you put the words "pt cruiser" into the Topic Search feature on the left side of the page, you'll find a number of PT Cruiser topics throughout Town Hall. Be sure to check out the ones in the sedans and van conference.

    Hope you'll return to let us know what you decide.
    Good luck and happy shopping. ;-)

    Pocahontas,
    Town Hall Roving Host
  • wklenhawklenha Posts: 9
    bea: Well assuming PT Cruiser was spelled correctly in the topic title, that will work. Misspellings in topic titles is a very sore subject with me, (I fought getting 'Expedtion Reliability' spelled correctly for a year!)

    But I digress:

    I normally would agree on the leasing conversation, but it so happens I find myself in a position where it actually makes more fiscal sense for us to lease than buy.

    The situation is: My husband and I have worked together for 10 years. We carpool to work or else he drives the company truck. He was recently offered a new job at much better money that also includes a $500 /month car allowance. We have to rapidly acquire a new vehicle. We have decided to take a 3-year lease on a Nissan Altima because:
    a. The payments are lower
    b. We don't want to spend a lot of money on a car right now.
    c. We don't have to put many miles on it.
    d. We don't want to lay out alot of cash on a new car.

    Plus, Nissan is offering some good incentives on the Altima.

    At the end of the 3-year lease we will be in a much better financial position, at which time we hopefully can buy a much nicer car.

    I think the Altima is a great little car for the money. Nissan is the step-child of the compact car division always playing second fiddle to Honda and Toyota. But I'm pretty impressed with the Altima.

    I'm really on the fence about the PT. I thought it looked much better in all the promo pictures last year than the real thing did. Plus you are not going to get any kind of deal on one anywhere, assuming you can even get one. I'm getting my Altima for $1600 BELOW dealer invoice.
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    How'd ya get THAT deal?

    Pat
    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • wklenhawklenha Posts: 9
    pat: It's through www.carsdirect.com

    Nissan Altima 2000 SE

    MSRP - $20039
    Invoice - $18240
    Cars Direct Price - $16610
    Actually it is $1630 below invoice.

    Now I haven't actually received the car yet. I just ordered it today, so we will see what happens. But I read (right here on Edmunds!) that Nissan is offering a $1400 cash back dealer incentive and I also read in the Altima topic (right here on Edmunds!) that Nissan is trying to push Altimas out. The Maximas on the other hand were a few hundred ABOVE dealer invoice plus they had limited availability.

    I'll let you know what happens. I also read (right here on Edmunds) that most people have had a favorable experience with carsdirect.com and I also read (right here on Edmunds) that if I registered with ebates.com I would receive a $40.00 rebate from them if I ordered from carsdirect.com

    So add another $40.00 to that great price. God bless Edmunds Townhall. It really is the best place on the Internet to get car information. I read about 400 Altima posts yesterday and all-in-all most people love their Altimas.

    image
    Altima SE
  • wklenhawklenha Posts: 9
    catlady: I also read all the Focus posts. They didn't love their cars quite as much. Well, not true. They loved their cars, they just didn't love all the problems and recalls they kept having. Do Daewoo people really love their cars? I never thought about that before? Do Hyundai people love their cars? Do Kia people love their cars?

    I think I'll check that out and report back. Just not now, it's very late and tonight is a school night.

    Later...
  • for the information! I am so glad to have found this site! I see now that I have a lot of research to do. Since my divorce from Jeffrey is not yet final, I am going to study here before doing anything foolish, I have so much to learn. Wklenha, you are so independent! I never thought about a Nissan! I have a lot of reading to do, how do you read so many posts?
  • pocahontaspocahontas Posts: 802
    You're welcome. ;-)

    And to everyone- Before calculating your vehicle cost, be sure to check out Edmund's Incentives & Rebates and Current lease programs.

    Talk to everyone later. ;-)

    Pocahontas,
    Town Hall Roving Host
  • pat455pat455 Posts: 603
    Well, that sounds too good to be true. Unfortunately for me, when I was buying my Acura TL in April of '99, I believed then that the deals they were offering on TL's were "too good to be true" so I didn't bother. Then I kept reading here that folks were getting between $1500 and $2000 subsidies from carsdirect for my same car that I had just purchased for a shade under MSRP.

    This was back when carsdirect first geared up, and they must have lost a TON of money on TLs based on the Town Hall postings alone.

    So I say you are a very wise woman to go that route! Let us know how it turns out, and good luck.

    Do you know that that company is owned by Michael Dell of Dell computers? I guess he can continue to afford to give his money away, eh? So take it!

    Pat
    Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference
  • md_techmd_tech Posts: 84
    I just purchased a Hyundai Elantra... For the price and the warranty it's not such a bad car. I think more people are willing to give these vehicles another chance because of the incentives they are offering. Kia has joined the band wagon of offering an extended warranty and lower price than other vehicles on the market... The Elantra is a 5 speed with all the added accesories except a sun roof and with all of this it was still cheaper... The only problem we have had with the vehicle is a little surging while driving.. It might be doing this because my significant other like to use cheap gas because the gas is so high over here!!! An to get back on the subject I think the Accent or Ford Focus would be a great car's for a petite individual..

    Kristina/co host Our Turn
  • md_techmd_tech Posts: 84
    That's a great tip for Townsters looking into new and used cars!!! Thanks...

    Kristina/co host Our Turn
  • norrisjnorrisj Posts: 3
    I went to my "friendly" Toyota showroom recently to try on the 2001 Corolla 'S'. When I suggested that the seats were too low (i'm 5') and hindered visibility, the salesman growled "then get a seat cushion" (I should have walked out right then.) I responded that the Corolla should be equipped with height-adjustable seats like so many other cars.

    Well, in the event my car search leads me to the Corolla as the best buy, can anyone recommend a good seat cushion?
    Thank you!
  • md_techmd_tech Posts: 84
    That sales associate was kind of rude considering if you bought the vehicle they would be making a nice commission check from your money. When I owned my Dodge Daytona it had low bucket seat,so I used a telephone book for awhile. The only problem with that was every time I came to a stop I slid off the seat. I found the seat cushions at Track or Pep Boys work well. My mom is '5'2 I bought one for her Honda. They look like regular seat covers,except they have some padding and little bumps that are suppose to relax you while you drive.... They come in all different colors to match your interior. I think when I bought it they were going for $20.00...

    Kristina/co host Our Turn
  • norrisjnorrisj Posts: 3
    I'll give it a shot to see if it makes a the Corolla more palatable. It's certainly worth $20 to find out. Thanks!
This discussion has been closed.