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Best Vehicles for Shorter Drivers

24

Comments

  • rav8rav8 Posts: 6
    I'm not even 5' so for me the Rav4 is working perfectly. Good visibility, good seat adjustment for me and a 5'11" guy. I can finally put both feet on the floor and the seat hits me proportionally--doesn't hit me in the back of the leg. I tried several makes before deciding on this one. Of course, depends how much room you need too but if your checking out the corolla, I think maybe their close. Too bad the salesmen was a jerk--got another dealer close you could check out? Good luck and happy hunting!
  • The Rav4 sounds like another vehicle that can accommodate petite individuals... I guess it all depends on how much space you need in the particular vehicle and what fits in your budget..

    Kristina/co host Our Turn
  • kate5000kate5000 Posts: 1,271
    I'm 5'3 and I feel very good in my Forester: visibility, leg support, etc.
  • Ever since Subaru came out with the Forester I liked the vehicle...My favorite color on the Forester is their dark green color... The only problem is Subaru really dosen't advertise much for their vehicles,so a lot of people don't realize they make some pretty nice cars,wagons,and Suv's... The commercial they do have I always enjoy because of " Crocodile Dundee" Do they have a memory function on your seats so you don't have to keep adjusting them???? What do you like best about your Forester???

    Kristina/co host Our Turn
  • I have a 73 superbeetle that needs to have its seats restuffed and recovered. In the meantime, I've been using one the big stuffed seat cushions that I used on my dining room chairs and it works great...just a thought.

    Too bad your car didn't come with the 6-position seat adjustment. I drove a 97 F250 4X4 w/6-speed and it put me right where I needed to be to comfortably reach the clutch and still see over the steering wheel. I'm 5' too.

    Good luck.
  • I used a telephone book when I first started driving my Daytona with the bucket seats. Eventually, I got tired of sliding off the seat and started using a pillow off the sofa....

    Kristina/co host Our Turn
  • Hello.. I found this page:
    http://www.pedalextenders.com/
    and was wondering if anyone had tried any
    aftermarket extenders?
  • It's worth looking into....It states they are made for all types of vehicles!!!

    Kristina/co host Our Turn
  • A friend is looking for a vehicle that will be comfortable for her to drive at 5'2", but is also suitable to take her family of 6 skiing. She says Ford Explorer is built too big for her to drive. Suggestions? Thanks!
  • What about the Nissan Pathfinder or Exterra????? Or she could try the GMC Jimmy!!! I guess she isen't into driving a Minivan... Just a few suggestions I thought of off the top of my head..

    Kristina/co host Our Turn
  • fjw2fjw2 Posts: 15
    I used to drive the Nissan PF, and I got stalled from the stop lights. My neck was hurting for 7days. It's such a heavy vehicle to manuever, for such a petite woman. I'm 5'2". While driving, it is too close to the steering wheel, because you have to get closer to reach the gas pedal. I, myself, like to seat further from it.
  • What about the RAV4 or the Honda CRV ???? I have seen quite a few petite women driving those SUV's. What type of vehicle do you drive?? I drive a Toyota Corrola and sometimes I wish I had something larger.. Driving down the road,all those Minivans and SUV's hover over my little Toyota!!!!

    Kristina/co host Our Turn
  • rav8rav8 Posts: 6
    Guess like I must sound like the poster child for the Rav 4 but I really do love mine.Driving for me is actually FUN now. I also love the milage I'm getting. We took it on a small trip (less than 500 miles)and then came home and still ran around before gasing up and checked the milage. Got around 30 miles per gallon. Was told it would probably do even better without the stop and go running around we did when we came back. I used to drive a mini van--it was bulky and not very responsive like the Rav is. I'm hooked. Hope you find something you like as well.
  • md_techmd_tech Posts: 84
    I'm glad to here your happy with your Rav4... Sounds like it's running well!!! Have you had any problems with your RAV???

    Kristina/co host Our Turn
  • rav8rav8 Posts: 6
    So far so good with the Rav 4. I have no complaints whatsoever. I've had it almost 4 months now and I couldn't be happier. Driving in the city was a breeze. My husband even commented several times how nice it was that we could squeeze into a rather small but very convenient parking space in the garage where we parked. we'll just see how things progress as time goes by. Haven't had an oil change yet..that comes at around 5,000 miles i think. Anybody else got one of these nifty liitle vehicles?
  • kate5000kate5000 Posts: 1,271
    Kristina,

    sorry, I was busy at work and did not get back to you earlier. I agree with you that Subaru is a little known secret: they build great cars at value prices. I still own and drive old Subaru wagon, and it did not require ANY repairs, just maintenance. Did you notice how many of those old wagons are still on the road, although Subaru always had a very small share of the auto market in the US?

    No, Forester does not have memory seats, and this why I have great excuse NOT to let my husband drive it ;-)

    However, it has heated seats (on S and S Premium models) that I thought I'd never ever need in sunny CA, but it turned out to be a great feature. The seat nicely heats your lower back section not so much butt and thighs. I just enjoy it so much, with cool air from A/C blowing into my face, and warm feeling crawling up my back.

    My Dad is asking me to give him a ride in the Forester when his back is acting out; I call it Forester therapy. He says it helps a lot.

    Very easy getting in and out, and driving position is very assuring: high enough to see the road well yet not so high as to give you that "tippy" feeling.

    The only gripe I have is that I find Forester seat cushion a bit too short and I wish for more thigh support. However, it did not bother me that much, even on a very long (600 mi in 1 day) road trip.

    And yes, I did take it off-road a few times, and it was just great. I also test-drove a lot of SUV's at EdmundsLive event, and Forester was the best performer both on pavement and on track.

    It's very highly rated by NHTSA for safety, I think second only to Volvo.

    I highly recommend Forester to everyone. Short people like me can enjoy it, and even 6'7 guy can still have enough leg- and headroom (from a testimony of a person with moniker big_guy here at edmunds.com).
  • kate5000kate5000 Posts: 1,271
    you can see that 5'3 woman can seat comfortably in the Forester:

    Forester 2001 S Premium Silver Auto
  • md_techmd_tech Posts: 84
    What year is your Forester???? It looks really nice...Thanks for the great pictures.

    Kristina/co host Our Turn
  • kate5000kate5000 Posts: 1,271
    It's marketed as 2001 model, although came on sale in Feb 2000.
  • fjw2fjw2 Posts: 15
    Sorry, it took awhile to come back here, I'm just getting your question about what kind of cars I drive. I used to drive the Suzuki Samauri (8yrs) which was 'made' for me. It was my little baby truck. But, I'm currently driving '99 Oldsmobile Alero and '00 BMW M Roadster. I use a pillow for the BMW, and I love both cars.
  • nyxxnyxx Posts: 8
    I am 5 ft even, 120 lbs, and have driven an '85 5-speed Honda Accord for 7 years. I bought a 77 International Traveller and loved the power, but hated the automatic tranny. I just used a pillow and since it had just lap belts, there was no problem with seat-belt choke. However that started me on Suburban Attack Vehicles....I bought an '95 Isuzu Rodeo (no airbag) and had it for two months before it got totaled. (no-one was hurt, not even whiplash) Really liked the its peppy attitude and the handling. Now I am buying a 95 Toyota 4-runner (no airbag), but everything on the dash is within reach of me. It is a great fit. I will continue buying used vehicles as long as they keep making airbags the way they do. I have heard that there are some changes in the pipeline, but mostly these will be in cars I cannot afford. That seems to be the biggest problem with the car industry....all these great saftey features on really expensive cars.
  • Help! I need to replace my '89 Accord. I'm 5'1", 100 lbs. I love the new Accords, but now they are mid-size which makes it more difficult to reach the accelerator and be far enough away from the steering wheel. I've read the other comments in this section regarding small SUV's: Honda's CR-V,Toyota's RAV-4, and Subaru's Forester. Don't have much time to car shop as I believe Tues. Jan 2nd is the last day for those end of the year deals. I've always driven a sedan, but I guess I could use a small SUV for taking child to college. Any comments or experiences would be helpful. How about that adjustable seat pedal. Can you put that on any vehicle? I'd really like to but this Accord but it is a stretch for me and the Civic I'm not too sure about. Any suggestions ASAP would be appreciated.
  • md_techmd_tech Posts: 84
    Welcome to Women's Auto Center. Pedal adjusters usually work for all makes and models. I have heard the Subaru Forester and Rav 4 are really good vehicles for petite women. The Honda Civic is another vehicle ,in which,smaller individuals can drive comfertablly.. An since, you already owned a Honda your pretty familiar with how they drive. Post back and let us know what you decided to buy and why????

    md_tech
    Host
    Women's Auto Center
  • HI, My mom is smaller than 5.0 and I called the NSTB National safty transportation board, they sent me paper work allowing me to have a switch put in to turn the bag on and off.This is a good idea only if you can't get far enough away from the bag.They will suggest a mechanic for you that will try to charge 400 + bucks. I went to my mechanic who must mail the paper work back to them,after the installation.He charged me 80.00. Im not possitive they are called NSTB,but it is something like that. Mom has a 96 Bonniville that even an average size person seems to sit to close.
  • md_techmd_tech Posts: 84
    That was a good idea having a on and off switch installed in your mothers vehicle. Some vehicles are now coming with these switches already installed at the factory... Did it take long for them to send you out the proper paper work???

    md_tech
    Host
    Women's Auto Center Message Board
  • maryg2maryg2 Posts: 33
    I am 5'0" tall and fit just great in my new 01 Accord EX-V6. In fact, I wound up buying another Accord (I've been driving them for 20 years) because they "fit" so well. There is no problem reaching the pedals.

    I test drove the Taurus with pedal extensions, and it felt fine. The Buick Century was a joke. Terrible fit. The Altima felt real good. I was with my girlfriend when she test-drove the Foerster, and although I don't know what it feels like to drive, I really fell in love with it. I also test drove the new Rav-4. Wonderful improvement over the 2000 model, where you were really scrunched up; this one fits fine and you have lots of space up front. I think the Japanese do a better job of building cars for little women!
  • I Dont remember exactly but I think it was two to three weaks. Maybe sooner. Good luck!
  • Yes! After much trial and tribulation, I finally decided on a gold Accord V6. I also am having it undercoated and rustproofed, paint and fabric protector. I might hold up on picking up the car for a few days to make sure it doesn't smell. I really worry the smell might linger on. Anyone with experience on this?
  • maryg2maryg2 Posts: 33
    Congratulations on your new car. We are now driving the same car in the same color. And I know you aren't having problems with the fit. But cancel the protective coating on the paint and fabric if you can; it's just the dealer's way of making money. See other topics under maintenance and sedans to learn what others are using to keep their paint and leather in great condition. My husband doesn't believe I am going to do all this myself, but I am sure going to try. I am in love with this car and hope you enjoy it to the fullest.
  • Maryg2, is so right! paint coating, fabric protector,rustproofing should all be cancelled. The undercoating is not needed but couldn't hurt either way. Rustproofing? Ididnt know they still did that. Cars dont rust like thy used to and if they did I doubt it would make a difference anyway. If it's too late enjoy your new car and remember this for the next time. Good luck!
  • msu79gt82msu79gt82 Posts: 541
    My wife is 5' 1" and very much likes the power pedal option on our '99 Expedition. We are however considering buying the new Acura MDX. Does any of the petite drivers on this forum have any experience with the fit of the Acura?
  • I am trading in my Buick which was a disaster for me I am 5'2. I have been reading the posting and wonder if anyone has had a good experience with either the Jetta or theAudi4. I need to get a car in a hurry so any feedback would really be helpful. Thanks
  • I've had my 2001 Jetta 1.8T since September and love it! I'm just under 5'2" tall, and visibility is good with the seat raised all the way up. I can keep my heel resting on the floor and work the gas and brake smoothly.
  • flacaflaca Posts: 168
    Just got my Jetta last Saturday. I am 5'2" and this car is a perfect fit. But, so was my Camry, Volvo Gl and just about any normal size car. I also have driven my hubby's Montero Sport. So, I really think size doesn't matter much now that I think about it. Go for the car you find attractive, sit in it and take it for a spin.
  • michhalamichhala Posts: 375
    I am 5'2", 106 lbs. -- I purchased a new C320 after many years of driving a BMW5 series that fit me fine, but did not have air bags. Except for the new BMW330i and the C320, I could not see over the windshield wipers of the other cars of my choice. Without a pillow, the visibility of the C320 is perfect and I have no problem reaching the pedals. I do, however, have a problem with the head restraint. Without a pillow, only the top fourth of the back of my head reaches the bottom half of the restraint. With an Obus seat pillow, half of my head reaches the bottom of the restraint. I think I am far enough away from the air bags.

    Questions:
    1. Am I properly protected with just the top half of my head in the bottom half of the head restraint? Pillow I use is about 2", and I am sitting pretty tall. Perhaps I should get a higher pillow?

    2. What is the proper distance from steering wheel air bag should I be?

    I did not know this forum existed. I saw a note on the C-320 group from "Pat" about the flags showing up beside our names and it mentioned the Women's Auto Center -- so, here I am and in a custom-sized forum at that!!!

    My thanks.
    Miki
  • harrymomharrymom Posts: 1
    I'm 5'2" and 108 lbs. After shopping for a number of cars (I won't belabor you with that experience here) I remembered the huge number of old Subarus I see in northern New England. I fell in love with the Forester on my test drive, after tweaking the seats for a comfortable fit. I drive regularly from Connecticut to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and to Aroostook County in Maine. I have not had the same complaints as others regarding seat comfort. I take the Forester on limited offroad conditions for fishing and plan on using it as a hunt truck this fall. I did purchase the rear differential protector and dog gate. These cars cost under $25,000 nicely equipped, and less if you can do without some of the luxuries.
  • fjw2fjw2 Posts: 15
    For petite women who's looking for a car that's safer, all wheel drive, comfortable to drive, performs like an SUV, dependable and as powerful as a sports car this gotta be a SUBARU IMPREZA WRX. The sedan and station wagon 2002 are in demand right now. People are pre-ordering them and dealers can't stock enough of them.

    I just bought the new WRX and I just love it so much. I'm 5'1" and it fits me to T. The visibility is also good. Go to the web and check it out. Read the reviews, they even have a special bulletin in Edmunds.com just on SUBARUs. You will be comparing to cars like AUDI, BMW, VW, & ACURA. I guarantee you will be very happy.
  • karieokarieo Posts: 10
    I'm 4'11"--short in the legs, but normal in the body, so I sit as high as a normal person, but have to get close to reach the pedals. I've been driving a Toyota Corolla for the last several years. It's a good fit, but not a great fit. A little close to the steering wheel unless I ride sort of like a low-rider, slunk down in the seat. :) We are currently looking at the Sienna van, and when I test drove that I was surprised that I seem to be in a better position regarding that danged air bag. Higher up so maybe it would hit me in the chest and not the chin, which is where I understand the problems come in. The seat belts are adjustable in the Toyotas, so I'm not constantly pulling the thing away from my windpipe as I did in my old Mazda. And the seat on the Sienna can be tipped downward in front to take the pressure off the back of your thigh as you reach the pedals. We think we're gonna go for the Sienna, probably LE with a few upgrades to spiff it up--like running boards to let me get in when I'm wearing a dress, so I don't show off my underwear.
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    You may try a model with running boards first; More often than not, all running boards do is dirty your pantleg in the winter. Not really worth the hassle, IMHO. But, try them and see if you can get out of the vehicle without your leg touching the board.
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    I'm 5'1" and am still under 120 lbs. (ok - I'm getting older and gaining weight for the first time in my life). I'm looking for a better commuter car to replace a very uncomfortable Toyota Tacoma. I would like to get something that fits me, gets good gas mileage (better than the 19 mpg my other car gets), will be reliable for lots of miles (I commute 150 miles a day and can only afford to buy a car about every 4 years), has enough power to maintain speed up steep freeway grades on a daily basis (I work at sea level and live at 6,000 feet), and has AWD or 4x4, since I don't want to have to put chains on at 4:30am when I leave for work in the winter, and the Highway Patrol is stopping anyone without chains or 4x4.

    Any ideas?
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Can you give us an idea of your price range? New or used? Sedan or something else?

    You might want to try this link from Edmunds.com's home page to see what you come up with: Can you help me decide what to drive?

    Pat
    Host
    Sedans and Women's Auto Center Message Boards
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    Price range - the cheaper the better, but up to $30,000 - $35,000 is possible. Would prefer $25,000 or under. New vs. used isn't a big deal - I'm considering both, but would probably prefer new over used because of the mileage issue - with the amount of miles I drive, and the fact I can't replace it very often means that I need something that is going to last.

    I've looked at the Edmund's site, and while it is helpful, it would be more useful if I didn't have so many other factors to put in. What I'm looking for is a vehicle that will do what I need it to do, and I don't really care about styling, which you have to decide right away. (Any ideas other than SUVs?). For instance, a Tracker fits in my budget and comes with a 4x4, but a friend of mine who lives up here has one, and she has spare clothes at all of her friends who live lower down because if the roads are bad, she can't get home, even with spiders and weight over the wheels. Since style isn't as important to me as comfort and performance, I'm looking for people's experiences. I'm also beginning to think that they don't make a car that will do what I want it to do, fits me, and that I can afford!
  • Hello all!! I am 5'2" and I want to purchase a new car pretty soon. I really would like to get a van and the one I like is the chrysler town and country. I was just wondering if any of you guys have one or have had experience with one. The biggest problem I have is if I put the seat all the way up the steering wheel is in my chest and my head is on the roof. So if any short people like me have a town and country could you please email me at [email protected] Thank You
  • Im 19, 4'11" and a little over 100 lbs. I currently drive a 97 Jetta, but im bored with the car. I want a new car that will last me when i graduate from college. I was looking at the accord or the toyota solara. i was wondering if any women had the solara and could help me! The jetta is pretty comfy, i dont want a new one though. i sat in the new mercury cougar, and the sightlines were horrible. please help!
  • Just went through the car shopping nightmare. Had to have 4WD myself, am also 5'1" and got the weight issue going on myself (just to think, I weighed in at less than 110 until my son was born three years ago, my body became attached to those last 10 pregnancy pounds!). Settled on a '98 Blazer LT w/44.6 lease miles. Anyway, I considered the XL-7 at first...gas mileage is decent for an SUV and it's going for a pretty good price (in your range) for its debut year. Considered the Pathfinder/QX4, but favored the Chevy for the gas mileage (22 highway v. 19 for the Nissan). Getting in and out is no problem, but I did get the extended warrranty b/c, let's face it...it's a Chevy. Anyway, I've had it for a couple of weeks now and I like it. Sits nice and high...as did the QX4.

    Stay away from the Sportage, too...the mileage is good, but they only come 4 cylinder so the power won't be any better than the Tracker. My Blazer's got that V6 vortec engine, improved for its year. It also has shift on the fly with push button activation, so none of that stop/neutral/shift or chain nonsense.

    Had I not wanted an SUV, I'd still need 4WD for the northern winters, and would've looked into Subarus for their AWD. They're very reliable and, from what I understand, they last forever as long as you take care of them. Good Luck.
  • pocahontaspocahontas Posts: 802
    And thanks for sharing your story with us. We look forward to hearing more about your 98 Blazer ownership experience. Happy Motoring! ;-)


    Pocahontas

    Host

    Hatchbacks / Station Wagons / Women's Auto Center Boards

  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    Thanks for the info. We had rented a Blazer a couple of years ago, and didn't really like the cornering. I should give it another try- the problems could have been because it was a rental, not a vehicle characteristic. I have been looking at the new Trailblazer/Envoy but they don't get any better gas mileage than my (beloved) Wrangler. In fact, the main reason I'm looking for a better commuter car is that 19-20 mpg it gets - otherwise I find it very comfortable, and easy to drive. OK, it has other disadvantages as a commuter car, but when I bought it I was buying an off-road vehicle...

    It is only because I moved, and my old (automatic) commuter car couldn't handle the steep freeway grades that forced me into looking for something else, and the Taco (5 speed) is so uncomfortable for more than 30 minutes...

    The funny thing is that as a small woman, I haven't had any trouble "figuring out" either tiny cars or full sized pickups. But I can't figure out anything in between! I can't see where the front end is on most cars and can't see the trunk, much less figure out where the back end is on most cars. I ruled out a Focus because I couldn't tell where the back end stopped. Does anyone else have the problem with cars?
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    "We had rented a Blazer a couple of years ago, and didn't really like the cornering. I should give
    it another try- the problems could have been because it was a rental, not a vehicle characteristic."

    I can assure you, it was a vehicle characteristic. SUVs are, as you know, lousy handlers; Blazers even more so.
  • I can't argue your point too much, Lancer. SUV handling isn't at all like driving my old Camaro, but I haven't found the Blazer any more difficult in the handling department than my '88 Bronco II.

    As for seeing to the front and rear, I put a wind deflector on my old Bronco II to help with depth perception in the front (betcha the inventor hadn't thought of that use!!), had no problems w/the back because it was a box back, so the car ended where the window was. The Blazer is rounded in the rear, so it's kind of touch and go until I get used to it. I had a grill guard installed on the front, though. It protrudes over the hood ever so slightly, so I know exactly where the car begins since the grill covers the bumper as well. Makes it look pretty tough too (Ah yes...the Napoleonic complex!!).

    Thanks for the welcome, Pocahontas...have been over on the SUV boards, but this is my first venture here.
  • pocahontaspocahontas Posts: 802
    You said: "have been over on the SUV boards..."


    Well then, you may also be interested in this Women's Auto Center discussion: Do Women Love Suvs?

    Also, if have a pic of your Chevy Blazer, we'd love to see it in Vehicle Pics (Show & Tell). Thanks for your participation on the Women's Auto Center message board! ;-)

    Pocahontas
    Host
    Hatchbacks / Station Wagons / Women's Auto Center Boards

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