What is the Best Small Car for Tall People?
April 29, 2022
Not everyone wants to drive a large car, an SUV or a truck. Larger bodied vehicles can be more difficult to park, and heavier vehicles also could guzzle more gas. Some drivers feel more comfortable driving smaller vehicles like compact cars and coupes; their sleek smaller styling might be a better fit for the personality of the owner.
Yet, while some drivers may prefer smaller cars, tall drivers might find them uncomfortable. What is the best car for tall people? Kelley Blue Book rounded up the best choices for taller drivers; KBB recommended these compact and smaller cars:
- Honda Civic
- Honda Accord
- Kia K5
- Dodge Charger
- Nissan Leaf
Best Compact Cars for Tall People
Not all compact cars are ideal for taller drivers. However, a few options offer enough legroom or headroom to provide a comfortable driving experience. These models also shouldn’t require drivers to adjust their seat so far back that it cramps those sitting in the backseat.
The best compact cars for tall people, per KBB include these two models:
- Honda Civic
- Nissan Leaf
While this isn’t a very substantial list of options, tall drivers shouldn’t fret. KBB rounds up their choices of all the best options for tall drivers; unfortunately, many models on the list were SUVs or larger vehicles. Even the Accord, K5 and Dodge Charger are mid-size vehicles.
- Volkswagen Jetta
- Subaru Crosstrek
- Scion xB
- Mini Cooper
- Honda Fit
Scion is no longer an active brand, but the 2015 Scion xB can be purchased pre-owned. In addition, the Honda Fit was discontinued after the 2020 model year, but, again, car buyers could find the Fit as a used model.
For buyers who are trying to size up their best compact and small vehicle options, the perfect fit might rely on understanding a few interior dimensions. Headroom and legroom all can impact the comfort of a vehicle for tall drivers.
Those who have a longer torso might find that they need more headroom, while drivers with longer legs might need more legroom. The best compact and smaller cars for tall drivers typically offer more headroom and/or legroom than other models on the market.
To compare the best models, understanding the legroom and headroom they offer could be beneficial for tall buyers. Here are the front seat measurements for each of the small and compact models referenced by both KBB and DrivingLine.
Headroom: 39.3 inches
Legroom: 42.3 inches
Headroom: 41.2 inches
Legroom: 42.1 inches
Headroom: 38.5 inches
Legroom: 41.1 inches
Headroom: 39.8 inches
Legroom: 43.1 inches
Headroom: 40 inches
Legroom: 40.7 inches
Headroom: 40.3 inches
Legroom: 41.4 inches
Headroom: 39.5 inches
Legroom: 41.4 inches
Take a Test Drive to Feel Out the Options
While tall drivers can research the headroom and legroom of the car models they are considering, the best way to determine if a car will be a comfortable fit is by visiting the dealership and testing different models.
At the dealership, buyers can sit in different models. Position the front seat. Is it comfortable? Did the front seat need to be moved too far back? Is there enough headroom?
Sitting in different cars helps buyers understand the comfort of the driver’s seat. However, the best way to determine if the car is going to be a comfortable ride is by taking a test drive.
Tall drivers could find that they feel too cramped while driving. Maybe the car is comfortable but they don’t feel that the mechanics of the vehicle are up to speed. While a car could be a good physical fit, it might be a good driving fit.
Test drives are important to understand the comfort of the car and its prowess on the streets, too. Some compact cars have less than stellar acceleration; this could be an issue for some drivers.
The Financial Benefit of Choosing a Small Car
Some drivers prefer small cars because they are easy to maneuver on the highway and in tight parking lots, too. Small cars can fit into tighter parking spaces; this can be a perk when spaces are limited.
Small or compact cars also tend to be affordable options. Some tall drivers could be shopping for a compact or small car because they have a tighter budget. For buyers who can’t splurge on a pricier vehicle, these smaller cars offer an affordable price tag and are less than $25K:
- 2015 Scion xB (price may vary)
- 2020 Honda Fit
- 2022 Honda Civic $22,550
- 2022 Subaru Crosstrek $23,145
- 2023 Mini Cooper $23,400
Safety Ratings for the Best Small Car for Tall Drivers
While price might impact the buying decision for some shoppers, safety ratings also might be another factor that puts one car at the top of the list over the other options. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) provides safety reports for most makes and models. Car shoppers can visit IIHS to research any make and model and review the safety report to better understand how each vehicle performed in crash/safety tests.
The safest vehicles are awarded a Top Safety Pick+ or Top Safety Pick rating. The following compact and small cars received either a Top Safety Pick+ or Top Safety Pick:
- Honda Civic
Top Safety Pick+
- Subaru Crosstrek
Top Safety Pick
What Other Features are Ideal for Tall Drivers?
Headroom and legroom can provide an idea as to the space offered in the front seat for taller drivers, but these drivers also might look for other car features that can also add comfort to the ride. Taller drivers might prefer:
- Telescoping steering wheel
- Power seat adjustment
- Memory seat
The Benefit of a Telescoping Steering Wheel
Telescoping steering wheels also are recommended for more petite drivers. The benefit of this steering wheel feature is that the driver can adjust the wheel to suit their height and comfort. Tall buyers can look for this as a standard feature, or they might add it as an upgrade.
Power Seats Provide Easy Adjustments
Manual seat adjustments can be a pain. It might take many different adjustments to the seat to make the fit comfortable for the driver. Manual adjustments sometimes mean that the driver moves the seat too far back or just a little too high. Precise adjustments are a bit more difficult with manual controls.
Power seats, however, let taller (or more petite) drivers make smaller adjustments to how high they sit as well as forward or backward adjustments, too. Power seats might be an upgrade, but this could be a worthwhile expense for taller drivers.
Memory Seats Save the Setting
Seats that offer a programmable function ensure that the perfect position is always saved for each driver. This upgraded feature means drivers don’t have to constantly adjust their seat; this might be an issue for those who share a vehicle with a spouse, teen driver or partner.
Compact and Smaller Vehicles Might Be More Fuel Efficient
The price of gas adjusts with supply and demand. When the price at the pump is incredibly high, buyers might focus on a new car with great fuel efficiency. Tall drivers who are shopping for compact or small cars might discover that these cars typically provide decent MPG stats on both the highway and the city.
While electric vehicles could be the most energy-efficient vehicles on the market, not every car buyer has the budget for electric. Some areas also don’t provide many charging stations, and this could be an issue if the driver finds that they need a quick recharge.
The Honda Civic is one of the most fuel efficient cars on the market (that isn’t a hybrid). The Civic offers an estimated 33 MPG in the city and 42 MPG on the highway. The Subaru Crosstrek also gets decent gas mileage—28 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway.
Use the RelayCars App or Mobile Site to Explore All the Options
Car shoppers can download the RelayCars app or visit the RelayCars website on their mobile device to explore all their vehicle options via immersive tools like 3D imagery, augmented reality and virtual reality (for those with Google Cardboard).
RelayCars offers an inventory of thousands of makes/models. Shoppers choose the car they wish to explore, and they can interact with a 3D image of the vehicle on the screen using a fingertip to turn the car around or explore the interior. The RelayCars app is free to download on Google Play or the App Store, and those who have Google Cardboard can even explore cars in virtual reality.
Use a tablet or smartphone to visit the RelayCars website and use augmented reality to explore any vehicle at home or anywhere. Augmented reality uses the camera on a tablet or smartphone to capture the environment; a model of the vehicle can be dropped anywhere chosen by the user. Preview a vehicle in the garage or in the living room.
RelayCars also provides pricing information and specs for each model in the inventory. Use RelayCars to immerse in the car shopping experience and to better understand the options of each model. Download the app for free today or visit the mobile site to start exploring.