Best Cars for Tall People 59


If you’re searching for the best cars for tall people, you’ve come to the right place. This page covers the fundamentals of what makes a car tall friendly, from legroom and headroom to traffic light visibility and ease of getting in and out. All of this is important for both comfort and safety. There are also sections on car seat modifications and general tips for tall people. Lastly, you’ll be left with a view of how the car industry may affect tall people in the future. I put this page together to help my fellow tall drivers on this challenging quest.

 

 

Recent Cars for Tall People Posts

 

Why Car Manufacturers Neglect Tall People

As with other manufactured objects, economy of scale encourages manufacturers to cater to average height and neglect outliers. There are regulations that help. But these tend to be inadequate for tall people. For example, common regulations merely require accommodation of the fifth percentile female through to the ninety-fifth percentile male,1 neglecting five percent of the population. In actuality, this percentage is higher due to varying body proportions.

Cars for Tall People-Convertable

Flawed Car Seat Adjustments for Tall Drivers

When it comes to chairs, tall people are better suited by taller chairs. This is common sense. But when adjusting car seats, a tall driver is more likely to lower their seat. We do this to get more headroom, but this causes our knees to be higher relative to our hips, which is uncomfortable for our hips and backs. In other words, it’s a flawed seat adjustment for tall people.

Another flawed adjustment is seat slide. Humans have longer legs than arms, so if the seat is moved far enough back for a taller person’s legs, it will have been moved too far for their arms. Hence tall people, as odd as this may seem, will find themselves reaching for the steering wheel. This is worsened by the fact that we like to recline our seats to get more headroom. The result is that we end up slouching in the upper back.

Telescoping pedals and steering wheel columns can help with these issues, but the range of adjustment may be inadequate. This may be true for other adjustments too, like seat belt shoulder height and lumbar supports. In addition to diminishing comfort, these issues also increase our risk of injury.

The Hazards of Tiny Cars for Tall Drivers

When most people picture a tall driver in a tiny car, they find it hilarious. It reminds them of clown cars in circus acts. And I’ll admit, it is a tad funny. But I also know that too small of cars for tall people can be a major health hazard, and the literature backs me up on this.

Car too Small for Tall Driver

A lack of legroom can affect reaction time for hitting the brakes,2 increasing the likelihood of an accident. And if an accident does occur, more serious injuries are likely to result; airbags, low head rests, and insufficient legroom have all been implicated in more serious injuries experienced by tall people in a car crash.3-5 Even outside the car our safety is relatively diminished; bumpers are designed to cause minimum damage when striking average length legs, not long legs.6 These are some of the more obvious implications. Somewhat less obvious is the gradual insidious onset of chronic musculoskeletal injuries that arise from poor ergonomics.

Measuring Cars for Tall People

There are things you can do to make your car more tall friendly, and I’ll get to these later. But the most important thing you can do is pick a tall friendly car in the first place. There are a variety of measurements that can help with this. I’ll cover the well-known legroom and headroom measurements first, and then get on to some more novel ones.

Legroom is a measure of the longest leg that can fit in a fully slid back seat. The measurement is complicated by the bending of the knee joint. Though the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) standards require that a dummy be used to take the measurement, a good approximation can be achieved via a tape measure.

Headroom is the vertical distance, with the seat in the lowest position, from the lowest point on the seat to a point on the roof directly above it. I’ve found headroom to be a misleading measurement as cars differ in the extent to which the roof rises above the vision line; though it may be comfortable to occupy this space, it’s dangerous to do so as visibility is cut off. So an alternative measurement would instead go to the top of the windshield. I like to call this ‘eyeroom’.

Another measurement I have come up with is called Vision Line Height (VLH). It’s the vertical distance from the foot well (floor mat removed) to where the windshield meets the roof (with the floor mat removed, which can often be in excess of 1/2″ thick). VLH is a measurement of useful cabin space, essentially.

Best cars for tall people: Vision Line Height

Both eyeroom and VLH are better than headroom for picking out the best cars for tall people. As to which is better, this is debatable. For those willing to do modifications, VLH will be better. Otherwise, eyeroom might be better. But VLH has the added bonuses of being simple to measure and also evaluating how easy a car is to get into and out of; even small increases in roof height have been shown to improve posture during ingress and egress.58 When I was searching for my own car, I was desperate to find something that permitted me a straight spine, even if that meant seat modifications, so I went with VLH. You’ll find a list of VLH measurements for various cars at the bottom of this page.

The top cars for VLH are the Ford Transit Connect (51-1/2″), Ford E-series vans (49-1/8″), the pre-2007 Scion XB (47-1/2″), and the Honda Element (46-5/8″). Other noteworthy cars are the Nissan Titan (46″), the Honda Pilot (46″), the Ford Escape (46-1/4″), and the Ford Flex (46-3/8″). If you are truly desperate, there is also the commercial Mercedes Sprinter (52-3/4″).

Much to the contrary of popular opinion, behemoth vehicles don’t necessarily provide lots of space for tall people, the Jeeps and Hummers being prime examples.

A Jeep With Poor Headroom for tall people

Long-limbed tall people may find legroom to be a bigger problem than vertical space. Such people may prefer to use legroom as the main measurement when searching for a car. However, picking a car with a large VLH is still important as it means the seat can be in a higher position, which coincides with more legroom. Besides, it is possible to modify cars to get more car legroom for tall people, but this is not the case for cabin height.

It is my hope that, with your help, Vision Line Height will become a standard measurement provided by car manufacturers. This will make the suitability of cars for tall people more transparent and might even inspire a visionary manufacturer to produce a car with an unusually large Vision Line Height! So please use this term whenever you can. For a list of measurements, see Vision Line Height.

Helping Tall People See Traffic Lights

tall drivers can't see traffic lights

Another huge frustration for tall people is not being able to see traffic lights. We end up hunching down and craning our necks up as we watch for the light to turn green. I’ve tried all kinds of fixes, like backup cams and mirrors installed on the dashboard and even cutting a hole in the roof (my head ended up sticking out…). Sometimes I would look at the reflection on the hood of my car or on the wet pavement on a rainy day. By far the best solution though that I have come across is what’s called a Fresnel lens.

Fresnel lenses are essentially flattened lenses. They were originally invented for lighthouses to better direct the light to nearby ships without such a big lens. Other applications include gathering light for solar power and magnification for overhead projectors. For us though, they redirect the light from the traffic light to our eyes. Just a thin sheet of plastic suctioned to the window and Voila! you can see traffic lights. It is a small image, and I wouldn’t suggest using it for anything other than checking to see when the light turns green (at which point you double check with direct line of sight).

Fresnel Lens to See Traffic Lights

Modifying Car Seats for Tall Drivers

The following is for information purposes only: see site disclaimer.

As with the rest of the car, seats aren’t designed for tall people. But there are some modification you can do. If it’s extra legroom you want, there are seat rail extensions you can purchase via the image link below. Basically, you remount your seat in a more aft position, gaining you some precious legroom.

Car Seat Rail Extensions for More Legroom

If it’s more headroom you’re after, it may be possible to modify the seat brackets to hold the seat in a lower position. Though you might be able to find a job shop to do this, chances are they’ll be concerned about liability so you would have to do it yourself. Perhaps a better option is to remove some material from your seat cushion. A skilled upholsterer may be able to help out with this. As you can see below, I am no skilled upholsterer!

Best cars for tall people: Replacing Seat Cushion

If it’s seat comfort in general you want to address, you can get extra tall car seats. Scrap the plural actually; there is only one I have heard of, and that is the Vario XXL. For more, check out this post from a community member that wrote in about this seat: Extra Tall Car Seats for Tall Drivers.

Vario XXL Greiner Tall Car Seat for Tall People

Finding the Best Cars for Tall People

Though modifications can be helpful, it’s best to start out with a suitable car in the first place. That gets us back to the question, “Which are the best cars for tall people?”

When asked this question, a lot of people might suggest getting a really big vehicle, like a pickup truck or SUV. However, there isn’t much correlation between the size of the vehicle and it’s suitability for a tall person. Rather, extra size is usually devoted to a higher wheel base, larger engine, or more cargo space. Try sitting in a Mini Cooper and then a Humvee and you’ll see what I mean. Another common suggestion is to just get a convertible or stick your head out the sunroof. Funny, but extremely dangerous!

Cars for tall people: Head out sun roof

In your search for your ideal car, you might start by looking at the manufacturers’ specs online, including legroom and headroom. There is also the VLH table at the bottom of this page. In the end though, there is no substitute for actually sitting in a car. And it is such an important decision; your health depends on it. So it is best to take the time and do the rounds of the various dealerships. If you’d like extra attention from a sales person, you might try my tactic and say: “If you can put me in a car where my head doesn’t touch the roof, I’ll buy it.” I ended up with a Honda Element, probably the best purchase I have ever made.

More Tips for Tall Drivers

  • Avoid sunroofs like the plague; tracks are mounted inside the car, steeling precious headroom!
  • If the steering wheel blocks view of the speedometer, try a heads up display.
  • Though floor mats keep things clean, you can gain a significant amount of legroom by removing them.
  • Rearview mirrors can block your view, these can be remounted higher up.

Raised rear view mirror for tall driver

The Future of Cars for Tall People

Manufactured goods in general tend not to be suitable for tall people. There just aren’t enough of us to attract the attention. Nevertheless, goods like tall clothing are getting better. So why not cars?

The answer has to do with the huge individual price of cars and the rigid manufacturing methods involving costly jigs and fixtures. But there is a promising new manufacturing technique on the horizon. The Urbee, perhaps the first of its kind, uses a 3D printed body. Further down the road it will be possible to 3D print even more of the car. Suddenly, variations in car geometry become cheaper as costly jigs and molds are no longer required. It may be possible, someday down the road, for cars to be made in multiple sizes and perhaps even tailored to the driver.

However, there’s a growing sentiment that our current usage of cars is unsustainable. This is because of pollution, inaccessibility for people who don’t drive, and impaired drivers. Perhaps the most likely replacement will revolve around electric robotized smaller forms of public transportation that can go door to door. The troubling word here is smaller; if these things are designed for the masses, and thus cater to the average size, it will be a chore for us to stand up for more space. Hopefully, knock on wood while there still is some, these things won’t go down the same dark path as airplane seats.

References

  1. Justice M of. Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations. Canada; 2015.
  2. Boer ER, Bruin J de, Abbink D de, Ward NJ de, Manser M de. Are Drivers with Small Feet or Long Legs at Greater Risk of Rear end Collisions. In: Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting. ; 2006.
  3. Yoganandan N, Baisden JL, Maiman DJ, Pintar FA. Type II odontoid fracture from frontal impact: case report and biomechanical mechanism of injury. J Neurosurg Spine. 2005;2(4).
  4. Sochor MR, Faust DP, Wang SC, Schneider LW. Knee , Thigh and Hip Injury Patterns for Drivers and Right Front Passengers in Frontal Impacts Reprinted From : Biomechanics. Injury. 2003;(724).
  5. Chong M, Sochor M, Ipaktchi K, Brede C, Poster C, Wang S. The interaction of “occupant factors” on the lower extremity fractures in frontal collision of motor vehicle crashes based on a level I trauma center. J Trauma. 2007;62(3).
  6. Untaroiu C, Kerrigan J, Kam C, et al. Correlation of strain and loads measured in the long bones with observed kinematics of the lower limb during vehicle-pedestrian impacts. Stapp Car Crash J. 2007;51(October).
  7. Causse J, Wang X, Denninger L. An experimental investigation on the requirement of roof height and sill width for car ingress and egress. Ergonomics. 2012;(October 2014).

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59 thoughts on “Best Cars for Tall People

  • Steve Lochridge

    The VLH isn’t the measurement you need. I’m 6’7″ and fit comfortably in a 2007 Kia Optima with 42″ VLH. You need the measurement from the SEAT to the top of the windshield. A 46″ VLH doesn’t mean squat if the seat is too high and won’t adjust down like many trucks and jeeps.

    P.S. – There are lots of tall people in Germany. Buy VWs. LOL

    • Tall Sam Post author

      Hi Steve, there are pros and cons for VLH versus the measurement you mentioned. I’ll cover these in a future post. Thanks for your comment.

      • Steve Lochridge

        Well, the cons would be that it only helps if I plan on making major modifications like changing out the seats.
        My reason for responding is that I’ve been looking for a car and I’m 6’7″. When I look for a car, I have no interest in what the manufacturer had to work with, nor do I consider spending extra money to modify a seat. I want a car that fits me. The measurement I care about the most is the one that shows I can sit in the vehicle and properly look out the window AND have head room. The VLH doesn’t do that.
        Hey, it’s a neat measurement, but it doesn’t help tall people. Once again, I drive a 2007 Kia Optima with a VLH of 42. I fit fine without having to lower the seat all the way. I believe you showed a pic of a Hummer with a VLH of 43 and the guy was sitting way too high. Just because I can fit in an Optima, I wouldn’t consider a Hummer just because it’s POSSIBLE to put in a custom seat that would allow me to fit.
        So, the VLH is a valid measurement but I’d like to see the other measurement when I’m looking for cars to test drive.
        This is about “tall life”. I don’t know how many tall people would appreciate misleading measurements with a caveat of, “Oh, but it’ll work if you spend an extra $1000 to replace the seat.”
        It’ll only take going to a couple of cars with VLH measurements tof realize they don’t help.
        I need to know the height after I sit down. That measurement is from sitting position to the top of the windshield.
        I’m not against the VLH. It just doesn’t help this tall person.

        • Tall Sam Post author

          Hi Steve, you make some great points. I am planning to measure from the seat to the top of the windshield next time I make the dealer lot rounds and after that I’ll try to do a bit of an analysis. In the meantime, I will say that the VLH is easy to measure and works well for picking out good cars for tall people. For instance, the car with the largest VLH on the market, the Ford Transit Connect, is the only car endorsed by Tall Clubs International. The few that follow after, the Ford Econoline, the old Scion XB, and the Honda Element, are all notoriously good for tall people. The VLH also is good for Ingress and Egress. And for the extremely tall among us who must modify, there is no substitute for the VLH. But I definitely see that the other measurement is superior in other ways. My next round of measurements will have both. I’m not sure when I’m going to have time though. If you wanted to contribute, we’d all be grateful. One of the challenges is figuring out how to do the measurement quickly and easily. I’m thinking a level combine with a tape measure.
          Awesome input Steve.

          • David Crandall

            Hi, I found your article very interesting and useful. I’m not tall, just 5’8″, but I have a really bad back which requires me to put towels on the seat, so that it’s not slanting back, and so that it’s higher – that adds few inches. Then, I sit really straight. After analyzing things for myself, I concluded that what you call VLH is the exact measure which is important to me, and I bring a tape measure to dealers. First, I bought a 2004 Scion XB, which was great, but then I totalled it ,and the new XBs were shorter, so I bought a Honda Element. It’s OK, but still, believe it or not, shorter than optimal for me. I think I might try a Ford Transit Connect, based on your list. Do you know if they are still making them so tall? Or are there any other newer vehicles with VLH greater than an Element?

          • Tall Sam Post author

            Hi, thanks for your comment. I don’t think they’ve changed the VLH on the Ford Transit Connect. My own Honda Element is starting to get a bit worn out and, given they stopped making them in 2011, I’m starting to eye the Transit Connect myself too!

          • Camille Newlon

            As a 5’3″ physical therapist (yes, not considered tall at all), I knew when test-driving my Honda Element that I’d be able to rig the seat to be comfortable and good for my back. I’ve been sitting on about 6″ of firm foam (combination of the garden kneeling pads and other materials) and have room for my lower legs to go straight down, as in a chair, and sit fully erect, generally away from the back of the seat. If you are old enough, you’ll recognize that this is similar to how one sat in an early 50s car. And the steering wheel was close enough to be held with bent elbows. Having been in a couple hard-hit accidents and having absolutely no discomfort convinces me that this is how I need to be sitting–there was no lag time for my muscles to react–they were already engaged. I’m now facing having to replace my Element and I’M LOOKING FOR FLOOR TO CEILING HEIGHT, not seat to ceiling with my legs stretched out in front of me. This is information that also is not readily available.

        • Scott

          Hi Steve,

          I am 6’3 and would also love to have a wide range of cars available that I fit comfortably without modification. Alas, this is not currently what the market provides, and ‘tall’ people are a small segment of the market, limiting our influence.

          Considering the purchase price of a car, fuel, insurance and maintenance, as well as the price, time and pain of needing continual visits to the physical therapist, if spending $1..2k for a better seat will get me a pain-free driving experience and stop fueling my neck and shoulder pain and inflammation then I will spend it as a health investment!

          The VLH measurement concept seems a very helpful one. As an engineer myself, I am sure that providing engineers with a clear design criterion makes designing a car to accommodate tall people a much more straightforward process, making it -far- more likely to occur.

  • hilarychristensen

    Hi Sam, I really appreciate this info. I’m a little suspect of some of these numbers. I have been trying to find a car that will fit me and my tall, getting taller boys. So, I’ve been going around trying cars (mainly minivans ugh). I’ve found that unless they are the top of the line models they do not have a height adjustment option for the driver, none have one for the passenger. The worst van for me was the Honda Odyssey. Even with the seat down all the way I couldn’t see traffic lights. The dealer took me over to a Pilot and I fit in that really well. I’ve pretty much given up on the minivan idea at this point. But i was surprised when I looked at this list to see the Odyssey’s numbers. I feel like I shouldn’t have had so much trouble with that little a difference between the VLH for the Pilot and the Odyssey.
    Giving up on the minivan, and not liking the prices of the SUV’s these days!

    • Marla

      My boys are tall too and finding a back seat that has leg room for them is pretty tough. My husband 6′, 15 year old 6’4 and 12 year old 5’7. In addition to the front row for the assumed tall parents, how about some mentions of what works for tall kids to fit comfortably in a cars back seat.

      • kerrbear

        That is exactly our issue. Tall genetics are at play! We need front seat and back seat room! Maybe a mini-van with the middle seats taken out? Ha Ha! Since your post in March, did you find anything?

      • Anonymous

        I’m 6’3″. My brothers are 6’4″, 6’6″ and 6’9″. We all fit nicely in my 2010 Ford Flex. There’s a lot of headroom and legroom in this vehicle. Unfortunately, Ford has stopped making them.

        • Tall Life Post author

          I totally agree, Ford Flex is a good car for tall people. Well, was anyway… Someone up there does not like boxy cars! Honda Element Scion XB original body, and now Ford Flex all chopped!

  • Anonymous

    Great article!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My problem exactly, vision line height. Any updates on measurements for 2016 cars? Our lease on our SUV is up, thanks!

    • Tall Sam Post author

      Thanks! Sadly I haven’t gone through and looked at 2016 cars, no time! But if you are after the best, not much has changed, Ford Transit Connect still reigns. Please let us know if you find any gems and what you finally decide on!

  • Hugh J MacLellan

    Steve i am getting older and find that if my hips are lower than my knees my hips and back get sore. do you know of any cars /suv that has seats that are 16″-17″ from seat cushion to the floor pan. any help would be great as i am 6’4″ with 36″ legs

    • Steve

      I get sick of hearing what a small percentage tall people make up in the market. How about this: Tall people usually MARRY short people. We both have to be able to drive it. If your car doesn’t fit me, my 5’6″ wife doesn’t get to look at it. How you like me now?

      So, to be helpful to some others in this thread, I found the following vehicles worked great for tall AND short people. Ooooo. What a concept.
      Mazda CX-5
      VW Tiguan
      Ford Escape
      Acura MDX

      I even fit in a 2013 VW Beetle. The Germans figured it out apparently.

      I fit okay in a 2016 Honda CRV but it was borderline.

      Many of the new SUVs are basically shorter and less powerful station wagons. It’s sad.

      Of course I can fit in the $60,000+ extended cab pickups, but last time I shelled out that much. I bought a house.

      So, engineers need to stop making excuses and make cars for everyone and stop discriminating against tall people. If we all left, we take basketball. football with us … along with our shorter spouses. It’s easy to accommodate. Saturn did it. You simply lower the floor by 2 inches. Then our knees come down. Or, you could take a trip to Germany and tell them our American engineers need some tutoring.

      Ok. I’m through venting. This wasn’t meant to attack you. I’m just frustrated with engineers who jumped on the “you can’t please everybody” train after 2 minutes of thought.

      • Hugo!! ;)

        Haha! My brother and wife have a Ford Escape – he is 6’3″, was 6’4″, she is about 5’6″. I have a 6’2″ 15 year old with about a 35 “inseam a few months ago – so probably 36 ” by now! His knees touch my MItsubishi Outlander’s dashboard – seat is all the way back. God forbid, we get rear-ended!!

        I need what you are mentioning as well as cargo space that will fit my border collie’s Gunnar Kennel. The kennel was a pretty penny, but cheaper than a sugery that my dog might not make!!

  • Pat

    In 2012, I was looking to buy a new car. My main concern was being able to look out the center of the front window & having a comfortable seat where after a long drive my back did not kill me. Minivans fit this requirement, but are just too big. I recalled in 2007 sitting in & getting in & out of a new Kia Rondo & thought it was great, but Kia did not have a good rep at that time. No 2012 Rondo, so I tried a Kia Soul. It was OK, but there was a 2008 Rondo on the used car lot & I drove it, loved it & bought it & still own it today (2017). I love it’s visibility, size, access, seats, etc. Too bad Kia doesn’t make it today in the USA.
    Note: I think if Kia would put the Rondo taillight design on a Soul, it would improve the overall looks.

  • Bill Rawlins

    I’m 6’6″. I was just looking for a smallish hatchback. I tried the Ford Escape. What tall people need is to be able to tilt their knees to the side and rest them comfortably against the console. The 2017 Escape was awful. The 2017 Chevy Cruze worked great, so we just bought one. It’s not just the length or the height that counts. It’s the comfort level with the knees on a 3-hour drive.

    • Tall Sam Post author

      You make a great point. Cars have little idiosyncrasies that can make or break comfort for tall people, and these aren’t so easy to measure. There’s no substitute for getting in the drivers seat!

  • Michelle

    Good article. These are good things to think about when looking for a car. I find that at 6’2″ I fit in cars ok, but often smash my head on the door frame getting out of the car. Any recommendations on cars with higher door frames? I prefer smaller cars (city driving) and want to avoid SUVs and trucks – but don’t know if anything like that exists.

    • Tall Sam Post author

      Glad you liked it!
      Cars with a large VLH tend to be easy to get in and out of. My Honda Element for instance is super easy to get in and out of without bending my spine at all, whereas a typical sedan requires quite a bit of contortion. The technical terms for getting in and out are ingress and egress. You might actually do a little searching for those and see what cars come up.

  • BJ Hart

    This was a good article. It clearly addresses the issues people have with buy cars, not just tall people, but short as well. A family I know average probably 5′ tall between the 4 of them, the shortest is 4’10”. Ever see an adult have to use a booster seat, by law.
    Anyway. I am 6′ tall, but have a 30/32 inseam, which means I used to run really fast, but not for very long. I also run a local delivery company and that means I have access to a LOT of different vehicles.
    The transit express and sprinters are crazy for headroom for me. The sprinter has all kinds of good adjustments as well. Our kenworth has great headroom but no legroom, even for me. We have two GMC Sierra’s (penske trucks) and both have good leg room and headroom but horrid vision, the windshield is about 2″ lower than my eyes. New ford trucks, my brother has a ’16 F350, even with the sunroof shade open I have to lean the seat way back. My 02 civic had far better ergonomics than the ford. Parents have a PT cruiser, To short and the windshield is about 4″ lower than my eyes, backseat is fine though. 02 Durango, fine on headroom, just tiny seats.

    Finding a vehicle that fits, sometime we are stuck with what we can find. I personally drive a 94 Dodge Dakota, and it fits perfect, great headroom and legroom. So until I can find something that doesn’t seem like it should have free candy written on the side (sprinter, transit) I will keep fixing my pickup, but it’s getting old,220k.

    Carmakers cannot make cars that fit everyone. It would be impractical. But they can at least try a little better. But I am amazed about what cars do fit and what don’t.

    • Tall Sam Post author

      Free candy, lol! Well put! Sad that the most tall friendly vehicles look like that. It is for this reason my girlfriend has vetoed the Econoline, Sprinter, and even the Transit. Transit is definitely better than the other two though, especially the new ones, and I might able to change her mind on that. Thanks for writing in BJ!

  • Thomas Boswell

    I’m 6’8 and recently bought a newish car, a 2015 Kia Sorentoe, A very tight fit, I had the seat pushed back additional 3 inches, but still the footwell is very tight for the feet. I looked in the 2015 model year mostly. Others I found to be big enough were Mazda X9 and the Lincoln SUV both had bigger engines and priced above my price points. One shocker was the 2014 Nissan Cube, I would have bought if I hadn’t found the Sorentoe. The build quality of the Sorentoe is Superior all the cars I have listed.. meaning it keeps its resale value for a longer..

  • Janet

    I’m 60+, female, 6′ with a 38 inch inseam, heavy build. I have bad knees and find most cars sit too low to the ground. I end up basically doing a free fall hoping to hit the seat when I get into a car, then I have to ‘climb’ out. I am on the road a lot for work carrying a great deal of supplies. A van or SUV seems like the best for me due to cargo space. Which of the SUV or minivan Make/body would you recommend?

    • Tall Sam Post author

      The butt first free fall, I know exactly what you’re talking about! Maybe try grabbing the ‘Oh S***’ handle to help decelerate you. As far as another vehicle, I would normally suggest the Ford Transit Connect, however it doesn’t sound like vertical space is your issue. Rather, you just want something with a higher seat. If that’s the case, you have a slew of options, not really sure what to suggest… likely other factors like budget and preferred brand will drive your decision process. Good luck!

  • Pär Lidén

    Great article. After reading I’ve finally understand why I dislike driving most cars. I realized that what you call the vision line height is the single most important metric to me. Most cars sadly have the window line too low.

    Too bad that that quite a lot of the cars in your list are not available in Europe, or at least not in my country (Finland).
    However, I’ve found that the Opel Meriva with 114 cm (44 7/8″) and Toyota Verso with 115 cm (45 1/4″) are better than many others. I’ll probably go for one of those. This article has helped in understanding which car I need.

    • Tall Sam Post author

      Thanks for the feedback, Par! You’d think there would be a market for tall friendly cars over, what with tall populations like the Dutch. I’ll have to dig more into this someday… I do have to say I like how much more utility European cars often have, I wish I could get my hands on one of those pop-top camper vans!

  • David C

    Have a look at MINI Cooper. They’re built to sit a bit more vertically, which pulls your legs back (less leg room required) and lets you see out particularly well. At 6’3″ I have no issues with headroom, and the roof doesn’t curve down to block my view out any window the way far too many smaller vehicles do. I do have the issue mentioned above seeing stop lights, and have seen dealers offering Fresnel lenses though I haven’t tried one personally. Even the back seat is surprisingly roomy, and I’ve tested that on hour+ drives. Instrument panel and controls are great for me, too.

    Another issue you didn’t mention is seeing your gauges. Many vehicles, even with adjustable steering wheels, leave the wheel between my eyes and the top half of the instrument panel. I hate having to duck to check my speed. Similarly, controls in the center console are often set too far back, so that if my elbow is against the seat they’re still behind my wrist. Not ergonomic at all.

    • Tall Life Post author

      Hi David, good points. I am going to have to try out a mini cooper again soon, I don’t seem to have the VLH measurement here. I have the speedometer problem too, I mentioned a heads up display is one way to get around it, perhaps I’ll expand on that part a bit.

      • Bonns

        I had a couple of Mini Coopers – I’m 6′ tall and it was the first car I ever drove where I didn’t have the seat all the way back. Surprising amount of leg room for a small car.

    • Tall Life Post author

      This is a measurement I hope to provide for some cars in the future, when the seat is in the lowest position. Are you wanting that or when it is in the highest position?

      • Camille Newlon

        probably the highest, since I’m trying to maximize the height so my lower leg can be more nearly vertical and my knee not high than my hip; that’s what my back doesn’t tolerate. The more it is like a standard kitchen chair, the better–like the ’53 Chevy where sitting was intentionally vertical.

  • Ewan Botterill

    Great article. I find manufacturer published headroom figures misleading. Do they measure to the glass of a sunroof? In most cases, a car with a sunroof that opens inside the car is not viable for me at 6ft 4in, whereas a car with a fixed pano roof, or a roof that opens outwards is often OK. Of course the governing factor is not the glass itself but the lowest edge of the sunroof opening. In some cases like BMW, to save cost, use the same molded roof liner regardless of whether there is a sunroof installed or not. I found this out when looking at an M2 which is sold in Canada without a sunroof. The BMW was still no good for me as its molded roof liner encroaches too much on the headroom.

    In addition, doors are a major factor. having to duck on the way in and out with a bad back is an issue. When the seat is all the way back on its rails this exacerbates the issue of exit by having to lean forward and roll. This brings you into collision with the steering wheel which has been extended out so as not to strain your arms…

    Sitting in cars is the only way to find the right car. Manufacturer figures are unclear and misleading (and copied without veryfying by magazines).

    • Tall Life Post author

      Glad you liked it, Ewan. I’ve always assumed all sunroofs take up headroom, so you’ve got me interested to check out fixed pano roofs and roofs that open outwards. You’re also giving me some more motivation to go out and verify headroom measurements across brands!

  • Ric Giorgi

    Thank you for much useful information but there is one measure you’re not listing, I call it the Body Aperture Distance – It’s the space between the top of the seat cushion to the upper lip of the door opening. It’s crucial especially for older tall people because it determines whether a person will have to get into the vehicle head first or whether they can sit on the seat and then move their body into the cabin without tilting their head or hitting their head on the upper door frame opening.

    • Tall Life Post author

      Great point Ric! I will look into including this measurement next time I go measure some cars. My Honda Element has a huge opening, making ingress/egress really easy. My girlfriends Ford Fusion on the other had forces me to do some rather awkward contortions. Doing a little digging, I found a publication listing a similar measurement, but the name sucks: SUITABILITY OF VEHICLES FOR OLDER DRIVERSACCESSIBILITY MEASUREMENTS. I like your name much better, but I’m wondering if there might be something even simpler.

  • Alan C

    Tall certainly includes variations in proportions as well. I am 6’2″ with a 36″ inseam. Unfortunately, even when vehicles accommodate for leg room, they often lack on steering wheel adjustability. I find myself in an unsafe position to feel in control of the steering wheel. Telescopic steering adjustment is becoming far more common, but often pushes further into the dash more often that extending away from. This may help shorter drivers such as my wife, who is 5’2″ “tall”. I have sat in a few vehicles that when adjusting the seat all the way back, I literally could not reach the wheel. I know there are some luxury vehicles that also offer an extending seat bottom that the seat base can be pulled further up behind the knees. I have sat in a couple of these as well, but doesn’t really accomodate my personal comfort desires. I am a bit of an auto enthusiast. I have considered a few times of starting a blog for long legged car shopping and charting the details. Not sure that it would ever get any real interest.

    • Tall Life Post author

      Yup, is a shame they go to all the effort of putting in telescoping steering wheels but the range is piddly. I’ve thought about using a secondary wheel installed on top of the first so I don’t have to reach as much, or maybe just one of those knobs for spinning the steering wheel would help a bit. Long legged car shopping would be a tight niche for sure. If you ever felt like writing up an article, I’d be interested to post it here on Tall Life.

      • Kerri Godfrey

        We just bought a 2018 Volkswagen Atlas! My husband (6’6.5” can wear his fedora hat while driving comfortably. My son, (rapidly approaching 6’) can sit behind him with ample room for his feet , knees, head. Try it on! Highly suggest it!

  • Matt

    I AM 6 FEET 7INCHE’S TALL. I AM LONG LIMBED. The 2014 Sport
    Altima is the best fit for me. I sat in many cars before I found my 2014 Sport Altima. The seat goes down and the steering wheel is small and it goes up. I also have size 16 shoes which barely fit in any vehicle.. I do not fit in any Hondas or Toyotas. I am a big guy. Big GMC trucks work, but they are not in my price range. I do not sit stralight up in the car, but I am 23 so far the leaning back a little is not a problem.

  • Amy

    You may be interested to learn I’m a mere 5’ 6.5” but because of my long upper body I find my (granted, small) Corolla unbearably small. And I have a sunroof. I know. But still. 5-6 and I can’t fit in a car?? Nuts.

  • Andrew

    Hi , I am only six feet but have a long torso and looking for a new suv . I’ve noticed a lot of info is years old out there and was wondering if there is any info on the newer luxury SUVs . I have a back and neck issue and my head is always close to the roof if I want to use a lumbar roll or car seat . I’ve sat in a bunch and the only one was the Range Rover but it is too expensive . Also , the sales guy said they lowered the ceiling on every car on the lot last year but the top Range Rover . BMW X5 I was Told also lowered the headroom as well as many others .
    I was wondering if you know what might be the best play for a luxury suv. Thanks very much . Was going to get the Mercedes gle 350 for the safety features and it seemed better than others but wasn’t sure . Thanks again

    • Tall Life Post author

      As you can see, I haven’t had a look around for the best cars for tall people since 2013. Perhaps there are some that haven’t changed, but I imagine many have and in the wrong direction as you point out! I was extremely disappointed when they dropped the roof of the Scion XB! I don’t know what it is with car manufacturers… perhaps it’s the better fuel economy or the sportier look of a lower roof line… So weird to think I wouldn’t trade my Honda Element for the fanciest car out there (unless of course I could sell the fancy car and get a Honda Element plus cash 🙂

      I did sit in a Tesla Model X recently which was the best electric car for tall people I know of, you might check that out. Other than that, I don’t really have any tips on the best luxury cars for tall people at the moment… Best of luck!

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  • Steve

    Thigh support is also important, to me anyway. I found a GMC Sierra to be the best for me. Driving a subaru forester with cushions under me to get my legs in a better position.

  • Tony

    I’m looking for a car that is compatabile for an person 6’10”-6’11”. Can you offer some suggestions. No minivans. It’s or my kid. He is 19 and in college.

  • Chris

    The Ford C Max is surprisingly accommodating for taller people I am 6′ 6″ and don’t have to lean the seat too far back. The seats could use more adjustment for thighs and side support, but basic dimensions are pretty good