Tall people drive cars too, right? But when you’re in the 6-foot and over club, buying a car involves more than just style and personal preference. The best cars for tall people need to be comfortable, have enough headroom and legroom, and offer a good range of seat-height and seat-track adjustments. Be sure there’s enough room in between the pedals, and in the footwell to rest your left foot. And you might want to skip the sunroof – it’s nice but eats up a few inches of coveted headroom.

Since all cars are not created equal when it comes to accommodating height, we’ve researched the best cars for tall drivers. Our list draws from car reviews and top auto experts (including some tall editors, no doubt).

2009_Pontiac_VibePontiac Vibe – This compact hatchback is the best car on our list for front-seat headroom at a comfortable 40.5 inches, with front legroom in the mid-pack at 41.6 inches. The Pontiac Vibe is an affordable alternative to MAZDA3s and Chevy HHRs, with “more interior room, cargo volume and a lower price,” according to Kelly Blue Book. In the rear, you’ll get a good 39.4 inches of headroom and a decent amount of legroom. If you can still find it on dealer lots, there’s likely a good deal to be made.

Honda Fit – One of Car and Driver’s picks for its 2010 10 Best Cars, its editors say, “It takes truly Sasquatchian dimensions to be discomforted inside.” Despite being a subcompact, the 5-passenger 2010 Honda Fit offers spaciousness, quality design and interior versatility that surpasses some of the more expensive cars. The 40.4 inches of front headroom ranks second on our list and rear headroom (39.0 inches) is third. Both front and back legroom measure slightly below the average, at 41.3 inches and 34.5 inches, respectively.

Best Cars for Tall Drivers Headroom and Legroom

Car

Model Year

FRONT SEAT

REAR SEAT

Headroom

Legroom

Headroom

Legroom

 Pontiac Vibe

2009

40.5”

41.6”

39.4”

36.2”

 Honda Fit

2010

40.4”

41.3”

39.0”

34.5”

 Hyundai Sonata

2010

40.1”

43.7”

38.2”

37.4”

 Hyundai Sonata

2011

40.0”

45.5”

37.8”

34.6”

 Subaru Forester 2.5XT

2009

40.0”

43.1”

37.7”

38.0”

 Scion xB

2010

40.0”

40.7”

41.2”

38.0”

 Honda Accord EX-L

2008

39.0”

42.5”

37.2”

37.2”

 Volkswagen New Beetle

2010

38.2”

39.4”

36.7”

33.5”

 Volvo S80

2009

37.8”

41.9”

38.8”

35.0”

 

Hyundai Sonata – While the 2010 Hyundai Sonata ranks third for front headroom at 40.1 inches, and second best for front legroom (43.7 inches) and back legroom (37.4 inches), the affordable sedan is all new for 2011. Front and rear headroom in the 2011 model are comparable to the 2010 model at 40.0 inches and 37.8 inches, respectively. But the 2011 wins when it comes to front legroom, topping our list at 45.5 inches, with a fair 34.6 inches in the rear. Autoblog’s 6’2 reviewer says he “slid into the driver’s seat with plenty of room” and even needed to move the seat forward for comfort. As for the backseat, he says there’s plenty of space and legroom behind the driver.

Subaru Forester 2.5XT – subaru_Forester_2.5XT_2010Drivers with longs legs and tall families will want to consider the redesigned 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5XT. It ranks third on our list for front legroom (43.1 inches) and ties the Scion xB for most rear legroom (38.0 inches), providing great foot space and legroom even if the front seats are pushed back. This compact crossover utility vehicle is on Consumer Reports’ list of 10 best cars for tall drivers. Longer and wider than previous models, it has excellent front headroom at 40.0 inches and modest rear headroom.

Scion xB – The 2010 Scion xB is a tall passenger’s dream. It ties the 2009 Subaru Forester 2.5XT for most rear legroom at 38.0 inches and the rear headroom tops our list at 41.2 inches. Front headroom is a roomy 40.0 inches and there’s adequate front legroom at 40.7 inches. Yet the real winner may be the 2006 Scion xB with an impressive 46.1 inches of front headroom and 45.3 inches of front legroom, not to mention 38 inches of rear legroom. Autobytel awarded the 2006 subcompact wagon its best pick for commuter vehicles with the most legroom.

Honda Accord EX-L honda_accord_exl_2010Redesigned for 2008, the midsize Honda Accord EX-L is roomier than before and larger than its competitors the Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry. Front headroom and legroom are 39.0 and 42.5 inches, respectively, and the rear dimensions are 37.2 inches for both. Consumer Reports lists the Accord EX-L in its 10 best cars for tall drivers. New Car Test Drive praises the Accord’s tall-friendly features: a tilt-and-telescoping steering column, multiple driver’s seat power adjustments, good driver’s seat support, lots of room around the front seat, and rear seats with enough “space for a six-footer to sit comfortably behind another one.” Seats in the 2008 model offer superior support than older model years, according to Consumer Guide who says, “Larger door openings and a higher roof make entering and exiting easy.”

Volkswagen New Beetle – In the compact class (or subcompact by EPA designation), the 2010 Volkswagen New Beetle offers distinctly retro looks with the latest features. Best of all, it offers tall drivers front headroom of 38.2 inches and front legroom of 39.4 inches. However, the backseat may feel tighter, with headroom and legroom of 36.7 and 33.5 inches, respectively.

Volvo S80 – volvo_s80_2010In the midsize luxury sedan category, the Volvo S80 rates as one of Consumer Reports’  10 best cars for tall drivers. New Car Test Drive calls it big, luxurious, fast, comfortable and spacious. Although it’s at the bottom of our list for front headroom (37.8 inches), the S80 has generous legroom with 41.9 inches in front and 35.0 inches in back. Edmunds says the seat comfort is sublime, with driver memory and 8-way power front seats that are “supportive enough to impress a chiropractor and comfortable for miles on end.”

Need Comfortable Front Seats With Better Thigh Support?

While ample headroom and legroom are essential, what about more comfortable front seats for tall drivers and people who need extra thigh support? Unfortunately, automakers don’t publish their seat-cushion lengths so consumers can’t easily research the best options before they head out to buy a vehicle. So what can you do? Try looking for new models that come with multi-adjustable front seats and opt for packages that include front seat-cushion extenders for the driver and passenger.

2011 Car Options for Tall People Who Want More Leg Support

  • Cadillac CTS – Introduced in 2010, Recaro performance seats are available for $2,800 as part of the Cadillac CTS Sport Sedan’s Premium and Performance packages. You’ll get 14-way adjustable seats, including adjustable front-seat back and thigh support, adjustable side bolsters and a seat cushion extender. The Recaro option is also available on 2011 CTS coupes and CTS-Vs at $3,400, but not on the CTS Sport Wagon.
  • Lexus ES 350 – Look for the optional Ultra Luxury Package to get extra thigh support with a driver’s-seat power cushion extender.
  • Toyota Avalon – The Limited package features heated and ventilated front seats, a 10-way adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support and power cushion extender. The driver’s seat in other packages is 8-way power-adjustable with power lumbar support.
  • Porsche Cayenne –The first full redesign since the luxury SUV’s 2003 debut gives consumers optional adaptive sport seats (standard on Turbo) that allow bottom-cushion length adjustments, as well as high and low side bolsters. Seat memory buttons are now on the door for more convenience.
  • Infiniti G37 – With an increased focus on style, performance, and overall fit and finish, the 2011 Infiniti G37 features new sport seats with thicker bolsters, manual thigh extenders like BMW’s, and torso and thigh adjustment.
  • BMW 7-Series550i Gran Turismo – Befitting these benchmark luxury models’ reputations for all-encompassing attention to detail, look for leg extension, power bolsters, active headrests and more as either standard equipment or part of a package on many 2011 BMW models, including the 7-Series and 550i Gran Turismo.

 

Note that all of the above are luxury makes and models, except for the Toyota Avalon – since you tend get what you pay for, consumers who want it all usually end up getting it all. For anyone who wants more affordable wheels with front-seat cushion extenders, there’s no easy way to create that list. Your best bet is to contact an automaker’s customer assistance or sales department and ask which models may have them.

Other good cars to add to your “best cars for tall people” shopping list include the Chevrolet MalibuChrysler PT Cruiser, Ford Escape and Ford Focus, Honda ElementInfiniti MMazda TributeMercedes-Benz E-Class, Nissan Altima and Nissan Murano, and Volvo V70 and Volvo XC70.

To start your search for the best cars for sale, visit www.iSeeCars.com, a leading search engine for finding over 2 million cars for sale from more than 11,000 websites. For useful car-buying tips, you can check out more popular articles on our blog

[Editor’s Note: This post was updated on August 31, 2010 to include information on thigh support in response to readers’ questions about seat-cushion length.]


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