Best Compact Cars for Tall Drivers
Oh, you’re a brave soul. Despite all of the warnings that you need to buy a pickup truck or SUV, and despite all of the jokes about clown cars and Hot wheels, you’re looking for a compact car.
It’s okay. I understand. The car I’ve been driving since high school is a Honda Civic, and even though I’m 6’7 it has plenty of room for me. And when it comes to buying, choosing a compact car over a mid-size sedan can help you save a bit of money.
So lets take a look at 2015’s best compact cars for tall drivers.
2015 Compact Car Leg Room
First let’s take a look at the ever-important metric for tall drivers – leg room. Keep in mind that the best leg room from my mid-size car report was 45.5 inches, and the worst was 41.6 inches.
The Hyundai Veloster leads the pack here with 43.9 inches of front leg room. The Ford Focus and Hyundai Elantra follow with 43.7 and 43.6 inches respectively. Most of the other contenders are around the 42 inch mark. Based on my experience, legs wearing a 34 inseam or lower will feel just fine in anything above 42 inches of leg room. Of course I haven’t tested all seat configurations, but I’m just a big guy, not a full-time automotive leg room investigator.
But you don’t have to be very smart to know that the rear seat in a compact car behind a tall driver will be a special kind of hell for the average friend.
2015 Compact Car Rear Leg Room
Let’s be honest. A compact car with a tall driver at the helm is a three-seater. Or is it? Here are the facts on rear leg room in compact cars. For reference, the worst rear leg room in a mid-size sedan was 34.7 inches.
The obvious standout in the compacts for rear leg room is the Toyota Corolla with 41.4 inches of rear leg room. In fact, the Corolla gives your rear passenger just shy of an inch less leg room than it gives you. Now the driver in this case will most likely have his/her seat adjusted to in-your-lap position, but your legs might not necessarily be crushed. The VW Jetta, Sentra and Civic also provide a decent amount of space, comparatively.
2015 Compact Car Head Room
Now let’s talk about what’s going to be a recurring problem for tall drivers in compact cars, and that’s room for your noggin. For reference, the worst head room in a mid-size was 37.7 inches.
All together now…
My thoughts: I think if I were looking for a vehicle that gives me (the driver) the most room, I’d be test driving a Hyundai Elantra, Nissan Sentra, Chevy Cruze, Kia Forte and Mitsubishi Lancer. They offer a good leg room/head room combo, and really a lack of head room is what I find most annoying as a tall driver.
Now if you’re looking for a compact car but you’re going to be regularly transporting passengers in the seat behind yours, I’d have to look hard at a Toyota Corolla, Nissan Sentra, and Honda Civic.
No matter what the measurements are, seat adjustments and steering columns always cause problems with a tall driver’s experience. You really just need to test drive them (with a passenger behind you, of course) and find out. Let me know how it goes in the comments.