Best Mid-Size Sedans for Tall Drivers

Mid-size sedans

Tall drivers can find a comfortable compact car. But if you’re tired of getting made fun of for driving a Matchbox car, maybe you should think about sizing up a bit. Welcome to mid-size sedans for the vertically gifted.

It’s safe to say that, by the numbers, all of the 2015 models in the mid-size category should give tall drivers a bit of comfort. After all, my current 2004 Honda Civic (a compact) is bested in terms of leg room by many vehicles in this class.

Speaking of leg room, let’s start with taking a look at one of the numbers that all tall drivers should hold dear:

2015 mid-size sedan leg room

I made a handy graph to give you an idea of where 2015’s mid-size sedan models stand in terms of leg room:

2015 Mid Size Sedan Legroom

The Koreans are crushing it. With over 45 inches of front leg room, Kia and Hyundai’s mid-size offerings are in, dare I say, “scoot the seat up” territory for a tall driver. Nissan’s Altima and Ford’s Fusion encroach on that space, but the Sonata and Optima lead the pack. Toyota, on the other hand, leaves a lot to be desired if you’re driving.

Unfortunately, if you’re driving the Optima or Sonata with more than two people in the car, you’re going to be crushing your passengers and losing friends.

Alas, we tall drivers have to focus on more than just ourselves. Here’s a look at the rear leg room for the same sedans:
2015 Mid Size Sedan Rear Leg Room

If you’re planning on hosting several passengers in your mid-size sedan, you might want to consider a car with some decent leg room for those unfortunate enough to be stationed behind you.

Models definitely worth looking at in this scenario include the Ford Fusion, Volkswagen Passat or Honda Accord. Of course, it isn’t all about your knees. Your head matters, too.

2015 mid-size sedan head room

I might as well schedule a chiropractor appointment every time I crawl into my mom’s Corolla. That’s not to mention how badly a car with a low bridge can mess up your hair. Here’s a look at head room in 2015 mid-size sedans:

2015 Mid Size Sedan Head RoomHyundai leads the pack here. I think it’s safe to say that if you’re the driver of a Sonata, you’re going to be pretty comfortable at 6’7 and below. The Optima and Legacy are also strong contenders here.

The best mid-size sedans for tall drivers

If this is the category you’re interested in, I’d say test drive the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Subaru Legacy, and Nissan Altima. The leg room/head room measurements make these vehicles safe bets if you’re tall and in the driver’s seat.

If you’re going to be driving around a fair amount of rear passengers, I’d say give the Ford Fusion and VW Passat a spin as well.

Once you do so, let me know how it went in the comments!

Tell a friend!

19 comments

  • Dave Lovo

    Thanks for this article bro, I was gonna go to the nYc Auto show for this reason alone being 6’5″ 300+ and you did the hard work for me. Just walked out of the dealer with a 2015 Hyundai Sonata and you were right, I never would have thought I would have so much room in a sedan. Thanks again for all your hard work.

    • Will Eifert

      Glad I could help, Dave! It’s funny, a lot of people shop for power, accessories, and other things. Us big guys have to look out for a good fit before all that other stuff can matter. Enjoy that Sonata!

  • Denise

    Thank you so much for all your hard work on this subject. I have a 17 year old who is 6ft 3in, and still growing, so I am currently planning my next car with him in mind as a passenger and a driver. I appreciate the ability to compare head room vs leg room!

    • Will Eifert

      Thanks for reading, Denise! Glad that I could help you out. Let us know what vehicle you choose! Stay tuned, too – I’ve got some more categories and perhaps a couple of test-drive reviews forthcoming.

  • Wow this is the best site that I’ve seen for tall drivers. I have sat in a lot of cars and I’ve got to say I don’t like the fit of a lot of them. The Hyundai azure felt better than the sonata to me, being 6’5″. I also like the Subaru outback over the legacy. I want to try the new sonata and see how I fit. I’m shopping for a car I’ll be happy with for years. I haven’t found that yet in this life…
    Brett

  • Walter

    Thanks Will! I am 6’5″ and bit as well as tall, so knowing that the Koreans have me in mind is great! For someone looking used, I can highly recommend a 3rd generation Lexus LS sedan, the LS430 to be specific (’01 to ’06). Wonderful luxury car, and a far better pick used than Getman or US because it’s made by Toyota. Amazing headroom and very good leg room, and excellent access. And V8 power, smoothness, and great looks. You can get a very nice one for $15K. Lexus threw away the recipe with the 4th gen LS460, a lot more cramped. So I will be looking at the Azera or Genesis for a replacement.

  • Hank

    I have seen this mentioned in the comments of one article on cars for tall / big guys. However, I have seen no articles that actually shows measurements of an area critical to many drivers in this category. That is KNEE room. As a tall / big guy – my leg hitting the console / door panel is a big deal – especially on long trips.

    Another factor not regularly mentioned or analyzed is ease getting into and out of a vehicle. For example the new corvette has plenty of leg and head room once in the car – but getting in and out is an endeavor.

    I know nothing replaces actually sitting in a car – but knowing the above information beyond leg, head and hip room will help narrow the search. I also may go with either a new or used car – so having various years to compare would be more comprehensive. Thanks.

  • Baron

    Thanks for this article. This is a tresor for me. i am gonna go with the optima because i prefer the look but peoples complaining about backseat headroom. I am 6’7″ and i know how it’s feel to ride in a small car. I tested the sonata witch is really great but also the nissan altima which is good too.

  • Good info, good additional considerations in the comments! Now I just want a write-up on which cars DON”T have the rear view mirror right in a taller driver’s field of view. I started noticing that a few years back, that all the mirrors seem to block my view of the road in several newer vehicles!

  • Bluemyrtle45

    First time buying a car for ourselves in 30 years. My husband always had company cars. We bought them from the leasing company when they came off lease and that became my car. We now find ourselves with 2 Buick Lucernes. One 2006 CXL and one 2010 Super. Both are still in good condition but are starting to cost more than we wish to pay and the 2006 is nearing $0.00 value unless we sell it privately. But big, comfy cars. Looking for a value, luxury vehicle as we are used to a lot of “toys”. Were considering a 2014 Jag XJ then came across a 2016 Genesis. Great car. Hubby is 6’3″, around 250 lbs and wide in the hips. The Genesis fit perfectly. Huge amount of space all around including the back seat although head room in the back is not as good as in the front. No “knee knocking” on the console. Cut outs in the front doors allowed for more elbow room. The 3.8 litre V6 is luxury with some good pep (300 horsepower). The 5.0 litre V8 is much the same luxury with more toys and lots of pep (420 hp). If you can get past the “Hyundai” name and focus on the “Genesis” brand you will have a large, luxury sedan for a great price. Can’t be beat. Not my words but those of the reviews. 2017 G80 and G90 are new entries into the “new” Genesis brand similar to Lexus, Infiniti and Acura. Remember that these all started as Toyotas, Nissans, and Hondas respectively. Hyundai was bound to brand the Genesis. Grab a deal on the 2016’s now. Prices for the 2017’s are considerably more expensive.

  • Joel

    Will

    As I look at mid-sized sedans I keep finding the same problem. I would like all of the “bells and whistles” such as navigation, leather seats, etc., but it seems like the companies all have these options matched with a mandatory moonroof/sunroof. That decreases the front headroom too much for me to be comfortable. I commute almost 50 miles roundtrip each day. I want high MPG’s in a comfortable sedan with maximum front headroom, with some of the nicer options. Any ideas?

  • crisilton

    Having been a driver of a spacious minivan (Sienna) for many years I am now in the same situation so really appreciate all the great comments here. Many manufacturers permit new car buyers to delete the sunroof if you are ordering, which will give you a couple more inches. I prefer to buy gently used cars and have the luxury of being able to avoid those with sun roofs from the start. We rented a base model Impala recently in Florida and it had lots of head and leg room for this 6’5″er. The Forester, Accord, Outback, Altima, Soul, CR-V, would give you the mileage you want if you can find a model without the sunroof with the options you want. Portable tech may make up those you are missing from the GPS market.

  • clothespin

    Hubs and I are both over 6 feet. And we have 2 little girls who are soon going to be as tall as we are. Looking for suggestions for car/suv/truck… with good front and rear leg room. The next car will be for the next 10 years and by then the oldest will be 18! Not sure we’re really sedan sorts of folks, more country people, but are open to anything. Thanks.

    • Crisilton

      Any vehicle without a sunroof will give you two inches more than one with a sunroof. Check out autobytel.com for headroom dimensions. At 6′ 5″ the Sienna’s headroom tops the others for me.

    • Christopher Wilson

      I think minivans are the way to go. I tried the Korean cars and while they had headroom, I could not see out the front window because the roof curves over. Also my problem is wide shoulders and that’s where the minivans shine, we have a Honda Odyssey. I had an Ford Escape that on long trips was painful to drive as the column between the doors hit my sgoulder and did not let me sit up right. The last car I had was an Infiniti Q45 but I had to take the sun visors out, but I agree with the gentleman above who commented on Ls 430, the newer Japanese luxury models don’t do as well accommodating tall people.

      • Crisilton

        Attention Automakers! With the increasing segmentation of the auto marketplace, why have you not created vehicles for the very tall, very large, and very small driver? If you add up those three categories I bet you would come up with a competitive advantage for up to 25% of the market. You currently go after much slimmer (no pun intended) market segments so why not put your engineers and ergonomics folks to work on something useful for us minority sizes? If you need a car test dummy, just ask us we will willingly share.

  • Steve

    I’m spoiled by full size pickups. For another driving option, I also bought a little Nissan Versa. It’s OK but always feels like I’m riding just off the ground in a go-kart. (Also feels like, if someone ran over it with a truck, it would just flatten and flip like a pop can.) But, of the really little, cheap cars, this one had the most distance between the seat and the top of the door opening — which is just as important to me as leg and head room once inside.

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