2016 Small SUVs for Tall Drivers

Small SUV Title

I have to make a confession – I’ve never been a fan of the small SUV or the crossover. To me, small SUVS seem like slightly-elevated mid-sized sedans with a fifth door.

Judging by what I see driving around the Detroit area, the small SUV is a popular choice. So if you’re a big or tall driver and interested in one of these vehicles, use the interior measurements below to help you prioritize your test-drive list.


As usual, these measurements alone won’t give you the whole story on a car. But they’re a good starting point if you’re looking for your next ride.

Small SUV Legroom

Here are the leg room measurements:

2016 Small SUV Leg Room

Slightly ahead of the pack are the Jeep Cherokee, GMC Terrain, Chevrolet Equinox, Subaru Forester and Nissan Rogue.

On the shorter end of the field are the MINI models and the Nissan Juke.

Small SUV Headroom

Now let’s see the headroom angle of this vehicle category. Here are the numbers:

2016 Small SUV Head Room

In terms of headroom, the Nissan Rogue, Chevy Equinox, Subaru Forester, Jeep models and the Dodge Journey stand a bit above the rest.

The MINI Cooper Paceman’s headroom is a bit less than the other models, along with the Kia Sportage, VW Tiguan, and Fiat 500X.

Small SUV Hip Room

Let’s take a look at how wide the seats are for vehicles in this segment:

2016 Small SUV Hip Room

*Note that hip room measurements aren’t available for the VW Tiguan, MINI Cooper Paceman and MINI Cooper Countryman.

If you’ve got wide hips to deal with, consider test driving the Jeep Wrangler, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-5, GMC Terrain and Nissan Rogue.

Vehicles that you might find yourself feeling more squished in are the Nissan Juke, Chevrolet Trax and Mitsubishi Outlander.

The Big Picture

To help you get some ideas for test driving, I’ve put all of these measurements together and added in the MSRP for each of these small SUVs.

2016 Small SUV Interior Dimensions

At the lower end of the price spectrum are the Jeep Patriot and Jeep Renegade, both of which do well in the headroom category. I must confess that I’ve never felt extremely comfortable in Jeep models other than the Grand Cherokee.

In between are vehicles like the GMC Terrain, Subaru Forester, Nissan Rogue and Chevrolet Equinox.

Are you tall and have driven one of these vehicles? Let me know in the comments how comfortable or uncomfortable your driving experience was.

Photo Credit:

Hyundai Santa Fe, Bumpass Hell 20142013 Subaru Forester – First DriveGMC Terrain-6367

Tell a friend!


  • Patrick

    I’m 6’4″, and I drive a 99 Subaru Forester.
    It’s a great ride for me, as long as no one wants to sit behind me

    • Will Eifert

      My wife drives a 14 Forester. It’s still a good ride and we haven’t had any problems with space in the back. The biggest issue I’ve had with her Forester is the way that the center console sits against my lower leg.

  • Greg

    On the luxury end anecdotally I have found:

    BMW X3: not great headroom — bad sight line
    BMW X4: acceptable headroom and sight line
    Anything by Lexus: craning your next to even get in it.
    Mercedes GLC: acceptable headroom and sight line
    Range Rover Evoque: headroom ok terrible sight line
    Range Rover Discovery Sport: headroom ok, sight line okay but barely so

    Headroom is my limitation, so that is what I have been focused on. 6’5″ here.

    • Will Eifert

      Hey Greg. Thanks for reading and for the helpful content. I’m with you on head room. I’ll get around to a luxury guide pretty soon, but it’s always good to have some opinions from first hand experience as well.

    • Pamela K Roberts

      Hey Greg…am looking for a car my husband would like as well…he is 6’5…needs the headroom…I am 5’2(mutt and jeff lol)…my Honda CRV is not comfortable for him, and I am going to trade it in, …I want..(.1)…a car that scoots…great pickup..(2)…excellent safety rating.(.3). good gas mileage…so…any thoughts? I like my CRV, but it is an ’07, 96,000 miles, good condition, but..do want a new car my sweetheart can drive….(he calls my car the “hutmobile”…lol…so…?What do you like? Jerry needs the headroom…???Us less vertically challenged people never have to think of that! A must is a car that handles well…step on the gas and go…but idles well in town…so…your thoughts please…

  • Chris Morea

    I am 6’5″ 300lbs. Today I went and sat in a Nissan Rogue. Although I did fit, I had to lean way forward to see under the ceiling. No way I can see stop lights. I also tried the Chevy Equinox. This car is so spacious i even had to move the seat forward a little. I had no problem seeing stop lights, The only issue I had was actually getting into it. Its a tight fit. Maybe I have to learn a new way of getting into a car, like head first instead of butt first.
    My brother who is a few inches shorter and several inches wider suggested a Ford Escape. He said he is driving a loner and really likes it, except its a Ford. I think I will test the Escape an Explorer next.
    Still would like to see the Honda Element back on the market.

    • AL

      My husband is 6 foot 5 and a little under 300 and has a 2014 Ford Escape and loves it. But it had to have the power seats for him to be able to sit in it. He has to push it all the way back and down to sit in there comfortably. It doesn’t give any room in the back seat, but we can usually make it work.

  • One dimension I do not see in reviews is the head clearance of the hatchback. As a 6’1″person who does most of the grocery shopping, I want a vehicle hatch height that doesn’t require me to duck when loading into the back.

    • Will Eifert

      That’s a very good point. I’d be interested in writing a post along those lines. My wife drives a Subaru Forester and there are times when I totally crack my dome on the hatch door. And I cannot stand hitting my head.

  • Kelli

    I’m a 6’5 female with 38″ inseam. I hate buying cars. Thanks for compiled information.

    Sat in a HRV and a CRV today. Both were too small. I was really surprised to see how much legroom they measure at.

    I love and hate legroom measurements. It doesn’t give the whole story. Some seats sit lower and higher. Higher seats help with not feeling too small.

    I test drove a Kia Soul and it had more legroom than the HRV or CRV. Was a bit disappointing.

  • DJK

    Thanks for pulling thus data together. One data point I never see mentioned by manufacturers is the head room variation between vehicles with or without a sunroof. The mechanism reduces interior cabin space by 1-2 inches in my experience. I’m 6’4 and can fit in most cars without the sunroof. Unfortunately most everything has one these days unless you opt for a base model. Too bad!

    • Anonymous

      Exactly! And the thing is you can’t get a car without the sunroof/moonroof unless you get the base model. Every upgraded car comes with mandatory moonroof. Very frustrating. But there is hope… I was able to comfortably fit in all models of the VW Tiguan.

  • Dennis M

    Great article…..I currently drive a 2009 Grand Caravan. Im 6’4″ tall 300 lbs and suffer from chronic tendon pain and arthritis so I traded in my Grand Marquis for something higher off the ground……I would like to purchase a more fuel efficient car like a small SUV and have to say I fit in the the Forrester quit nicely as well as the Nissan Rogue.

    My problem is the hip room…..I’m from the era when they had 60/40 bench seats which were great but now car makers are giving people more cup, sunglass and change holders at the expense of hip room which makes no sense at all. I can see there is plenty of room between the two front seats taken up by huge centre consoles….what did we do for storage space back in the day when we had 8-tracks? LOL

    I drove the KIA Soul which had great leg and head room but hardly any cargo space but again the seats are too narrow……let me put it this way…..my shoulder blades are about the high back portion of the seat.

    I fit nicely in the Yukon/Envoys but they really suck back the gas…….I know a lot of people like all the fancy gadgets in newer cars…..me….I prefer a no-nonsense car that will give me reasonable gas mileage and plenty of head/leg AND hip room. Too much to ask for? I hate buying a car because sales people don’t understand then when you are this tall, you are not buying a car, you are buying a suit!

  • Dennis M

    I forgot to say….some vehicles I get into are comfortable when I get inside…..I was in my son’s Elantra…..great seats but like most cars they have the windshield sloping at much deeper grade making entry in and out of the car very difficult……..which explains why getting into the KIA Soul is a breeze but those damn seats are too small….lol.

  • Ayhan

    I’m 6’2″ and driving 2016 Nissan Rouge. The legroom is terrible for me, if I push the seat all the way back it also goes down and creating very uncomfortable driving position. I am not sure if it’s power seat limitations but it is not a good car for anybody taller than 6′. Using a additional cushion to gain some legroom.

  • Ahmed

    I’m 6’3 and was always searching for info about cars dimensions.
    Thanks Will for this Blog.

  • Marc

    Hi Will,

    I just discovered your website. Great source of information. Thanks for sharing.
    I’m 6’9 and based in Europe. I had a Volkswagen Tiguan for many year, and so far it was the best I’ve had.
    We don’t have all US models as you describe here.

  • Jonny

    Hi and thanks for this blog,

    6’4″ 280lbs here

    Has anyone sat in the new 2017 CRV with/without the sunroof and can comment on how it fit?

    I sat in the Touring (sunroof) and with the seat all the way down and tilted back it has just barely enough headroom, unfortunately they won’t have the non sunroof model (LX) in for a couple weeks.

  • At 6’6″ I definitely can appreciate your struggles. After sitting in a couple Mercedes G model in particular the 43AMG SUV models everything feels sub par. The power, overall space and feel made it perfect all except rhe gross price tag ouch. The Nissan Rogue was the only SUV model from Nissanwith enough head room but at 175hp it remains especially unimpressive. The Forrester/outback feels more like a mom vehicle and is definitely on the longer side of things . It’s spacious but not too powerful. Jeeps have a horribleharmony history and remain least recommended vehicle every year so I am staying away from then.

  • Janey

    I’m 5’11”, large framed and well over 300 lbs. Obviously hip room and head room are a must for me. I currently drive a GMC Acadia (with a sunroof) and it has all kinds of room. However, the gas mileage leaves a bit to be desired and it definitely requires a roomy parking space. So, I want to trade it in for a smaller SUV. The information you’ve provided here is extremely helpful. Thank you so much…you’ve save me hours and hours of research. The information provided by those who have replied to you is just as helpful, so my sincere thanks to all.

  • I bought a 2014 Ford Escape. Im 6″7″. 255lbs. This has excellent space for me. No real space for the person behind me but the comfort is great. Highly recommend for a tall person.

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