Height is not something I’ve had to worry about when shopping for a new car. At about 6 feet tall, I’m good to go in most, if not all, vehicles.
That height is just above average for American men. Women average about 5-foot, 4.5 inches.
But that means a lot of people, especially women, are shorter – a disadvantage in many cars, according to Edmunds, a source of car shopping and automotive information.
“Diminutive drivers will tell you there are certain things they look for when choosing a vehicle. Good visibility is probably at the top of most of their lists,” writes Warren Clarke, automotive content editor with Edmunds.com, in an article titled “Top 10 Best Cars for Short Drivers for 2013.”
“[But] many new car designs make it more difficult for short drivers to achieve optimal visibility,” Edmunds said in a press release about the Top 10. “These models earned places on our list because each offers many or all of the attributes discussed [in the Edmunds.com article].” Attributes include seat comfort, tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and, in some cases, adjustable pedals.
Design choices not involving functionality on the upper portion of new cars has had a significant effect on the “greenhouse,” comprising mainly the windshield, front windows and roof supports. Writes Clarke: “This can serve to give the vehicle a more assertive look, but it does little to improve sight lines, and can even make a vehicle feel claustrophobic for the most vertically challenged driver.”
Edmunds’ choices for the Top 10 include compact economy models, luxury cars, crossovers and a minivan. These models, listed alphabetically, are Edmunds’ picks for the best cars for short drivers:
- BMW 3 Series
- Honda Accord
- Honda CR-V
- Kia Soul
- Lexus LS 460
- Mazda 3
- Mercedes-Benz S-Class
- Subaru Forester
- Toyota Sienna
- Volkswagen Passat
Reviews of each vehicle are posted at Edmunds.com or via the links above.
“Keep in mind that ultimately, your individual physique will determine which vehicles suit you best,” writes Clarke. “Test-drive the vehicle you’re interested in before committing to a purchase.”
For those drivers who are taller than average, Edmunds.com also recommends the top new cars for bigger drivers, with links to detailed reviews. That list is dominated by Hyundai models (4), but also includes Cadillac, Mercedes, Infiniti, Nissan, Kia and Ford vehicles.
So, now that you know the long and short of it, happy new car shopping.
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