From stooping down at cashpoints to hotel beds that aren’t long enough; being tall is not all it’s cracked up to be. It can be a real disadvantage when you're buying a car too, where getting enough legroom or headroom can be a real problem.
Here are some tips to help you find the right car if your height starts with a six.
How to choose a car if you’re tall
Finding a car that you can fit into isn’t always straightforward when you’re a tall driver. Sure, SUVs and people carriers tend to be fine, but convertibles and sports cars? Not so much.
The good news is that there are lots of cars on sale that you’ll fit into – and some of them might even surprise you.
One tip is to buy a car without a sunroof that runs the full-length of the car (often called a panoramic sunroof). This might sound counter-intuitive, because a sunroof should increase headroom. But the motors and other components that make it work actually take up space and reduce headroom in most cars.
When doing your research for your next new car, look to see if a manufacturer quotes headroom dimensions. Not all of them do, it can be a bit hit or miss, but it could prove useful if the cars you’re interested in have published figures.
Finally, the key thing is to spend time sitting is the cars you’re interested in, adjusting the seat and steering wheel (quick tip: the right distance is when you put your arms out and the steering wheel is level with your wrists). Then take the car out for a test drive. The longer you can have the car the better. You want to be absolutely sure that you can sit in the car comfortably, for hours, if necessary.
Tall drivers’ cars: our picks
The surprise: Volkswagen Polo
The Polo is a small car, but it's not as small as it used to be, thanks to all the crash impact protection needed these days. The Polo now has impressive headroom (1019mm, or 981mm with the sunroof), which is actually more than a Land Rover Discovery. Most trim levels have a fully adjustable driver’s seat and a steering wheel that moves up and down (‘rake’) and in and out (‘reach’).
And, as it's a VW. The quality of the materials in the cabin is very high and there’s lots of equipment, too, so it should be the right fit in more ways than one.
The compact SUV: Volvo XC40
Volvo builds cars with fabulous cabins – and the XC40 is a good example of that. The design is spot on: it's an update on the classic Scandinavian minimalist vibe, but in a car and using high-quality materials. There’s also the latest tech, with a big touchscreen in the middle of the dashboard and full smartphone integration.
But the interior of the XC40 is also highly practical, with 1030mm headroom and 1040mm legroom in the front. It's clearly designed with tall Swedish drivers in mind. There’s also a maximum of 994mm of headroom and 917mm of legroom in the rear.
The estate: Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Estate cars often have useful amounts of interior space, as well as having capacious boots. This is even more true in large estates such as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
With 1061mm headroom in the front, the E-Class Estate has plenty of room for taller drivers, while there’s also lots of movement in the steering wheel to get it in the right position.
The seats are also very comfortable, while the main controls and touchscreen are also well within reach for all drivers, not just tall ones.
The people carrier: Citroën Berlingo
If you want a car with enough headroom, one that is based on a van is almost guaranteed to supply it. The Citroën Berlingo is a classic example.
This is one of the most practical cars you can buy, a people carrier with either five or seven seats. There are numerous really useful storage and stowage options, with a total of 186 litres of storage space designed for everyday living, including 92 litres in the airline-style Modutop® roof bins. Yes, this is a car so tall it can have roof bins – which gives you an idea of just how tall it is.
The large SUV: Audi Q7
If you can’t fit in the driver’s seat of a large SUV, you’re destined to be chauffeured around in stretch limos for the rest of your life. The Q7 has one of the largest headroom dimensions of all the cars in its class, with an available 1071mm.
And not only will you feel a non-claustrophobic comfort in such a spacious cabin. You’ll also be cossetted by the seats, which are well padded but also very supportive. The second row in this seven-seater also has 1016mm of headroom, so adults won’t feel cramped in the back, either.
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