5 best cars for tall drivers


Being tall is great when it comes to playing basketball or going to the movies, but can be a real pain in the neck -- literally -- when you're shopping for a car.

"Picking the wrong car when you're tall can jeopardize both your comfort and safety," says Warren Clarke of auto-buying site Edmunds.com. "You won't be as comfortable in the cockpit as you could be -- and if you're hunched over the wheel, you might not be able to see the road properly or be seated in a way that promotes driver fatigue."

To help drivers who are six feet tall or more choose suitable vehicles to buy, Edmunds recently analyzed all mainstream models sold in America to come up with 2013's Best Cars for Tall Drivers.

The winning vehicles all offer the largest amount of driver space as measured by the average of front-seat headroom, legroom and hiproom. For instance, Edmunds editors rated a vehicle with 40 inches of headroom, 45 inches of legroom and 55 inches of hiproom in front as having 46.7 inches of average "front interior room."

Clarke says tall shoppers should use Edmunds' rundown as a "short list" (no pun intended) of vehicles to consider.

But he recommends tall consumers also go to showrooms and test-drive various models to see which ones feel best to them.

"Numbers don't tell the whole story about a car," he says. "Some tall people have long legs and others have long torsos, and all of that will impact how you'll feel in a given model."

Here are the cars that topped Edmunds' Best Cars for Tall Drivers roundup, listed in order of average front seat dimensions. All measurements and pricing figures refer to a given model's 2013 base gas-powered version.


Fourth-best car for tall drivers: Kia Optima
Average front-seat dimension: 46.7 inches

This $21,350 midsized sedan carries the lowest base price on Edmunds' top-five list, but still offers tall drivers plenty of front-seat space: 40 inches of headroom, 45.5 inches of legroom and 54.7 inches of hiproom.

Beyond a roomy interior, Clarke says the Optima features "an attractive cabin and an eye-catching [exterior]. It's a really handsome car."

The model also boasts great acceleration regardless of whether you choose the base 200-horsepower four-cylinder engine or an optional 274-horsepower turbocharged version. Other pluses include a long list of standard features, as well as Kia's industry-leading 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.


Third-best car for tall drivers (tie): Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Average front-seat dimension: 46.8 inches

Tall drivers with bank accounts as lofty as their heights will love the S-Class even though the $95,000 car from Mercedes-Benz is the most expensive model on Edmunds' list.

"The Mercedes S-Class is just a wonderful car," Clarke says. "It's got world-class craftsmanship, a wonderful cabin and tons of available convenience and safety features."

Although the S-Class driver's seat offers the least amount of headroom (37.8 inches) and legroom (41.9 inches) of any car at or near the top of Edmunds' rundown, generous hiproom (60.8 inches) more than makes up the difference.

At the same time, even the least-expensive gasoline-powered S-Class (the S550) comes with a 429-horsepower V-8 engine. A top-of-the-line S65 AMG features a mammoth 621-horsepower V-12, while Mercedes offers hybrid and diesel S-Class models as well.


Third-best car for tall drivers (tie): Hyundai Azera
Average front-seat dimension: 46.8 inches

This full-sized sedan from Hyundai combines generous front-seat space -- 40.3 inches of headroom, 45.5 inches of legroom and 54.6 inches of hiproom -- with plenty of great amenities given its $32,250 starting price.

"The Azera offers lots of value for the money," Clarke says. "It has a super-roomy cabin, a really smooth ride and lots of standard features."

Even a base Azera comes with a 10-speaker audio system, a chilled glove compartment and other upscale amenities. Other bonuses include a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and a 16.3-cubic-foot trunk, one of the largest in the Azera's class.

Like its cousin the Kia Optima, the Hyundai Sonata mixes good features and a low base price ($21,195) with plenty of front-seat space: 40 inches of headroom, 45.5 inches of legroom and 55.2 inches of hiproom.

The midsized sedan also comes standard with a 198-horsepower four-cylinder engine, a generous list of amenities and Hyundai's industry-leading 10-year/100,000-mile warranty.

"Those of us who've been around for a couple of years remember when Hyundais were low-quality cars, but they're are really well-made these days -- and the Sonata is no exception," Clarke says.


Second-best car for tall drivers: Hyundai Sonata
Average front-seat dimension: 46.9 inches

Like its cousin the Kia Optima, the Hyundai Sonata mixes good features and a low base price ($21,195) with plenty of front-seat space: 40 inches of headroom, 45.5 inches of legroom and 55.2 inches of hiproom.

The midsized sedan also comes standard with a 198-horsepower four-cylinder engine, a generous list of amenities and Hyundai's industry-leading 10-year/100,000-mile warranty.

"Those of us who've been around for a couple of years remember when Hyundais were low-quality cars, but they're are really well-made these days -- and the Sonata is no exception," Clarke says.


Best car for tall drivers: Cadillac XTS
Average front-seat dimension: 47 inches

Unveiled by General Motors for the 2013 model year, the Cadillac XTS offers luxury, performance and lots of cabin space that tall drivers will love. The front seats boast 40.1 inches of headroom, 45.8 inches of legroom and 55.1 inches of hiproom.

In addition to a roomy interior, the $44,075 model combines a 304-horsepower V-6 engine with lots of upscale amenities. The base XTS comes standard with everything from a Pandora-enabled audio system to xenon headlights, while an impressive all-wheel drive system is available as an option.

"The XTS is just a really pleasant car to drive," Clarke says. "It's roomy, it's really good-looking and the materials in it are all excellent."
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