5 Top Cars for Bigger Drivers
BOSTON ( MainStreet) U.S. health officials estimate that nearly 70% of Americans are obese or overweight these days, so here's a look at five cars to consider buying if your tush looks more like Kim Kardashian's than Heidi Klum's.
"Some automakers recognize that [large] folks represent a big portion of the market, so those companies doing everything they can to accommodate big drivers," says Warren Clarke of Edmunds.com, which recently named the Top 10 Vehicles for Obese Drivers for the year.
The car-information site picked winners by analyzing all 2013 models to find those with the most front-seat headroom, legroom and hip room with extra credit given to vehicles that offer extended-length seat belts as standard or optional equipment.
Clarke says that's important because decades-old U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration standards only require automakers to design seat belts to fit 215-pound males, a weight level that plenty of modern-day Americans exceed.
"It's a big safety issue if your seatbelt doesn't fit properly, because there are plenty of obese drivers who don't buckle up because doing so is just too uncomfortable," Clarke says.
Edmunds editors also gave extra credit to vehicles that come standard either with front bench seats or offer them as options. Front bench seats a single long seat for the driver and front passenger are great for portly drivers, but real rarities these days.
"Bench seats used to be popular back in the day, but are really, really hard to find now," Clarke says.
Click below to check out the five lowest-priced cars on Edmunds' rundown, listed in order of the manufacturers' suggested retail prices. All pricing and product specifications refer to base 2013 versions of each model listed.
Base price: $21,760
Completely redesigned for 2013, the Altima gets Edmunds' nod as a good car for obese drivers because the car offers lots of room in front.
"It's one of the roomiest family sedans out there as far as front-passenger space goes," Clarke says.
He adds that the Altima also gives buyers of all sizes sporty handling, good acceleration and excellent fuel economy.
The base Altima sedan features a 182-horsepower four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission that team up to produce 27 miles per gallon in the city and 38 mpg/highway. (The $25,230 Altima coupe, which Nissan is discontinuing after this model year, comes standard with a 175-horsepower four-cylinder engine that offers 23 mpg/city and 32 mpg/highway.)
Base price: $21,900
Edmunds recommends the Fusion to obese drivers because the sedan comes standard with extra-long seat belts and a spacious front-cabin area.
"The Fusion is roomy on the inside and outside it's a great-looking car," Clarke says.