What to Drive When You're Too Tall for Most Cars
BOSTON ( MainStreet) 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."
Click below to see 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.