How To Choose The Best Car For Tall And Short Drivers

March 25, 2011
2011 Honda Accord Sedan

2011 Honda Accord Sedan

Families come in all sizes – of drivers. While men are often at, near, or above the six-foot range and women are more diminutive in height, that’s not always true.

Some families have drivers that are a veritable mix-and-match of tall, medium height and short drivers. For purposes of discussion, let’s say a short driver is in the five-foot range (plus or minus). How do you choose the best car for tall and short drivers? We’ve compiled 10 tips to help you sort out the best choices in family cars.

2011 Honda Accord Sedan

2011 Honda Accord Sedan

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Look for height-adjustable seats.  The ability to adjust the height of the driver’s seat is an absolute prerequisite for choosing the best car for any driver, whether tall or short or in-between. Some seats are manually adjustable for height, while seats in upscale or luxury cars usually come with power-adjustable seats. The 2011 Honda Accord EX-L features 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar. Another great feature that may be standard or available, depending on model and trim, are memory functions which automatically adjust driver’s seat height, seat travel, steering wheel, and outside mirrors. The all-new 2012 Volvo S60 upscale sedan comes standard with power driver’s seat with three-position memory (for three separate drivers).

An adjustable steering wheel is a necessity. The driver should be able to adjust the steering column to the right height. The best choice is a car with tilt and telescopic steering column. This allows the driver to bring the steering wheel toward him. Such a feature is also important if you add height to the driver’s seat. Safety experts advise that a safe distance from the steering wheel is 10 to 12 inches. Some models to consider that provide tilt and telescopic steering column as standard equipment include the 2011 Subaru Forester, MINI Cooper, BMW 3-Series, Buick Regal, Nissan Murano, Honda Accord, and Chevrolet Malibu.

Be on the lookout for adjustable pedals. Some upscale or luxury cars have adjustable accelerator and brake pedals. This feature is usually an optional item. Why should you care about pedals? The ability to move pedals closer or farther away gives you more flexibility to accommodate short and tall drivers in the same family.

Parking assistance can be a huge asset. Checking out the availability of parking assistance features makes a great deal of sense when it comes to drivers of all sizes. Shorter drivers may have more difficulty seeing objects in the rear of the car, while drivers of all sizes may need a little help discerning people or objects in a blind spot. A rearview camera, automatic parking assistance, and parking sensors are some safety features that may be more than worth their cost. Typically these are available in packages on upscale models, but may also be stand-alone options and available on some affordable cars as well, such as the current Ford Fusion.

Height-adjustable seat belts are important. One-size-fits all just won’t cut it when it comes to being comfortable and safe with seat belts. Look for height-adjustable seat belts so that the seat belt doesn’t snap rigid against your neck or make it uncomfortable to drive.

Headrests that adjust for height are more than just safety features. Besides being an important safety feature, height-adjustable headrests allow for greater comfort for tall and short drivers. Standard on most new model vehicles, height-adjustable headrests cradle the neck and head in the event of a collision.

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