Car selection advice needed

I am a 4’ 11’’ female and have a hard time seeing over the steering wheel on most cars. I usually have to look in between the steering wheel and the dash. And, with the dashes being designed as a humped up type, that makes it really interesting to see through. If, I put a pillow in to sit on, then it pushes me too far from the accelerator and brake pedals. I have only had one vehicle (a Buick) that was equipped with the automatic car seat height adjustor. I am looking for used car options for me, since I can not afford a brand new vehicle. And, I don’t see flat styled dashes coming back into vogue soon. I have no problem seeing the road, when I have had a van or a truck, in the past. I loved my Datsun truck, it was just my size. Thanks, Karen

All Of Our GM Cars Have Power Elevating Seats And You Can Tip The Seat Forward Which Keeps Your Toro High, But Gets Your Legs Closer To The Pedals.

I thought all cars were like that. What are you driving currently ?


My daughter is 4’ 11" and a new driver. She had no problems driving my old 2000 Blazer until it was traded. She is now driving a 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt and is fine with it, it has a manual seat height adjustment.

Ed B.

I’m short too and always buy cars with power seats and tilt steering wheels. We’ve got GM and Acura.

Your budget will refine our suggestions for you. A 10k budget will get your different results than a 7k budget.

My 2005 Camry has power seats, and even the lowest setting is fairly high.

Just throwing some ideas out there.

Only a few cars have manual adjustments for seat height. Any car of any make with a power drivers seat has a seat height adjustment as part of the seat adjustments. You simply need to look at used cars with power drivers seats and try them on for fit. Some will work better for you than others, but there are plenty of cars with power seats so you have a full range of choices.

some newer cares have power adj. pedals they may help also.

I am amazed that cars for people with perfect height are so rare. I went on a test drive in a Pontiac Sunbird which was for my wife. I turned back when I realized that I could barely see over the dash. I’m 6’2" and my wife is much smaller. Maybe a Honda CRV.

I have a problem with clothes because I’m not 5’ 10" and 230 pounds.

Power seats are the ticket. My SIL is your height and she had no problem driving the Chrylser minivan because it had power seats. You are going to have to test drive them to know for sure.

I wouldn’t say seat height adjustment is rare feature anymore, as I see it standard on most cars I check out at the auto show. That’s only been true for a few years so may not yet be common on used cars, but it will be soon. Often only the driver gets it except on the nicer cars.

Volkswagens have had it on all their models for years, including the common Jetta and Golf. I’m not a big fan of German cars, but Consumer Reports rates the Golf near the top of its category and they think the reliability is pretty good (rare for German cars). The Jetta was cheapened a couple of years ago, but ones from 2-6 years ago were nice. We had one at our disposal for a couple of years and found it a very comfortable car. I especially like the Jetta wagon (it wasn’t cheapened and is more closely related to the Golf.)

Some Toyotas and Scions might be easier for you to see out of because the speedometer is just tucked into a slot at the top of the dash off towards the center of the car instead of sticking up like most do. That’s true of the Prius and the Scion xB nd xD, at least. I don’t love the speedometer off to the side, but it might be good for you.

Thanks for the input on car selection, Mark. I know my 2001 Chevy Tracker is aging out on me. And, although it is running OK and I keep up on repairs to it. I always worry about it’s age, and wear and tear on it. It has new brakes, transmission filter & fluid has been changed, oil filter and changes are done at 3000 miles regularly, air conditioner fuse was replaced and it works-Yea!!!, tires are 4 years old. I will need to do a radiator and air conditioner flush soon. I never have had that done yet. All, my fluids are topped off. I have replaced my right link pin 3 times now and it is making me crazy. Since, I drive like a Granny and not Mario Andretti. I have no idea why it keep breaking or bending, that it needs replaced. Only, have had to put one on the left, so far though. Belts are OK, so far. So, I am keeping my eye out for a replacement car, that will fit my short body better. Thanks again, Karen

I should have said thanks to everyone, so I will do it now. I was able to see really well out of my 1996? Oldsmobile Silhouette Van. I loved that thing, but the motor blew up on me. I could see everything then, since I was sitting up so high. I did have adjustable seats in that one. I got the 2001 Chevy Tracker instead and never paid any attention to it, at first. So, when I do go car shopping, I will have to pay very close attention to the seating options and the steering wheel placement. My budget will be for a used car, on the lower end of the financial spectrum, I am afraid. Thanks, Karen

If you liked the Silhouette, you might like a 2006/2007 Buick Terraza minivan. You should find one for under $9000, even at a dealer. It will have the up-market interior like you had in your Silhouette. A 2011 Honda Odyssey will start around $11,000. It might be that the Honda would be worth the extra $2000 to you. If you want that ride height and good interior usage, you can’t beat a minivan.