Compact cars for tall people

I recently rented a late model Toyota Corolla LE and found it uncomfortable to sit in (driver’s seat). There was plenty of headroom but with the seat back all the way - fortunately no backseat passengers - not enough legroom. (I’m 6’1). I’m going to be shopping from a “daily driver” car soon and want to know if other compacts (Civic, 3, Elantra, Focus, Sentra) are as cramped or I need to step up to midsize.



One car to check out is the VW BUG. Not in my taste, but it’s a compact car with lots of headroom.


I am 6’2" and drive a 98 Civic. You will have plenty of head room with a Civic if you don’t get a sunroof. One thing I don’t like is that the rear veiw mirror is right at eye level and I sometimes find myself ducking to look under it. The best place for the mirror is really above the eye line. The other issue is that if I lower the tilting steering wheel as low as I would prefer to have it, it would block my view of the spedometer and other gauges. I once heard back in 1980 that Japanese cars were designed for the average Japanese person. They have improved leg room and head room since them, but ergonomics still suffer. You really should test drive all of the small cars you are cosidering.

A friend who’s 6’2" is happy with her (Corolla) Matrix. My experience is that the Matrix has more headroom than most other cars, and more than the Civic or Focus. The manual gear shift was designed for an orangutan, though.

I’m 6’, and many cars give me trouble. Lowering the driver’s seat can help. I have the same problem Jeremy does with the rear-view mirror, though. It’s disconcerting when something suddenly “appears” right in front of me at an intersection.

I agree about sunroofs. They lower the ceiling.

The Scion xB is pretty roomy for a car of it’s size and fuel economy.

Try a Nissan Versa over the Sentra. Another good choice to try and nice car is VW Rabbit(formerly Golf).

The Taurus is a bit higher now and may even be alright inside. I’m tall and don’t like the Yaris which has as much room as a Corolla but the seats are nothing to brag about. The Honda Accord used to be alright and the Camry might be good. I like the styling and the rocker panel treatments look good and aren’t very expensive. They look a lot better than the cheap plastic kick covers that are standard issue. I liked the body of the Suzuki Grand Vitara but know nothing about the interior, but it’s a SUV and might be alright. Happy hunting.

The Honda Element, while not as fuel efficient as the cars you mentioned, has tons of headroom.

I’d be more interested in leg room than head room. If you can find a car that has the retractable pedals, that might help out a bit. Mazda 3 has little leg room, but decent headroom even with a moonroof. Mazda 6 has good leg room, but with a moon roof, my head touched the ceiling of the car and I’m only 5’10". My 99 civic 2dr has decent leg room, but it feels cramped at times, and even with a moonroof, it has good headroom.

I am 6’ and have not trouble with my Fit, but you might if the Corolla wasn’t roomy enough.

The most I can say is good luck!

I’m 6’6", much of it legs… The biggest problem is the silly center console that so many have that pinch in my legs from the side.

That said, I do not fit in a Corolla except for very short trips. The Focus is slightly better for me. The new Civic I’m not sure about, but the old one was pure torture. Accords 2 generations back were similarly horrific. Camrys and Tauruses have all been perfectly fine since the late 80s for me, though the Camry had some seats I found horribly uncomfortable for awhile there…

Ford Focus, Honda Civic (w/o sunroof), VW Jetta…

I’m 6’2" and have ALWAYS had problems with Toyotas and headroom. Always. It has killed the deal for me every time.

No problem with the Honda Accord. Camry with a sunroof? Not a chance.


I have the same problem you do with legroom. I’ve found that legroom for me has nothing to do with whether or not a car is a compact, mid-sized or full size. We owned a 1993 Oldsmobile 88 and it didn’t have enough legroom for me. However, the 1988 Ford Taurus that we owned before the Oldsmobile had plenty of legroom. Back in the 1960’s, I found that a VW Beetle had ample legroom for me. Strangely enough, I’ve even found that certain trucks didn’t have enough legroom for me. I remember driving a 1968 Chevrolet half-ton pick-up and I didn’t have enough legroom with the seat all the way back, but had plenty of room in the 1968 Ford half ton pick-up. Cars are like coats for people with long legs–you have to try them on for size.