High seat, great MPG car needed- advice?

I am the owner of two Priuses (2001 and 2010). I need a car with a higher seat height due to back problems, but still want great mileage. I would also like good rear window visibility.

I have been looking at the Scion xB, Nissan Cube,etc, but the mileage is not great. Is there some small car or crossover that has a high seat and better mileage? I think the Ford Escape is too big for what I really need.

If the Prius is your definition of “high mileage” than nothing will fit your high seat criteria. Subaru Forrester seats are pretty high. Also check out Hyundai Tuscon and Santa Fe.


If I Had Back Problems, Gas Mileage Would Be Way Down My List When Car Shopping. Buy A Car With Seats And Seating Position That Best Accommodate Your Back Problem.

We have regulars on this site and folks who just stop by that have bought little high MPG cars thinking they would serve their purpose only to find that they caused or exacerbated medical conditions. They got rid of them. It’s not worth it. Buy a car you can be comfortable driving.

I’d try every car out there and not look at the rated MPG until after I had selected one. If you are lucky then the one or two you choose will also offer decent fuel economy.

This is just one of those instances where being frugal doesn’t pay. There are more important things than gas mileage . . . your health and well being.


You know you back better than anyone, but Taurus models offer higher upright seating than before and in addition, active motion back support that really works. IMO, I’d take care of the back first, and deal with the mileage second.

To be fair, the xB and Cube are nothing more than rounded bricks chugging along.
Unless you’re putting 50k miles a year on your vehicle, fuel mileage shouldn’t be as important as comfort.
I was in a similar situation when I got my CX-7. I loved my little Civic and just couldn’t see myself giving it up, but the constant lifting up when exiting it was really straining my upper left leg muscles, to the point it was getting difficult to sleep at night. I switched over to the CX-7 and my leg hasn’t been hurting much at all anymore. I was averaging 22~24 mpg with my little Civic under my driving style(2 miles to work, 4 miles to the grocery store, and very few long highway trips). I’ve filled up 3 times and I’ve gotten 16, 14 and 16 mpg respectively. I don’t drive very much and have about 650 miles on the clock since I picked it up new May 13th this year, so fuel mileage isn’t that important.

Try a VW Golf. The reliability has been a little iffy (IMHO, not so bad as to discount them out of hand), but they are ergonomically very good cars that get great mileage, especially if you opt for a diesel.

I have had back problems all of my adult life. One of my motorcycles has a seat that’s higher than most pick-up trucks and SUVs. It’s a 2003 Honda Nighthawk 750. It usually gets about 45 miles per gallon.

On a more realistic note, you should look at a Toyota Tacoma with a 4 cylinder engine, a 5 speed manual transmission, and 2 wheel drive. You can probably get about 25 MPG if you drive it carefully and shift early (not not so early that you lug the engine). I believe this is as good as it will get in terms of a compromise between fuel economy and seat height.

Two small Domestic cars with what is referred to as Chair seats are the Chevy HHR and Dodge Caliber. Both Have favorable reviews for front seat comfort, and both get fairly good gas mileage

Checking out reviews for the Toyota Matrix shows front seat comfort is one of the biggest complaints.

Probably all cars are too low for you. Look at small SUVS. Check this URL to fidn the best mileage:


You can sort by city or highway mileage by clicking on ‘city’ or ‘hwy’ at the top of the columns. As expected, city mileage leaders are all hybrids, but the Chevy Equinox and HHR are at the top in highway mileage, and neither has a hybrid drive train.

I’ve never driven an HHR, but I spent a week driving a Caliber around, it’s a wretched econobox, cheaply made inside and out. I found the car so offensive, that walking suddenly became an attractive alternative. Its fuel mileage was excellent by my standards though, I managed 30 MPG.

Consider adding a wheelchair cushion. They have varying qualities and varying thicknesses. If you have enough remaining headroom, then that will ease the restriction on the brand of car that you can own. One of our cars has a power vertical seat adjustmemt, another feature to look for. Yet, other cars may permit shimming the seat higher with plain washers added to the mounting bolts.

Don’t let the lack of a little creativity restrict your car brand possibilities.

The Prius is not a “Little” high mileage car, it’s a “mid-sized” high mileage car with a high safety rating. And to me it is worth it.