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Opinions? Highest Seat for Bad Knees

Hi, everybody.

I’d like to buy a vehicle similar to a Subaru Outback but with seats that are higher off the ground. I can’t seem to hit on the right search term to figure this out - it may be related to ground clearance and to high visibility, but it is not the same.

The deal is, my wife has very bad knees and can’t have a knee replacement. So we want a car with front seats that are a good 24 inches off the ground.
Anybody have ideas?

  • How to search for such vehicles online?
  • Vehicles that have such a nice high seat?
  • What to read in the specs to see how high the seat?

Safety and seat height are our priorities. We love the Subaru Outback (2017), but a vehicle with just a few more inches sure would help a lot.


You’ll want to look at various CUVs, like the Honda CR-V, Toyota Rav4, and Mazda CX-5. Your needs are so particular that the only real way to know is to visit several dealers and see what fits.

Thank you, Texases. I was indeed trying to minimize the amount of driving around to different dealers I had to do to check it out. Maybe I should visit a used car dealership likely to have a diverse group of CUVs so we can sit in them all?

I would call a few dealerships and see which ones are helpful in answering your question. I just measured some chairs in the house. 16"-18" is the range. I doubt any common vehicle would be as high as 24." But if someone in the car biz will expend the effort to think and measure and get back to you, they are on the way to earning your business.

You might need a vehicle with much more than the usual amount of headroom, and whose passenger seat can be raised by some custom work. For crash safety liability reasons, body shops and especially dealerships might not do that. Keep in mind climbing in becomes a problem as floor and the seat go higher.

Thanks for the suggestions.

We are going by the height of the doctor’s waiting room chairs that work well for her. Handicap toilets are 21-23 inches high, and the most comfortable chairs are 24".

I wonder how much custom would cost. She’s not tall, so the issue is the seat height, not the headroom.

I so appreciate all of your help with this problem!


Try a Forester. Similar to the Outback, but the seats are higher. Be sure you raise the seat to it’s upper limit when you check it.

Is she to be the driver? For the Forester I have, the passenger seat can’t be raised, although it may still be enough. Other trims may be better.

You can always add a cushion to the seat…

Good idea, thanks.

The only vehicles that I recall having the driver’s seat taller than a normal upright chair are step vans and the seats are tall but they fit the layout of the steering wheel and pedals. I can’t imagine a passenger car/SUV, etc with a seat situated like a step van.

If I measured correctly the driver’s seat on my Forester is at almost 14 Inches off the floor with the power seat all the way up.

Are you wanting the seat 24" off the ground, or off the floor of the car?

off the ground outside the car, not off the floor.

Good. That should be achievable. Kind of big, but a minivan typically has pretty upright and high seats.

A minivan is a good idea.

Look for the more expensive trim levels. They often have power passenger seats that not only go forward and back, but up/down and tilt. I like the front of the seat to tilt up, and my power seats allow me to do that. If you look at the Honda CR-V EX-L, for instance, it probably has that feature. I think you can check those features on line before going to a dealership. We have friends with joint problems and they found the CR-V to be the best option for them after comparison shopping.

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My 2016 Caravan seats are 32 inches from the ground, my 2015 Corolla seats are 24 inches. A lot will depend on how tall yoru wife is. I find the Corolla a bit low and the van a bit high, but my knees are in pretty good shape. You might look around at dealer ships, the cars are usually open inside the showroom. Explain to the sales person what you are doing and they may leave you alone and not pressure you. Once you find something that you think fits, rent the car for a few days to see how she settles in to it. Weekend rates for rentals can be reasonable if you shop around.

The ADA toilets are 17 to 19 inches in height . Just going by the ground to seat inches may not always work . The seat design can make a difference also.

@Phoebe_Lostroh This is the time of year for new car shows. Use your search engine and see if there is one near you. You will then see almost every brand sold in your area.

With the seat not quite all the way up i measured 28" from the ground to the seat bottom on my 2015 Forester
The Auto show would be an opportunity to try out a bunch of seats In one place, some offer test drives (Seattle and Portland i.know for sure)

Without reading all the other responses, the only way you will get seat height dimensions if at all is with the factory service manual or factory body repair manual. They’ll have general dimensions. Otherwise, this is the season for the auto shows so the easiest is to go there with a tape measure and check them all out yourself. You can even sit in them.

If you have a local Carmax, they have a large number of late model vehicles and they are all unlocked. You don’t have to wait for a sales person to get the keys,

I believe Carmax lets you wander the lot without a hovering sales associate. That’s is my only positive statement about Carmax.

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CarMax is a GREAT idea, a car show without the entrance fee!