CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Rear Visibility

I am trying to replace my Toyota Camry because of its poor rear visibility. I am finding that almost all the sedans and crossovers have a wide C Pillar, a high back, rising belt lines resulting in a high back window, and high headrests. I have tested 5 cars and sat in 4 others without finding a car with good visibility. The PT Cruiser seems like the best, but most are terrible. The Subaru Forester is too big. Any suggestions? The Subaru Forester is too big.

I find I rely more on my side view mirrors for backing and changing lanes. Other than that I only care what’s in the mirror for anticipation of traffic conditions behind me.

I agree with your statement, but it’s the new style…what can one do?

I have adjustable-angle convex mirrors on both flag mirrors and find them invaluable.

Is it just out the back window or do you have problems seeing along the sides of the car? I found that setting the mirrors properly can give me such good visibility that as a car moves out of the rear view mirror, I can see it in either flag mirror. And I can see it in the flag mirror until it is in my peripheral vision. I essentially have one mirror viewing everything behind me and next to me. If this sounds like your problem, let me know and I’ll explain how I set the mirrors.

Agree…most people have their mirrors set incorrectly. If you can see the side of your car, they are not out far enough. It takes some getting use to.
http://pages.cs.wisc.edu/~gdguo/driving/BlindSpot.htm

See if you can find the previous model Forester. We just got one, and the visibility is great. It’s also smaller than the current one. Also, if no one is in the back seat you can remove the rear headrests, if that would help. I agree, this is a major problem, though.

You could install fish eye mirrors on your side view mirrors. That would eliminate your blind spots to the sides. You could also look into getting a back-up camera system. They have some with small cameras that mount on the top of the license plate.

The problem is that the higher trunk design is more aerodynamic and allows for more cargo space and so that’s what most car makers use. Hatchbacks with flat rears like the Scion xB or the VW Rabbit or Honda Fit typically have bigger rear windows and better rear visibility.

True, but even the xB is much worse now, with a huge C-pillar. Same with the CR-V, and don’t even look at a Nissan CUV!

If the Forester is too big, try the Outback station wagon. My Subaru wagon has great visibility all around.

Thanks for the advice. I will definitely try adjusting the mirrors.

Thanks. I may try subaru again.

But…the Forester is smaller than the Outback…???

The Forester is about 10 inches shorter than the Outback, but higher- I originally decided both were too big for my needs. I have to continue the research.

How did resetting the mirrors work out?

Thanks for asking. I’ve only done a little local driving, but it definitely seems better for the side view–I’m working on backing up and parking, which I can’t do as well with mirrors.