Tall guys--tell me

My son is about 6’5" and I need to buy him a car. He is away, and it needs to be here when he gets back. What can I buy him that will have enough leg and head room? I have learned that you can’t rely on using the specs that are published because of different configurations on cars. So I want to hear from tall people who know from their own personal experience what works. I’m looking at stuff 10 to 15 years old to keep it affordable. Your information will be very useful to me.

Only short people work here…

It seems like most any truck would work

When you are tall, you almost have to try on a car as you try on a pair of shoes. I am
6’ 2" tall. In the fleet of cars that my institution maintains, I find the Ford Taurus more comfortable than the Chevrolet Impala or the Honda Civic Hybrid. I had a 1993 Oldsmobile 88 with a power driver’s seat. Even so, I never could find a comfortable seating position and was always uncomfortable in that car.
We presently have a 2011 Toyota Sienna minivan and a 2003 Toyota 4Runner and I find both cars very comfortable.

As I said, a tall person has to try on a car for size.

What kind of vehicle is he wanting? Where’s his height, legs vs. torso? It is such a personal thing, is there any way he can try out some vehicles? If not, does he remember some he fit in?

I know that a Crown Vic was OK. However, I think gas is heading for $5 a gallon, and I am loathe to buy one.

I have been told that the VW “new” Beetle (not the one from the '50s, '60s & '70s) is very accomodating for tall people. However, since it is frequently viewed by younger people as a “chick car”, your son may not be interested in driving it. If he is a broad-minded person, a “new” Beetle may be a good car to consider for him.

I’m 6’4 and Crown Vics/Grand Marquis/Lincoln Town Cars are drivable for me, but they are not comfortable. Unexpectedly, I found that the Lincoln LS (a smaller car than the others) is much more comfortable for me.

The OP really needs to have the son pick out the car that fits him.

That’s a lot easier said then done…We’re all a little different.

I’m 6’3…good friend of mine is 6’2…But when we sit down he’s 2" taller then I am. I have a 36" inseam…he has a 31". Height is only part of it…how portioned is MORE important.

He’s going to have to sit in it. I have plenty of room in a Durango…but when I put the seat all the way back I have to lean forward to grab the steering wheel.

He has both headroom and legroom problems in cars, but the legroom have been more severe.

I am also 6’5" (77 inches), I will share some general observations that short people often do not realize.

The steering wheel is often too far away for how long our legs are, so a steering wheel that comes out (telescoping) might be good.

Two door cars have longer driver’s doors, that can be helpful if your legs are particularly long.

A power seat is not a good thing unless no one else will ever drive my vehicle. If it quits working at the wrong time, it is more than inconvenient, it means I can no longer drive my own car. A seat that tilts or raises can be nice to take pressure off of the rear. (to make that clear, sit on a very low chair with your knees above your hips, it can be tiring, and we tall folks often have little choice)

Also, generally, a sunroof robs me of precious space where I need it, I love the light airy feel, but reality is I have to adjust my seat differently than I would if it were not there.

I find the center console to be a big deal maker or deal breaker, also. None of the cars I drove during my first ten years of driving had all this plastic taking up space where my knee should be, so if he has long legs, consider that factor, too. In my car there is a very specific spot that my left knee must be against my door to avoid banging it on anything, and my entire driving position is kinda dependent on it. It may be too difficult for anyone but your son to know what is right for him.

There has been in the past, not sure how to find it, a list of the best cars for tall (and short) people. I believe that around the years you are looking for, Accord, CRV Civic, Camry, Pontiac Vibe, Matrix, Forester, that VW New Beetle, were Minis out then? (Penn Gillette is 6’8" and he drives one)

If you asked me about specific cars I might be able to tell you what I remember liking or not liking about it. I can tell you about the New Beetle, plenty of room (and appropriate adjustments) for me to drive it comfortably, but that back seat is for show, only children can fit back there, not a problem if he doesn’t intend to have more than one passenger at a time.

Also different for different people is their driving position in relation to both the pedals and the wheel.
Here at my Ford dealer the two major delivery guys and I are about the same six feet.
But when I get in the '00 F250 shop truck, the seat is waaay too far back for me to operate safely, I have to move it six notches forward to get a good feel of the pedals and the wheel. yet Melecio drives it that way preferably.

My best friend is 6’7", and he finds my Altima extremely comfortable to sit in and drive.
The Hyundai Sonata should also work, as it has plenty of legroom and headroom.

The VW CC should also work, but only in the front seats. Don’t let him try and sit in the back seats, for any reason. He might not be able to get back out.


Do you have a friend or relative that is built about like your son? I’m sure you’ve bought enough clothes for him that you can figure out his inseam, torso length, and arm length. Compare that data with folks you know. Find a match, and go shopping together.

As others have said, it’s best to wait for him to come back before you buy something. Nothing worse than putting all that money down on a car(assuming a $5k upper limit) only to find out it’s too uncomfortable for him to sit in.

I’m 6’6", and proportioned to need legroom more than headroom.

Most midsize sedans work for me. I had a 97 Taurus that was very comfortable. I currently drive a 98 Camry that is good for legroom (not as good as the Taurus, but good enough). Our other car is a 2010 Mazda6, which I’d highly recommend for anyone needing legroom more than headroom, particularly if you need legroom for the backseat. It’s listed as smaller inside than a current Accord, but it has considerably more legroom. Ford Fusions are similar, but with a little less rear legroom.

I’d avoid smaller midsize sedans… and although compacts often work (believe it or not, I fit into a Mazda2!), a critical component there tends to be the design of the center console, which often intrudes too much on leg space.

But for 10-15 years old, here are the ones I’d check out:

Ford Taurus
Buick Regal
Toyota Camry

IMHO, the Accord of that age is a bit small, as are the Mazda 626 and the Hyundai Sonata… Even the Nissan Altima back then was tight.

The newer Sonatas would work well for fit, but those 10-15 years old like the OP mentions are much smaller… and the CC didn’t even exist then…

One thing to avoid - cars with sunroofs. They eat up headroom.

I am 6’5" and drive a 2000 Mustang 5 speed on a regular basis. It is not as comfortable as my Sierra, but for running around town it is a good fit. The siting position in the car really low.

I would go with an older sedan, possibly an ‘98 to 05’ domestic. They have plenty of room and are generally affordable, check with your local rental car lots.

I’m only 5’10" and can fit in a Mazda 2 as well, but it doesn’t have the legroom for me. I could probably stand a trip to work or the store, but that’d be it, my legs felt wedged in there, same with the Honda Fit and Civic sedan.