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Which used car to buy for a short daughter?

My daughter is 5’2". She wants to learn to drive but she can’t see the front of the cars we own (both Volvos). She wants to drive by sight, not faith.

This is my angel, and so I want a reliable used car, and a SAFE used car in case she is in an accident. Since a Sherman tank will not be available, does anyone have suggestions. Funds are limited, so we are talking used car.

Many cars now have gas and brake pedals that will move closer to the driver. This makes it so that shorter people don’t have to sit so close to the driver’s air bag in case it goes off. My wife loves this feature in her 2007 Ford 500. This car is also very safe when equipped with side curtain air bags, and gets about 30 mpg on a trip. My youngest daughter (also 5’2" tall) just bought a new Scion xD, which fits her well, but does not have the top crash test rating as the Ford - it is just one notch lower in the ratings. The Ford 500 is now called the Ford Taurus from model year 2009 and newer, and now has Electronic Stability Control (ESC) as standard equipment. The ESC makes the car safer by helping to prevent loss of control on curves and other times, which I would think is a great idea for an inexperienced driveer.

For the longest time, Japanese compact cars were poorly designed for large Americans because they were designed for smaller Japanese people. The Japanese have made some improvements so larger people can drive these cars, but the smaller ones, like the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Scion Xa, etc. are both pretty safe and have good visibility. Try to get something with good side impact protection, which should include side curtain airbags. The Mini Cooper might also be a good fit for her.

My wife is 5’1" and my daughter’s are 5’2" and 5’3" and all of them used to drive Volvo 240s. The front seats had three height settings and I found that at the top setting, they could see fine and I (5’10") could just clear the roof.

Now they all drive 3-series BMWs with electric seats and no problems sitting high enough to get good visibility.

None of these cars have adjustable pedals, however, and my ladies sit a little closer to the air bags than I would like. psanzone’s suggestion to look at cars with adjustable pedals (or telescoping steering wheels) is a good one.

Your daughter is going to have to “try on for size” any car you consider buying for her. You’ll have to be sure any prospective car has a power drivers seat. Power seats can be raised and lowered in most cars.

Most Volvos have power seats. They don’t go high enough for her? Most cars now have sloping fronts and you can’t see where they end. With practice you can still judge when the front of the car has enough room to be clear of obsticles.