Best cars for tall drivers
Finding a comfortable car can be tricky if you're taller than most. Here are 10 of the best cars for tall drivers
Nobody wants to feel claustrophobic behind the wheel, and finding the right car can be difficult if you’re taller than most. Many sports cars and most convertibles are out of the question, but that doesn’t mean you have to stick to a boxy van-based MPV to feel comfortable. SUVs are more popular than ever and offer plenty of space, while some estates and hatchbacks now offer enough headroom for taller occupants too.
While modern cars are usually spacious enough to offer sufficient headroom, the driving position may not be quite so comfortable if you’re tall. Take time to see if the seat and steering wheel adjust to suit you; you won’t want to keep a car that turns out to be uncomfortable.
One way to maximise headroom is to avoid panoramic sunroofs. Not only do they tend to be expensive, but they can cut into a car’s headroom quite drastically. You might think that a panoramic roof will increase headroom, but the extra components to make the roof work mean this isn’t the case.
Not all cars provide a measurement for headroom, so some trial and error might be involved when choosing your next one. However, almost all of the cars on this list provide a figure, which is measured from the seat base to the roof.
The Audi Q7 is one of the most desirable mainstream SUVs on sale, and its slick styling hides a seriously practical car. Not only do you get three rows of seats and a huge boot when the rearmost seats are folded, but you can rest assured that you and any tall passengers will be very comfortable. In the front, there’s a massive 1,071mm of space, and the Q7’s boxy shape means rear headroom is impressive too. Rear seat passengers enjoy 1,016mm of space, plus great legroom. The Q7 also impresses with its luxurious interior and refined ride so, whatever build you are, you’ll be comfortable, cool and connected, even on the longest journeys. In fact, the interior is so good and so well built, that it’s partly shared with the incredibly expensive Lamborghini Urus and Bentley Bentayga.
Next on this list is the truly cavernous Mercedes E-Class Estate, with a similarly huge 1,061mm of headroom for front-seat occupants. Taller people will feel at home in the rear, too, as there’s 1,005mm of headroom in the Estate’s second seating row. The interior is a gem, and a real strong point of the E-Class; there are few cars with better cabins, especially as the E-Class shares many parts with the opulent S-Class. While it’s not the last word in driving thrills, the E-Class Estate makes up for that by being supremely comfortable. If you don’t need the huge boot space offered by the Estate, the E-Class saloon does almost as well for headroom; there’s up to 1,051mm in the front and 971mm in the rear.
Showing that you don’t need an SUV or a big estate to enjoy decent headroom is the SEAT Leon. Despite being one of the sportier hatchbacks on sale, the Leon doesn’t skimp on headroom - whether you sit in the front or back. You’d think the Q7 above would offer much more headroom, but the Leon offers 1,045mm of headroom in the front, while rear-seat passengers can enjoy 969mm. The Leon’s engines, shared with other VW Group cars, are suitably punchy yet economical - some can shut half the engine’s cylinders down when full power isn’t required. Plus, all versions are well-equipped - smartphone mirroring, LED headlights, cruise control and air conditioning are all included as standard, while all trims above include sat nav, front and rear parking sensors, and tinted windows. The SEAT Leon ST estate offers almost identical headroom figures.
The Skoda Kodiaq is one of the very best SUVs you can buy. It’s a seven-seater with enough room for adults in the third row of seats, although tall passengers will feel much more comfortable in the spacious second row. Unusually, there’s almost exactly the same amount of headroom in the front (1,020mm) and the second row (1,015mm), so you’ll have plenty of space wherever you sit. The Kodiaq feels rugged and well built, and its interior, while not the most luxurious, is smart and logical. There’s plenty of standard equipment, and the Kodiaq even drives well - much better than you’d expect of a seven-seat SUV. If you’ve wondered why the Kodiaq is a popular sight on UK roads, these are a few important reasons.
The Citroen Berlingo should be on your shortlist if space is top priority; because it’s based on a van, you get a vast amount of headroom in all seats. There’s actually so much headroom in the rear seats that Citroen has managed to fit a 90-litre storage area above your passengers’ heads. Citroen has really paid attention to the car’s styling this time around, to - you might even call it good-looking. The equipment list isn’t limited to what you’d find in a van but its origins mean it’s economical and should prove reliable. You might also want to consider the mechanically identical Peugeot Rifter and Vauxhall Combo Life.
The Volkswagen Polo shows that you don’t necessarily need a big car if you’re taller than average. It offers 1,019mm of front headroom, and offers just 8mm less in the rear. The Polo is a very grown-up and sensible hatchback, which feels refined at speed and fairly luxurious inside. It’s a small hatch with similar build quality to much more expensive cars, and features plenty of equipment as standard. An eight-inch touchscreen, DAB radio and air conditioning are fitted across the range, so no Polo goes without the essentials. Auto wipers, parking sensors and dual-zone climate control are added onto higher-spec models, and you can even choose a digital dashboard from the options list. Not only does the rear bench offer plenty of space, but there’s even a large boot to fill.
SUVs offer a raised driving position and, usually, a decent amount of space inside, and family-size models like the Mazda CX-5 are seemingly more popular than ever before. Front-seat occupants have 1,007mm of headroom, which only reduces to 991mm for passengers in the back. We like the Mazda’s styling and its minimalist interior design, which is eye-catching and well-equipped in equal measure. It’s quiet, too, and the 506-litre boot is spacious enough. Further praise comes from our Driver Power survey, where it finished fifth overall out of the top 75 cars on sale.
While many of the cars on this list have a boxy shape, the Audi A5 Sportback four-door coupe has plenty of headroom too. Those in the front can enjoy up to 1,001mm of space between the seat base and the roof, while the rear-seat passengers still have a large amount of room - 940mm, to be precise. The A5 Sportback is a great choice if you want something that’s arguably a bit more stylish than a conventional executive saloon, and rivals everything from the Kia Stinger to the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe and Tesla Model S. All models feature leather seats, auto emergency braking and the latest smartphone connectivity and, if you don’t use the rear seats very often, you could also consider the A5 coupe. The three-door coupe offers 990mm in the front, although its rear headroom is noticeably less spacious.
The Skoda Superb Estate lives up to its name - in fact, we rated it as the best estate you can buy right now. It’s good to drive, well built and handsome, and comes with some really nifty features like umbrellas in the front doors. The Superb’s interior is lovely too, and the Skoda massively undercuts similarly sized cars - it starts from under £25,000. For that, you’ll get a humongous boot and lots of space inside, with 995mm of headroom in the front and 1,001mm in the rear seats. Just like the Kodiaq above, the interior is smart and intuitive but not overly luxurious. You do, however, get a nice array of features, including a digital instrument cluster, WiFi connectivity, all-round parking sensors and Smart Link phone connectivity.
The Honda Jazz is the only car on this list without official headroom measurements, but we expect you’ll have plenty of room to stretch out, no matter your build. The car’s overall height is 1,550mm, which is considerably more than the VW Polo’s 1,461mm. As a result, headroom is suitably enormous - the Jazz stretches the definition of a supermini somewhat. Rear legroom is pleasantly surprising, because there’s almost as much space in the rear seats as a Mercedes S-Class. Tall passengers will have no problem getting comfy in the back, and there’s still a large boot behind the rear seats. The latest Jazz is very cleverly designed, and should be a top choice for those who want space on a budget.
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