Need help finding a cheap car for a tall guy
July 13, 2006 10:20 AM   Subscribe

My 6 foot 5 inch tall friend is looking for a car. He doesn't have too much money to throw around, but he's tired of being cramped. TALL PEOPLE! What do you drive?

Main thing is price, car or SUV doesn't matter as much. He drives a Geo Tracker right now, and it's just not working out. Thanks.
posted by svdodge to Travel & Transportation (68 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm 6'2", and drive a 2000 Toyota Camry with no problem.
posted by cerebus19 at 10:23 AM on July 13, 2006

I am 6"4 and I drove a '94 Corolla for several years with no issues about cramping. Probably most mid-size sedans are good.
posted by rabbitsnake at 10:23 AM on July 13, 2006

My 6'5" 230 lbs+ ex drives a Ford Explorer, and it seems to work out well for him.
posted by Zosia Blue at 10:24 AM on July 13, 2006

Also 6'2" and my 2002 Honda Civic has plenty of room.
posted by utsutsu at 10:24 AM on July 13, 2006

I'm 6'4", 215lbs.


posted by LordSludge at 10:29 AM on July 13, 2006

my dad 6'5" 250, drives a yukon. he has back problems so the big SUV's work better for him.
posted by CCK at 10:30 AM on July 13, 2006

6'2' but long-waisted so I'm taller sitting down (if that makes sense). I just bought a Scion Xb, the boxy one, for just this reason. I still can't see traffic lights if I'm the first car in line but I can sit up straight without my head hitting the roof. I went to the Auto Show last winter and sat in every single car that I might want to buy to see if I fit.
posted by octothorpe at 10:33 AM on July 13, 2006

He should be looking for cars that have a fully adjustable driver's seat. One that moves up/down, back/forward, as well as adjusts the back in various ways. A moveable steering column will probably serve him well, too.
posted by Loto at 10:34 AM on July 13, 2006

I'm 6'2" and I drive a Range Rover. My first thought when I sat down in it was "wow, finally a car big enough that I can sit up straight!"

I don't have three inches of headroom, though, so his head might still brush the ceiling. At least he'd be less cramped than in many other cars, though.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:38 AM on July 13, 2006

6'7" (do I win?) and I have driven 2 different Honda Civics over the past 8 years. I'm fine with the seat all the way back in the Civic but whenever I drive a different car, I find myself pretty cramped.

I rode shotgun in one of those Scions that octothorpe mentioned and was amazed at the leg/head room.
posted by subclub at 10:39 AM on July 13, 2006

I second octothorpe's response. I have a Scion xB. I am 6' 2" and could wear a bowler hat in there. Plus, there is tons of back-seat legroom.
posted by crosten at 10:40 AM on July 13, 2006

I have a friend the same height who swears his Mini Cooper is the most comfortable car he has ever owned.
posted by Carbolic at 10:40 AM on July 13, 2006

6'5", 240 lbs, and I love my Scion xB. Plenty of head room, and I can fit comfortably in the rear seat. I think we paid $15,500 6 months ago, so it's one of the least expensive new cars out there. I've also comfortably driven a Camry and an Accord.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:48 AM on July 13, 2006

The size of the car doesn't necessarily indicate how roomy the driver's side is. If the dashboard is too low or comes out too far, it's just not going to work. If the center console is too wide, the right leg will take a bruising. We learned this by sitting in many, many cars until we settled on a VW Passat, which fits my 6'4" husband just fine. Prior to that, he drove a Camry, which was also pretty comfy.
posted by jrossi4r at 10:48 AM on July 13, 2006

6'5", Audi A6. Also am comfortable in a 2001 VW Golf and a 1994 Honda Civic hatchback.

In general Japanese cars have the most headroom, followed by European and then American. Two small cars with lots of inside room are the Mini Cooper and the new VW Beetle.
posted by Nelson at 10:49 AM on July 13, 2006

(Actually, he's 6'7", if that makes a difference. Don't know where the 4 came from.)
posted by jrossi4r at 10:50 AM on July 13, 2006

6'5" here and I got a 1999 Chevy S10 with the extended cab and I love it. Plus it was a steal 5 years ago for about 11K.
posted by jodic at 10:53 AM on July 13, 2006

My wife's 7' boss drives a Honda Pilot and loves it.
posted by TungstenChef at 11:03 AM on July 13, 2006

6'6" and about 200 lbs. My wife and I looked at a whole slew of different automobiles, with me fitting inside being a key concern.

We found...

Ford Focus - Not even close
VW Jetta - I fit (ultimately not our choice, for other reasons)
Toyota Camry - I fit comfortably (not our choice either)
Honda Accord - The car we purchased, and I fit well as long as I have the seat back. It's an awesome car, by the way.
posted by almostcool at 11:05 AM on July 13, 2006

A good friend who is 6'3" has a Mini and drives (and is comfortable in) it more than his SUV. Seriously. The seats adjust way down to the floor, and you'd be amazed how much leg room you have when there's no back seat (or rather, an unused tiny bench) to accomodate.
posted by luriete at 11:06 AM on July 13, 2006

I am a long-legged 6'5", 240lbs: I am pretty comfortable in my '86 BMW, which was less than $2k. My new car, a mitsubishi Evo, has LOTS of headroom, and generous legroom. The SO's Toyota 4Runner is much too small- it's painful to drive for more than a few minutes at a time.
posted by wzcx at 11:10 AM on July 13, 2006

6'4", I drive a Saab 9-3. Plenty of room for my long legs, even the passenger side is comfy on road trips.
Inexpensive used, but they like to be coddled. My 6'7" buddy got a Scion xB and fits quite nicely.
posted by Floydd at 11:10 AM on July 13, 2006

6'3", 220lbs: BMW 325, and it fits great. Had a 1997 VW Jetta before that, and it worked well, too.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 11:14 AM on July 13, 2006

6'4" (wow, there's a lot of us) 2somethinghundred lbs.

I've owed: '81 Honda Accord, '89 Honda Civic, '88 Toyota Camry. all cost me under $2000, all fit me well, all ran well over 150k miles.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 11:15 AM on July 13, 2006

Most mid-size or larger sedans and SUVs should be fine, but no sun roofs as they steal precious headroom. Sports and sporty cars are a whole different ball game. The Japanese ones are right out.
posted by caddis at 11:19 AM on July 13, 2006

My parent's Honda Element (it looks like a box on wheels- that's what they call it, The Box) has a lot of head room.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:21 AM on July 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

I'm 6'4". I currently drive an Olds Bravada. It's a piece of shit, but I'm really comfortable in there when it runs. Most mid-size SUVs I've driven have been similarly comfortable. Civics and Accords are usually fine, though it's been years since I've driven one. VW New Beetles have shocking amounts of headroom. Saab 9-3s and 9-5s are fine; the 9-3s can feel a little cramped for me on long trips, but so does just about any other vehicle in that class. The VW Vanagon I learned to drive in was so comfortable that I'm still a little grumpy with my dad for selling it; vans and minivans in general suit me very well (not only do I fit, they allow for the upright posture I find most comfortable).
On the flip side, Dodge/Chrysler/Plymouth cars have very low ceilings.
posted by willpie at 11:45 AM on July 13, 2006

6' 2", with a PT Cruiser. The height is fine (I can sit up straight for once!) and I hate cars where I have to lean way back.

The only downside is (I'm kind of long-torsoed) my eyes are about level to where the windshield curves, so the visual field distorts when I move my head up or down. I'm used to it by now, but at first it was a bit distracting.
posted by chimaera at 11:54 AM on July 13, 2006

A good friend of mine, 6'7", drives a Honda CRV and has tons of nice things to say about it. He spends a lot of time in his car (commuting, etc) and likes it a lot.
posted by contessa at 11:57 AM on July 13, 2006

A friend of mine is 6'6" and loves the Mini Cooper (as long as no one has to sit behind him).
posted by jjg at 11:59 AM on July 13, 2006

Headroom is misleading, the design of the seat and dash are important too. Plus, as you are aware, everyone's built differently.

I'm 6'4" and when shopping for my last car had to bypass the Ford Escort, Saturn SC1, Honda Civic and Hyndai Sonata but fit just fine in the car I purchased, a 1995 Nissan 200SX, 41" headroom, same as an Accord.
posted by Cosine at 12:05 PM on July 13, 2006

I'm 6'6 250 lbs and drive a Durango with plenty of room to spare. I've always had good luck fitting into VWs.
posted by gregariousrecluse at 12:12 PM on July 13, 2006

Actually, some types of sun roofs can add about an inch to an inch and a half of head room, if the glass part is closed and the fabric part is open.

I'm not sure if my description makes any sense, but you can find this type of sun roof in Honda Accords and Civics. I'm a tall woman (although at 5'11", not as tall as those commenting here), and the only sedans I'm comfortable in have those types of sun roofs.

Seconding pinksuperhero on the Honda Element as the roomiest vehicle next to a mobile home that I have ever been in.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 12:13 PM on July 13, 2006

6'2" here, have a 6'4" friend. Hondas for both of us (Prelude and Civic) respectively. Plenty of room, and cheap, reliable cars.
posted by dead_ at 12:18 PM on July 13, 2006

Like octothorpe, subclub, crosten, and others I have a Scion only mine's an xA model. I'm 6'2" and have plenty of headroom although I find that it's hard to see out of the windows due to the placement of the rearview mirror and side windows.
posted by mezzanayne at 12:24 PM on July 13, 2006

6'3" Long in the torso, and I like my seat at a crisp 45 degree angle. I test drove the following cars that had the required head room for me;

Toyota Echo
Suzuki Aero
VW Beetle
PT Cruiser
Scion Box-On-Wheels

Of those 4 cars, I chose the PT Cruiser based on price and legroom. The only car of those 4 that did not have enough legroom for me was the Echo. Based on how I like to sit, I brush my head on the roof in nearly every entry level sedan made post 90, and my price range kepy me out of the full SUV's. The way your friend sits in the car will determine which of all of these suggestions work for him.
posted by nulledge at 12:26 PM on July 13, 2006

My 6'4" bf has owned and been comfy in both a Honda Accord and Toyota Corolla.

My 6'3" bro loves his '04 Civic, and has room to spare.

He also fits decently into my '02 VW GTI (Golf), surprisingly enough. So well in fact he's considering something along those lines for next car. For semi-cheap, check out older Mark IV (98-05) VW Golfs. Jettas are built on the same platform, so they will probably work as well.
posted by cgg at 12:35 PM on July 13, 2006

Clarification - it's the bf who fits in the VWs. Altho my bro can as well.
posted by cgg at 12:36 PM on July 13, 2006

Pontiac Grand Prix and Toyota Avalon. (Avalon also has loads of legroom in the back seat in case he has/will have a family of tall people.)
posted by undertone at 12:40 PM on July 13, 2006

LOL....crisp 45 degree angle...that sounds painful...
posted by toastchee at 12:46 PM on July 13, 2006

I third the Honda Element. My 6'4" husband found mine very comfortable and his 6'6" best friend bought one after checking ours out.
posted by Mamapotomus at 1:02 PM on July 13, 2006

I'm 6'1" and find that a great many cars, if not actually scraping my head, block my forward vision with a non-height-adjustable rear-view mirror. (Rargh! Japan, I'm looking at you...!)

Most Volkswagens are available with a height adjustable seat, either power or manual, with great range. (Plus a fully adjustable mirror.) Additionally, the body shape of the New Beetle, Golf/Jetta, and Passat provides a lot of headroom.

My Passat, even with sunroof, fits me perfectly, with no obstructed vision. I can even wear a hat without hitting the roof. Add to that the supportive seats and cool creature comforts, and the car is by far the most comfortable place to sit that I have in the world.

(I don't work for VW. This is my first one. Had only Hondas & Jeeps before this.)
posted by Tubes at 1:02 PM on July 13, 2006

My 6'5" 300lb roommate drives a Dodge Magnum and finds it quite comfortable. In the past he had a Grand Prix that he was also fond of.

My 6'4" 260lb cow orker has a PT Cruiser hardtop, however I've noticed in riding in it with him that the seat doesn't seem to be suffering his presence in it beautifully....
posted by phearlez at 1:02 PM on July 13, 2006

I'm 6'5", 270ish, and drive a 1988 Toyota Corolla FX.

With the seat all the way back, of course, but I still have at least an inch of space before my head hits the roof.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:16 PM on July 13, 2006

The 07 Toyota Yaris in the S trim is pretty good for tall people. They are hard to come by at the moment, but if you can find one, I highly recommend them.
posted by feloniousmonk at 1:22 PM on July 13, 2006

I'm 6'4" and more than comfortable in my 1980 Volvo 240. They made that model from the late 70s through the early 90s, so it should be hard to find a cheap one. The drivers' seat is height adjustable via a lever under the seat.
posted by feaverish at 1:26 PM on July 13, 2006

…er…sorry, that should be "shouldn't be hard to find a cheap one."
posted by feaverish at 1:27 PM on July 13, 2006

my 6'4" best buddy drives an old jeep wrangler and loves it.
posted by SpecialK at 1:28 PM on July 13, 2006

6'4" hubby drives a full-size GMC pickup. A compact Ford pickup did not allow him to sit up straight behind the wheel.
posted by scratch at 1:40 PM on July 13, 2006

My uncle is 6'2" and drives a Honda Pilot.
posted by invisible ink at 1:50 PM on July 13, 2006

6' 5" here. I drive a Ford Taurus. I've been in VW bugs (the new ones), and they fit me suprisingly well. The Jetta, however, does not.
posted by rossination at 2:00 PM on July 13, 2006

I'm 6 foot 8 and I've always been happy driving Volkswagen Golf's with height adjustable seats and steering wheels.
posted by Pres at 2:01 PM on July 13, 2006

My husband is 6'8 and has a boner for the Nissan Murano (with adjustable pedals). He wept with joy when he was first able to sit in a vehicle that didn't cause his knees to stab him in the ears.
posted by msali at 2:20 PM on July 13, 2006

Hmmm, how about a Sprinter van? They're available in Regular and Tall.
posted by wzcx at 2:22 PM on July 13, 2006

I've heard that the new (to the US) Honda Fit has a lot of headroom. According to this review, the Fit has more headroom than the Honda Civic (40.6 inches in the front, compared with 39.4 for the Civic).
posted by mogget at 2:39 PM on July 13, 2006

my friend is a 6'4". Drives a Toyota Camry. Zero Problems. I've driven Honda Accord and that too looks spacious enough for someone 6'5". Most mid-size or large sedans also come with driver seat adjustments, wherein you can change the height and the horizontal positioning of the seat.
posted by forwebsites at 2:47 PM on July 13, 2006

The newer boxy suv's like scion and element have a lot of head room. I've test driven both and they fit well (I'm 6'2").

My wife and I own a RAV4 and it also has a decent amount of head room, at least in the front. Forget about the backseat, tho.
posted by rsanheim at 4:30 PM on July 13, 2006

I used to test cars, and I've never found anything better for my 6'5" frame than a Porsche 944. I didn't even have to put the seat right back. The Toyota Yaris, astonishingly, is also not bad for the size.

Surprisingly, though, it's not really the leg room that matters. You can drive a car fairly safely even with your legs bent, as I've had to do with some, particularly Alfa Romeos. Headroom is key, for safety as well. If you're looking through the top quarter of the windscreen, it's too little. I found this on most BMWs and Jaguars.

The Mercedes C-class was good for headroom, and the Audi A6 is fantastic for cabin space: I could even fit someone behind me, just.
posted by bonaldi at 5:35 PM on July 13, 2006

6'8" husband, another vouch for the Scion xB!
posted by kmel at 6:25 PM on July 13, 2006

6'2": I drive an 01 Jetta, and I fit in nicely. My wife has an Element, which I can sit in the back seat as comfortably as the front.
posted by neilbert at 7:38 PM on July 13, 2006

6-2 checking in. When I was car shopping last year, I looked at a lot of small hatchbacks/wagons. While I didn't buy one, the Scion xB is friggin huge inside.
posted by Doohickie at 8:07 PM on July 13, 2006

6'3" with legs in an '03 Galant... don't recommend for anyone taller, manual seat's all the way back and it can be tight.
posted by empyrean at 8:44 PM on July 13, 2006

6'4". Mitsubishi Elipse Spyder.
posted by wubbie at 9:51 PM on July 13, 2006

I'm a puny (by comparison) 6', 0", but I'd like to recommend minivans. Every time I go to look at getting a new car, I'm surprised at how cramped they feel compared to my Villager.

I think someone already mentioned it, but try to avoid sunroofs. The interior ceiling ends up being a couple inches lower.
posted by fogster at 11:53 PM on July 13, 2006

6'2 180 - Mazda RX 8
posted by crewshell at 12:05 AM on July 14, 2006

My partner is 6'8" and has driven an '88 Volvo station wagon, a 2000-ish Mitsubishi eclipse, and a 2003ish BMW M3. In our experience, an often-overlooked but critical factor is whether or not the steering column can move around.

My pet theory about cars: sports cars are generally aimed at men, so they're designed to fit tall people (have you ever been to a British car show, filled with MGs and Triumphs and the extraordinarily large men who love them?). SUVs, on the other hand, are designed for soccer moms, and so they fit tall people less comfortably (when we went around exploring car purchases, he didn't fit into the SUVs we tried *at all*).
posted by obliquicity at 12:24 PM on July 15, 2006

6'4" - 250lbs - '99 Civic.
posted by MikeMc at 8:08 PM on July 15, 2006

I'm 6'4" and drive a Toyota Tundra Pickup. Much to my chagrin - because I never thought I'd be driving a semi-gas-hogging V8 pickup. I my defense, I do regularly haul hay for the horses and have to ford submerged Humboldt county roads on a regular basis. And I do actually use the four-wheel drive - unlike most P/U owners who never leave the pavement. I wanted the smaller Tacoma truck - but I'd basically have to lay in it down to fit. It seems Toyota's smaller trucks don't much better gas mileage than the Tundra - which surprised me. Something like 19/20 for Tacoma - to the Tundra's 17/18 - so what's the point? One lousy MPG? So what's a ecologically conscious tall person - who needs a truck - to do?
posted by Mattydread at 12:59 PM on July 24, 2006

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