Too tall for an Altima?
June 11, 2008 12:31 PM   Subscribe

Tall guy + short car: I have a chance at a great deal on a like-new 2001 Nissan Altima. Trouble is, I'm a little tall for it and am not really comfortable. The seat mounts look unneccesarily high to me, but local dealers know of no seat-lowering kits. I'm having no luck on the web. I'd even consider a swap for a power seat if I knew it would lower more. Any suggestions?
posted by Tubes to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
As a tall guy, I have to say you should look for a different car. I don't know how much you are saving, but trying to make the seat more comfortable might eat up any discount you are getting. Consumer reports suggests these cars for tall folk: Acura TL, Honda Accord, Honda Pilot, Infiniti M35, Lexus LS460 L, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Mercedes-Benz S550, Volvo S80, Volvo XC70. We have a TL and it is really comfy.
posted by procrastination at 12:47 PM on June 11, 2008

Two data points - my brother is tall, and drove an Altima for several years. He loved it. I'm taller than him, and I drive a Hyundai Elantra. I guess it's too small for me, but it doesn't really bother me at all.

Deals come and go - driving an uncomfortable car sucks for a long time. I'd say wait on something that you feel good in.
posted by god hates math at 1:14 PM on June 11, 2008

Seats are fairly easy to move back, but lowering is not usually an easy project. I'm tall, and drove a neighbor's Altima once, and definitely found it too short for long-term comfort. Fine for one drive across town, but not fine to own.

Power seats are not usually lower, though perhaps this may vary by model. And as I'm sure you've noticed, sunroofs mean about 2 inches less head room.
posted by Forktine at 1:36 PM on June 11, 2008

What about getting a sunroof put in? I'm tall, and find certain cars too short for me, but the same model with a sunroof is fine. Even a sunroof with a slide-out cover adds an inch of headroom at least.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 2:06 PM on June 11, 2008

It has as much to do with the car's size as it does the driver's prefered seating position. Some people like different things. Can you borrow it for a weekend and see if you can adjust to it?
posted by gjc at 5:01 PM on June 11, 2008

Also, if the car is really The Car For You, it is not outside the realm of possibility to get one of those car fabricator guys to pull out the seat and weld up some changes to the chair and chair mounts.
posted by gjc at 5:03 PM on June 11, 2008

Response by poster: I don't know how much you are saving
It's a very significant family deal I've been offered, so I could afford to consider seat mods. At real used-car prices I would not be so tempted.

What about getting a sunroof put in?
Nah, that wouldn't help. The height problem is that my line of sight out of the car is very high - the rear-view mirror is at eye level, and I have to scrunch down to view any scenery out of the opposite side of the car. The other part is that at the limits of the seat adjustment, my legs are too long to get any thigh support, so there's tension and discomfort in my driving leg. If I could drop the rear seat mount 2 or 3 inches that might create an incline to provide some thigh support.

Can you borrow it for a weekend and see if you can adjust to it?
Actually been driving it for 2 weeks.

...get one of those car fabricator guys to pull out the seat and weld up some changes to the chair and chair mounts
I've thought about this though I'm a little wary of workshop mods to something as vital as the seat-to-car attachment points. I wouldn't know how to ensure that it remained properly safe. But, maybe that's not rocket science...
posted by Tubes at 9:21 PM on June 11, 2008

But, maybe that's not rocket science...

It's not. A really good body shop (or better, a place that specializes in vehicle fabrication, like building race cars and rock-crawling rigs and so on) can do this fairly easily. They may choose to charge you a lot of money, and there may be reasons they are reluctant to do it (such as worry about interfering with airbags and other safety systems) but car seats are generally held down by only four little bolts, much smaller than your thumb. Not complicated or arcane attachment points, which is why moving a seat back is so easy.

And this will do nothing good to your resale value, but if the car is cheap enough who cares?
posted by Forktine at 9:31 PM on June 11, 2008

I'm 6'4" and when I drove a Miata, I removed over an inch of foam from the driver's seat and back. It was easy (instructions here), reversible, and made a significant difference -- dunno if the Altima's seat is similarly constructed, however.
posted by LordSludge at 7:42 AM on June 12, 2008

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