It’s obviously important to be comfortable at the wheel, especially if you’re covering long distances. If you are hunched over the steering wheel, you are more likely to get tired while driving – and more liable, therefore, to be involved an accident. Sitting in the proper position when driving also ensures you have a clear, unrestricted view of the road ahead. It’s pretty obvious, really.
So what are the main things to consider, according to actual tall people?
Our resident tall person, Alastair, says the most important factor is legroom. Most people’s legs are just under half their height: if you’re more than 6 foot tall, you’ll need space for 36-inch legs – at least.
The Ford C-MAX offers more than 43 inches of legroom for the driver, as well as a panoramic sunroof to make you feel like there’s even more space. (You can also change the seating configurations with just one hand, apparently.)
Tall drivers may struggle to find cars with enough legroom
For those (unlike my friend Alastair) who have long bodies but shorter legs, it’s headroom that will make all the difference. Don’t be fooled by the overall height of a car, or assume an MPV will give you more space, because the seat could be higher up – and headroom could be as minimal as a supermini.
We’ve found that the new Hyundai ix35 offers a good amount of space between the seat and the roof (about a metre), with a height-adjustable seat to offer a decent view of the road ahead, no matter where your eyes are. If you get me.
Alastair claims that cars like the Mercedes-Benz A-Class are good for those with long legs, because the seats are upright and high – meaning that you don’t have to push the seat right back to be comfortable. (A Seat Comfort Package is fitted as standard in all A-Class models.)
The Mercedes-Benz A-Class offers a good amount of space for the taller driver
Some cars, such as 2-seaters, don’t allow you to move the front seats back very far. For Alastair, it’s important that you can actually push the seats back quite a distance.
The Skoda Superb comes with electronically adjustable front seats, allowing you to move them around at the touch of a button. It also provides an impressive 1100mm (40 inches) of legroom.
And it’s worth checking if the car you fancy has an adjustable steering wheel, because that could make all the difference to the comfort of the drive. Search cars with adjustable steering wheels
While some believe that a car with small exterior dimensions won’t accommodate a larger human, this isn’t always the case.
The Volkswagen up! plays to this notion in its latest TV advert (below). The idea is that a small car couldn’t possibly be housing a tall guy – but lo and behold, it is! That’s because the up! is surprisingly spacious, offering up 993mm (39 inches) of headroom and 1009mm (nearly 40 inches) of legroom in the front.
You might want to avoid cars with sunroofs, purely because they take up precious headspace. Many Honda cars don’t have sunroofs, and the seats are positioned quite low, so they provide maximum space for tall drivers.
“A hatchback will almost always be OK for me,” said more than one lofty member of Arnold Clark staff when I asked them. So, when you tall folk are commencing your car search, start with the hatchbacks on display and work from there.
Car roofs can be inconvenient for the very tall driver
While it’s useful to do your research online, nothing beats a proper test drive at your local dealership when it comes to choosing the car that's right for you.