What are the Best Cars for Short People?
Today’s vehicles are designed as one-size-fits-all. While the interior dimensions could be ideal for average height drivers, those who are shorter (or taller) could struggle to find the best vehicle for their comfort. Some vehicles could leave shorter drivers with visibility issues, or their seats might not allow for easy adjustment.
When drivers are shorter, the best vehicle should meet their comfort needs but also be safe, —the design shouldn’t pose any visibility obstructions. What are the best cars for short people? There are many models that are a great fit for those who are shorter; check out these cars, SUVs, and minivan models, too.
Features that Can Aid the Driving Experience for Shorter Drivers
Smaller or compact vehicles could be an ideal fit for those who are more petite in stature. Smaller vehicles could offer fewer blind spot obstructions or just offer a lower driver’s seat for easier navigation access. Kelley Blue Book recommends that shorter drivers also look for these additional features to aid the drive:
- Telescoping Steering Wheel
This feature allows the steering wheel to be easily adjusted to fit any height. Look for this feature to aid the steering wheel adjustment.
- Running Boards
These are typically found on SUVs and trucks. They can be used as a step to help drivers get into and out of a vehicle.
- Easy Visibility
Drivers shouldn’t have any issue seeing their mirrors or looking out of the windshield. Vehicles should allow the driver to see clearly.
- Adjustable Seats
Vehicles typically include levers for adjusting both the height of the driver’s seat and the distance the seat is from the steering wheel. However, power functions could simplify these adjustments. Power seats might be an upgraded feature, though. Some models even offer a memory seat function as an upgrade; this allows for the seat to adjust automatically to the driver’s preferences and comes in handy when a vehicle is shared between multiple drivers.
- Power Lift Gates
KBB recommends power lift gates; this allows the driver to open or close the gate with just a push of a button. Some lift gates can be hard to reach when they lift.
- Adjustable Pedals
KBB recommends adjustable pedals, too. Not all vehicles offer this feature, but KBB explains that drivers could opt for this upgrade by purchasing after-market pedal extenders. Car owners might want to talk to their auto shop about adding this feature.
Other Beneficial Features
KBB offers a list of recommendations for features for shorter drivers, but there are a few additional upgrades that weren’t included. Shorter drivers could benefit from a smart rearview mirror; this aids driving at night or in bad weather as the mirror accesses a rear camera to show data in real-time.
Safety systems like blind spot warnings also can help shorter drivers. However, this safety feature is beneficial to all drivers on the road as it ensures that the driver always knows when another vehicle is in their blind spot.
What are the Best Cars for Shorter Drivers?
Consumer Reports tackled the best and worst vehicles for taller and shorter drivers. KBB also included a list of the best vehicles for shorter drivers. The recommendations for shorter drivers included the following sedans:
- BMW 7 Series (Consumer Reports recommendation)
- Lexus ES (Consumer Reports recommendation)
- Toyota Camry (KBB recommendation)
- Kia Soul (KBB recommendation)
Two of these recommended sedans are luxury models and two are more budget-friendly. Here’s what buyers should know about each model based on the fuel efficiency, price, and safety.
2022 BMW 7 Series
The 2022 BMW 7 Series starts at $86,800 but for 2023 models the starting price has risen to $93,300. The 7 Series offers a six-cylinder engine with 335 to 600 horsepower. It offers up to 22 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway.
The 2022 Lexus ES starts at $40,950. It features a four-cylinder engine with 203 to 302 horsepower. It offers decent fuel efficiency—25 MPG in the city and 34 MPG on the highway. However, the model also is available in a hybrid for drivers that want maximum fuel efficiency. The 2022 Lexus ES 350 received a Top Safety Pick+ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The Toyota Camry is the most popular sedan in the country; in 2021 it was the sixth best-selling vehicle. The 2022 Camry has a starting price of $25,845. It’s also known for its fuel efficiency—28 MPG in the city and 39 MPG on the highway. The Camry features a four-cylinder engine with 202 to 301 horsepower. It received a Top Safety Pick+ rating/award from the IIHS.
The 2022 Kia Soul is quite budget-friendly and starts at just $19,290. Some refer to it as a compact car, while others classify it as a crossover. It can get up to 29 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway and features a 147-horsepower engine. The 2022 Kia Soul received a Top Safety Pick rating/award (with specific headlights) from the IIHS.
The Best SUVs for Shorter Drivers
Shorter drivers actually have a long list of options for ideal SUVs. Both KBB and Consumer Reports included mostly SUV models in their recommendations for the best vehicles for shorter drivers.
Here are the 2022 SUV models (and their prices) that might be best for those who are shorter:
- 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe ($27,700)
- 2022 Honda CR-V ($26,800)
- 2022 Chevrolet Equinox ($25,800)
- 2022 Subaru Outback ($27,645)
- 2022 Volkswagen Taos ($23,495)
- 2022 Subaru Forester ($25,895)
- 2022 Volvo XC90 ($50,900)
- 2022 BMW X5 ($60,600)
- 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan ($26,490)
- 2022 BMW X3 ($43,700)
- 2022 Lexus RX ($46,995)
The list of recommended SUVs is extensive, and buyers in different budget ranges shouldn’t have difficulty finding a model to fit their needs. The Volkswagen Taos is the most affordable model and the BMW X5 is the highest-priced SUV.
Buyers can understand the safety ratings for each model by visiting the website of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Consumers can enter the make and model to find the safety report for the vehicle; in addition, they also can select from previous model years to review safety reports for earlier models.
Vehicles that received a Top Safety Pick+ or Top Safety Pick rating will have this honor designated at the top of their report page.
The Best Minivans for Shorter Drivers
Currently, there are only four minivans on the market; these models include the Toyota Sienna, Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey, and the Kia Carnival. The Sienna comes standard as a hybrid, and the Pacifica also is offered in a hybrid model (albeit with a higher price tag than the standard model).
KBB recommended the Chrysler Pacifica in its roundup of the best cars for shorter drivers, while Consumer Reports included the Honda Odyssey. How do these two minivans compare?
2022 Honda Odyssey
The 2022 Honda Odyssey starts at $33,040 and offers space for seven or eight people (depending on the configuration). The Odyssey can get 19 MPG in the city and 28 MPG on the highway. It can tow up to 3,500 pounds and received a Top Safety Pick+ rating/award from the IIHS.
2022 Chrysler Pacifica
The 2022 Pacifica starts at $37,095. It can get up to 19 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway (22 MPG combined). The Pacifica offers space for seven and can tow up to 3,600 pounds. The 2022 Chrysler Pacifica also received a Top Safety Pick+ award/rating from the IIHS. Buyers also can choose a hybrid model of the Pacifica which starts at $49,000.
Don’t Forget the Test Drive
While car shoppers might review the recommendations for the best models for the most comfortable drive, taking a test drive of favorite models might be the ideal way to find the best vehicle. A test drive lets buyers take the vehicle for a short excursion; they can adjust the mirrors and the seat and feel out the vehicle on the road.
Buyers might discover that they just don’t have the best visibility; perhaps the seat adjustments are difficult or cumbersome. Some drivers might not love how the car drives.
Car shoppers can conduct their basic research online to find the dealerships with the best prices. Visiting the dealership allows them to sit in the vehicle and feel it out. In addition, buyers can talk to the sales team about any available features that could add to the comfort of the drive.
Some buyers might shop for used or pre-owned models. Not only is a test drive an important component for deciding if the vehicle is the best option, but buyers also might insist on an independent inspection.
Shorter drivers might find that their hunt for the perfect vehicle could be a bit more difficult; not every model will be the best fit. However, shoppers can review the vehicle recommendations via KBB and Consumer Reports and find options that fit their needs and their budget. Take a test drive of your favorite models to decide what car is the best fit and the best buy.