You've scanned the manufacturers' specs, but as we all know, the numbers don't tell the whole story: Until you actually get into a vehicle, there's no way to know if it's really a good fit. To help you narrow down your test-drive candidates, we polled the taller editors on our staff and came up with a list of 10 favorites — vehicles that they've found comfortable to drive in the real world. Our list is not all inclusive. For instance, if you're looking for maximum room in all directions, you can never go wrong with a full-size pickup — the Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, Dodge Ram, GMC Sierra and Nissan Titan are suitable for just about any taller-than-average driver. Alternatively, you could go with a large, traditional sedan like the Buick LeSabre, Ford Crown Victoria or Mercury Grand Marquis. However, if you don't see yourself buying a pickup or a nondescript full-size sedan, we invite you to take a look at our picks below (which are arranged in no particular order).
When you go out on test-drives, you'll obviously want to find out if a particular vehicle offers adequate headroom and legroom. Tall-bodied vehicles can be particularly accommodating in this regard; besides being roomy on the inside, you can get into them without stooping or bending very much. Additionally, drivers with long torsos should check out the provisions for seat-height adjustment (Does the car offer it? Is there enough adjustment range to get the seat bottom low enough?). Consider going without a sunroof, which typically eats up a couple inches of headroom. Long-legged drivers should look at both seat-height adjustment and the range of seat-track travel (Can the seat be adjusted far back enough to give you adequate legroom?). Drivers with larger feet should scope out the footwell (Is there enough space between the pedals? Is there enough room to rest your left foot comfortably during highway travel?). Whatever your exact requirements, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel is a bonus feature to be on the lookout for — once you've got the seat where you want it, you'll be able to position the steering wheel to suit.
- Hyundai Elantra: Standard two-way seat-bottom tilt and a wide range of adjustment make this inexpensive economy car a friend to drivers of all sizes.
- Ford Focus: A tall cabin design opens up a surprising amount of headroom and legroom in the Focus. Midlevel and high-line models get a tilt/telescoping steering wheel.
- Scion xB: Being tall and boxy has its advantages, and Scion's affordable xB mini-truck treats its passengers to enormous amounts of headroom and legroom.
- Chrysler PT Cruiser: A small but stylish wagon that makes the most of its dimensions, the PT offers lots of headroom and legroom, not to mention a wide footwell.
- Honda Element: Another tall, boxy vehicle styled to look like a truck, the Element is even larger than the Scion xB.
- Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute: Although Ford and Mazda have made continual upgrades to improve the comfort of their seats, one thing that has never been in doubt is room — these small SUVs offer a wide range of seat-height adjustment and seat-track travel.
- Chevrolet Malibu and Malibu Maxx: Chevrolet's sedan and wagon give larger drivers plenty of room to spread out and a wide range of seat-height adjustment. A tilt/telescoping steering wheel and adjustable pedals are available on all models.
- Nissan Altima: Lots of headroom and legroom, a large footwell and a standard tilt/telescoping steering wheel are among the midsize Altima's attributes.
- Chrysler 300 and Dodge Magnum: Larger than most of the peers in their price range, the 300 sedan and Magnum wagon have a tremendous amount of room in all directions, as well as a standard tilt/telescoping wheel.
- Nissan Armada: A newcomer to the large SUV segment, the Armada is well suited for those of taller stature, offering even more room than bruisers like the Ford Expedition and Chevy Tahoe.
Copyright Edmunds.com, Inc. All rights reserved. First published on www.edmunds.com and excerpted with permission.