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Best Cars and SUVs Size Rated for Short and Tall People is a Health Issue

Car are not designed to be a one-size-fits-all---especially if you are shorter or taller than average. To make choosing a car that is a good fit for your body easier, analysts at Consumer Reports have recently size-rated the best cars and SUVs to help keep you be comfortable and safe the next time you buy a car. Plus, why choosing the wrong vehicle for your body type can be a serious health issue.
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Problems When You Are Shorter or Taller Than Average

When shopping for a car, we all have our personal idiosyncrasies when it comes to choosing a make and model that fits who we are. Worse yet, is when we have very little of an idea of the type of car we want or why. If I had to recommend the very least, basic thing any new car owner should look for in a car---aside from price---it is that of comfort with respect to, the level of the asked question, “Can I drive this vehicle long distance without pain?”

In other words, rather than fussing over whether a car fits who we are, does the car fit what we are---shorter or taller than average. And, there are several good reasons supporting this criteria.

For example, when seated in a new car:

• Can you see easily all around you while driving, or do you have to crank your neck awkwardly?

• Are there blind spots? Most likely there are; however, depending on your height, blind spots in some models are much bigger than in other models.

• Do the seats adjust well enough that you have ample room to stretch your legs or reach the pedals?

• And speaking of seats, does it “feel just right” or does it have poor lower lumbar support as pointed out by Torque News writer Jeremy Johnson who pointed out that we have a problem with our car seats and our backs.

• What about the seat belts and harness? Is the harness adjustable to fit you correctly or does it chafe against your neck?

Why Vehicle Size is a Health Issue

All of the aforementioned are real issues that while may seem minor during a test drive, can actually lead to:

• Fatigue and falling asleep behind the wheel
• Impatience and failing to check your surroundings during a lane change.

However, what few realize---until it happens to them or someone they know---is that sitting for extended periods during a road trip can cause deep vein thrombosis.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in a deep vein, typically in a leg. The danger of a DVT is that the clot can break loose, travel through the bloodstream, and block blood flow to the lungs resulting in a life-threatening pulmonary embolism.

The causes of developing a DVT are varied; however, often associated with sitting still for 4 or more hours which slows down the blood flow in your legs and making the blood more likely to clot.

Symptoms of a DVT include:

• Tenderness or pain in the calf, warmth, redness or swelling
• Shortness of breath and/or an unexplained cough
• A rapid heart rate and/or stabbing pain in the chest

Recommendations for preventing DVT during a long trip (such as 4 or more hours) include:

• If you are traveling by car, stop every hour or so. Get out and walk around for a few minutes.

• While you're sitting, raise and lower your toes, keeping your heels on the floor. Then raise and lower your heels, keeping your toes on the floor. Do this every 20 minutes.

• Wear loose-fitting clothes that aren't tight around your waist or your legs.

Although DVT’s are typically associated with long flights on planes, it also is known to occur in truck and fleet drivers who spend equally long times (and greater) sitting while driving and riding as a passenger. While DVT in these types of drivers is less-thoroughly studied, their link with airline passengers includes both extended sitting and in relatively cramped positions.

Therefore, when selecting a vehicle based on your height---particularly if you are tall---you will want to consider not just the driver’s seat legroom, but also the amount of leg room for the passengers in the rear seats. Especially if you take elderly passengers on family trips.

Consumer Reports Testing

That said, according to Consumer Reports, their review of the best cars and SUVs for short and tall drivers involved testing using experienced test drivers ranging from 5 feet, 1 inches to 6 feet, 2 inches in height. The test drivers evaluated access, driving position, front-seat comfort, and visibility in the models tested, of which the data was tabulated to create composite scores matched to the models in their listings.

The following is a summary of car make and models they recommend to steer you in the right direction with the best cars and SUVs in several size classes they’ve identified for short and tall drivers. Note that some model overlap resulted from their findings.

Makes and Models for Short Drivers

• Best Compact Car: 2021 Kia Soul
• Best Luxury Compact Car: 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
• Best Midsized Car: 2021 Subaru Legacy
• Best Midsized Luxury Car: 2021 Lexus ES
• Best Large Car: 2021 Toyota Avalon
• Best Ultra-Luxury Car: 2021 BMW 7 Series
• Best Compact SUV: 2021 Subaru Forester
• Best Luxury Compact SUV: 2021 BMW X3
• Best Midsized 2-Row SUV: 2021 Subaru Outback
• Best Midsized 3-Row SUV: 2021 Hyundai Palisade
• Best Luxury Midsized SUV: 2021 Volvo XC90
• Best Large SUV: 2021 Ford Expedition
• Best Large Luxury SUV: 2021 BMW X7

Makes and Models for Tall Drivers

• Best Compact Car: 2021 Kia Soul
• Best Luxury Compact Car: 2021 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
• Best Midsized Car: 2021 Subaru Legacy
• Best Midsized Luxury Car: 2021 Audi A6
• Best Large Car: 2021 Dodge Charger
• Best Ultra-Luxury Car: 2021 BMW 7 Series
• Best Compact SUV: 2021 Subaru Forester
• Best Luxury Compact SUV: 2021 Audi Q3
• Best Midsized 2-Row SUV: 2021 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport
• Best Midsized 3-Row SUV: 2021 Honda Pilot
• Best Luxury Midsized SUV: 2021 Porsche Cayenne
• Best Large SUV: 2021 Ford Expedition
• Best Large Luxury SUV: 2021 BMW X7

And finally…

For more about the size rated vehicles and some selected alternative model choices, readers are encouraged to visit ConsumerReports.com for more details.

To see how these models matched with relatively recent reviews of the best SUVs and cars to buy today, be sure to check out “the most discounted new cars to buy right now,” and “recommended compact SUVs stocked with popular standard safety features,” and recommended popular midsized SUVs to avoid and those to buy.

COMING UP NEXT: Car rental scams by legitimate businesses.

Timothy Boyer is Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily automotive-related news.

Photo by Andre Tan on Unsplash


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