Folks who are pleasingly plump or taller than most, tend to buy vehicles that are oversized because they think these types of cars would be a better fit. Larger vehicles compromise fuel consumption, hands-down but who says, there aren’t smaller vehicles that can comfortably accommodate folks who are tall or plus-sized.
There are quite a few car manufacturers that are actually working towards making the interiors of smaller vehicles more of a fit for larger occupants. Some of the main bugbears in smaller cars that tall or plus-sized folks complain about are roofline height, seating width/padding, uncomfortable center consoles, ease of entry/exit and lack of legroom. Automotive improvements are coming down the pike for these folks and will be here before you know it. Companies like Ford for instance are trying to design interiors that keep the bigger population comfortable. The automaker has recently updated its database of model human sizes to incorporate the growing number of plus-sized adults, so keep a look out!
Seatbelts are also a problem for folks who have more ‘junk in their trunk,’ so be sure to ask your dealer about seat belt extenders. Did you know federal regulations require car manufacturers to produce seat belts that only fit people up to 215 pounds? If you are looking for an aftermarket extender, check out JC Whitney (www.jcwhitney.com).
In the meantime, here are some smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles for folks who are ‘circumferentially or vertically challenged’:
1) 2011 Mini Cooper S Clubman: Shockingly roomy interior, comfortable and extremely supportive seating. If you’re tall, forget about having anyone sit behind you though and don’t opt for a sunroof because it will cut down on your headroom but if you have long legs, relax, there’s ample legroom. Fun to drive, nimble as heck–1.6L, 4 cylinder, 181 hp; great on gas mpg 27 city/35 hwy; it’s so customizable, unleash the artist in you, just sit back and enjoy the experience! Prices start at $24,800.
2) 2011 Scion XB: Room-plus to roam. Stable ride, responsive and peppy, sporting a 2.4-liter inline-4 that produces 158 horsepower; seating that will welcome your size, easy entry and exit, folks can sit behind you without feeling pinched, gas sipper at 22 city/28 hwy, easy to reach gauges–you’ll love it and it will love you back! Prices start at $16,000.
3) 2011 Honda CRV: A compact crossover SUV with lots of appeal. Spacious, comfy, nice wide opening doors; great braking, agile–2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 180 hp; impressive cargo area of 73 cubic feet; not bad fuel-wise 21 city/28 hwy. Truly an SUV that will not give you the blues if you’re stuck in traffic for hours on end. Prices start at $21,895.
4) 2011 Nissan Cube: Space, space and more space all around; easy to maneuver, seating that cushions, headroom and legroom to spare, oh-so-easy egress; cush ride, effortless steering; 1.8-liter four-cylinder that produces 122 hp, mpg 27 city/31 hwy. A real head-turner that is also customizable. You’re guaranteed to feel food every time you sit behind the wheel! Prices start at $14,740.
5) 2011 Hyundai Elantra: A sassy compact number that is totally unconfining, easy breezy, head and legroom is abundant, width-wise, you’ll be satisfied; 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder that’s rated at 148 hp will give you enough pep to keep a smile on your face; the ride stays firmly planted on terra firma, nothing mushy here; gas-wise you’ll be pleased a punch–29 city/40 hwy. Hyundai is not messing around, they are on a serious mission! Prices start at $14,945.