QOTD: Too Big For Your Car's Britches?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Uh oh. We’re talkin’ size today. That’s right, a topic tailor-made for awkwardness, embarrassment, even shame — something best not spoken of in polite company. Just amongst your close friends and, perhaps, a doctor… whose brother is a salesman.

The fact of the matter is, sometimes we don’t fit in the cars we love. Or, we can’t cram our gangly or girthy frames into a less desirable car with several redeeming qualities, thus striking it from our mental list of automotive “maybes.”

It’s happy times for those whose height or weight deviates from the norm. Vehicles in all segments are growing like Western nations’ deficits, stretching in wheelbase and expanding in interior room, providing us all with far more comfortable cabin than the vehicles of yesteryear. Remember the Ford Contour? Midsize, my ass.

These days, it’s hard finding a steering wheel that doesn’t adjust for reach or rake. Adjustable pedals, when you can source them, compensate for those on the short side of the fence.

That’s never been an issue in my case, but I have come across vehicles I’d never buy, as the comfort factor just isn’t there. Biggest issue? When the driver’s seat stops its rearward slide too early. Front legroom is key for 6’4″ drivers, and the amount of variation from car to car is often vast. Who knew the Nissan Rogue was so cramped up front?

Since my earliest memory, vehicles built by General Motors and Toyota have proven the safest bets. Honda’s usually fine, and Ford’s a toss-up, especially smaller models. It’s strange how, when seated as a passenger, the Mazda MX-5 affords more leg extension than the aforementioned Rogue. Outside of the pickup segment, the front legroom king seems to be the Buick LaCrosse, which possesses near-comical levels of lower body acreage — with the seat in its rearmost position, it’s possible for me to lock my knees and still clear the firewall by several inches. Should I ever find myself living out of a car, this living room on wheels rates high on my list.

In some models, skimpy legroom is sometimes paired with a ceiling that’s too low for normal operation. Enter the Fiat 500. While piloting that Italian city car just after its launch, I had to drive with my head canted to the right. Yes, we were in clown car territory.

What about you, Best and Brightest? Is there a car you’ve owned (or desire to own) that just doesn’t cut it in the size department? What’s the least comfortable vehicle you’ve ever shoehorned your body into?

[Images: eBay, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Steph Willems
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  • Bloodnok Bloodnok on Feb 24, 2018

    caterham super seven

  • WildcatMatt WildcatMatt on Mar 13, 2018

    6'1, 32" inseam, 280lbs here. I was car shopping when I got out of college in '98 and was willing to drink the Saturn kool-aid, but didn't fit in anything in their lineup. That's how I wound up with a '96 Regal. Apart from my '08 Accord and my '65 Wildcat, every other car I've owned has been "put the seat all the way back and recline it a little". I've been surprised at the amount of seat travel in the New Beetle, 500L, and Bolt though.

  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
  • 1995_SC Can you still get some of the tax credits under the new program?
  • Analoggrotto HyundaiGenesisKia saw this coming a long time ago and are poised for hybrid and plug-in hybrid segment leadership:[list=1][*] The most extensive range of hybrids[/*][*]Highest hybrid sales proportion over any other model [/*][*]Best YouTube reviews [/*][*]Highest number of consumer reports best picks [/*][*]Class leading ATPs among all hybrid vehicles and PHEVs enjoy segment bearing eATPs[/*][/list=1]While some brands like Toyota have invested and wasted untold fortunes into full range electric lineups HyundaiKiaGenesis has taken the right approach here.
  • EBFlex The answer is yes. Anyone that says no is just….. wrong.But the government doesn’t want people to have that much freedom and the politicians aren’t making money off PHEVs or HEVs. So they will be stifled.