Home » What Cars Do You Wish You Fit In? Autopian Asks

What Cars Do You Wish You Fit In? Autopian Asks

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Given the little community we’ve built here, it’s safe to say that we all want to experience more cars. Fast cars, slow cars, big cars, small cars, cars powered by electricity or gasoline or steam. Unfortunately, not all cars are built for all humans, and sometimes our dreams are dashed by ergonomic concerns. Today, let’s talk about times our dreams were dashed by physical limitations.

Oh, and not fitting in a car isn’t just for people who are tall and/or built sturdy. Sometimes, cars aren’t built for shorter people, or people with longer legs than torso, or people who are longer in their torso than their legs. To an extent, there are cars we all don’t fit in, it just is what it is.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Take the Dodge Stealth, for example. Its a fascinatingly quick bit of ’90s cool, but I just don’t fit in the damn car. I’m not especially tall, but in a state of recline that gives me a safe reach of the steering wheel, my head hits the headliner. I adore the car, but I’m genuinely unsure if I could own one an actually fit in it safely. Shame, that.

Dodge Stealth 1991 Photos 2

Likewise, I quite like the Lexus UX. It’s a brilliant little posh hatchback for the city, but my right knee is always hard up against the plastic center console, which makes longer stints behind the wheel unworkable. Another shame, because the UX is just like a CT200h but better. Who wouldn’t want to daily that?

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So, what are some vehicles you don’t fit into? Be it ergonomic concerns or a simple lack of space, let’s hear about those cars that just aren’t compatible with you.

(Photo credits: Dodge, Lexus)

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Christopher Warren
Christopher Warren
1 month ago

Yes, the Dodge Stealth, I’m 6’2”, with long legs, sat in one at an auto show during the debut year, and was stunned at the lack of legroom, just wouldn’t work.
Another disappointment was looking at used cars in the early 80’s and finding a late 70’s Dodge Challenger coupe and finding I wouldn’t fit comfortably legroom wise, it had the awesome red everything interior, sigh.
An unexpected surprise came in sitting in the Dodge Hornet suv at the Detroit Auto Show in 2023, even with the power seat all the way back, not enough legroom whether the seat cushion was lowered or raised or tilted.
Considering I’ve fit ok in the following sub compact coupes, 96 Toyota Tercel, 67 Opel Kadett, I’m scratching my head about those above.

Marty
Marty
1 month ago

How about entry/exit? As I’ve aged, my mobility has lessened. Cars that are comfortable once you get inside? Typically for me, low roof lines, like the GTI I owned. Great fit, once you got in! BTW, I’m around 5’9″. Have owned 3 Miata’s and really like small cars, but alas… Strangely, we actually own the Lexus UX mentioned in the article. No issues, but certainly harder to entry/exit because of the low seats. The other side of garage is a Ford Maverick. Not a huge interior, but getting in and out is absolutely a breeze.

Turkina
Turkina
1 month ago

I want a kei truck. I am tall. I am also sad about the likelihood of driving a tiny truck in comfort.

Turkina
Turkina
1 month ago

In 1998, when I was looking for a new car, I could not fit into a Tacoma without worrying about smacking my skull on the headliner without leaning the seat way back. That was the solution the salesman suggested. Of course, I could fit in the older Toyota Pickup just fine. Ended up getting a Forester, and other than the inevitable head gasket failure, I adored that car.

Dinklesmith
Dinklesmith
1 month ago

I’m in the miata club. It’s just such a tight fit and I’m very broad shouldered and long legged

I ended up going with a 2001 Jaguar XK8 instead which is incredibly comfortable to drive so I made out in the end

Óscar Morales Vivó
Óscar Morales Vivó
1 month ago

As a 6’6″ guy the answer is always Miata.

But really any other Asian car not designed specifically for Americans is out of my reach. The seat doesn’t go far back enough even when the vehicle is itself large enough.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
1 month ago

5’10” here, so I fit into most everything. I’ve owned a number of pretty small cars. Usually it’s only cars with baffling ergonomic flaws that bother me, like the dash of the second gen Jeep Liberty protruding into my knee space. But I’d imagine everyone struggles with that. As for the standard for these things, yes I fit into a Miata.

Last edited 1 month ago by Taargus Taargus
Dolsh
Dolsh
1 month ago

I’m 6’4″, and there are a lot of smaller “sporty” cars that I just don’t fit in. There are also a number of small/mid size vehicles that aren’t well that well designed that I also don’t fit in. But it’s honestly kind of weird. The best example of this was the Mazda3. I bought a first gen Mazda3 because it was one of the few small/cheap cars I could find. There was LOTS of room. When an idiot in a BMW wrote it off, I went looking at the 2nd gen for a replacement. Didn’t fit. Not even close. Knee room was gone, and head room was non-existent. The latest ones are pretty good again.

It’s the same thing in Miata land. I don’t fit in an NA or NB very well. I own an NC and it’s one of the most comfortable cars I’ve ever owned. The ND was back to being too small again.

My answer is Miata. I love the look of the ND RF, but I can’t sit in it and close the roof at the same time.

Highland Green Miata
Highland Green Miata
1 month ago
Reply to  Dolsh

I just fit in my NC at 6’0” but I wouldn’t want to be upside down in it. Don’t like driving it with the top up much either.

LBA Oak
LBA Oak
1 month ago

The short answer is, it’s hard to determine. It is so weird that it almost doesn’t matter the exterior size of the car if I can fit in it. I’m
6’4” tall and built like a lineman. My Tacoma fits me fine, but some full sized trucks don’t. And my wife’s Hyundai Elantra has a ton of space inside and I have more room in it than a lot of much bigger cars. My mom’s Kia Soul is the same way, with a lot of headroom and I fit in and can drive it easily.

However I can say I don’t fit in a Miata. My ex wife had one and really loved to make me miserable by cajoling me into driving it. And I hated it, my legs were always being rubbed by the steering wheel and I had to have the top up to fit and looked like a 1980s Happy Meal toy. I fucking hated that car, and eventually her.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
1 month ago

To all the people that think that they don’t fit into any normal cars, The Volkswagen New Beetle is actually humongous on the inside. It’s one of the few cars that has a high roof and lots of width for styling reasons. I know of a guy that’s at least 6’6” and probably in the region of 400 pounds and fits quite comfortably into a new beetle.

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
1 month ago

I had backwards fitment issues with the Focus ST – the seat bottom was fixed at such an aggressive angle that my shins were almost vertical with my heels on the floor, it was clearly designed for someone with much longer legs.

Holly Birge
Holly Birge
1 month ago

If I had fit in the Fiesta ST when they were still selling them here in Canada, I so would have bought one. The seats were literally too narrow for me.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
1 month ago

Just as a general observation sports cars with actual bucket seats, i.e. one piece, fiberglass or aluminum shells where the seat part tips up if the back part tips down are great for the taller driver. You just tip them back a little bit and you fit Specifically, the seats in the Porsche 914 and the SAAB Sonnet come to mind.

I understand that replacing the seats in a Miata with racing seats can fit a larger driver

Jonathan Green
Jonathan Green
1 month ago
Reply to  Hugh Crawford

Fitting into the car was amongst the top reasons my dad got a 914 in 1974. Actually, surprisingly wide. The worst part of the 914 was the center console dug into your leg…

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
1 month ago
Reply to  Jonathan Green

The “deposit” to call it by the official name is easily removable. It has to be if you want to try putting a third person in the center seat. You probably did not know that the 914 had a center seat, but it is officially rated as a three passenger car.

Jon Benet
Jon Benet
1 month ago

I have a recurring dream where the foot well shrinks and my feet are to big to work the pedals.

Myk El
Myk El
1 month ago

Autozam AZ-1. I’m making an assumption, though. Haven’t actually tried.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
1 month ago

“ Given the little community we’ve built here”
Oh the tyranny of the short people comes out into the open, quite the slip there I would say.

Lotus Europa.

My 914/6 is roomy like a bowling alley once you figure out that you move the seat 3 inches forward and tilt it back. Do that and then I can’t reach the pedals enough to fully disengage the clutch and I am 6feet tall. Slide it all the way back and my head hits the roll bar and the steering wheel is too close.

The Boxster on the other hand is small no matter what.

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
1 month ago
Reply to  Hugh Crawford

I had a taller (than me) friend riding in my Boxster the other day, something in front of us on the highway kicked up a pebble and smacked his head. It was a stark reminder of my short privilege.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
1 month ago
Reply to  Ricardo Mercio

That has happened to me in my sister’s bolster.

Gerontius Garland
Gerontius Garland
1 month ago

At 6’3″, I’m not comfortable in most cars. But to be specific, my Miata. I can drive it, but it’s not easy. I’ve got my knees resting on the dash and I have to slouch to keep my head off the roof.

ColoradoFX4
ColoradoFX4
1 month ago

Miata is always the answer.

The Artist Formerly Known as the Uncouth Sloth
The Artist Formerly Known as the Uncouth Sloth
1 month ago

ALL cars. Mid-size pickups. I will never know the joy of rolling in my own Taco.

Crimedog
Crimedog
1 month ago

Cars.
Yup.
Unless it is a Chrysler 300 or a Lincoln TC, no dice. I am now firmly in the SUV/Truck category for life, and I am fine with it.

Dalton
Dalton
1 month ago

As a fairly thin 5’7″ person, i fit in all cars. Be jealous.

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
1 month ago
Reply to  Dalton

At 5’6″, I can even sit in the backseat of most 2+2 coupes with relative comfort.

Clueless_jalop
Clueless_jalop
1 month ago
Reply to  Dalton

But can you reach the top shelf?

James Mitchell
James Mitchell
1 month ago

I won a radio contest back in the ’00s, and one of the prizes was several laps around Road Atlanta in a tandem seat Indy Car.
Unfortunately, this is when i was at my heaviest (almost 425 lbs, although i prefer the English measurement of 30 stone) and there was no way i was fitting into the car without a crowbar and a lot of Vaseline.
I wound up giving the prize away to a skinny friend, and soothing my disappointment with a 20 piece hot wings and a couple of Yuenglings.
Fortunately I am about 2/3rds the size I was 15 years ago, but I doubt i could fit into an indy car.

Andrew Wyman
Andrew Wyman
1 month ago

At 6’2″ I can technically fit it a lot of vehicles. But reality says otherwise. Anything Miata sized is tough.

I love kei cars, but there are more than a few that are just not made for me.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
1 month ago

I can honestly say this is not a problem I have run into so far, but I admittedly haven’t attempted to drive any weirdo European bubble cars from the 1950s, so I may meet my match one of these days.

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
1 month ago

There are smaller cars that I wish I fit in better, specifically old miatas because of what they can be built to do on a track. A neighbor had modified his 90 or 91 miata with coilovers and some other things, and he let me drive it. It was unbelievable to drive… but the steering wheel was in contact with my legs 100% of the drive…there wasn’t a way around it.

Shockingly… a drivers car that fits tall people very well and the seating position isn’t so low that you feel like you fall in/out of it? The Fiat 500 Abarth.

Is it a better performance car vs a Fiesta ST, probably not, but it’s a hilarious car to own and drive and we regret selling ours. I do wish the 500’s had a better shifter though.. it wasn’t the best.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
1 month ago

Honda S2000, 1st gen CRX.

The former was the first car I ever sat in at an auto show where I just physically do not fit – with the door closed my posterior was too wide to fit between the bolsters of the seat bottom, I was just wedged between the door and the center console, with no part of me hitting the seat bottom. I’m a fat guy, but not exactly enormous; 6’0″ and a little shy of 250 lbs at the time. The car was just not built for someone my size.

The CRX is different – I can fit in one, and I can drive one without any problems, at least for a little while – except the steering wheel is directly and uncomfortably between my knees, and there’s no adjustment of the wheel or seat that would change the situation. That one made me sad, because that little ’85 SI was joy of driving on four wheels.
I’ve since heard that there are ‘big guy mods’ you can do to those CRX’s – replacement seat rails go a long way, evidently.

Honorable mention to the NA Miata – I can fit in one, but can only actuate the clutch pedal if the armrest is removed from the driver’s side door (which is evidently another common ‘big guy mod’ for NA Miata’s).

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
1 month ago
Reply to  Mike Smith

Just for fun, it might be worth mentioning some small cars that I was happily surprised to find I *could* fit – Fiero’s are surprisingly roomy and comfortable inside. Ditto last-gen MR2. I guess being mid-engine helps. Porsche Cayman was also no sweat.

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