The compact car segment sits between subcompact and mid-sized cars. These cars are somewhat compromised when it comes to space, but some of them are still more than spacious enough for taller drivers.
If you want a compact hatchback, a Nissan Leaf, Mini Cooper, or a VW Golf are all plenty spacious for taller drivers. Even though it may seem that these cars should be avoided by taller people, they do offer more space than even some mid-sized sedans do.
If you are in the market for a spacious compact sedan, a Honda Accord or a Toyota Corolla are both offering lots of interior space. You can also opt for a VW Jetta, but if you want more luxury and comfort a BMW 3-series is a great choice.
A compact SUV on the other hand might just be the best compact car for a taller driver. SUVs like the Hyundai Santa Fe, Jeep Wrangler, Mazda CX-5, or the Nissan Rogue are easy to get in and out of thanks to a raised driving position which is perfect for taller individuals.
Compact hatchbacks for tall drivers
Opting for a compact hatchback is actually a great idea because these cars are always good at making clever use of available space. Even though they might be a bit on the tighter side for 4 taller passengers, in normal day-to-day situations, one of these will do.
One of the most spacious compact hatchbacks is the Nissan Leaf as it offers 41.2 inches of driver’s headroom and 42.1 inches of driver’s legroom. The Leaf is also fairly affordable to buy, insure, run and maintain, and it also offers a decent amount of entertainment and comfort features.
But if you want a bit more style and substance, a Mini Cooper might be the way to go. This compact British legend offers a commendable 40 inches of driver’s headroom and 40.4 inches of driver’s legroom. Pair that with instantly recognizable styling and quality backed by BMW, the Mini does seem like a tempting idea.
If you want the gold standard of the compact hatchback segment, go for a VW Golf. At 38.4 inches of driver’s headroom and 41.2 inches of driver’s legroom, the Golf might not seem as competitive as the Leaf or the Mini, but a Golf will comfortably accommodate anyone less than 6 feet 10.
Compact sedans for tall drivers
Compact sedans are the most popular sedans out there, and it’s easy to see why. They are large enough to offer a true sedan driving experience and practicality, but at the same time they are not colossal nor all that expensive which makes the compact sedan segment a fairly competitive segment.
The Honda Accord might not be the very best compact sedan out there, but the price category, reliability, 39.1 inches of driver’s headroom, and 42.5 inches of driver’s legroom surely do make the Accord a reasonable purchase.
The Toyota Corolla is in many ways the Toyotas version of the Accord, which means that reliability is as stout as car reliability gets, prices are affordable across the entire range, and 38.3 inches of driver’s headroom and 42 inches of driver’s legroom are also ample spacious for taller drivers.
But if you want a more luxurious compact sedan, there is nothing else on the market that does what the BMW 3-series does. A sporty sedan that is still shrouded in high-quality materials, 38.7 inches of driver’s headroom, and 42 inches of driver’s legroom are what makes the 3-series a great option for taller drivers.
Compact SUVs for tall drivers
As mentioned previously, a compact SUV might as well be the best pick of the bunch, if you are tall but you still don’t want something huge and too expensive. SUVs are slowly taking over the entire car market, and we are slowly witnessing the SUV platform becoming the default car of the future.
The Hyundai Santa Fe offers class-leading interior space in the compact SUV segment at a fairly roomy 42.6 inches of driver’s headroom and 41.2 inches of driver’s legroom. Pair that with bold styling, affordable price, and decent luxury features, the Santa Fe might just be the one to go for.
But if you want a more utility-based SUV, an SUV that is still able of impressive off-roading, the Jeep Wrangler is an industry-standard for a reason. The Wrangler also offers 41.6 inches of driver’s headroom and 43 inches of driver’s legroom which easily accommodates multiple taller passengers at the same time.
The Mazda CX-5 is also plenty spacious enough thanks to its 40 inches of driver’s headroom and 41 inches of driver’s legroom. Pair that with an award-winning design and an incredibly positive customer reception, it is rather obvious why the CX-5 has won multiple best compact SUV awards in recent times.
Should I buy a compact hatchback, compact sedan, or a compact SUV?
Obviously, all three of these can be spacious enough for taller drivers, and you should buy the one that you are interested in the most. But logically speaking, a compact SUV is usually as luxurious as a sedan is, but the sedan is not as capable as an SUV is.
Furthermore, SUVs have a raised driving position which makes them a lot easier to get in and out of, they usually offer superior visibility, and SUVs are also becoming the most desirable cars on the market. A hatchback on the other hand is mostly superior when it comes to tighter city streets, otherwise, it’s not all that competitive.
Is a compact SUV a true SUV?
There are lots of people out there that believe that a compact SUV is not a true SUV. But makes a true SUV nowadays? An SUV used to be a rugged 4×4 used mostly by the working class to haul building materials in and out of construction sites.
Nowadays an SUV is just a car with a raised driving position. Even some full-size SUVs are not driven by all four wheels. A compact SUV offers just about everything a larger SUV does, but a larger SUV is a lot more expensive and sometimes unnecessarily larger.
Is a compact hatchback a viable option for a taller driver?
Yes, it is. Some compact hatchbacks like the Nissan Leaf offer more driver’s headroom and legroom than a BMW 3-series does, even though most people would think a BMW 3-series offers more space. The segment in question only tells half of the story.
Modern cars are spacious enough throughout all the segments, and no matter what type of car you are interested in, you are likely to be able to find a car spacious enough in the compact and even in the subcompact car segment.