Shopping for a new car as a tall person can be a bit tricker than you might think. The car should be big enough for you to sit comfortably for longer journeys without feeling cramped or putting a strain on your back.
Fortunately, as Mercedes is a European manufacturer, they usually make cars with the average European in mind. Given the fact that Germans usually rank in the tallest people in the world charts, it shouldn’t be a problem finding a Mercedes that offers enough cabin space for you to sit comfortably for a long journey.
Tall drivers should be able to comfortably and safely fit into the vehicle, no matter how long the trip. The best Mercedes vehicles for tall drivers include SUVs like the GLE and GLS, as well as sedans like the E-class and S-class.
First and foremost, SUVs are great for tall drivers. They are designed to accommodate larger individuals, more passengers, and more convenient features for everyone seated in the car. Mercedes makes 9 different SUVs, ranging from smaller crossover SUVs such as the GLB, all the way up to the cavernous GLS, which seats 7.
The G-class is a really popular SUV by Mercedes, but the size might trick you into thinking it’s anything more than decently spacious. G-class Mercs were made with military usage in mind in the 70s, and only later adopted into a more luxurious vehicle when the car reached a cult status in upper-class communities.
GLE and GLS
The best SUVs for tall people made by Mercedes are the GLE and the GLS. They offer spacious cabins and are more than capable of comfortably fitting even the largest individuals out there.
The Mercedes GLE coupe is a more stylish variant of the regular GLE, made to compete with the BMW X6 in the fairly recent Coupe SUV trend. While the car might look more attractive compared to the regular GLE, it’s a lot less practical, especially for the rear passengers because of the sloping roofline that eats into headroom.
Sedans and estates
Some might think SUVs are the only option for tall drivers, but there are actually plenty of sedans that tall people can comfortably drive. The E-class estate (station wagon) has 1,005 mm of headroom, which is only about 90 mm shy of the colossal GLS, and the GLS is a full-size SUV and the largest SUV in the Mercedes catalog.
If you are not in the need of such large trunk space, the E-class sedan offers similar headroom in the front seats and a bit less in the rear. So, if you are transporting taller adults or teenagers in the back seats, the estate version might be a better option.
The S-class is usually considered the benchmark when it comes to full-sized luxury land yachts. And as such the S-class offers 1,066 mm of front headroom and around 990 mm in the second row. The legroom offered in the S-class depends on the specific model in question.
Regular short wheelbase S-classes offer 1040-1090 mm of leg space front to back. But the long wheel-based S-classes, especially the Maybach models are absolutely huge and extremely comfortable, even for the average NBA player.
Hatchbacks and Crossovers
As Mercedes keeps coming out with newer models and refreshing the current lineup, cars are being made with higher quality, more efficient materials. As such, the cars are not gaining any significant weight, but they are becoming larger. For example, a 10-15-year-old E-class offers interior space comparable to a modern-day C-class.
As far as hatchbacks and crossovers are concerned, it depends on the model. The A-class is the most popular hatchback Mercedes currently offers, and the GLA is the most popular crossover at the moment. These smaller vehicles can offer enough space for a taller driver, but it depends on how many passengers you plan to transport.
If you mostly drive by yourself, you can make yourself comfortable by sacrificing the rear seat space. That being said, if you plan on transporting more people, whether it’s adults or children in car seats, it will cut into the driver’s space and stretch the cabin capabilities of the A-class, as well as the GLA.
Buying a car when you’re tall
What are the features a tall person needs to consider when buying a new car?
When picking out a new car, tall drivers should consider the cabin space, especially the legroom, headroom and shoulder room. Some features are made with tall drivers in mind, such as the extendable thigh support that offers more resting space for your thighs, which makes it a lot more comfortable for longer trips.
You should also carefully consider cars with sunroofs and panoramic glass panels. Some of them sacrifice headroom, some of them don’t. It all depends on the specific model in question, so you should investigate thoroughly before making any purchasing decisions.
If you often wear a hat while driving, make sure you have one on for your test drive.
Furthermore, car width is important as well. If you plan to transport taller people, you will also need more space widthwise.
Are there any safety concerns associated with tall drivers?
Tall driver safety usually gets overshadowed by cabin space, and that’s not such a good idea. Being a bit more comfortable should not be prioritized over safety. Car safety scores are associated with specific distances between the driver and all the different possible impact points.
For the airbags to function as advertised, the driver should be decently spaced out, otherwise serious injury can occur. So, if you push your seats way back, especially if someone is sitting in the back, it might result in unwanted airbag deployment injuries for the rear passengers.
The seats are designed to hold you in place in an event of a crash. The headrests were never primarily intended to provide comfort. They are supposed to prevent neck injuries in a car crash scenario. So, if you are a taller individual and don’t fit into a seat properly, it could prove disastrous if a crash occurs.
How does driver height affect comfort and accessibility?
Before you start driving, whether you are short or tall, you should adjust your seat to a proper driving position. You should also adjust your mirrors and steering wheel so you can see all the important data on the dashboard.
In the ideal position, you should be able to reach the pedals comfortably, without stretching. The same goes for most car controls, especially the turning signals and the hazard and light controls.
No matter how tall you are, you should always take your potential purchase for a test drive. You should make sure that you are comfortable in the desired driving position, and that your visibility and safety are not compromised.
You should also consider these things about any other passengers that might share the car. Figure out how much space is left when you push your seat in the desired position and if it impacts the rear-seat legroom.