Which SUV Fits a Tall Driver and Works With a Small Family?

I am a 6-foot-4 man looking for an SUV that will handle New England weather and be great on gas. It needs to be roomy. I have a small family.

Jason, Rochester, N.H.


Among smaller, more economical SUVs, the redesigned five-passenger Honda CR-V has an exceptional amount of front-seat room for its exterior dimensions and a spacious cargo area. In addition, it has EPA ratings of 22/30 mpg city/highway with all-wheel drive. If you decide to check out the CR-V, a base LX model might be your best bet. It is the only CR-V that does not come with a sunroof, which steals an inch or two of headroom. We fear, however, that because you are 6 feet 4 inches tall, the CR-V might not be big enough.

For someone your height, power adjustable pedals should help. Short of buying a full-size, gas-gulping SUV such as a Chevrolet Tahoe or Ford Expedition with that feature, you could look at the seven-passenger Ford Explorer or Ford Flex. Power adjustable pedals are available on both, but fuel economy will be around 17/23 mpg with all-wheel drive and the standard V-6 engines. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder is available on the Explorer with EPA estimates of 20/28 mpg but only with front-wheel drive, which may not be what you need for New England winters.

Other possibilities that might have the room you need and the economy you desire are the five-passenger, four-cylinder 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and the 2014 Subaru Forester. The Forester has loads of headroom, and it might have sufficient space for your legs, as well.

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By Rick Popely | July 27, 2013 | Comments (6)



I'm 6 ft 3 1/2" tall and . I drive a Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring, with a sunroof and lots of headroom to spare. My family fits well in the CX-5, with 2 kids aged 11 and 2. The CX-5 is fantastic on gas and fun to drive too.

I'd recommend Jason that he just tries out the CUVs he's considering with his family aboard.

Don't buy too big : a cargo box and/or hitch storage system can do the job on occasional trips. A rental minivan can also help, why not!


I agree with Fleecy. Bought a CX-5 after testing all the compact CUVs. I found the seats in the CRV to be low to the floor, more like a sedan than an upright CUV.

With their lightweight, sporty, fuel efficient Skyactive cars I feel Mazda has become the new Honda.


Can you sit in this Cr-v for more then an hour without developing major back pain? I ask because in the previous model it was impossible. Point is, you may not only want to fit but be able to stay in


I am 6'6 and my test to make sure that a car had enough room for myself and a rear-facing car seat behind me (or my 6'2 father-in-law) was to put the driver's seat as far back as it would go and then sit behind it. I tested hatchbacks & CUVs under $25k, mostly. These were my results (All 2014 models):

CX-5: Too tight in the rear (stay mature plz), but good room up front
CRV: Very good room in both front and rear
Prius V: Very good room in both front & rear
Mazda 5: Plenty of room in the rear, but knees hit the dash in the driver's seat
Civic: Too tight in the back
Accord: Good room in the front & rear
Rav 4: Good room in front & rear
Hyundai: Unknown. Salesman took a personal call while he was "helping" me, so I left
Kia Soul: Plenty of room in front & rear, but crappy cargo space
Scion XB: Plenty of room in front & rear - car felt cheap
Honda Fit: Plenty of room in front & rear, but poor safety rating on 2014 model turned me off

I'm currently torn right now because I loved the CRV, but the dealership was beyond unethical in their practices and my company will give me $2400 towards the Prius V. Anyway, I hope that helps another tall driver with 2 kids.


I'm a little late to the conversation, BUT...

I'm 6'5, have a toddler, and drive a 2013 CRV. It's definitely got plenty of room inside. I can put the front seat all the way back and still get in the back seat without having to "straddle" it. My son is in a forward facing car seat and his feet hit the front seat if it's all the way back, which isn't a huge deal.

The problem I have is with my lower back. We recently took it on a long trip and my lower back was in pain for a few weeks afterward. To add to that, I still have to bend over to put my toddler in his car seat and buckle him in. I feel pain in my back every time I straighten back up.

It's a great little SUV, but still a bit small for someone my size. At least that's my opinion.

Not Happy

I am a happy 2003 Chevy Trailblazer driver, 5.11, woman, looking for a new SUV. My biggest problem are the headrests on this year's SUV's. They are too far forward on all the cars I tested so far. I have shoulder and neck problems to begin with. Anybody has an advise for me?

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