Best cars for short people

There are no tall stories here, just eight cars ideal for short people, from a spacious city car to an eco-friendly electric vehicle

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Sep 16, 2020

The average height for an adult in the UK is 5’ 9” for a man and 5’ 3” for a woman. Although mankind is still growing, with each generation seemingly taller than the last, for every person above average height there is another below average height. And just as loftier folk deserve one of the best cars for tall people, shorter people deserve a model that allows them to get similarly comfortable behind the wheel.

This isn't just about comfort, either. There are important safety considerations to take into account, you need a suitable driving positioning that will maximise forward and rearward visibility, and your ability to reach the pedals and other controls easily from the driver’s seat, while it'll also guarantee you'll be correctly protected by your seat belt. Tick all these boxes and you should be both more relaxed behind the wheel and able to focus better on driving - you should also be safer too.

So what are the main ingredients shorter drivers need? At the very least, you need a car with a height-adjustable driver’s seat and a steering wheel that adjusts for height and reach. This should allow you to get into a position where you can see clearly and reach the wheel, gearstick and pedals safely. Features such as a reversing camera, parking sensors and an easy-to-reach tailgate should also be considered.

It would be too easy for us to list eight small cars that are suitable for short people. However, drivers of all heights may want cars of all sizes, so instead, we’ve chosen a broad selection of cars, so you’re free to make an informed decision and get a car that does exactly what you need it to. There are no tall stories on the BuyaCar website.

Best cars for short people

1. Toyota Yaris

Used deals from £5,430
Monthly finance from £109

There are many good reasons to choose a Toyota Yaris. It features a spacious interior and a large boot, it’s backed by an excellent five-year warranty - so even if you get a used model, chances are you'll benefit from some Toyota warranty cover - and it’s powered by a range of efficient engines. This includes a hybrid option, which is rare for a car of this size.

But what makes it stand out as a small hatchback is its suitability for short people. All versions get a steering wheel that’s adjustable for height and reach, along with a manually height-adjustable driver’s seat. You should have little trouble getting comfortable behind the wheel.

There’s more, because all versions get audio controls on the steering wheel, so you won’t have to reach across to the standard-fit seven-inch multimedia system. You even get a reversing camera, cruise control and automatic wipers, regardless of the trim level with newer models. That’s about the long and the short of it.

TOYOTA YARIS BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Skoda Fabia

Used deals from £6,499
Monthly finance from £102

Even in 2020 not all new cars feature a steering wheel that’s adjustable for height and reach, and as you look back at older models the feature becomes less and less common. Finding a steering wheel that goes up and down is easy, but one that pulls in and out from the dashboard is less common than you might think. For short people, this could make or break a potential purchase.

There are no such problems if you buy a Skoda Fabia. Even the entry-level Fabia S features a height adjustable driver’s seat and a steering wheel that’s adjustable for height and reach. You also get good all-round visibility, so you might not need the rear parking sensors that are fitted to all except the base model.

We’d avoid the entry-level Fabia S, if only for the fact that you don’t get air-conditioning. The Fabia SE offers better value for money, including a 6.5-inch touchscreen media system that’s easy to reach and operate from the driver’s seat, thanks to large and prominent buttons.

SKODA FABIA BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Mazda 3

Used deals from £13,499
Monthly finance from £206

You could buy the Mazda 3 on the strength of its good looks. We wouldn’t blame you, because we think this is the best looking car in a class that includes the likes of the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra.

But there’s more to the Mazda 3 than a pretty face, particularly in the case of the current Mazda 3 which was introduced in 2019. Check out the prices on the BuyaCar website and you might be surprised by what you find. Looking this good has rarely come cheaper.

The cabin is delightful, with a simple design matched by quality that wouldn’t feel out of place in a car with a far more upmarket badge. But before we get too carried away, we should mention that all versions come with a steering wheel that’s adjustable for height and reach, while the driver’s seat offers great scope for adjustment. GT Sport and GT Sport Tech models even feature an electric driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment and a head-up display on the windscreen.

MAZDA 3 BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Honda CR-V

Used deals from £14,880
Monthly finance from £235

The new Honda CR-V is available with a 1.5-litre petrol engine and a smooth and efficient hybrid petrol-electric option. If you opt for the latter, you can expect to achieve fuel economy of around 40mpg, which isn’t bad for a car of this size.

What’s most impressive is the level of equipment you get on even the basic model, with the S trim featuring the likes of 17-inch alloy wheels (18-inch on the hybrid version), automatic headlights, adaptive cruise control to ease the pain of a long journey, lane keep assist to make things even easier on a motorway and… well, the list goes on.

We’d be prepared to say that the S trim is all the CR-V you could ever need, but it’s let down by a woeful audio system. Upgrade to the SE trim and you’re treated to a superior seven-inch touchscreen media system with sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

All versions get a steering wheel that’s adjustable for height and reach, plus electric lumbar support for the driver’s seat. The EX trim even gets eight-way electric adjustment for the driver’s seat. So, set your budget and take your pick.

HONDA CR-V BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Renault Megane Sport Tourer

Used deals from £8,099
Monthly finance from £154

Short people should favour an estate car over an SUV if only for the fact that you don’t require a step ladder to climb into the cabin. Access is certainly easier, but that doesn’t mean that an estate car is guaranteed to be suitable for shorter drivers.

There are no such fears if you’re considering a Renault Megane Sport Tourer, though. You’ll love the way the cabin has been configured, especially if you opt for the GT Line model, which features an impressive tablet-style 8.7-inch portrait touchscreen media display.

All models get dual-zone climate control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. What’s more, in addition to the driver’s seat that’s adjustable for height and lumbar - meaning better lower back support, you also get a steering wheel with electric adjustment for height and reach. Getting comfortable will be no bother in the Renault Megane.

RENAULT MEGANE SPORT TOURER BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Ford Mondeo

Used deals from £7,000
Monthly finance from £137

Once upon a time, the Ford Mondeo was a common sight on Britain’s roads, ferrying families up and down the motorways of Britain. Those days are gone, which means ‘Mondeo Man’ (and ‘Mondeo Woman’) can enjoy a surprising amount of exclusivity.

This is a big car, but short people shouldn’t be put off, because all versions now come with front and rear parking sensors as standard. You also get a steering wheel that’s adjustable for height and reach, while Titanium and ST-Line versions get a 10-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat with memory function. This is perfect if you’re sharing a car with a less vertically challenged person.

Standard kit includes a heated windscreen, which is a great feature during the winter, plus an eight-inch colour touchscreen media system, dual-zone climate control and cruise control. All-round visibility isn’t great, but this is where the parking sensors come in handy. A rear-view camera is standard on the Vignale and optional on all except the Zetec model.

FORD MONDEO BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Fiat 500L

Used deals from £4,933
Monthly finance from £100

The Fiat 500L is a supersize version of the trendy 500 city car. But while only the world’s best contortionist troupe would attempt to squeeze five people into the 500 - not least because there are only two seats in the back - the 500L is ideal for family life.

Although the boot space isn’t the largest in its class, the very low loading lip makes it easy to lift pushchairs and shopping into the boot, helped in no small part by the wide and tall opening. There’s even a clever ‘floating’ floor, so you can put odds and ends underneath and larger items on top.

The rear seats slide forwards and backwards to provide a choice between maximum load space or extra legroom. They even fold out of the way if you’re leaving the children at home. Overall, the cabin feels light and airy, aided by the excellent level of headroom. If you like the styling of the 500L, you’ll love the low prices on the BuyaCar website.

FIAT 500L BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Nissan Leaf

Used deals from £17,799
Monthly finance from £261

If you’re after an electric car, the current Nissan Leaf represents a giant leap forward over the original version, which just happens to be the world’s best-selling electric vehicle. Up to 168 miles or 239 miles of electric range is available, depending on which battery size you opt for.

The driving position is more akin to an SUV than a five-door hatchback, with a high seating position which offers much better visibility, even for short people. Opt for the Tekna model and the Leaf will park itself using the clever ProPilot system, while an electronic handbrake will make things even easier.

A rear-view camera is standard across the range, as are sat-nav, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. You even get a so-called ‘e-Pedal’, enabling you to accelerate, decelerate and brake using one pedal - as simply lifting off the throttle causes the car to slow quickly enough for most braking situations. It takes a while to get used to, but once you do, you’ll learn to love it.

NISSAN LEAF BUYERS' GUIDE

 

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