While the ever-increasing popularity of SUVs and crossovers means that cars are getting taller from the outside, that's not necessarily the case in the cabin. In fact, there are plenty of high-riding cars that aren't anywhere near as roomy as their exterior dimensions would suggest, especially for drivers at the top end of the height spectrum. On the flip side though, the cars with the most headroom and legroom for the driver and front passenger aren't always the models you might expect.
Inevitably, many of the roomiest cars on the market are large SUVs, but a handful of sedans and crossovers also rank highly on the list. Here, we've rounded up a selection of 10 of the most accommodating cars from a variety of segments – each of which can be bought new for either the 2023 or 2024 model year – with the aim of including something for all needs and budgets. Here are the best cars for tall drivers.
A giant both inside and out, the Cadillac Escalade is to many the definitive American luxury full-size SUV. It's a perennial bestseller, too, arguably in part down to the brand's reluctance to mess with its winning formula. While other rivals have tried to reinvent themselves over the years, the Escalade has remained consistent — consistently oversized, consistently well-appointed inside, and consistently expensive to buy.
The 2023 model adds an extra dash of tech for good measure, including Super Cruise, Cadillac's hands-free driving assistant that works on most major highways. There are now more screens than ever dotted around the cabin too, including three that make up the curved display at the front of the car. Altogether they stretch 38 inches across the cabin and display everything from the instrument panel to the infotainment system.
As a huge and very expensive luxury car, the Escalade isn't going to appeal to everyone, but for those sold on its charms, it's one of the most generous in its class for headroom and legroom. The driver and front seat passenger get 42.3 inches of headroom and 44.5 inches of legroom, although those dimensions shrink by around three inches each for the second row.
Compared to the imposing Cadillac Escalade, Kia's K5 sedan might not look particularly roomy, but it actually boasts one of the most generous amounts of driver legroom on the market. Kia reports front row legroom of 46.1 inches, while headroom clocks in at 40.2 inches. The K5 replaced the Optima a few years ago and the updated design boasts a sleek design and an affordable starting price. The midsize sedan category is a highly competitive one, not least because overall sales continue to shrink as buyers move towards SUVs and crossovers.
The K5 goes head-to-head against rivals like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, although it arguably looks better than both of them. Like most of Kia's range, the level of standard equipment is impressive, and the interior is thoughtfully designed. Whether it's good enough to beat the Camry or Accord overall is up for debate, although what's for certain is that tall drivers will definitely find the Kia the more accommodating of the three to spend time in.
The Ford Expedition was last overhauled for the 2022 model year, with a host of tweaks both inside and out to keep it competitive in the full-size SUV segment. A key metric that any full-size SUV buyer will be looking for is interior space, and the Expedition delivers that in spades, both in terms of rear seat room and space for the driver and front passenger. Ford says there's 42 inches of headroom and 43.9 inches of legroom for the front row.
As well as updating its cabin materials and design, Ford also gave the Expedition a tech upgrade, including a large new infotainment touchscreen running SYNC 4. Ford BlueCruise is also available on top-spec cars, offering semi-autonomous driving on most major highways. A variety of trims are available for 2024, ranging from the base-spec XL STX up to the luxurious Platinum Max, so there's plenty of scope to suit a variety of needs and budgets.
The Subaru Forester might no longer be the freshest car in its segment considering that the current generation debuted for the 2019 model year, but it's still one of the most generous when it comes to accommodating tall drivers. Anyone looking for the maximum headroom will want to opt for the base Forester trim, which boasts 41.2 inches of headroom and 43.3 inches of legroom. All other trims from the Premium through to the Touring lose an inch of headroom, although legroom remains the same.
The Forester's rugged charms and long production run make it a familiar offering to most potential buyers, so those in the market for one will likely already be well aware of its capabilities both on and off the road. Alongside the Kia K5, the Subaru is also one of the most budget-friendly cars on this list, with a starting price under $30,000 and prices rising a further $10,000 or so for the highest trims.
While the Buick Enclave might struggle to stand out in a very competitive segment in most respects, it is ahead of the pack when it comes to room for tall drivers. Specifically, in headroom: Buick says there's 42.6 inches of headroom for the 2024 car, along with 41.2 inches of legroom. In particular, it's the former figure that's the most impressive –- that's about the most headroom you'll get without resorting to a full-size SUV.
Buick is currently in the middle of a period of substantial change, with new models like the Envista aiming to tempt younger buyers. The Envista's new styling looks great, but it does come with a few compromises, including less room for the tallest drivers. The middle child of the range, the Encore, is also a few inches less generous for the driver than the Enclave, leaving Buick's largest crossover as the current go-to for tall drivers.
SlashGear drove the current generation Mercedes-Benz GLB at launch and we found it to be surprisingly roomy both in the front and the rear, with the sliding second row being particularly useful to accommodate adults with longer legs. The third row is considerably more cramped, but given the car's overall compact dimensions, that's to be expected. Up front, the GLB provides up to 40.7 inches of headroom and 41.1 inches of legroom.
Our reviewer thought the boxy exterior design of the GLB made it look like a mini G-Class and the similarities to the brand's top cars don't stop there. The well-equipped interior features technology that's trickled down from Mercedes' higher-class models, and its interior design remains one of the best-looking in the segment.
The brand also offers a range of different-sized SUVs each with its own appeal, although ironically, some of its larger models aren't actually as generous with front headroom and legroom as the compact GLB.
EVs need to be as aerodynamic as possible to maximize range, and so many feature more sloping designs than their combustion-powered counterparts. That's often bad news when it comes to headroom, but the Kia EV9 is not like the rest. Headroom and legroom clocks in at 41.2 inches and 41.4 inches, respectively.
The EV9 is a fresh offering for the 2024 model year, boasting three rows and room to haul a family and their belongings for up to 300 miles between charges. Prices start under $60,000 for the 2024 EV9 and rise to around $75,000 for top-spec models. That's a lot for a Kia, but it's still considerably cheaper than most electric SUV rivals.
Inside is typical Kia fare –- generous equipment levels, plenty of tech, and a cabin that's sleek without veering too much into Tesla-esque minimalism. The exterior styling is slightly more of an acquired taste, but it'll certainly stand out among a crowd of other family-hauling SUVs.
Anyone looking for a more compact EV with over average front-row room should consider the Nissan Leaf, which the automaker states has 41.2 inches of headroom and 42.1 inches of legroom. The Leaf is a veteran model by EV standards, launching in 2010 and remaining on sale ever since. A new generation is reportedly on the way, boasting an improved range and a slew of other as-yet unconfirmed improvements, although the current generation Leaf is still a good deal for anyone looking for a new EV that doesn't break the bank.
That is, as long as you don't mind sacrificing range. The 2024 Leaf offers up to 212 miles of range in higher trims, but base spec cars only get a relatively puny 149 miles. That's considerably less than most modern EVs –- and also less than the comparably priced Chevy Bolt -– but as an urban runaround, there's still some appeal left in the Leaf for taller drivers.
The family favorite Chevrolet Suburban is another full-size SUV with outsized headroom and legroom, with 42.3 inches of headroom available alongside 44.5 inches of legroom. Much like the Ford Expedition, a wide range of trims are offered ranging from standard to luxury, although at a starting price of just under $60,000, it's safe to say that no Suburban variant is a bargain. That said, it offers more than enough room for even the most demanding of families, plus enough hauling capacity to bring extra cargo along for the trip.
While a full-size SUV like the Suburban might be overkill for tall drivers without a family to consider, the extra head and legroom it offers might still make it worth the investment for the very tallest folk. It won't ever be a true off-road juggernaut, but the toughened-up Z71 trim adds beefier tires and a two-speed transfer case, giving it extra off-road ability should the situation call for it.
The 2024 Jeep Wrangler will be very familiar to existing drivers and fans of the brand, and that's not a bad thing. In fact, changing the off-road SUV in any substantial way would be considered sacrilege by many Jeep enthusiasts. SlashGear's first drive of the 2024 model through the rocky landscape of Utah confirmed that it's just as capable as ever, and with the 392 V8 under the hood, it's also faster than it has any right to be.
It's also roomier than most of its competitors, with 42.6 inches of headroom and 41.2 inches of legroom available. A variety of trims are offered, from the muscly 392 to the sensible (although still very capable) 4xe hybrid trim. The latter option, in particular, stands out as the most well-mannered of the bunch and therefore probably the best daily driver for those who will cover most of their mileage on the asphalt. Although anyone looking for a sensible highway mile-munching daily driver probably shouldn't be looking for a Wrangler in the first place.