Uh oh. We’re talkin’ size today. That’s right, a topic tailor-made for awkwardness, embarrassment, even shame â€” something best not spoken of in polite company. Just amongst your close friends and, perhaps, a doctor… whose brother is a salesman.
The fact of the matter is, sometimes we don’t fit in the cars we love. Or, we can’t cram our gangly or girthy frames into a less desirable car with several redeeming qualities, thus striking it from our mental list of automotive “maybes.”
It’s happy times for those whose height or weight deviates from the norm. Vehicles in all segments are growing like Western nations’ deficits, stretching in wheelbase and expanding in interior room, providing us all with far more comfortable cabin than the vehicles of yesteryear. Remember the Ford Contour? Midsize, my ass.
These days, it’s hard finding a steering wheel that doesn’t adjust for reach or rake. Adjustable pedals, when you can source them, compensate for those on the short side of the fence.
That’s never been an issue in my case, but I have come across vehicles I’d never buy, as the comfort factor just isn’t there. Biggest issue? When the driver’s seat stops its rearward slide too early. Front legroom is key for 6’4″ drivers, and the amount of variation from car to car is often vast. Who knew the Nissan Rogue was so cramped up front?
Since my earliest memory, vehicles built by General Motors and Toyota have proven the safest bets. Honda’s usually fine, and Ford’s a toss-up, especially smaller models. It’s strange how, when seated as a passenger, the Mazda MX-5 affords more leg extension than the aforementioned Rogue. Outside of the pickup segment, the front legroom king seems to be the Buick LaCrosse, which possesses near-comical levels of lower body acreage â€” with the seat in its rearmost position, it’s possible for me to lock my knees and still clear the firewall by several inches. Should I ever find myself living out of a car, this living room on wheels rates high on my list.
In some models, skimpy legroom is sometimes paired with a ceiling that’s too low for normal operation. Enter the Fiat 500. While piloting that Italian city car just after its launch, I had to drive with my head canted to the right. Yes, we were in clown car territory.
What about you, Best and Brightest? Is there a car you’ve owned (or desire to own) that just doesn’t cut it in the size department? What’s the least comfortable vehicle you’ve ever shoehorned your body into?
[Images: eBay, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]