Top Small SUVs for Tall Drivers


If you’re a tall driver on a budget, finding an SUV that fits can be a challenge. You may start to feel like Goldilocks choosing from over a dozen models to find the one that is just right. Some models like the Toyota C-HR may have fantastic legroom, but then have a sporty, raked roofline that really cuts into headroom. This makes the C-HR a less than ideal choice for a tall driver.

To make it easy on you or taller drivers in your household, we’ve reviewed manufacturer specifications on all the subcompact crossover models to find out which new subcompact SUVs are best for tall drivers. We’ve factored in legroom, headroom, and hip room to uncover our top picks.

Nissan Kicks

The Kicks is a top pick as a small SUV for tall drivers. It has a class-leading 43.7 inches of legroom. It also measures 50.9 inches for hip room and 40.7 inches for headroom.

The Kicks has a low starting price, good fuel economy, and abundant cargo space. It also has lots of standard features with several active safety technologies as standard equipment. Driver drowsiness monitoring is an optional feature.

The Kicks has excellent fuel economy of 31-mpg city and 36-mpg highway. On the downside, the Kicks has slow acceleration and its stopping power could be better.

2013 subaru xv crosstrek

Subaru Crosstrek

The Crosstrek shines in the hip room department with a class-leading 55.1 inches of hip room. It also has an impressive 43.1 inches of legroom and 39.8 inches of headroom.

In addition to good cargo capacity, the Crosstrek offers a quality cabin and comfortable ride. A feature that makes the Crosstrek stand out in its subcompact SUV class is it comes standard with all-wheel-drive. The Crosstrek may not be the speediest in its class but it may be the best value.

New for 2020 was that automatic climate control is standard and engines in CVT models come equipped with a stop-start function.

Consider the Crosstrek hybrid, which is similarly sized if you’d like even better fuel economy.

rogue sport

Nissan Rogue Sport

If the Nissan Kicks isn’t your thing and you have more of a budget consider the Rogue Sport. It has lots of cargo space and many standard features including Safety Shield 360 suite of driver assistance.

Tall drivers will appreciate the Rogue Sport’s 42.8 inches of legroom, 53.4 inches of hip room, and 39.6 inches of headroom. On the downside, the Rogue Sport’s engine lacks power and is not as fuel-efficient as other vehicles in its class.

ford ecosport

Ford EcoSport

The EcoSport is an afterthought for most drivers, but shouldn’t be for all ones. It has above-average cargo capacity and an impressive 42.9 inches of legroom, 51.6 inches of hip room, and 39.6 inches of headroom.

On the other hand, the EcoSport’s cons are numerous with an anemic three-cylinder engine, few standard tech features, and a ride not as comfortable as others.

Kia Seltos

Kia Seltos

The Seltos is a new vehicle for the 2021 model year. Its strong points are nice interior quality, excellent passenger, and cargo space. It measures in at 41.4 inches in legroom and 53.5 inches in hip room, which is competitive in its class. Driver headroom is 40 inches.

On the downside, the Seltos lacks in acceleration.

Honda HR-V

Honda HR-V

The HR-V, which was introduced in 2015, is one of the best-selling subcompact SUVs. Its measurements in the driver seat are 41.2 inches of legroom, 53.1 inches of hiproom, and 39.5 inches of headroom. The HR-V shines in hiproom but just makes the list in legroom and headroom.

The Honda HR-V shares a platform with the Honda Fit hatchback. Like the Fit, it also enjoys Honda’s Magic Seat system, delivering multiple clever storage solutions. In addition to space for the driver, rear-seat legroom is impressive for a subcompact SUV, as is cargo space.

The HR-V’s four-cylinder engine is underpowered, but it does offer nimble handling and a comfortable ride. The model also benefits from options such as available Apple CarPlay and safety features such as Honda LaneWatch.

jeep renegade rear view

Jeep Renegade

If you’re a tall driver but want an SUV that can go off-road, the Renegade is worth consideration. It has an easy-to-use infotainment system, solid resale value, and a comfortable ride for taller drivers with 41.2 inches of legroom, 53.1 inches of hip room, and 41.1 inches of headroom.

The downsides for the Renegade are sluggish acceleration, poor fuel economy for its class, and suspect reliability. If reliability is a key factor for you in a vehicle, you’ll want to check this out.

The Right Small SUV for a Tall Driver

The above models offer tall drivers a range of choices. If your priorities are fuel economy, safety, or off-road capability, we have you covered. These models can also accommodate tall passengers.

To review, here are the measurements for the models featured above:

  • Jeep Renegade | Headroom: 41.1″ | Legroom: 41.2″
  • Nissan Kicks | Headroom: 40.7″ | Legroom: 43.7″
  • Kia Seltos | Headroom: 40.0″ | Legroom: 41.4″
  • Subaru Crosstrek | Headroom: 39.8″ | Legroom: 43.1″
  • Ford EcoSport | Headroom 39.6″ | Legroom: 42.9″
  • Nissan Rogue Sport | Headroom: 39.6″ | Legroom: 42.8″
  • Honda HR-V | Headroom: 39.5″ | Legroom: 41.2″

All of the above models are worthy of consideration and have starting prices under $25,000, making them more affordable for tall drivers, while still offering space and comfort.

What’s your favorite subcompact SUV model from our list? Take our poll below and cast your vote!

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One Response

  1. Lightest 2020 SUVs | Light SUVs 2020 | Says:

    […] The Kicks is a newer model with excellent fuel economy of 31 mpg city and 36 mpg highway. It handles well and has good cargo space for its class. The Kicks was our top pick for small SUV for tall drivers. […]

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