Automakers design and manufacture vehicles by considering the average height of the population of that area. SUVs are considered better for people with a short height.
Are SUVs Good For Short Drivers? In general, SUVs are good for short drivers. They have features like extended visibility, adjustable seats, a steering wheel, and average ground clearance to step in the cabin effortlessly. Furthermore, SUVs have accessories like seat cushions, pedal extenders, and sun visor extenders to facilitate undersized drivers.
I have added the SUVs having the best and worst ratings regarding driving experience for short people.
Are SUVs Good For Short Drivers?
Many SUVs brands are suitable for short people. Here are the main things to consider when you plan to buy an SUV for short drivers.
Clear visibility of the road, rear, and both sides of the SUV is the primary feature from a safety point of view.
It helps the driver to have a better idea of its surroundings and drive at a safe distance.
The road view factors are the driver seat’s height, size of windshield screen, side windows, side mirrors, and rearview mirror.
The driver seat should be higher to have an extended view of the road and other vehicles in its front.
The windshield should be broader, and a relatively lower dashboard will also enhance visibility.
The model you select should have larger windows for driver and passenger side doors to have a clear view of side mirrors. Moreover, position them in a way to have a clear picture of traffic behind you.
With technological advancement, new models have added safety features like monitoring cameras and blind-spot warning systems to facilitate the short people while driving.
Driver seat position
The second most important feature to look for in a vehicle is the driver seat height and adjustment.
Again, there are multiple adjustment positions available in the latest models. The latest of them is 10-way adjustable power seats. You can move them backward, forward, adjust the front and back height and lumbar support.
You should check the seats adjustable to a position where a driver can reach up to the accelerator, clutch, and brake pedals.
It is crucial for safe and comfortable driving as drivers don’t have to stretch to reach the vehicle controls. Moreover, height adjustment of the seat has a role in enhancing road visibility.
Head and neck rest position
Manufacturers don’t specifically design the head and neck rest position of an SUV for short drivers.
It is dangerous for the driver’s safety as he can face a whiplash or suffer a neck injury in severe consequences.
About 10-13% of USA people suffer neck pain or damages due to improperly adjusted or low-quality head restraints. Its proper position is so that its bulging part should be right at the center point behind your head.
There are vehicles with adjustable headrests that you can tilt and change their height. Therefore, look for the model having this feature.
Another specification to check for headrest is its safety rating, as a poor rating will not protect your neck.
Moreover, you can also purchase the one from your local market and fix it according to your height. Otherwise, you will have to go for a homemade solution and use towels as head support.
Seat belt adjustment
There are 2 parts of a seat belt; the first is that it passes over your pelvis or belly horizontally, while the second is vertically passing over your shoulder on front.
Often it doesn’t fit for a shorter driver and can lay over his face or neck that can slit his throat in a collision.
Look for an SUV to have an adjustable shoulder strap of a seat belt. They can be in the form of a clip to move the belt away from your face or neck.
Steering wheel position
A steering wheel poses two problems for short drivers.
- First, its height forces them to reach it uncomfortably.
- Second, its position hinders their view and is a cause of poor visibility.
However, the latest models have tilt adjustable and telescoping steering columns.
It is an important feature to have tilt-adjustable/telescoping steering wheels in the vehicle to facilitate and provide better-controlled driving.
Multiple adjustable positions allow them to raise or lower the steering according to their convenience.
Moreover, its telescoping feature can make the steering move away or towards the driver like a telescope.
These multiple adjustable positions are essential for undersized drivers for their safe handling.
Brake and acceleration pedal
Adjustable brakes and gas pedals were a standard feature of many compact and large SUVs a few years back.
However, automakers started removing them in the latest models with adjustable seats and telescoping steering wheels.
Few examples are the 2021 GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Tahoe. However, this feature is still available as part of the base variant or advanced trim levels to extend the pedals. Examples are the 2021 Lincoln Navigator and Ford Expedition.
Despite steering column and power-adjustable seats with extended forward and backward movement, movable brake, and accelerator pedals are essential for a comfortable driving position for females and petite drivers.
Sun visor size
Sun visor installed on the top left and right corners of the windshield serves to block sun rays when the sun is at lower angles, especially in the morning and evening.
They have dimensions such as protecting the driver from sunlight at specific heights. It is better to keep eyes lower than that height, and it exposes them to the direct impact of the sun.
There are vehicles with extendable sun visors that can also block the sun at lower heights. You can purchase and retrofit this standard accessory in your vehicle if it doesn’t have one available.
Other options can be to wear sunglasses or any opaque sheet attached with the sun visor to extend its size.
It is crucial for driver’s safety as deadly sun glare can blind their eyes, affecting their road perception. According to a report, about 8500-9500 accidents annually occur due to sun glare.
Most SUVs have ground clearance higher than cars. Statistics also support the notion that it is the primary reason for driver injuries while not driving.
The problem grows more prominent for large or full-size models with increased ride height.
In addition, you should check for the side support, swing-away steering wheel, and an extended footstep to assist you while entering or leaving the vehicle.
The importance of these features becomes more prominent if it is the vehicle in the frequent use of your family members, including your mother, daughter, or spouse.
Are there any accessories in an SUV to facilitate short drivers?
Suppose you already have an SUV or buy a used one. In that case, they don’t necessarily have those features like power-adjustable seats, adjustable pedals, and seat belts.
However, you don’t need to worry as standard accessories are available to adjust according to your requirement.
In addition, seat cushions or seat extensions are available to increase the driver’s height. You can also replace the seat belt with the one you can set according to your height and comfort.
Besides them, there are driver assistance tools with the latest technology for safe driving irrespective of driver height.
Few examples are blind-spot warning, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistant, automatic high beams, and a rearview camera in reverse driving.
What is the best SUV for a short driver?
There are numerous SUV models available in the market, and many more in production is yet to come.
However, suitable vehicles for small people are the ones having flexible options according to their comfort.
A broad and tall entry door is a plus point with increased headroom and legroom for tireless driving.
The best compact model for short people is Subaru Forester for its enhanced road visibility and easy to enter and exit ride height with wide doors.
Subaru Outback is suitable in the category of midsize designs. However, Ford Expedition is best for any driver due to its wide windshield, power-adjustable pedals, multiple driving positions, and steering column.
What is the worst SUV for short people?
SUVs having poor road visibility and non-flexibility in the available features make them worse for short people.
In addition, some vehicles lack features already mentioned and have a high ground height not suitable for below average-height drivers.
Few examples are Ford Explorer for its rough driving, Jeep Renegade for poor visibility, and Chevy Blazer for uncomfortable driving and lack of driving position adjustments.
Are all models of compact SUVs suitable for short drivers?
Compact models are small in size, which doesn’t make them the best choice for undersized drivers.
It depends on a particular vehicle model and available specifications. Moreover, there can be other features besides the interiors like reliability, safety, and easy-to-drive ratings.
Few compact SUVs have poor visibility scores, less accurate steering wheels, uncomfortable seats, and irregular gear shifts. These are not desirable features for a smooth ride, particularly for short drivers.
Moreover, large or full-size models have specifications suitable for any height driver with plenty of cargo space and off-road capabilities.
Examples are Ford Expedition and BMW X7. These models are luxurious and easy to drive for small people despite being large.