Looking for a size-friendly car? Sit down! You can’t judge the roominess of a car from the outside. You need to sit in the car and drive it. That’s the only way you can see if there is enough tummy room under the steering wheel, enough (or too much!) legroom and if there is enough head room for all passengers.
There are several ways to do your research, narrow down your selections and select the best car to meet your needs. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Research internal measurements of new cars – It’s always a temptation to select a new car based on its appearance or special features. Before you run out to take a few test drives at the dealership, spend a little time at the library researching car measurements from sources such as the annual auto issue of Consumer Reports magazine. Another great source for internal car measurements is Jack Gillis’ annual research book, The Car Book. It’s not rocket science…bigger cars are more likely to be size-friendly cars.
- Consider a used car – Used cars can also be a great option for plus size drivers. Low mileage used cars can be a great value. Be sure and do your research on both the mechanics and the measurements of the model you are considering. For research on more recent used cars, Consumer Reports magazine is a great source for internal measurements.
- Rent before purchasing – A test drive before purchasing a car is always a must. That is the only way you can get a feel for the power, noise level and comfort of a car. But it is difficult to really evaluate a car after a short test drive. Instead, consider renting your car of choice from a local car rental agency. After three to four days you will have an excellent idea of how the car feels during everyday activities — like loading groceries, getting in and out to run errands and sitting and waiting for long period of time.
- Arrange for a seatbelt extender – Currently, according to Federal law, a car’s seatbelt only has to accommodate a 215 pound driver or passenger. Some car dealerships are more helpful than others in providing seatbelt extenders for larger drivers. GrandStyle provides an overview of car manufacturers providing seat belt extenders. Extenders are available from car manufacturers and through online retailers such as Amazon.