Small Cars for the Big Man

Article by Bruce Sturgell

What's the biggest trend in the auto industry in the last 15 years?

The downsizing of the automobile. In an attempt to appeal to urban drivers while making automobiles go farther on less (or no) gas, cars have gotten smaller. For XL guys, this has meant stuffing yourself into a car that just wasn’t made to fit you. Because of this, we tend to overlook the compacts when car shopping.

Luckily, in the last few years, automakers have realized they can make smaller cars that are still roomy on the inside. Take a look at a few of my favorite small cars for XL guys:

King Size Runners Up

None of these tickle your fancy? Consider the Toyota Yaris, the Honda Fit, or the Kia Soul as alternatives. Each offers decent legroom and a fairly unique design which, in my opinion, is almost as important.

Do you drive a compact car? What are you driving? Is it comfortable? Tell us about it in the comments below.


  1. Mike Reply

    I drive a 2015 mazda 3 and it is plenty comfortable. I am not Very tall but heavy and i dont feel cramped.

  2. Martin Pollard Reply

    Can’t agree more about the dart. I’m a “fluffy” guy and have been driving them for over three years and have been very satisfied. i’m on my second one now (leased), and this 2015 sxt rallye has more pep under the hood than the 2013 limited i had before, so i’m having even more fun. lots of leg room, comfortable seats (my wife and I sit side-by-side comfortably without bumping elbows), plenty of techie bells and whistles (8.4″ Uconnect touch screen with SiriusXM, bluetooth for my phone, USB connector for lots of MP3 music, back up camera), and a nice-sized trunk. Highly recommended for fellow “fluffy” people!

  3. Stephen Reply

    I have a 2014 Hyundai Accent and it is surprisingly comfortable and roomy inside with a fairly large trunk. I’m 6’5″ and very “fluffy”. The one down side is the rear seat leg room behind my seat, but if you need that than I would recommend the Hyundai Elantra. I found a huge plus in the car is that for a compact it looks good and I average 30 mpg around town and 38-40 on the freeway. I got the manual transmission in mine to get a little extra of that sporty feel out of the very non-sporty engine but that is the only downside and it’s a trade off for the mpg’s

  4. I drive a fiat 500 and love it, good head room and leg room in front seat (I’m 6’5″), excellent handling, gas mileage, parks in very tight spots. Tiny back seat for extra passengers but for Just two (large) people it’s very functional.

  5. peter lefeau Reply

    I am about 425 pounds Samoan 6 foot 2 in trying to fit into the small cars, some cars seatbelts don’t accommodate the larger person except in the Nissan series i sat in the Nissan Versa that has accommodated me in the front seats but with the Nissan Altima accommodated me in the front seats and two corner seats which offers a lot of room for the seat belt to go around you the other vehicles don’t offer the same seat belt length like that the Nissan. I have to be honest I would rather drive a Nissan than any of the other vehicles at this time, some cars you buckle basically you can’t move so you know I can’t comment on the Mini Cooper but we’ll see about the other vehicles

  6. Jeff Reply

    I’m currently driving a 2014 fiat 500l as my “runaround town” car. i’m also one of the big guys that have short legs with a long torso. The fact that i could easily get in & out of the fiat was a huge selling factor when i was looking to purchase. in addition to myself, i have a friend that is 6’6″ tall and weighs around 275. he can ride in the fiat with plenty of head & legroom to spare.

  7. Ken Reply

    I’m 6’5″, 350lb, my ford c-max hybrid is the first car i’ve driven in wHich i had to pull the drivers seat forward in order to reach the controls. I also have 6-7″ of headroom. Truly unusual!

  8. Sam G Reply

    I drive a 2012 Kia Soul and find it plenty roomy. I love the hatchback design and feel like there’s a lot of interior space when we need it. In fact, I’ve found most of the cars in the Kia family to be pleasantly roomy (we also have 2008 Sedona).

    My brother-in-law drives a Nissan Versa and its also pleasantly roomy.

    I’m average height but very large (6x), so hip width is essential and leg room always an issue as I sit further forward in the seat than most.

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