Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - MTD
Hi, we have a zafira as our large family car, need a replacement for my faithful astra G as it can't fit 3 baby seats in the back, plus eldest daughters have almost no legroom now behind me if I am driving (I am 6ft 4 and usually have the seat fully back on any car.
There is 13 cm behind my chair and front of rear seat, exactly the same as in a new golf mk7 we looked at in a dealer today (although golf does fit 3 kids seats across)
Tiguan had 17cm, Jetta had 19cm but the car is longer than we like or need, we live in London and ease of parking is a major issue, and why we don't just go for another zafira type car.

A golf 1.4 petrol would have been ideal if it had only had a few more cm space rear legroom, we don't need boot space for second car.

Also looked at the next door Audi garage, the A3 was even tighter in the back.

Due to wife's company car allowance scheme, we kind of have to go with a new car or nearly new through main dealer route.
Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - Paul Robinson

The Nissan Pulsar is the same size as a golf, but with a huge amount of room in the back!

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - MTD
Thanks, will check it out, seems to look similar enough to a Golf

Must admit, a few years ago we had a hire car smallish Nissan ( tilda?) and was not impressed with driving position, noise or suspension
Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - Avant

Also check the new version of the Skoda Fabia, if it's in the showrooms yet - and you could also look at the Honda Civic. It looks cramped from the outside, but the previous version (pre-2007) had a huge amount of legroom and this one may do too. I've never looked closely at one as the rear vision is so poor.

The previous Mercedes A-class would have been ideal but I don't think the current version is so roomy.

Edited by Avant on 01/03/2015 at 12:21

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - Brian Tryzers
There isn't, In my experience, a modern small or medium car (as distinct from an MPV) that will take three baby seats or boosters in the back; our booster phase is behind us but I'm still surprised at your observation with the Golf. (That's the benefit of the best-designed of the small MPVs - of which the Zafira isn't one - that the sides are more vertical and the seats can be staggered to optimize hip and shoulder room.)

I've been through similar exercises since I'm taller than you and needed a Mercedes E estate to accommodate two tall pre-teens in the back. (We had a Toyota MPV and went right off the MPV layout.) I'd advise you not to measure from the front edge of the rear cushion but from the base of the backrest; many makers shorten the cushion to increase the apparent legroom but this doesn't help in practice.

You could also try experimenting with your own seat position. I very seldom need to use all the rearward travel - I wear 36" long trousers, for context - but find raising the driver's seat a little gives me the legroom I need while leaving a little more room behind me.

Another thought: does the second car really need to take three in the back? I'm looking to replace our no2 car and have decided a good three-seater will be enough, as we only need one car big enough to carry the whole gang. Short families don't have to make these compromises, do they?

Incidentally, I used to be a regular here but lapsed when the forum software became too painful to use with a smartphone or tablet browser. Five years on I hoped that might have been fixed but it appears not.
Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - MTD
Thanks brian, good post. Baby and child seats do vary, and they fit in the new golf fine. Point taken about cushion length not legroom, and seat position, these things are all personal though as to what people find comfortable. In a way a shorter cushion length might be more beneficial because then the girls knees could bend and feet point downwards, at present the legs are half stretched out. We also looked at the touran but I hated the floor mounted pedal.

We need the 3 seats in the back for when both adults are in the car, we have varying timetable of work run, crèche run etc so need some flexibility once my wife finishes maternity leave in sept. If there was a car we loved and had the rear room and a switch for airbag deactivation in the front, then we maybe would concede the fitting 3 car seats across wish list.

The zafira is a bit slow but was 10995 new 3 years ago and is very practical for prams etc. we were going to get a golf estate for 24k but then saw the Vauxhall offer that was just too good to pass up ( kind of a clearance sale as the new zafira tourer came out)

Totally agree with you about the shorter families thing ! We're I a bit shorter in the leg, then the golf or a3 would have probably been bought already as we like the style, ride and performance of those cars

Edited by MTD on 01/03/2015 at 12:45

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - daveyK_UK

Nissan pulsar ,nissan note or skoda rapid/seat toledo

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - Happy Blue!

Agreed Davey and the OP should also look at the Toyota Verso S (only second hand)

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - MTD

little bit of an update, for those that care:

Have had a couple of test drives, didn't like the VW Tiguan, did like the Golf SV, and have test drives awaiting on these:

BMW 218i active Tourer

Kia Soul

Skoda Yeti

Merc B

Ford Cmax

Mini Countryman

With work commitments, and the seeming impossibility of finding a Petrol demonstrator to drive on all of the above bar Kia & mini, doing test drives has been slow. Had to discount the Skoda spaceback and Octavia as didn't quite have the room for my eldest + chair

We will probably relax the 'needs' criteria of all 3 kids in the back, with wifey in the back between the 2 youngest and eldest in front with disabled airbag. Which means we can consider something sexier like a Seat Leon, 320 tourer / 420i Gran coupe (A5 and VW CC too small behind driver still sadly). it will be just me for 90% of the time and 95% of the distances travelled.

Still have to visit MAzda, Nissan and Hyundai showrooms.

Gut feeling is, we will be getting the Golf Sv or the Mini Countryman as wifey likes those. i just wish ALL cars had rear seats that move back & forth !

Edited by MTD on 21/04/2015 at 14:54

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - madf

Look at a Jazz. Our 6 foot 3/5" sons travel occasionally in the rear with no issues.

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - daveyK_UK

Recently, I have been given lifts in a Skoda Rapid, Nissan Note and Kia Carens - all had good rear leg room

Unlike the brand new 15 plate focus I had as a hire car that must have the worst rear leg room in its class.

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - DirtyDieselDogg

Skoda Superb?

Most of the extra wheel base appears to be devoted to rear seat passengers.

m

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - MTD

SKoda superb is indeed vast inside - but its also a pretty big car compared to our 4.4m zafira or 4.1m Astra G

would ideally like to keep the length and width under 4.8m / 2m as parking near us can be tough.

Agree with the comment above about how poor a new focus is for rear legroom ! Astra hardly bigger.

re Honda, I couldn't get comfortable in drivers seat in a CRV or Civic as the seat just didn't go back far enough - so it fell at the first hurdle really.

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - Avant

I think the Golf SV with the 1.4 TSI 150 bhp engine will be your best bet in terms of being roomy, fairly short and good to drive. You need the GT version to get the higher-powered engine but you can specify adjustable dampers to counteract the stiffer suspension.

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - MTD
Update as i know they are highly thought of on forums ;)

Sadly i lost my job in july, so put new car on hold. Next contract will most likely commuting by train, so not sure i will want to spend as much for a car that will have little use.

The golf sv gt does seem to tick the most boxes, will let this thread know what the eventual outcome is.
Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - Happy Blue!

Sorry to hear about the loss of the job. You may find that commuting by train gives you a certian freedon when it comes to cars that you did not have before. Perhaps you may only need to rent a car when you really need it, thus saving on depreciation, maintenance, insurance and simply the waste of a resource sitting still when you are not using it.

Airlines only make money when their planes are in the air........Why buy a car to sit still most of the time.

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - alan1302

Airlines only make money when their planes are in the air........Why buy a car to sit still most of the time.

So you don't have to use trains and buses! :-)

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - MTD
update (or non-update as it turns out)

My old Astra still going strong, we still have the Zafira - new job and kids being a lot bigger now mean the requirement for 3 child seats has changed, older two now in booster only which fit alongside the baby chair. also, their legs are now long enough they can bend and point straight down, even behind their tall Daddy. We also have an au-pair now so the need to cart all 5 of us at once has gone.

When the Astra finally dies or has something uneconomical to fix, then I will get something new, right now we are just keeping the same as don't see the point in changing a car unless there really is a need (rather than a want)
Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - Gibbo_Wirral

The Nissan Note has decent legroom in the back, even when the front seats are really far back. I'm 6 foot 4 and it has a good driving position.

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - SLO76
The Astra G is one of the best budget buys on the market today. Simple and robust particularly the 8v 1.6 petrol which is one of those rare things today, a non-interference engine. This means that a snapped timing belt won't usually kill it. This is one of the reasons why so many survive today.

I've bought, sold and run dozens of these over the years and aside from the occasional gummed up EGR valve or noisy wheel bearing I've had no trouble which is fair enough on an older motor especially one that's available for pennies.

You can buy a good runner for £300 and the best for £1,000 like the mint 1.6 SXi I sold last year with 60,000 miles and full history. Brilliant wee cars for the money. Assuming you're only using it for local runs I'd suggest keeping it til it explodes. But it's not a safe car for very young children in car seats as it lacks isofix thus the reason why we got rid of the last one we had.

Edited by SLO76 on 05/10/2016 at 17:48

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - b80

Cool I may take at look at the idea too slo76.

I'm also interested in why you mention isofix is safer. my understanding from scouring resources is that it's not any safer than securing seats using just belts, just more convenient... only assumption being that people secure the seat correctly using the old school method.

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - SLO76
Research done by Which magazine shows child car seats are routinely fitted incorrectly. An investigation in 2014 found that 90% of the selling stores they asked to fit two common child car seats made mistakes, some of them serious. And a study in the same year by Good Egg Safety checked 1,692 car seats and found errors in the fitting of 67% of them

Even if installed correctly you are introducing extra risk by relying on a moving part in an elderly car, namely the seatbelt mechanism itself which can fail plus there will always be movement in a seatbelt holding a young child before it secures in an impact which can throw and twist the chair introducing further stress on the child.

There's also a risk that another passenger in the rear (possibly another child) might accidentally unfasten the seatbelt securing the child seat, something unlikely to occur with an ISOFIX base.

As much as I'm a fan of older cheap cars, I have two currently a 16yr old Ford Cougar and an 11yr old Mazda 3, I won't carry our wee boy in any car that hasn't got ISOFIX so he travels in the CRV or Polo.

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - MTD

another Belated update

so, my Old Astra G finally got sold to a pal for £10 last week after 17 years and 60k (only) faithfull service, as front disks needed replacing (they were originals !) and Full Service & Mot is due next month. Shock absorbers also ideally need doing. Its gone to a younger, single chap who just want something cheap to sit on the road where he lives in Tooting, so he can go surfing at the weekend.

Anyway, back to new car purchase thoughts: now, personal circumstances have changed due to wife's job change & child care arrangements, and in theory we don't need to run 2 cars - but the first row with my wife when i was stuck in traffic and she needed to take the kids swimming proved that 2 cars is going to be better for our sanity.

Requirement for 3 kids seats in the back has become a bit defunct, as long as the front passenger airbag can be switched off if need be, which is pretty much every modern car now. My gripe now with the otherwise excellent cars i've driven recently (Golf Astra Mazda3 etc) is that none seem to have the thigh extender feature where you can pull the front of your seat forward to support your thighs on long trips, and none (so far) now have a flat top of door to rest your right elbow on.

Regarding the thigh support thing, does anyone know which models or makes have this feature that my 17 y o Astra had ? (it had very comfy sports seats, all manually adjusted including Lumbar)

Regarding the right elbow support thing, my elbow height is above where the cars elbow support cushion is, so i either have to slouch or lean to the side, or just hold the wheel with left hand only on my lap which is not ideal - the centre armrest is also too low for me usually for my left elbow. Modern cars, being wider than my old Astra, also tend to have the top of the door further away for right elbow to rest on as well.

Finally, I don't know if honest John wants to update my findings from my OP, but the New Astra has a whopping 17cm space behind me once i've found a comfy driving position (Right Elbow and thighs on a long trip notwithstanding). Was otherwise very impressed with the 1.4T 150hp in SRi trim.

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - RT

another Belated update

so, my Old Astra G finally got sold to a pal for £10 last week after 17 years and 60k (only) faithfull service, as front disks needed replacing (they were originals !) and Full Service & Mot is due next month. Shock absorbers also ideally need doing. Its gone to a younger, single chap who just want something cheap to sit on the road where he lives in Tooting, so he can go surfing at the weekend.

Anyway, back to new car purchase thoughts: now, personal circumstances have changed due to wife's job change & child care arrangements, and in theory we don't need to run 2 cars - but the first row with my wife when i was stuck in traffic and she needed to take the kids swimming proved that 2 cars is going to be better for our sanity.

Requirement for 3 kids seats in the back has become a bit defunct, as long as the front passenger airbag can be switched off if need be, which is pretty much every modern car now. My gripe now with the otherwise excellent cars i've driven recently (Golf Astra Mazda3 etc) is that none seem to have the thigh extender feature where you can pull the front of your seat forward to support your thighs on long trips, and none (so far) now have a flat top of door to rest your right elbow on.

Regarding the thigh support thing, does anyone know which models or makes have this feature that my 17 y o Astra had ? (it had very comfy sports seats, all manually adjusted including Lumbar)

Regarding the right elbow support thing, my elbow height is above where the cars elbow support cushion is, so i either have to slouch or lean to the side, or just hold the wheel with left hand only on my lap which is not ideal - the centre armrest is also too low for me usually for my left elbow. Modern cars, being wider than my old Astra, also tend to have the top of the door further away for right elbow to rest on as well.

Finally, I don't know if honest John wants to update my findings from my OP, but the New Astra has a whopping 17cm space behind me once i've found a comfy driving position (Right Elbow and thighs on a long trip notwithstanding). Was otherwise very impressed with the 1.4T 150hp in SRi trim.

I had an Astra-G, sold at 7 years old with 98,000 on the clock and running better than new - it had the Recaro front sports seats before they switch to their own and was exceedingly comfortable with the extending thigh support, good side bolsters and lumber adjustment.

My 6'7" son switched from Astra-G to Vectra-C Estate to get extra room and has now moved on to a Skoda Octavia Estate which is almost as big as the Vectra-C Estate, ie huge.

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - SLO76
Astra G was and still is a great wee car, one the best sub £1k runners you could buy. I've flogged loads of them with few problems.
Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - Benet

Plenty of room in the back of a Toyota Auris (old shape.) My 6'5" son can sit there quite comfortably. It's almost like the Tardis. I believe the new shape is less generous though.

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - Ethan Edwards

I can't believe some of the suggestions for a small car. A Skoda Superb small? Small as compared to what? An Ocean Liner perhaps.

OK small exterior. Length 3.7metres. check.

Interior huge. Check.

What is this? The new Suzuki Ignis. Cheap as chips.

Go test drive one if you want a Tardis like vehicle.

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - skidpan

none seem to have the thigh extender feature where you can pull the front of your seat forward to support your thighs on long trips,

Only car I have owned with that feature is a BMW with M Sport seats.

and none (so far) now have a flat top of door to rest your right elbow on.

Not a good way to drive. Probably why flat door tops have disapeared

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - sandy56

I used a lot of Merc E class taxis in Holland and found them cramped, the Skoda Superb was great for rear seat room. It would be my choice for a large family car, and it is a lot cheaper.

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - RichT54

none seem to have the thigh extender feature where you can pull the front of your seat forward to support your thighs on long trips,

Only car I have owned with that feature is a BMW with M Sport seats.


Also available on the sports seats that come with Audi A3 Sport model.

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - MTD

It may not be a good way to drive, but its what i find comfortable. with my hands at 10 to 2 position, and nice even bend in right arm, the top of my Astra and Zafira drivers door is a perfect height for my right elbow to rest on, in the same way a normal right armrest is for my (much short than me) wife. Modern cars, being wider, also have the rests much further away.

Left elbow is also higher than left armrests can actually support, so centre console armrests do nothing but get in the way for me really.

i did not have this 'hard to find left foot footwell space and right elbow resting point' combo in any of my previous cars which were Mk1 Mondeo, Mk 3 Cavalier, Citroen BX, Volvo 340 something, or my 1st car which was a Fiesta. It could just be i'm getting older and grumpier !

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - Manatee

I can't believe some of the suggestions for a small car. A Skoda Superb small? Small as compared to what? An Ocean Liner perhaps.

OK small exterior. Length 3.7metres. check.

Actually 4.86m. That's long.

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - Avant

He means that the Ignis is 3.7 metres long, not the Superb. It's a good suggestion - because you sit higher in a Sitty Uppy Vehicle, you don't need such a distance between front and rear seats to be comfortable.

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - Manatee

My mistake.

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - Project C

What about a kia venga

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - MTD

Kia oddly, jsut could not / would not get me a test drive in anything Petrol. This was over a year ago but after a couple of unaswered messages i kind of lost interest there.

We do lots of little journeys so only looking at Petrol really.

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - Wayne Dibbley

Hi, I'm in same conundrum as youself, although I am after 2nd hand which makes finding the right petrol car even more difficult.

Skoda Octavia sounds ideal for you with the 1,4TSi engine. Personally I didn't get on with it (see my posting 'ear discomfort in cabin').

The Superb is lovely but way to big for all but people with acres of drive space etc.

Have you looked at the Leon ST?

Best small car for rear legroom with tall driver - MTD

i did try the Leon - test drive lasted about 400m, i turned around at first opportunity and said 'no thanks' to the guy as i just couldnt stand the left foot footrest that completely got in my way and was uncomfortable for my size 11's

have binned other VAG cars since for exact same reason, and there has been enough bad press about their auto boxes that i'm kind of put off them to be honest.

a New Astra seemed to have more room and was faster & better over bumps than the petrol Golf & Golf SV i tried also - however as i may have already said, personal circumstances re jobs have changed recently so we are just sticking with the Zafira for now and trying to be a 1 car family. (i let my old Astra go to a mate of a mate for a tenner)

Edit - that row about swimming i mentioned in earlier post proved to be the only hassle thus far with being a one car family only.

Edited by MTD on 30/08/2017 at 17:14

 

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