Car models suitable for smaller people

I'm 155cm tall, and would be classified as petite. I'm looking for some car models or makes which are adapted to people my size. The problems I have are that usually, to reach the pedals, I need to get very (too) close to the steering wheel, and to be high enough to see well, if I put the seat up to the max, and/or lower the steering wheel, the steering wheel is almost touching my knees.

Until now, I've been using public transport a lot for work, but now I'll be driving every day. Needs to be an automatic, as although I prefer manuals, I have shoulder problems with the gear changes.

I've done a few different searches here, but couldn't find anything. Apologies if this already dealt with somewhere else.


  • +8

    Most cars are adjustable but Id look at the subcompact market. So Honda jazz, mazda 2, Kia Picanto for example

    • +1


    • +2

      Update on original post.

      I bought a Honda Jazz automatic, which is a dream to drive. Our old Toyota (2000) had almost no adjustments.

      Thanks for all the helpful comments.

  • +1

    I'd be looking at certain Japanese Kei cars, some of them have interiors for smaller people.

  • +4

    Lastchancetosee user name checks out.

    Good luck with the search.

    I have exact opposite issue 😀

    • My son is almost six foot, with long legs, and we are constantly adjusting the seat and mirrors!

      • Cars with memory seats allow three or so preset positions (some even adjust the mirrors and maybe even steering wheel position at the same time). Pressing the the correct button even makes getting in and out easier, not just driving

  • +3

    Wth I'm about that height but have no problems driving regular sedans like camrys.

    Short legs?

    • +1

      Not in proportion to my size, but definitely in relation to the majority of cars.

      • What kind of cars are "Majority of cars"?

        I've driven big 7 seater too when I was 18, had no problems.

        You're not trying to position yourself so you can see your headlights right?

        Since a lot of people here who are the same height have no problems, I suggest you visit dealerships and actually sit in the cars.

  • +13

    Matchbox do a range of cars for tiny people

  • +1

    My sister is 150cm and drives a Mazda 3 no problems. Also drives a Mazda 6 with no issues.

    • OK. It's looking like the consensus is for Japanese/Asian region cars.

    • We have an older Toyota manual, and the clutch is a long way back. Newer ones may be better.

  • +3
  • +2

    Have a look at the Suzuki Ignis. The shape and design might help someone of your stature (smaller car but squared off bonnet).

    • +6

      Has the word SUV lost all meaning now? It's not sporty, not ideal for utility and barely passes as a vehicle with a paltry 88hp. What's going on?

      • +7

        'SUV' lost meaning years ago

        • +1

          I think people are too used to accepting unhelpful acronyms

          To me they have always been Strangely Unstable Vehicles, because they require all kinds of safety controls driver control over-rides to stop them rolling at relatively low speeds

          • @resisting the urge: Any vehicle may roll over if the conditions are right.

            • @whooah1979: When taken to its extremes, yes. I once saw a micro Holden SUV clip a curve in a shopping centre whilst turning, and end up on its roof. It was NOT going fast.

              But a vheicle that rolls instead of grip and act predicatably is a death trap- yet SUVs are mostly tested like normal cars, so the ANCAP ratings remain apples-oranges and the public routinely deceived about safety.

              The main factors are height and position of centre of gravity.

              Others include grip, spring stiffness, physical anti roll devices, weight distribution, loading, all kinds of chassis dynamics… like camber, toe and more… all these before active electronic controls to limit/influence the wheels and turning.

          • @resisting the urge: I’ve seen a Camry roll at about 5kph. It just depends on the specialness of the driver tbh.

            • @HelpMeiCantSee: It can happen to anything, but lower vehicles need to be skidding sideways and hit an immovable object low down, eg a kerb with both wheels at the same time. Even then, they might need a slight negative gradient to actually roll on their side or roof.

              But the average SUV doing the same thing would roll far harder, so maybe several times. Going upside down, especially rolling mulitple times, increases the risk of injury quite exponentially

              Given the amount of kerbs around, I don't understand why anyone buys a taller type of car for the road. Normal suspension works fine for our roads. I guess these people have never been in a rolling vehicle, or thought about it much. Or just like to be up high for the same reason as a King or a Queen like to wave on a balcony(?)

      • It should never have had a meaning, what with being another case of North-Americanisms encroaching into our language.

  • My partner is your height, and has had no drama driving Toyota Prados, Mazda CX-3, Peugeots and others.
    I think you can pick whichever car you like, then go test drive it to see if it adjusts to your comfort.

    • Yep my wife is smaller and drives a tarago no problems.

    • I drove a nanual Renault Espace in France without any problems for years, but their manuals seemed to have a better range of adjustments.

  • +1

    All of them, it's big people who have trouble fitting! You can usually adjust the steering wheel as well as the seat. Anything Mazda will be great.

  • As other have said, height shouldn't be an issue.
    Do you have unrealistic expectations of 'fit'?
    Ever watched incar of WRC? The steering wheel is probably closer than most people think is correct.
    As an aside, my 157cm mum drove whatever car we had at the time quite OK; HG Monaro, HJ Caprice, HZ wagon, VE Valiant (granted all were autos). All 'large' cars with very little in the way of adjustment

    • If you are too close to the steering wheel, you are at greater risk of serious injury from the steering wheel. I would say WRC don't use airbags as they have harnesses.

  • +9

    All of them, you are 5 foot, not 3.

  • Fiat 500 or SMART car

  • My wife drives a Mazda 3 and has her seat impossibly close to the steering wheel.

  • Thanks everyone. I've got some good leads, so it will save me a lot of time testing loads of cars. Have a safe and happy Christmas, and all the best for 2020.

  • -1

    I'm 155cm tall, and would be classified as petite.

    Have you thought about a 4WD or 4x4 Ute? Driving one of these may help you get a better view of the road.

    • F350 with a booster seat would be the ticket.

      • +2

        Op could just drop by school zones and have a look. There are plenty of short parents driving large SUV e.g CX-9, Jeep GC, RRS, Pathfinder, Patrol, ML/GL, LC120/150/200, Kluger, Q7, X5, etc.

  • test drive some small to medium cars make sure you adjust the seats (usually electric) and dont forget to adjust steering wheel/column both up /down and front and back keep adjusting till you are comfy, many ppl forget the steering can be adjusted and just move the seats. Merry Christmas

    • Thanks. It's true that electric seats have more options. I'll look at those.

  • +1

    A close friend of mine is 152cm and she has a Kia Cerato. She finds it comfortable, easy to drive and no issue with parking, tight manoeuvring etc.

    Ex GF was 153cm and had a Corolla for many years in the 2000's 2010's and again , no issue.

    I think you will find that todays cars are adjustable enough to suit just about anyone.

    Narro it down to 2-3 that you like in your price range then go test drive them.

    • The suggestions here will help to do that. Ta.

  • +1

    If you have a tall partner, or other, who might drive the car regularly don’t get one with power adjustable seat. They take forever to move from position suited to a tall person to a short person.

    • +1

      Mine has 2 driver memory depending on which key opens it

      • +1

        That is a handy feature. Ours does too, but my wife and I amuse the same seat position so it doesn’t matter.

        A mate had one and used to take ages to switch between his and his wife’s position. Reality is it’s inky 5–10 seconds but only takes 2sec with a manual one.

        • Yeah, we are about the same height, so doesn't take too long to change. But still much more convenient than doing it manually!

  • +2

    Suzuki "mighty boy"

  • Mini, echo, smart, any sub compact/micro compact should have you covered.

    Or, a cbr125, basically made for 5-5.5ft people!

  • If you prefer manuals, some Hondas had the high-mount shifter like this

    ^ that's a 2005 Civic though.

  • +2

    Platform shoes for the pedals and a yellow pages on the seat. You'll be good as gold.

  • +2

    Hey OP. I'm 156cm and I drive a VW Polo automatic. Perfect for us tiny people, and the safety pack on it is excellent.

    No probs reaching the pedals. It does help to have a booster cushion to sit on to see the whole windscreen, but I got over the shame of that years ago! :P

    Good luck x

    • +2

      Thanks. And a cheerful comment to boot.

  • My aunty is shorter than you and she drives a manual Yaris. No problems with the clutch and pedals at all.

  • lol

  • Toyota Echo hatchback - bit of a billycart to drive but I had one for years and loved it. The Peugeot hatchbacks are good too. Upgraded because kids and now have a Skoda sedan (too short to comfortably use a 4WD or SUV with kids) but that Toyota was great.

  • Dont look past the dodge ram. Great vehicle.

  • +1

    Hello Petite, I'm 153cm and I'm Bloody Short.
    I drive a Toyota Corolla hatchback. No problems there.

  • +1

    Honda S2000
    Toyota 86 / Subaru brz

  • 155cm is not that short imo, all of the women in my family are shorter than this. My mum drove a BA Falcon for years. One sister drives a CRV/HRV/whatever those ugly Hondas are, the other drives Focus RS and Subaru Forester.

  • Accord Euro has no problems with that height

  • I read the title as "Car models suitable for smarter people"

  • OP the size or the car has nothing to do with this. It's about the flexibility of the car's seating.
    You'll be surprised if bigger car actually fit you better.

    Try European car like BMW X series and see. Or 3 or 1 series.

  • My brother, who is 1.55m but drive Prado.
    Mine, who is 1.68m, drive Corolla.

    I think most cars can adjust the height of the seats.

  • Subaru XV or Honda HRV or Kia Seltos

  • Renault Twizy

  • I'm basing all future car purchase decisions on the "Doug Score":

    Short people start here:

  • Wtf
    My wife is that height (maybe 5cm shorter I think) and she has barely ever mentioned having a problem driving a car. Granted I don't think she has ever driven a LandCruiser or anything…

    We have an i30 and a Camry (her car), but also driven Jazz, Corolla, Mazda 3 etc

    I don't think you'll have trouble finding something adjustable enough

    • Thanks. Good options. Our old Toyota is very basic, so this a big leap forward into the brave new world of electric, adjustable seating.

  • I'm 149cm, havent had any problems driving sedans, since like people have said you just adjust the seat as needed. I have an hyundai i30, used to have a toyota camry - so any sort of regular sedan/hatchback like that would be fine

  • +1

    Lots of good comments. The biggest problem is reaching the pedals in the manual. The seat height is only in relation to the steering wheel. My partner at work has an MX5, and I can see fine, until I have to try and reach the pedals - then I need to be up against the steering wheel or lie flat.

    Obviously, I don't drive it (before the negs start).

    Mum's got a Honda Jazz which is easy to drive, but I wondered what other options are out there.

    Appreciate all the suggestions. I have a good choice now.

  • Adjusting the seat right up close to the steering wheel makes it possible for an unusually short person to drive any car. But there is a safety issue that Lastchanceto see is wise to consider. Being "too close" to the steering wheel can create a problem if you are in a crash and the air bag goes off. Air bags are explosive devices. They can cause injuries if you are too close to the explosion. If your chest is closer than 20-25cm from the steering wheel you may suffer injuries like detached retinas, skin burning, or severe head wrist or arm injuries. If you can't get at least this distance from the steering wheel while still reaching the pedals you need to consider pedal adjusters/extenders.

  • -1

    OT, but, did you enjoy hugging people/girl/boy/friends taller than you ?

    • that's half funny and half really rude. i'm torn!

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