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I'm a Tall Driver Looking for a Comfortable Ride for $35,000! What Car Should I Buy?

Illustration for article titled Im a Tall Driver Looking for a Comfortable Ride for $35,000! What Car Should I Buy?

David is a traveling salesman with a long commute, but his company is going to foot the bill on his new ride. The catch is that he is very tall and needs something comfortable that won’t exceed is $35,000 price cap. What car should he buy?


(Welcome back to What Car Should You Buy? Where we give real people real advice about buying cars. Do you want us to help you find a car? Submit your story on our form.)

Here is the scenario:

I recently accepted a job that sells raw materials to tier 1 and 2 parts manufacturers in the upper midwest. As a perk of my new job, they will buy a new car for me (company lease) of my choice. It must be under $35k out-the-door price including tax and must have a combined EPA of at least 20 mpg.

The catch for me is that I’m tall. 6'6", which limits the pool of comfortable cars for me. Most of my height is torso (swimmer’s body), but I still have long legs. Automatic is preferred (my shins are still bruised from driving a manual as my 2nd vehicle) and I will be just on interstate highways or in city traffic. Comfort driving 300-400 miles per week is important, but I also want something somewhat fun and not terrible looking.

I’m tired of salespeople telling me that they have a cousin who is 6'4", and they fit in a [insert car make/model here] just fine (while I don’t). What do you recommend?


Quick Facts:

Budget: $35,000

Daily Driver: Yes

Location: Wisconsin

Wants: Comfortable, fuel efficient, nice to drive

Doesn’t want: Something too cramped or too thirsty

Expert 1: Tom McParland - Don’t Count Out The Sedan

Image: Andrew Collins/Jalopnik
Image: Andrew Collins/Jalopnik

Congrats on the new gig. It’s certainly nice to have the bonus of a company car. My assumption here is that this can’t be a used car, though I could be wrong. Most of these agreements stipulate brand new or at the very least a model that is fewer than three years old. So if we go with the brand new car, there are plenty of large trucks and SUVs that would be comfortable but almost all of them will exceed your $35,000 threshold.

But now is the time to score a deal on a sedan since no one seems to be buying them. You might think the old four-box body style might not work for your frame, but there are plenty of comfortable choices. The Hyundai Sonata and it’s mechanical twin the Kia Optima were named one of the best cars for tall drivers.


Now the Sonata isn’t “cool” or “exciting,” but it is designed to be is an incredibly competent and comfortable commuter machine. Our man Andrew Collins drove one and while it certainly isn’t an enthusiast car, he was impressed as to how easy it was to live with. Stick with the base motor and you will get 28 mpg combined or treat yourself to the 245 horsepower 2.0T and you will still manage a respectable 26 mpg combined. The Sonata comes packed with all kinds of nice features and tech. It also has supremely comfortable seats. That’s important if you are going to spend hours behind the wheel.

A fully loaded 2.0T Limited maxes out at $32,785. Since no one pays full sticker for a Hyundai and the brand regularly has factory incentives, you should be well under budget for this one.


Expert 2: Michael Ballaban – Just Get A WRX

Illustration for article titled Im a Tall Driver Looking for a Comfortable Ride for $35,000! What Car Should I Buy?

David, I feel your pain. I, too, am a person of height (5'5") with an athlete’s body (sumo). I know what I’m talking about here, is what I’m saying.

And frankly, you should just go for the easy choice. You’re going to hem and haw and go nuts over what is the “perfect” choice, and while we all know the perfect choice for your price range and stature is this 1973 Citroen DS Pallas, sadly I don’t think you’ll be able to snag it off of Bring A Trailer using your company lease policy. That’s just how fascism works, my friend.


So it’s got to be something new. Luckily for you, pretty much every new car this side of a Mazda Miata is designed for a huge range of people, at least for those in the front seats. So unless you’re getting a Miata or a Lotus, pretty much every car will be fine. It’s also got to be fun, and it’s got to have an automatic.

Well then, just get a Subaru WRX.

There’s a reason that the theme song of What Car Should You Buy is entitled “Just Get A WRX.” It really does work for most enthusiasts. Good power, tons of fun, and even with its weirdo CVT it doesn’t feel dead. It just feels, well, like a weirdo.


You can pick one up from literally anywhere in the universe for less than $35,000 including options.


Expert 3: Patrick George — Truck Yeah

Illustration for article titled Im a Tall Driver Looking for a Comfortable Ride for $35,000! What Car Should I Buy?

(Puts on huge 10-gallon hat) Friend-o, the answer’s simple. Get you a pickup truck.

Down in Texas where I’m from, all our sons are large adult sons. Huge beef boys, if you know what I mean. Our constant diet of steak, BBQ, queso and tailgate snacks has made us a race of giants. That’s one reason so many Texans drive pickup trucks, even if they work IT jobs in the suburbs. (The other is to compensate for crippling inadequacies, which I’m sure you do not have!)


So forget the wimpy Hyundai and the childish WRX. You need a Chevrolet Colorado, one of my favorite current pickup trucks. Though it’s what passes for a “compact” truck in America these days, it’s got tons of room, much more than your average sedan. It’s also a bit smaller than a Silverado and the like, making it pretty easy to navigate in a city and even park. It’s a practical, livable, comfortable truck, and it’s one of the more fuel-efficient trucks you can buy.

Here’s one near you for $34,465, but you can find plenty of roomy four-door Colorados in the $30,000 range. And it’ll go over great with your new clients.


Expert 4: Raphael Orlove — It’s New To You

Illustration for article titled Im a Tall Driver Looking for a Comfortable Ride for $35,000! What Car Should I Buy?

The Nissan S-Cargo, strictly speaking, is not a “new” car. It was produced from 1989 to 1991, the last of the limited-production Pike Cars from the peak of the Bubble Era. But it was never sold in America and only recently became legal for us to import and drive on the road thanks to the 25 Year Rule. That means S-Cargos have only been in the States since 2014, making them pretty “new” to any American seeing one on the street. An S-Cargo is not “old” to any ordinary person over here. Moreover, they are adorable, practical, and (thanks to their Citroën-homage high roof) very tall-person friendly.

This one in particular, imported by the wonderful Gary Duncan, has just 14,000 miles on the clock and probably still has new car smell in it. For $11,900 it could be yours.

Tom is a contributing writer for Jalopnik and runs He saves people money and takes the hassle out of buying or leasing a car. (

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This series would be much more entertaining if we learned what past entrants actually ended up buying