Last updated January 19th, 2024
Most cars are designed with drivers of average stature in mind. However, although a large proportion of UK drivers stand within a few inches of the average height, many also fall outside this range.
Whilst the best cars for tall people tend to offer generous head and legroom, shorter drivers face their own unique challenges when it comes to finding the right motor. For instance, the driver’s seat should be adjustable to a height that affords a good view of the road – and a position where the pedals can be reached with ease.
Shorter drivers need to be able to reach the pedals, controls and the seat belt from the driver’s seat.
A car with a height-adjustable driver’s seat can ensure maximum comfort and practicality for shorter drivers. The steering wheel should also be adjustable for easy access. Features that maximise safety and visibility such as parking sensors, reversing cameras and an easily reachable tailgate should also be considered.
Models that are optimised for drivers of average stature typically aren’t ideal for shorter drivers. (For certain cars, adaptations such as seat cushions and pedal extenders may be required so that a shorter person can comfortably drive them.)
To make your search easier, we’ve collated a list of 10 great cars that meet the needs of shorter drivers.
Each model on our list provides optimal ride comfort and control accessibility, together with best-in-class technology, clever design and safety features. We’ve also selected models at a variety of price points and several family-friendly options.
The Kia Soul is both affordable and spacious. This subcompact SUV has an easy-to-use infotainment system which offers an 8″ touchscreen with smartphone connectivity.
The Soul is also great for smaller drivers, as it has an elevated seat - and the clever tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel aids visibility. Standard features include 17” alloy wheels, solar glass for the screen and front windows, dual full LED headlamps, cloth upholstery, a speed limiter - and an engine Start/Stop button with a ‘Smart Entry’ system.
You can pay more for other helpful safety extras such as blind-spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking.
The entry-level Kia Soul Urban starts from £26,745 - and the range-topping Explore trim starts from £31,912. Discover more about the Kia Soul here.
The Audi Q5 is a great luxury crossover SUV for smaller drivers. The Q5 has a high ride height but there is no need to worry about compromised stability, as this car is built on the same platform as a standard, compact passenger car.
The luxurious seats can be moved horizontally and vertically for maximum visibility and easy pedal access. Although the Q5 is on the costlier side, it has won various safety awards (including the maximum 5-star Euro NCAP rating) making it well worth the price if safety is high on your priority list.
Pricing for the Audi Q5 starts at £47,460. Learn more about the Q5 here.
One of the standout features of the Volvo XC60 is its air suspension system, which allows drivers to adjust its height. This makes getting in and out of the car much easier for shorter drivers. The hands-free power tailgate also allows you to open the boot by moving your foot under the rear bumper. (This is very convenient when both of your hands are full of shopping!)
The XC60 also offers up some smart tech and safety features, including a 9″ touch screen, rear parking sensors and rear-cross traffic alert. Voice control technology is included for even greater accessibility.
The 8-speed ‘Geartronic’ automatic all-wheel drive (AWD) transmission (which comes as standard) ensures you’re always in the correct gear. However, you can always shift to manual mode if you prefer.
Pricing starts from £44,820. Learn more about the Volvo XC60 here.
Sports cars are often great for shorter drivers due to their compact size and low ride height – and the Mazda MX-5 is one of the best on the market today!
The MX-5 has a top speed of 127mph - and can go from 0-62 mph in a lean 8.3 sec. Most importantly for shorter drivers, the seat can be moved close to the wheel for easy accessibility.
Other notable features include electric windows, air conditioning and climate control, an engine Start/Stop button, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, parking brake and gear shift - and a 7″ infotainment screen with wireless Apple CarPlay, wired Android Auto and 3 years’ free map updates.
This powerful two-seater sports car stacks up well against pricier rivals such as the Porsche 911 and the Alpine A110.
Given its two-seat configuration, this model isn’t a viable option for family drivers. However, if you want a fun driving experience without premium pricing, you really can’t go wrong with the MX-5.
Pricing starts at £25,825. Learn more about the Mazda MX-5 here.
The Kia Ceed is a fun family-friendly hatchback that suits smaller drivers thanks to its high-set driver’s seat. Heated door mirrors and reversing cameras come as standard across all models – and an impressive 7-year warranty is also available.
The boot offers more than enough space for a ‘big shop’. The entry-level ‘2’ trim has an 8″ touchscreen with DAB radio, Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone mirroring. (You can opt for the ‘2 Nav’ trim if you don’t want to rely on your phone for navigation – and you’ll also benefit from a larger 10.25″ screen.)
Pricing for the Kia Ceed starts at £22,565. Learn more about the Ceed here.
The Hyundai Kona Electric is another compact SUV that ticks the right boxes for shorter drivers. Its high-set seating position provides optimal visibility for most shorter people. What’s more, given that this model is fully electric, there’s no need to reach for gear-changing pedals whilst driving.
The lithium-ion polymer battery delivers excellent charge efficiency. Models with the 64kWh battery are paired with an electric motor capable of delivering 201HP (150kW). If you have the 39.2kWh battery version, the electric motor will deliver 134HP (100kW).
Pricing starts from £22,766. Learn more about the Hyundai Kona Electric here.
The Toyota Camry is a sleek hybrid sedan which offers a comfortable driving experience for the shorter driver. Crucially, it has a low step-in point and a versatile tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel.
The innovative self-charging hybrid engine ensures a hassle-free driving experience, whilst the dual-zone air conditioning and heated driver and passenger seats provide a comfortable ride. The driver and passenger power seats also have lumbar support.
The Camry has a 7″ infotainment screen with Toyota Touch 2 Multimedia technology, Bluetooth connectivity and DAB radio. It’s also equipped with a slew of smart safety features including rear cross traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, Toyota Safety Sense – and a blind spot monitoring system.
Whilst production of the Camry has now stopped, you can find used Camrys (and other Toyota hybrids) here. Typical used prices range from £12,999 to £23,491.
The SEAT Mii Electric is a stylish, compact city car with a spacious cabin. Most importantly for shorter drivers, the driver’s seat is widely adjustable.
The electric motor has a range of 162 miles – and the batteries are cleverly stored under the floor. Therefore, the Seat Mii Electric has 251 litres of boot space (just like its non-electric counterpart). Meanwhile, the nippy 1-litre engine can produce 60HP or 75HP.
In short, if you’re looking for a zero-emissions motor that won’t break the bank, the Mii Electric fits the bill perfectly.
Whilst production of the SEAT Mii Electric has now been discontinued, used prices range from £10,799 to £14,990. Learn more about the SEAT Mii here.
The Skoda Fabia offers shorter drivers much more than just a height-and-reach adjustable steering wheel. True to Skoda’s ‘Simply Clever’ philosophy, the Czech automaker has included a slew of smart gadgets designed to make life that bit simpler.
Are you plagued by icy windows? There’s a handy ice scraper tucked inside the fuel flap. There’s also an umbrella that fits into the driver’s side door to ensure you’re ready for unexpected downpours. The heated windscreen helps to ensure a quick getaway on colder mornings, whilst the heated steering wheel provides a comfortable driving experience.
Other clever features include full LED headlights and taillights - and a digital instrument cluster.
All models in the Skoda Fabia range run on a petrol powertrain, delivering between 79 and 150 HP. Pricing starts from £19,870. Learn more about the Skoda Fabia here.
Finally, the Honda Civic is a great car for virtually anyone, including the shorter cohort. The available power-adjustable driver’s seat allows you to find the perfect spot for comfort, visibility and accessibility. Innovative safety features such as adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and rear-cross traffic alert are all available as standard.
All the upholstery is comfortable and ergonomically designed. The 7″ infotainment screen is easy to reach and offers hassle-free smartphone connectivity.
The Honda Civic’s hybrid powertrain is an offshoot of the e:HEV system used for the current Jazz and HR-V models. However, it’s based around a 2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that was created especially for the Civic.
Unlike the rival Toyota Corolla hybrid, the Civic doesn’t have a gearbox (despite the ‘e-CVT’ branding). The electric motor powers the car along most of the time, whilst the petrol engine generates electricity. As a result, the cabin is pleasantly quiet – and feels much more like a fully-fledged EV than a conventional hybrid.
Pricing starts from £34,995. Learn more about the Honda Civic here.
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