Best cars with a high driving position

Peer over traffic jams - at least until everyone else buys a tall car. These are the best cars with a high driving position

James Mills
Sep 19, 2018

Sales of tall cars are booming, and not just because they tend to have more space than standard hatchbacks - particularly when it comes to headroom.

Many buyers are looking for a high driving position, which generally improves the view of the road ahead and can feel safer. It also allows you to see over other traffic, although that's a diminishing benefit as more people buy tall cars.

Tall doesn't need to mean big: options include the short but high Suzuki Ignis, as well as models that that are based on small hatchbacks, such as the Renault Captur

These cars tend to be known as crossovers, as they combine the mechanical parts from small cars - making them efficient, fairly comfortable and affordable - with the height of an off-road car.

Larger vehicles, such as the Range Rover Velar, are purpose-built to go off-road and are known as sport-utility vehicles (SUVs). However, it's now common for any tall car to be known as an SUV.

Another option is to choose a minibus-like people carrier, such as the Seat Alhambra, which provides the space and height of an SUV at a lower price.

Best cars with a high driving position

Dacia Duster

Latest Dacia Duster deals from £7,880
Finance from £138 per month

Have you ever found yourself liking the look of the many Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) on the roads, but been taken aback by the price when you’ve Googled a couple of popular makes and models? Then you'll be pleased to find out that the brand new Dacia Duster costs from £9,995. Previous-generation used cars are much cheaper.

That’s quite a lot of car for the money. More significantly, that’s quite a high-riding car for the money, one that affords a good view of the road ahead and is relatively easy to climb in and out of.

The entry-level Access trim doesn’t include a height-adjustable steering wheel or seat, so you may need to spend a little more if you want such features to tailor the high-seating position to your liking.

 

Renault Captur

Latest Renault Captur deals from £7,666
Finance from £127 per month

The Captur has proved a hit in Britain. It brings a cheery personality to the family car market, and unlike some big, tall cars it’s extremely efficient to run. The most frugal diesel can manage up to 78mpg.

A cross between an SUV and a people carrier, it’s not only the driver who gets to enjoys the commanding view of the road it offers. Passengers sit nice and high too, which can help when putting young children into car seats and affords them a high-rise window on the world too.

The entry-level Expression+ model comes with height adjustment for the driver’s seat and multi-adjustment for the steering wheel, helping make it comfortable for those of all shapes and sizes.
Renault Captur buying guide

 

Mazda CX-3

Latest Mazda CX-3 deals from £11,888
Finance from £162 per month

Finding a small car that stands out from the crowd is increasingly difficult. There’s a bewildering choice of crossovers and SUVs. However, one that looks particularly striking (to our eyes, at least) is the Mazda CX-3.

It takes up no more space on the road than a small hatchback like a Ford Fiesta, yet you enjoy a raised seating position and the sporty styling hints at what the CX-3 is like to drive: surprisingly good fun.
Unlike some cars here, namely the Renault Captur, the Mazda might appear a big expensive on paper. But it comes well equipped, feels a premium package inside and the entry-level model features adjustment for the height and lumbar support, and the steering wheel allows for rake and reach adjustment.
Mazda CX-3 buying guide

 

VW Golf SV

Latest Volkswagen Golf SV deals from £8,999
Finance from £141 per month

The Golf is, pound for pound, arguably the best sensible car money can buy. The only snag is that you’ll be sitting at the same height as millions of other cars around you. Not so in the Golf SV.

The letters stand for Sports Van, but this version is like a Golf that’s been planted in a bag of Growmore; the driver sits nearly 60mm higher than in the regular hatchback or estate, which can be reassuring when the streets are chockablock with other cars on the school run or daily commute.

Even the entry-level S trim includes height adjustment for both front seats and reach and rake adjustment for the steering. The only question for those mulling over buying one is whether or not to buy one of Volkswagen’s diesels.

 

Volvo XC40

Latest Volvo XC40 deals from £13,780
Finance from £250 per month

For once the critics are unanimous: the XC40 is a class-leading car. It combines stylish design with a first rate driving experience, and is practical to boot.

Climb aboard and you’ll find it gives an excellent view of the road ahead – you sit nearly as high as in its XC90 big brother – and entry-level Momentum models come with both height adjustment for the seat and a tilting base. Combine those with a multi-adjustable steering wheel and getting comfortable is easy, while the seats are extremely comfortable on a long journey. Little wonder it has attracted so much praise.
Volvo XC40 buying guide

 

Skoda Kodiaq

Latest Skoda Kodiaq deals from £22,950
Finance from £324 per month

The most affordable Skoda Kodiaq is just that – affordable. As a five-seat family car it excels, but we’d consider the seven-seat version, as the extra seats come in handy from time to time, and often make the car more desirable when you come to sell it on.

All models come with height adjustment for both front seats in addition to a full range of movement for the steering wheel. And the driving position is spot-on. The view out of the Kodiaq is just right; high enough to see over smaller vehicles and peer over the tops of some hedgerows, but not so lofty that the car ends up feels roly-poly on a winding road.
Skoda Kodiaq buying guide

 

Seat Alhambra

Latest Seat Alhambra deals from £15,995
Finance from £244 per month

Britain’s drivers have fallen head over heals in love with the SUV, but people carriers like the Seat Alhambra make better family cars in many ways. First and foremost, compare the amount of cabin space and boot space you get in an Alhambra with a large SUV; the Seat is the more spacious, yet it’s half the price of something like a Land Rover Discovery, so you can spend the money on holidays.

Then there are the sliding back doors. These are such a work of genius that some drivers buy cars like this on the strength of only the back doors. But the raised seating position also deserves mention, as it gives driver and passengers a feeling of calm you wouldn’t get in, say, a large estate car.
Seat Alhambra buying guide

 

Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain

Estate cars that have been designed to venture off the beaten track are nothing new. Subaru started the craze, with the Legacy Outback, in the mid ‘90s. The latest is the Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain, and it is as plush as estate cars of any kind come.

That much is evident in its price. At nearly £65,000, this is one of the more costly estates money can buy. But it is as versatile as a nanny, able to seat children in comfort, climb hilly tracks with ease and look suitably Bear Grylls outside the school gates.

It comes fully loaded. So a six-cylinder diesel engine, four-wheel drive, supple air suspension, an electric tow bar and panoramic roof are all included. And with an extra 42mm of ground clearance, the All-Terrain gives a better view of the surrounding environment, even if it is just when searching for a free space at a Waitrose car park.
Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain buying guide

 

Porsche Macan

Latest Porsche Macan deals from £34,629
Finance from £433 per month

Yes, you sit nice and high in a Porsche Macan. And yes, it will carry a couple of child seats (and children) and the family Labrador in comfort. But the most significant thing about this high-riding SUV is that it’s by far and away the sportiest of all to drive.

Somehow, Porsche’s engineers have managed to make the Macan feel almost as agile as one of its renowned sports cars. The way the car responds to a driver’s commands is impressive enough to put a smile on anyone’s face.

The fact that there’s an eight-way electrically adjustable seat for the driver and a high enough stance to let you see over normal cars is the icing on the cake.
Porsche Macan buying guide

 

Range Rover Velar

Latest range Rover Velar deals from £41,844
Finance from £522 per month

Land Rover has been on a roll, building not just some of the most competent cars for wading through mud or drifting over sand dunes, but also shaping some of the most appealing luxury cars on the road.

The latest Range Rover Velar illustrates the point. In the right trim level and with large wheels fitted, it looks a million dollars. But it’s not all about turning heads. There’s also a practical element to the car, with a lofty perch that affords a clear view of surroundings. This helps promote a feeling of calm, as does the cabin, which is cleared of the usual clutter of switches and buttons, and uses a pair of touchscreen displays instead. As luxury travel goes, the Velar is hard to beat.
Range Rover Velar buying guide

 

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