Tallest cars

Tall cars aren’t just great for spotting easily in a car park. They can also be some of the most practical and desirable cars on the road

James Wilson
May 30, 2022

The tallest cars don’t solely exist for funny videos on YouTube where drivers have forgotten the height of their vehicle and smash into a low barrier. Instead, they can provide incredibly practical transport for those with particular requirements. This might be parents who are trying to avoid bending over and struggling to strap kids into place or even motorists who have joint problems and need an easy car to get in and out of.

Tall cars are often judged by one or two key measurements. ‘Ground clearance’ or ‘ride height’ are two terms commonly used to refer to high cars. They mean the same thing and refer to the distance from the ground to the bottom of a car’s body.

If the ride height is too low, getting in gracefully can be an issue, with less mobile drivers finding it difficult to climb out, too. Meanwhile, if the ride height is too high, then clambering up into the car can be challenging. Then there are cars that simply have a tall body - offering up more headroom for tall people or greater room for certain types of luggage.

However, ground clearance figures don't necessarily reflect how high the driving seat is. Some cars may have a low ride height but the driver's seat could be particularly high within the car. If you want a tall car for comfort and ease of access rather than off-road style, therefore, it's good to consider the distance from the ground to the driver's seat base.

With that in mind, we have collated eight of the tallest cars available. Instead of focusing on the out-and-out tallest models - which are likely to be predominantly expensive SUVs - we have selected the highest vehicles from a range of different car types.

That way, whether you are on the hunt for a compact hatchback, large SUV or massive van, there should be an option to suit your needs that makes access easy or could give you a particularly good view of the road ahead.

Tallest cars

1. Honda Jazz

Our pick Honda Jazz 1.5 i-MMD Hybrid EX
Used deals from £18,770

When looking for a small but tall car there is one model that stands head and windscreen above the rest and that is the Honda Jazz. It has long been praised for its large windows and relatively high seating position as these together provide excellent visibility, while the light steering makes parking manoeuvres very easy. The final important element for easy driving is the automatic gearbox, which means you never need to worry about stalling again.

Being relatively tall, the Jazz makes it easier to get your head inside without bashing the side of the car when loading a child. Plus, the rear seats can be folded up like cinema chairs - this is something only a few other Hondas can do but it creates a load area practically the height and width of the car, which can be handy when moving the occasional large object - like tall plant pots, bicycles or other bulky objects that won't fit into the boot easily.

The Honda Jazz's interior isn’t all about function over form, though, as there are funky features such as a modern but retro two-spoke steering wheel and light colour options that make the car feel even more airy and spacious.

READ MORE ABOUT THE HONDA JAZZ

2. Suzuki SX4 S-Cross

Our pick Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.4 Boosterjet SZ-T
Used deals from £9,210

The Suzuki SX4 S-Cross is a car for those wanting a practical, relatively economical and affordable car. It is well-sized for a wide range of duties such as weekend adventures, taking the kids to school or being able to fit a dog in the back. Cars like the Nissan Qashqai and Ford Focus are alternatives that would normally be considered to fit this bill, though the Suzuki offers a higher driving position than the Ford.

Although the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross has been on sale since 2013, there were some significant updates in 2016. This included revised styling, improving the cabin build quality and the ride height was raised by 15mm. This might sound like a small difference but in terms of ride heights, it is considered a significant increase.

All models are well equipped for the price although SZ-T trim offers a particularly good mix of tech for the money, with equipment such as a reversing camera included, which can prove very handy for tight parking situations.

SUZUKI SX4 S-CROSS BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Ford Ranger

Our pick Ford Ranger 2.0 EcoBlue Wildtrak
Used deals from £15,995

If you want your tall car to be really tall, a pick-up could be a good option. You don’t step into most pick-ups, you climb into them. This is because they are designed to be able to tackle bumpy building sites and drive off-road in most cases, so have a huge amount of clearance from the bottom of the car to the ground.

The Ranger is one of the most popular pick-ups in the UK and this is largely thanks to it being so practical and having a cabin which is quite car-like, so it can easily be used every day without feeling like you are driving a work tool rather than a comfortable car.

This Ford isn't just practical in terms of having good passenger space. The Ranger can carry more than a tonne of cargo in the load area behind the cabin. It doesn't matter how you cut it, that’s one big weekly shop - or a lot of building supplies. Then there is how much the Ranger can tow, which is up to 3,500kg, putting it on a par with the best in the business. This makes the Ranger a great option for anyone looking to tow with a tall car.

FORD RANGER BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Suzuki Jimny

Our pick Suzuki Jimny 1.5 SZ5 Allgrip
Used deals Limited stock

Want a tall car but don't want a big one? It can be tricky to find short cars that also offer plenty of ground clearance and a high driving position, but that is exactly what the Jimny is - and rather than just offering off-road style, the Jimny is also a capable off-roader with a proper four-wheel-drive system. 

It hasn’t all been plain sailing for the Jimny, though, as changes to emission laws meant Suzuki was only able to sell it in the UK for a short time. As a result, the number of second-hand Jimnys for sale can be quite low and the models available quite expensive.

Then again, there really isn’t anything similar available apart from the previous-generation Jimny which is much more affordable but looks and feels more dated. All Jimnys are four-seaters and come with a tiny boot but if you don’t need the rear seats, you can fold them down to increase the boot area to a decent size.

SUZUKI JIMNY BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Land Rover Defender

Land Rover Defender 110 side view

Our pick Land Rover Defender 110 D250 X-Dynamic SE
Used deals from £62,440

Never mind being one of the tallest cars on the road, the Land Rover Defender dwarfs most vehicles in every measurable dimension. There is some flexibility in length though, as ‘90’ models are relatively short, while ‘110’ versions are so long they have space for a third row of seats.

These seats are spacious enough for larger children and/or smaller adults, especially if the middle row is slid as far forward as possible. A lot of seven-seater SUVs only have rear-most seats roomy enough for smaller children, so the Defender is a practical option even for this type of car.

The Defender is available with air suspension, which uses thick rubber bags containing air instead of springs. Generally, this kind of suspension is used on expensive cars as it makes for a smoother ride but being relatively complicated it can be more expensive to repair in older models.

In the case of the Defender, the air suspension also means the car can be raised and lowered to a certain extent. Land Rover includes this feature in a number of its cars to help with off-roading and also to help people get in and out more easily; lower it down to make access easier, then you can raise it for a higher ride height or for serious off-roading.

LAND ROVER DEFENDER BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Ford S-Max

Our pick Ford S-Max 2.0 TDCi Titanium X Powershift
Used deals from £15,000

Cars such as the S-Max are called people carriers as this is what they are supposed to be best at. Truth be told, that is where the second-generation Ford S-Max shines, but it is not a one-trick pony. It is relatively comfortable and enjoyable to drive, which is an unusual trait for a car of this size and height.

Often, with tall people carriers they can lean to one side when cornering, which makes driving less emjoyable - and in extreme cases it can feel like the car is about to topple over - so it is impressive that the S-Max does not behave like this.

There are petrol and diesel models to choose from with the most fuel-efficient variants having the 150hp 2.0-litre 'TDCi' diesel engine. Although less common there were some petrol-powered models but these aren’t all that economical so be prepared to visit the fuel station more regularly. They may suit those who only cover low mileages, though. If you would like help deciding between petrol or diesel power, check out our petrol vs diesel article.

FORD S-MAX BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Volkswagen Transporter

Our pick Volkswagen Transporter 2.0 TDI
Used deals from £13,990

The Volkswagen Transporter is classed as a mid-size van. This means it is large but not so big that it is impossible to park in tight supermarket spaces or drive down narrow roads without feeling like you're going to hit something. When it comes to driving, the Transporter is relatively easy to manoeuvre as the steering, pedals and gear stick are all relatively light to use. Things get even easier with an automatic gearbox as you don’t have to change gear and the automatic available in the Transporter is particularly impressive.

If you need rear seats then Kombi or Shuttle versions are the best options. The former is the middle ground between a van and a people carrier while the latter is first and foremost a people carrier. Shuttle models are better described as a minibus as they can have up to nine seats.

VW updated the Transporter towards the end of 2019 and while the styling updates were subtle, the improved safety technology is worth having depending on your needs and budget. Crosswind Assist was one of the new additions and it works by helping the driver to maintain a straight line even if high winds are hitting the Transporter side on and blowing it off course.

VOLKSWAGEN TRANSPORTER BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Ford Transit

Our pick Ford Transit 2.0 TDCi
Used deals from £14,695

The Ford Transit range includes four very similarly-named models. They are the Transit Courier, Transit Connect, Transit Custom and Transit. The latter is the one highlighted here and is the biggest of the four and by quite some margin.

That said, the exact dimensions can vary somewhat. This is due to the number of different body styles the Transit is available with. There are plain and simple vans, tipper trucks, and also minibuses with lots of windows and seats. Regardless of body shape, the Transit won’t fit into many multi-storey car parks as it is so tall, but on the flipside, it is a hugely practical option, with plenty of load space.

Ford also offers a wide selection of engines along with the option of front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. The latter is best if you are expecting to have to drive down dirt tracks regularly but no Transit is a serious off-road car. If you are looking for a tall van for work, investigate carefully the differences between the models as the changes can have an impact on the maximum weight you can carry in the back and also the maximum weight of trailer that can be towed.

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

Latest best cars & vans

  1. Cars with top tethers for child seats

  2. Best cars for four car seats

  3. Cheapest five-door cars