The worst cars for big people

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Microcars on display at a museum. The first two on the left are made by Peel.

Peel and similar microcars aren't designed for large people. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Philip Kromer/Wikipedia)

Big and tall drivers need interior space in order to enter, properly operate and exit a vehicle. Forget about chop shop stories like that of former NBA center Manute Bol, who at 7-foot-7 was forced to remove the front seat of his first car so that he could drive from the back. Unmodified, the following selections have the kind of vehicle width and length that make large people cringe. They are truly among the worst cars for big people.

Honda S2000

Many taller drivers use this convertible roadster only with the top down. This is because there simply isn’t enough headroom. The S2000 made its first appearance at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1995. Honda launched this small car in 1999, to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

1970s-vintage Honda CVCC

The CVCC is even smaller than the S2000. CVCC, which stands for Compound Vortex Controlled Combustion, was an attempt by the automaker to create an engine that would reduce emissions. The technology enabled Honda to meet U.S. emission standards at the time, without relying upon a catalytic converter. However, the early models also had a number of design flaws, such as collars that would vibrate loose, causing engine oil to leak from the valve-train into the pre-combustion chamber. Loss of power and thick smoke were the result. Honda fixed the problem with the use of additional steel rings.

Lotus Elise

This two-seat, rear-wheel-drive, mid-engine English roadster sported a hand-finished fiberglass body atop an aluminum chassis, which kept weight and production costs down. However, if the driver is 6 feet or taller, the interior becomes quite difficult to navigate, particularly if achieving the max speed of 150 mph is desired.

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Pontiac Fiero

According to Jalopnik, the popular joke with the Fiero is that you don’t get into one, you put it on. This was the first and only mass-produced mid-engine sports car from a U.S. manufacturer, and many of the technologies contained within, such as plastic body panels, were radical for its time in the mid-1980s. While the name “Fiero” translates to “proud” in Italian or “wild,” “fierce” or “ferocious” in Spanish, there’s nothing wild about the interior room in this two-seater, if you’re a person of size.

Mazda Miata

Another lightweight, two-seat roadster, the Mazda Miata was conceived to be minimally complex mechanically, giving a nod to only the minimum safety requirements. While stylish and modern in appearance, it is nearly impossible for a large person to warm up to the minimal nature of the Miata. At best, it’s another top-down affair, with wind right in the face.

Triumph automobiles

Automotive experts argue to what the name “Triumph” most accurately refers. Is the triumph actually fitting into one of the British automaker’s vehicles, or is the triumph not having to get back out and give the car a push? All snark aside, the Triumph brand has had staying power. What began in 1885 is now owned by BMW.

BMW Isetta

Want a great date car? The Isetta is it, suggests Jalopnik – because your date will almost have to sit in your lap. But the egg-shaped Italian-designed microcar looks great, futuristic bubble windows included. Interestingly, the BMW Isetta was the world’s first mass-produced 3-liter vehicle, and for a time, it was the top-selling one-cylinder car in the world.

Lancia Stratos

If you’re of size and expect to be able to change gears in a Lancia Stratos, expect some difficulty. On the plus side, the Stratos has been successful in the World Rally Championships.

Peel P50

Arguably the king of the microcars, the Peel P50 holds the historical record for smallest production vehicle in the world. The three-wheeled, single-door, single-headlight microcar has no reverse gear, so maneuvering in tight quarters is difficult. According to experts, 50 Peel P50s were produced, and only 27 are still known to exist.

Taking the Peel P50 for a spin on BBC’s Top Gear


Chris On Cars


Triumph Motor Company Wiki

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