So you’re large and in charge, big boned, and built like a lumberjack stack of pancakes? You believe that there’s not an entry-level compact car for you? Well, surprise, here are three picks that can accommodate the most Cartman-esque among us, all for under $20k, brand new, off the lot.
I should know. I’m six-foot, three inches tall, two hundred and fifty pounds, and have been infected with the “big guy, small car” syndrome (according to one friend). With broad shoulders, long and substantial legs, and a wingspan that allows me to give bear hugs to most sedans, it’s tough when I’m asked to sit in a subcompact car, even if it is the front seat. My experience as an automotive journalist, though, has shown me that carmakers are becoming more aware of us big boys when they build small cars at the entry level. This once-neglected segment in the U.S. is becoming hot as fuel-efficiency-minded, cost-conscious buyers begin downsizing their automotive choices.
2014 Chevrolet Sonic
Late last year, I drove the Sonic in a six-speed manual, turbocharged edition. Its base price is about $16,000 and I drove it at about $20,000. You can read the full review at this link. To synopsize, though, the front seats, headroom, shoulder room, and drive for this little car are much larger than its tiny size might admit to. The back seats are too small for big people, however, but the fuel economy and versatility help make up for that. For a big guy with kids, this is a nice family commuter.
2014 Nissan Versa Note
An upcoming full review of this car will reveal its excellent versatility and economy. The interior of the new Versa is roomy enough, but in the Note, with its squared off hatch and slightly larger proportions, things get really good for the big folk. I had no trouble sitting in the driver’s and front passenger’s seats, but surprisingly, I had plenty of room in the back seats as well. Even with the front seats adjusted for someone as large as myself. That’s a tribute to interior engineering. Its price tag starts at under $16k and I drove it at about $20k.
2015 Honda Fit
Although my drive in this was short, as a first impression (read it here), this car proved to be just as accommodating and nicely-engineered as the Versa Note. Interior ergonomics are good and I was able to sit in both the front and back seats without discomfort. With pricing beginning at around $16,000 and topping out at just over $20,000, this car is very compelling.
As you can see, there are three great choices here for the person of quantity. All of these offer highway MPG at around 40, price tags at or under $20,000, and have great warranties and option packages to fit every buyer in the segment.
Many thanks for Warren for the idea that inspired this article.