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Old 25th February 2013, 10:26   #1
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Default Rear Headroom in newer cars?

I've been doing the rounds looking for a second car after a five year gap. Being 6' tall, I have gotten used to skipping some car models due to an uncomfortable driving position. Never really worried about headroom though.

One strange and annoying phenomenon I observed recently: rear headroom seems to have really slipped in car markers priorities! The first car I noticed this on was the new DZire. I have ridden in the back seat of the old one quite a few times and never had a problem. The new generation seems to have dropped a few inches in rear headroom and I actually had my head hitting the ceiling . Later I noticed the exact same problem in the Honda City and the Verna.

The previous generations of these vehicles didn't seem to have this problem. I guess the newfound love for sloping roofs means that tall people are no longer supposed to sit at the rear. This is fine in a nifty little hatchback but pretty annoying in a 10l sedan.

Anyone else facing similar issues?
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Old 25th February 2013, 13:12   #2
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Default re: Rear Headroom in newer cars?

I think this drawback applies only to non-Indian manufacturers.

Entry level sedans are always based on hatchbacks. When these hatchbacks are designed for global markets, the emphasis on rear space is minimal, as they are aimed at single drivers or young couples, or enthusiasts.

I guess the car makers do not want to design hatchbacks with headroom, as it interferes with aesthetics and also needs more material to manufacture, and the demand is limited to few countries.
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Old 25th February 2013, 16:46   #3
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Default Re: Rear Headroom in newer cars?

I am in the same boat bro. Cars primarily designed for Western market seem to be biased only for the front passengers. Probably since most of them are self driven and only kids ride in the rear. These guys don't seem to travel with families ?. Also it seems a high rear head room can ruin the rear looks of the car.

There are very few cars where i can sit upright in the rear seat. There is no correlation between the car size and rear seat headroom. I cannot sit upright on the rear seat of Fiat Linea but can do so in a Santro. What surprised me is that i cannot sit upright in the rear bench of the THAR.
New Hyundai's seem to have lowered the H points to accommodate a bigger headroom but in the process made the rear seat claustrophobic.

I wonder how our Sikh brethren manage in the Punjab since most of them are big guys.
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Old 26th February 2013, 08:04   #4
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Headroom hasn't been a concern in my Ertiga in both second and third rows. Oodles of room in all 3 rows.

The worst rear head room I have ever personally experienced is in a Mercedes Benz C Class, the all new one. It isn't better even in the front. Talk about dumping 40 big ones down the drain and having your ergonomics compromised!
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Old 26th February 2013, 09:08   #5
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Default Re: Rear Headroom in newer cars?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaibir View Post
I've been doing the rounds looking for a second car after a five year gap. Being 6' tall, I have gotten used to skipping some car models due to an uncomfortable driving position. Never really worried about headroom though.

Anyone else facing similar issues?
Quote:
Originally Posted by rohanjf View Post
I think this drawback applies only to non-Indian manufacturers.
I noticed the same issue 4.5 years back with the Vista:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/sedans...ml#post1117756 (Indica Vista Anniversary Edition Vs Ford Icon?) and I'm 5'11
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Old 26th February 2013, 11:19   #6
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Default Re: Rear Headroom in newer cars?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaibir View Post
I've been doing the rounds looking for a second car after a five year gap. Being 6' tall, I have gotten used to skipping some car models due to an uncomfortable driving position. Never really worried about headroom though.

One strange and annoying phenomenon I observed recently: rear headroom seems to have really slipped in car markers priorities! The first car I noticed this on was the new DZire. I have ridden in the back seat of the old one quite a few times and never had a problem. The new generation seems to have dropped a few inches in rear headroom and I actually had my head hitting the ceiling. Later I noticed the exact same problem in the Honda City and the Verna.
I believe the figures mentioned by Autocar India magazine can help you in this matter. Even though all the measurements might not be accurate and are a bit tricky due to the recline angle of the seat, Ive personally measured the same in my Punto and uncles Figo and they were pretty similar to the ones mentioned in the magazine.

Ive figured out that cars with rear seat headroom of less than 910 mm are not comfortable for 6 tall people as they will have to make posture adjustments a case in point is the Vista, Polo & even Figo. Only the i20 fares slightly better, albeit at the expense of comfort, due to a relatively low-set seat. I remember me and my friend were checking out the Polo at a showroom and I sat at the back to try out the headroom Im 57 and with my turban was not very comfortable sitting there seeing me, my 6 foot tall turbaned friend didnt even bother sitting in the rear seat.

Most of the sedans also fall under the category of less headroom for six footers as they are basically derived from hatchbacks I believe they are made keeping in mind the height of an average Asian at around 55 for the Japanese & Korean cars atleast viz City, Sunny, Verna, SX4 and the European Vento & Rapid have been developed specially for developing markets. Also even the European designed hatchbacks (e.g. Punto & Polo) are mostly sold as self-driven cars for two people and I believe most are sold in the two door version only in Europe.

The ideal vehicle for you would be the Ertiga, as no sedan or hatchback can provide that much headroom on the rear seat. Else if you are chauffeur driven for limited time period, sitting in the front passenger seat of a hatch or sedan is the only way for a comfortable as well as safe ride due to one wearing a seatbelt and passenger airbag (if the car has it).
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Old 26th February 2013, 21:59   #7
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Default Re: Rear Headroom in newer cars?

I think Brio is a prime example of this phenomenon; there's no way any one above say 5' 10" and beyond can sit comfortably in the rear. And if Amaze is exactly like it till the boot, it'll have the same issue.

I'm sure the manufacturers are aware of this fact; wonder what they're thinking.
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Old 26th February 2013, 22:16   #8
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Default Re: Rear Headroom in newer cars?

Its really a result of the current styling trend towards sloping (backwards) roof-lines in hatchbacks.

This is really pronounced in flashy cars like the Beat, Brio & Swift.

Its does look odd when you turn such a hatch into a sedan, like we see in the Dzire...not to mention headroom getting pinched.

Worst end-result is the Dzire because you lose headroom and gain nothing in styling.
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Old 27th February 2013, 08:10   #9
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The shape of a Pear/shape of a water droplet is the most aerodynamic shape offering the least wind resistance. Now it's impossible to design a car like a Pear as there are so many other factors to consider. The challenge of a designer is to get as close to the pear shaped design as possible without compromising much on space. That's the reason sedans especially have a sloping roof and a raised boot. When you see the designer's challenge in accomplishing this, still maintaining an aesthetic appealing design without compromising much on the head room, you'll forgive them!

That's why sports cars don't have back seats! The designer heaves a sigh of relief when he designs a sports car!
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Old 27th February 2013, 12:09   #10
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Default Re: Rear Headroom in newer cars?

Yes, Jiabir, I can relate to your experience as I underwent the same when looking for a sedan car. After searching for many options, I finally went in for Hyundai Elantra knowing that the rear roof was very low for me. One reason was, I am the tallest in my family and I will be the primary driver. So, hopefully, I will not be sitting in the rear often.
Many of these sedans have a sloping roof to give it a more aerodynamic advantage. But here we should consider the wheel base as a point. On Indian roads, we aften get jolted out of the seat when we hit a bump. This is more pronounced where the suspension is placed below the seat. Did you ever notice that when you sit in the rear of the bus you get jolted more? And if you are in the middle, you hardly get jolted. This is because the suspension is right under the rear seats and front seats for obvious reasons. Similarly in a car, if the wheel base is smaller, the suspension comes right under the back seat and you could feel more bumps.
When I test drove Elantra and Verna, I found that I could feel more bumps in the rear of Verna. So, I asked the sales guy why is the difference to which he had no clear answer. Remember, both have the same suspension sets (McPherson with coil springs). The answer is the wheel base ... Elantra has larger wheel base compared to Verna, so you will find more comfort in the rear of Elantra.
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Old 27th February 2013, 13:10   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JediKnight View Post
I am in the same boat bro.
New Hyundai's seem to have lowered the H points to accommodate a bigger headroom but in the process made the rear seat claustrophobic.

I wonder how our Sikh brethren manage in the Punjab since most of them are big guys.

I've been looking for a replacement for the tata indigo .my brother and myself wear turbans and are 6 ft 2 in.

Most sedans/hatches under 10 lakh failed us! Even tata safari storme has poor driving ergonomics for big guys.

We were most comfortable in a xylo/quanto and tata sumo. Somewhat okay in Chevy sail..

Wagon R was good too! In fact one of my relatives just bought his third wagon R in 10 years!

I guess its one reason punjab is a huge market for SUV s as a lot of people drive with families/chauffeured around.
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Old 1st March 2013, 18:25   #12
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Default Re: Rear Headroom in newer cars?

Glad to know I'm not the only one who finds this problematic. Thanks for the tips and suggestions. The Ertiga as well as the pack of sub 12l OTR SUVs are on the radar for test drives now. Cant move up to the Elantra price points

Been looking at the Autocar specs. The rear headroom ones seem a bit inconsistent with my experience. I guess they have a different way of measuring it.
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Old 7th February 2015, 19:17   #13
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Default Re: Rear Headroom in newer cars?

Was recently chaufered in my car and it was supremely uncomfortable . being on the lookout for a sedan read head space has jumped up the list to becoming one of my top priorities , not to mention that was the first time insat in the back of my little spark and the experience left me looking for so much more . Mind is leaning towards the zest but heart says rapid dsg. Let's see how things pan out .
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Old 8th February 2015, 12:38   #14
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Default Re: Rear Headroom in newer cars?

If I remember correctly, this problem started since the coupe design arrived in the market. These days people fancy their cars and want to have a bit like coupe styling in their sedans. As a result rear bench head room is getting suffered. I think this trend will persist in near future. Just take a look at the new CLA.
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Old 9th February 2015, 11:23   #15
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Default Re: Rear Headroom in newer cars?

Just yesterday i took the test drive for the Swift and Grand i10.
In Swift the i found the rear headroom to short for me (I am 6ft 1in. tall) My head touches the roof and it becomes extremely uncomfortable. Grand i10 was much more comfortable for me in rear.
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