Model 3

Big Man with a Model 3 decision to make

edited January 2019 in Model 3
I've had a Model 3 reservation since the days it mattered but timing was lousy on pulling the trigger. In May 2017 when we needed to dispose of my wife's failing Mini Countryman, she wanted an all electric car but at my height, I can't drive a Nissan Leaf (either iteration). And the Model 3 was unavailable so we pulled the trigger on a Chevy Bolt, going as far as getting it shipped to Tennessee. That car has done well for us and we'll likely keep it as it looks like a good first car for my daughter when she gets of driving age in 2021.

But I still have the Model 3 reservation I haven't cancelled and now my 2015 Cadillac CTS-V Sport will come off lease in April. The V-Sport has been a great I've owned. It's been a lot of personal midlife crisis vehicle since I can't fit into a little sports car and I've driven a lot of Cadillacs over my life.

A friend of mine got one of the first Model 3s in Nashville last June and let me drive it around for half an hour. At least it proved I could get behind the wheel. But I wanted to revisit that experience and bring my teenage son with me (6'1") to see if my kids could sit behind me when my family of four would all be in the car. No car has the perfect driving position for legs are just too long with a 40" inseam. So I have to figure out what I can live with for my primary vehicle. The motivations are different for my wife's car....I just have to be able to drive it safely without impinging on the steering wheel or other surfaces. But I really want my driving position too be comfortable since in middle age my knees aren't what they used to be and I can get some pain in my right knees if it's bent too much for too long.

The CTS is a (relatively) great seating car for me since the drivers seat goes back a the point where you can't really put anyone outright of a small kid behind you. That worked when my daughter was 9. Now at 12 1/2, she the size of a full grown woman. And my 15 year old son is obviously the size of a full grown man (he's autistic and will never drive). I'm still interested in driving a sedan and not going back to a crossover/SUV right now.

So I went to the Tesla Store yesterday to check the drivers seat and my knee position critically....and I can't say I'm thrilled. Can I get my legs, especially my right knee in the vehicle without hitting anything and giving my hands enough freedom around the wheel? Yes. Can the steering wheel adjust enough to be comfortable? Yes. Is there enough rear seat room for the now-larger kids? Yes (I brought my son to make sure). But does the seat go back enough that I'm ok with the angle of my knee compared to the CTS?

No. It's close, but no.

It some ways, the issue is not unlike getting into the Bolt except as I said earlier, the Bolt isn't my daily driver. It would be nice to have another inch or so of seat travel but it doesn't seem like the car has it. So now I'm not sure about the decision I make. Do I put up with the issue and hope it fades into the background considering the other cool stuff I get with the vehicle? Do I walk and either get another CTS (or just buy the car I'm already driving)? Is there another solution I'm missing? Originally I wanted a Model S which largely works for my legs (the center screen comes a little close to my right knee) but it's kinda getting out of my price range now.

Any ideas?


  • edited January 2019
    Does not surprise me that the m3 (along with 90% of other autos) is too small for a 7' dude. That's freakish dude you must have all kinds of problems in life. But not sure what expertise you expect to find here -- this is a model 3 forum, not a big and tall forum.

    Here's a thought, how about a Buick Lacrosse? Shaq did an endorsement. Not sure how realistic it was...or if they modded it for him.
  • edited January 2019
    Put your daughter behind you and your son on the passenger side. Am I missing something?
  • edited January 2019
    So, as spuzzz said, probably none of us on this forum are 7 feet tall (given that a quick google search says only 70-100 men born in the US and currently alive are that height). Given that, here are my thoughts.

    First, you are probably used to having to adapt "normal" items made for the rest of us to fit your life/needs.
    Second, it doesn't sound like the Model 3 is too far from meeting your needs, you just need the seat to go back a little farther.

    So, I think you need to see if a body shop can move your seat back for you. I know that this will impact your rear passenger, however, you may be able to mitigate this by passenger placement in the vehicle.

    I'm afraid this means your wife may have to sit behind you and your son (who is far from done growing) will have to move into the front seat. My wife never had a problem with this when my son grew first taller than her and then eventually taller than me before he was able to drive. But your wife may not like the demotion or have legitimate car sickness issues moving to the back. Your daughter (who is also probably not done growing) will have to sit behind your son and they will have to fight for leg room as they both mature.

    I agree that this may not be ideal, but how often do you go on long trips with the four of you in the car?

    Final thought, have you considered waiting until the Model Y is introduced to see if those specs fit your family better?
  • edited January 2019
    @HighlandPony That is usually how we've always gone out as a family...son in the right side rear seat, daughter in the rear left seat. The Model 3 as baked can do that for us now.

    @RJMIII I think there are more than 100 of us in the US, but yes, we are a rare breed. As for your suggestion regarding getting the seat modified, this was easier is decades past. Nowadays there are liability/insurance reasons not to do it since seats are part of overall safety strategy. And having a motorized seat only complicates things. I'm not saying it's impossible...I'm sure there are plenty of NBA players who have had stuff done. But I only played in college and don't have NBA money. It's a strange situation to be in.
  • edited January 2019
    @RJMIII Also to your last questions, normally we haven't done many long trips but that's changing with my daughter doing travel volleyball/basketball. And just doing daily driving in Nashville traffic can be exhausting to my knees on some days in some cars.

    I know about the Model Y but it's not going to be a thing before my CTS lease is up in April.
  • edited January 2019
    OK, I think I may have a potential solution. I just found this:
  • edited January 2019
    Except they don't have a solution for the Model 3. Oh well, back to the drawing board.
  • edited January 2019
    Man, sorry to hear about the seating challenges. For the money, I'd consider a used Model S. You can get A LOT of car for the same $50-$60k you were going to spend on a new Model 3. If you need a bigger sedan, that's what I'd do.
  • edited January 2019
    Also, the Model 3 has Easy Entry mode. I have my seat & steering set perfect for driving, then when exiting the
    car, Easy Entry moves the steering wheel way in and up. Moves the seat down and slightly back. Helpful features.
  • edited January 2019
    We had a couple big men come to the family body shop with their new cars on a regular basis (everytime they bought a new car). Back in the day we were able to remount the seats further back. We also did a few custom things for handicapped. Might be more difficult to do on a 3 but maybe?
  • edited January 2019
    Have you considered a used Model S?

    In my personal opinion, no amount of "tech comfort" might make up for "physical discomfort". Even if your mind is tricked, your body will show it after you exit the car. But then again, at 7'; you are probably the subject matter expert on this topic :)

    If you're going to live in Nashville where commutes don't suck like the Bay; I'd say slightly older Autopilot tech may not impact you as much as the smaller size of 3 will.

    Or maybe drive around a new Cadi for another few years, and then get an used S (which will likely be the updated/redesigned S we can come to expect soon, if I understand the rumors correctly)

    Hope it works out for you! Keep us posted though.
    edited January 2019
    Model X, solved!
  • edited January 2019
    This'll likely be the last of your options, but I drove a VW Passat before the 3. Big dudes have sat comfortably in it. But, I haven't driven the Cadi CTS, so I can't give you a comparison. Also, VW is made in Chattanooga if you care for that tidbit.
  • edited January 2019
    Here is a 7'2" dude in a Model 3
  • edited January 2019
    @lemrock That's a great video!

    With regenerative braking, I feel like it should be easier for taller folks to drive an EV. You don't have to move around your feet to brake everytime. Personally, I'm noticing my right knee doesn't have that discomfort anymore.

    Something for the OP to consider too.
  • edited January 2019
    Given all your sizing constraints, I would think buying your existing Cadillac off its lease would be a good option; or a used Model S or X.
  • edited January 2019
    @lemrock +1 Excellent video addressing the OP's concern. Very impressive to see a 7' 2" person remark on how comfortable it is for them.
  • The 3 actually feels a bit bigger than the S to me at 6'4". I don't know how it would work for a 7 footer.
    The X sounds like the perfect solution for the OP though.
    As usual, the only real way for big guys to find out if something fits is to try one on for size.
  • edited January 2019
    Here is another video with a former NBA player:

  • edited November -1
    @Earl and Nagin- agree...I'm only 6'1" but it's much easier to get into the 3 than the S
  • edited January 2019
    Any ideas?
    Tesla needs a Big & Tall vehicle showroom/store.
  • edited January 2019
    @sevenfeet - would a cushion on the front seat solve the knee angle problem? Maybe get something with up to an inch thickness so that you knee has to bend less?

    I bought seat bottom cushions to protect dye transfer from my jeans to the white seats. I have those in the back seat too and I noticed that without them, my knee angle sitting in the back seat used to be uncomfortable. With the cushion, the knee angle is much better.

    To see if this might work, you could take any cushion to the showroom and see if it alleviates the problem for you.
  • edited January 2019
    I wonder if lowering the seat, as well as pushing the steering wheel forward and up might help
    (oops, he's only 6'7")
  • edited January 2019
    Kevin Durant drives a Model S. Not sure if he had it modified though. If the Model S has more space (and being a bigger car, I imagine it does), you can get a good used one cheaper than a Model 3 these days.
  • edited January 2019
    The interior dimensions of the S versus 3 are actually very, very close. The S makes a much bigger difference on the outside than in.
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