How comfortable will big people be in the car?

How comfortable will big people be in the car?

I am 6'4" and 240lbs. For those that have sat in the car, how comfortable do you think I will be driving? Also, what will be the effect of my weight on the range?

EdG | 16 March, 2012

I don't think your weight will affect the range in any amount you can measure. Even if you added 1000 lbs., all it would do is slightly slow the acceleration. If you don't use the brakes much (use regen mostly), you get back the energy put into moving the weight of the car and contents, with some losses.

You'd affect mileage with a lot of weight more in an ICE vehicle if you had a lot of starts and stops.

TikiMan | 16 March, 2012

I am 6' 1", 200 lbs, and it is very roomy in the front seats. My head does touch the roof in the rear seats, but the leg room compensates for it well.

Crow | 17 March, 2012

I am 6'4" and have no problem in the front. If I make an effort to straighten up and lean back, I can touch the roof in the rear. It isn't natural, but you can do it if you try. The pano roof has more headroom (no sunshade yet) than the solid roof.

Tom A | 17 March, 2012

@Etographer: I'm the same height and weight as you. The driver's seat of the Pearl White Beta shown at the DC store last weekend was perfectly suitable. The seat travel had more room than I needed, and I could reach the steering wheel and 17" screen with no strain. I had no concern over head clearance, and the ergonomics in general seemed perfectly reasonable. I was only in the seat for barely a full minute, but the initial impressions were definitely favorable.

The rear seat was a bit different. It is a sedan, so my knees were up in the air more than I prefer (compared to sitting in a minivan or SUV), but there was ample leg room such that it was not particularly uncomfortable. There was an average-sized adult in the front seat at the time, so it was probably a reasonable test. The lack of the center hump in the floor helps tremendously.

The head room in the rear could be an issue. My head *barely* cleared the pano roof (I could feel some hairs rubbing against it). With the regular roof, depending on the thickness of the whole assembly, it might not be enough at all. You don't want to be that close to the roof anyway, in the event of hitting a large bump in the road, knocking you into the ceiling.

Also, although there was no center console, per se, there was a tray area with sides extending about 2" above the floor, exactly within the footprint of a typical center console. So, things could be placed there, like an iPod or purse, etc., and all would be well. I do not know of any way of securing such items, though - in a nasty collision, those things could easily be projectiles.

Etographer | 17 March, 2012

Thanks to all. Very helpful.


Slindell | 17 March, 2012

On the other side, I'm 6'2" and could not enter/exit the drivers seat of the Model S without serious hitting/twisting my head against the top of the open door. So you need to try it out for yourself.

Admitedly most of my height is in my waist (my inseam is only 29").

Brian H | 18 March, 2012

Geez, you're a giant dwarf! ;) Have you used a Roadster? Drivers get used to a specific technique, and then have no problem.

cosmomusic | 18 March, 2012

I sat in the driver's seat and move the seat backward as far as it could go back, and my long legs could hardly reach the pedal. I am 6'1" with long legs, and have never had this experience in any car previously (Lexus, MBW, MZB, Audi). The most leg and head room of any car I have driven or sat in.

I went into the backseat to check same. Again, Roomier than any car I have sat in (headroom, legroom and to my side). The car is spacious. I guess, that's why it can seat 7 when needed. You may have some issues if you are a 6'7" basketball player. Can anyone name me a car that someone this tall would not have trouble with?

The car is roomy and very sleek. Not certain how TM achieved this - It must be the absence of engine, drive train etc.

Crow | 18 March, 2012

I have said this many 6'8" and 6'5" sons sat In the back seat and were fine.

Slindell | 18 March, 2012

Brian H: "giant dwarf", is that like "jumbo shrimp"?

I have not given up hope. There was alway a line waiting to get into the driver's seat, so I was not able to practice different entry/exit methods. I'd also like to try it with a car that has the active air suspension; perhaps the car at it's highest setting would make it easier for me.

Once in the driver's seat I had no problem setting up the seat/steering wheel to a comfortable position, at least in the red/body-color roof Model S. The Pearl White had a panoromic roof, and my head stuck out a little with it open, so I don't think I could close the roof without banging my head. But that's OK as I don't want a pano-roof.

Timo | 19 March, 2012

@EdG, 1000 lbs increase would affect range quite a lot. Rolling resistance is based on weight and that is dominant loss under 40mph speeds, after that air drag becomes higher. For 4000 lbs car 1000lbs increase would reduce range about 10-15%.

I think Tesla "estimated range" of 300 miles at 55mph with 85kWh battery is with driver (I don't think they came up that figure with just mathematics and physics, they base it to actual test drives), so 240lbs is just maybe 20-30 lbs more than average. Effect of that can't be measured accurately enough, it probably gets lost in data noise. Road surface affects quite a bit more.

EdG | 19 March, 2012

@Timo: I guess it depends on what you're considering "a lot". If I were designing an EV, I'd consider 10-15% loss huge. If I'm deciding whether to take a passenger or 3 in the car, it's not going to change my decision, though in rare circumstances it might change how often I have to stop and charge up. And we don't know what weight driver Tesla assumes when saying "300 miles". 85 lbs. or 185 lbs.? I guess that might change everyone's expectations "a lot."

MandL | 19 March, 2012

I'm 6'3" and 290#. I was almost 330# at Thanksgiving when I first sat in the Model S in DC. No issues front or back seat (which I shared with my 5'11" 215# husband and a random normal sized stranger). Went back last weekend and it was obviously even better stuffing 40# less of me into the car. I understand there will be a power tilt/telescoping wheel, which I hope will just move in and up when you turn the car off (whatever that entails). I am definitely waiting to see what the sun shade does and the difference between pano roof and standard. It could be that I will have to recline just a bit more than I would normally like to avoid the sun shade. Doubt I'll be wearing a fedora or stetson while driving regardless.

Timo | 19 March, 2012

I'm pretty sure Tesla did get that 300 miles at 55 mph from actual test drives. It's not EPA estimation but based of real data from real drives in near optimal conditions. This means there had to be driver inside which makes something like 180-160 lbs average. I don't think weight differences of the drivers alone affects that estimation enough to show anywhere even if your driver is 240 or 85 lbs. Driver is less than 7% of the car weight, and that small difference is very easily lost in other variables, like wind conditions. A data noise, as I said.

Now, if you have four heavyweight weight lifting buddies with you with tournament gear packed in the trunk things change and you can expect some loss of range, but even that can still be compensated by adjusting your driving a bit. Less fast accelerations, less speed in general etc.

Brian H | 19 March, 2012

Beta drivers (early on, anyway) said the range estimates were conservative (low). They were doing quite a bit better in daily driving, 5-10% IIRC.

Timo | 20 March, 2012

Just the figure "300 miles" is a bit too round for actual real world result. Same with battery pack size. 85kWh. If battery is really exactly 85kWh, then getting real world figure to match 300 miles +-10% is quite a achievement. I think that has been engineering goal, they could have gone even lighter, or more aerodynamic but it's never "free", there is always sacrifices in some area.

Considering that tiny car like Roadster gets approx 235 miles at 55mph with 55kWh battery (the chart in that link) getting Model S size car making ~230 miles with 65kWh is astounding.

BTW. I still don't have any info about Model S actual curb weight. Only estimates, and early estimates at that. Specs-page lists just about everything except that.

Brian H | 20 March, 2012

I haven't seen any other EV with a battery capacity as high as 65kwh yet. Anyone?

Robert22 | 16 April, 2012

I'm 6'8" and 240lbs with normal proportions. As any "geez your tall " person can probably attest, the most annoying aspect of the driver's experience, assuming your head isn't banging the ceiling, is the fairly sharp edge of the display catching your right lower leg about 4 inches below the knee. This is why all Japanese cars are out. A three hour trip with road vibration can really do a job on your leg. In the past I've had to resort to taping a small cushion to cover this edge. The Mercedes S class has been the most unconstraining and comfortable car in this respect.

The model S with pano roof was unexpectedly comfortable and spacious in the drivers seat. However, the edge of the console is going to be an issue. With the seat all the way back, I still can't get enough leg straightening to mitigate the karate chop below the kneecap. Perhaps there's a way to get two extra inches of travel on the seat to fix this issue? Granted this won't be a concern for a majority of owners, but if you ARE uncommonly tall, take a test drive before sealing the deal.

jd3tm | 16 April, 2012

At 6'3" and 275# I had the same concern and have tried every Beta available at the Santana Row showroom. I can make the following personal observatations:

1. Headroom with Pano Roof is the best vs. solid roof config. You actually appear to get an extra 1-2inches of headroom.

2. The travel distance for the steering assembly is twice as far as my Prius and, according to many I have talked with, the "most they have ever tried". This allowed me to create a very comfortable driving position for my long arms.

3. The Driver seat travel adjustment is also very significant. I didn't have to have it at max rear travel to be very comfortable. I was also able to move the seat "up" (as in vertical movement)quite a bit. Once I was comfortable I asked people with me if they could sit comfortably behind the driver seat - no problem.

Btw, I also wear size 14 shoes...this as actually the only aspect of the driver seating that might become an issue although I have been told that final peddle position/size isn't set yet.

Hope this helps,



William13 | 16 April, 2012

Robert22 did you try one of the most recent Model S cars? I think that the size concern are appropriate to express but suggest that everyone wait for the release candidates before giving up on a Model S.

DallasTxModelS | 28 April, 2012

I'm both big and tall and have wondered this myself. I saw a test drive of the white beta on youtube that is driven by a guy much bigger than me and the passenger I assumed a Tesla employee was quite tall and both looked to be very comfortable in the front seats.

Robert22 | 28 April, 2012


Yes, I believe it was a recent Model S beta that I sat in about two months ago in Boston. If a newer iteration has minimized or eliminated this issue, I will be an exceptionally pleased VIP (vertically inclined person).