Tall People Rejoice!

Tall People Rejoice!

I find that I can't properly assess the ergonomics until I actually drive the car. I'm 6'-4" with a 35" inseam and don't fit comfortably in most cars.

The Tesla S is the most tall person friendly sedan I have driven. We won't talk about the back seat. Suffice it to say that if you routinely need to put even medium size adults back there wait for the "X" version. Consumer Reports will have a field day with the lack of headroom but I think it is a small price to pay for that beautiful roof line. Any way tall people never sit in the back.

"S" Driver Head Room: With the seat all of the way down I had a good 3" clear to the ceiling in the hardtop. The Pano roof is nice and more airy in feeling but does not give you more physical headroom because the side beam over the window encroaches about one third of the way into your head space. In other words to utilize the extra space you would have to lean over the center console while driving--not recommended.

Reach: The second most important dimension is the distance from the pedals to the fully extended steering wheel. This may be the first car I have ever owned where the steering wheel reach is adequate. Thank you Tesla.

Seat Back Shape: Happily, the seat back is not concave like Audi's and BMW's, meaning that you don't get that horrible karate chop in the middle of your upper back or have to hunch forward to drive.

Head Rests: This very comfortable seat is marred by the fixed headrest. It comes down so low that it pokes your upper spine. I was aware of it during the entire drive. It is not a good design and I can't see where it helps short people. It will be necessary (and not difficult) to take the padding out of the lower 2" of the headrest. The more you recline the seat, the less of a problem the head rest is.

Seat belt Height: The seat belt was not adjustable but was high enough on the "B" pillar to be comfortable.

Sun Visors: The sun visors are wider than most cars and therefore shade more of the side window when turned 90 degrees to block the morning or afternoon sun than usual. Unfortunately there is still a 2 1/2" void from the end of the visor to the "B" pillar and the visor does not slide to cover this gap. It can't be very expensive to make the visor slide 3" for those of us who drive with the seat set to the rear. In my book this is a safety, not a convenience issue. People are going to ask why I have the 3" square of tinfoil duct taped to the window.

At any rate, except for the two items mentioned above, this is very good news and people up to 6'-6" should be very comfortable. Taller people may fit, but better test before committing.

Hope this helps.

Brian H | July 1, 2012

Surely a nice big opaque Tesla logo Krazy-Glued down would do!

RobQ | July 1, 2012

Good idea. Sounds like another opportunity for a $1500 option!

Robert22 | July 1, 2012

I'm 6'8 with a 36" inseam. Are there any other dimensionally extreme individuals that have taken a test drive? If not, it looks like I'll be schlepping from MA to NY to check the fit. I can't afford my head winding up in the back seat after a rear end collision...after all, it is MA.

TikiMan | July 1, 2012


You might just want to tint your side windows. I do it all all my cars, and almost never have to turn my visor toward the side windows due to heavy sun glare.

RobQ | July 1, 2012

Unfortunately, illegal to tint front side windows in Calif.

Brian H | July 2, 2012

Can't hide your face from the perp cams!

TikiMan | July 2, 2012


Yup, I know (I live in So. Cal). I have yet to receive a citation for it, in over twenty-five years now. I was pulled over one night after leaving a Restaruant, and the officer told me he pulled me over because of my window tint, and then quickly started asking if I had been drinking, to which I replied "no", and after a 'follow the flashlight' test, the officer said..."Have a nice evening!"

If you drive an expensive car, they really don't mess with you, because good luck finding anyone with an exotic or high-end luxury car without it. I am sure most judges have their windows tented too!

TikiMan | July 2, 2012

Brian, LOL! ... I always try!

Roblab | July 3, 2012


I'm 6'6" and fit fine. I had plenty of room foot and head in a standard roof test drive. There is another inch and a half to two inches with the panoramic roof.

Yeah, I sit back, too. The seat (lower) went back further than I needed, and the seat back did also. But I had no trouble with fit. My only problem is that I am big, and my hips sit on the bolsters of the seat cushion, which is hard. I might have to add a padding of sorts.

But I agree, you oughta drive one. You'll be impressed.

cablue | July 7, 2012

At our test drive, my son's head touched the ceiling in the back seat. He is 6'3". I was surprised and disappointed to find the headroom so low. But, that was the display car, without a sunroof.

Once we got in the car that I was able to drive, which had a sunroof, he fit fine in the backseat. Usually, we find that cars with sunroofs have less headroom, but that's not what we found with the Tesla S. LOVED the car!

Cindy.holland | September 21, 2012

I just stopped into the DC stores where there was an event for the owners who picked up their signature in California then drove it across country. Great to meet them, see their car and ask questions. I test drove the brown performance car at the DC get amped event and the same car was at the DC showroom. This time I got a real chance to sit in the car and focus on how it felt for comfort both driving and entry and exit.

I saw this older forum on how tall people like this car. Well, I am 6 feet tall with a 36 inch inseam so more leg than torso. I was amazed when focusing on the fit today how far forward the B pillar (I think that is what it is called) is. I have never owned a car where the pillar is farther forward than the seat back is. Even without putting the seat all the way back, the pillar was at least 2 inches in front of the seat. For me, this made getting in and out of car VERY difficult. I had to fight getting out from under the steering wheel, out of the bucket seat bolsters and around this pillar. Since I am a realtor, my driving is a lot of in and out of the car. I remember reading in another section that another tall person mentioned seeing real wear and tear showing on the B pillar in a test car. I can see why this would be. Just so surprised to see this come up on a car that is so long.

Has anyone else notice this problem? I love the Tesla S for so many reasons but may need to be able to buy it if I look like a fool each time I shoe horn myself out of the car.

WetSpotGarage | September 21, 2012

I'm only 5'-10", but I have short pegs, i.e. 30" inseam. I bumped my head in the back seat, so I opted for the panorama roof, which gives 1.5" additional headroom. The position of the B pillar didn't come to my attention.

Teoatawki | September 21, 2012


Once the storing of driver preferences per fob is enabled, the function to automatically move the steering up out the way for egress and ingress should also come online. That should help with the getting out from the steering wheel. Don't give up hope yet.

hwye81k | September 21, 2012

Cindy, I have had the same problem as you getting in and out.
I've been back to the showroom a few times trying different ways of getting in and out thinking that maybe I could vary my entrance and exit ease. I noticed on the B pillar that there is noticable wear. Apparently I'm not the only one. I'm only 6"1".

Robert22 | September 21, 2012

Yes, it's going to be a problem, especially for bigger humans that have the seat at full excursion. Contact can be carefully avoided when getting in and out, but it's not a natural motion. Some sort of pad or more durable barrier will probably be needed.....or duct tape ;)

sagebrushnw | September 21, 2012


Noticed the "B" post the first time I ever tried to enter and exit a Model S. I have trouble with entering and exiting the car without the steering wheel way forward and the seat way back. Yes, with the shape of the "B" post (as well as the "C" post)not being smooth, there will be a lot of wear on it. With my test drive today in Bellevue, the "rough" "B" post was very noticeable. Loved the drive but not fond of the entrance and exit of the car.

Brian H | September 21, 2012

Seems the wheel should retract to provide max horizontal and vertical clearance by default.

BYT | September 22, 2012

I'm 5'6", am I even allowed to post on this particular thread? :D

Yours Truly,
Mr. Vertically Challenged but Horizontally Blessed??

Teoatawki | September 22, 2012


I believe it will once the settings are saved and restored for each driver. Until then, you get in, get the mirrors, seat and steering wheel just right.... Then you arrive at your destination, open the door, and *BAM*, the steering wheel jumps out of the way to ease your egress, wiping out your careful adjustments to the steering wheel. That's why we need save/restore working first.

Brian H | September 22, 2012

Yes, I assumed Driver ID etc. being saved. Since Roadsters already have it ...

Andrew18 | September 22, 2012

5'6" here too-My grandma always said "height is from the neck up"

Robert22 | September 22, 2012

The problem isn't the steering wheel which all agree will retract, it's having to move forward out of the well of the seat to escape the pillar before rhe left pivot. You need to have the seat all the way back at its lowest setting to fully appreciate how awkward an egress this becomes.

Cindy.holland | September 22, 2012

Thank Robert22 - this is exactly what I mean. I just can't understand why such a long car has to be this way. Both Elon and Franz are tall guys so don't they have this issue also? I have gotten so spoiled with my previous small SUV's easy entries and exits. I am no longer in my 20's and 30's where the pivot required is easier. This really could be the deal breaker for me in regards to getting this car.

h228 | September 22, 2012

Regarding window tint in California, the front windows can be tinted. However, the final amount of light transmittance must be at least 70%.

Michael23 | September 22, 2012

I'm 6’8 and love the headroom with pano in back and front, but Suffer from not finding a good steering position to see the screens behind the wheel. Anyone else have this issue? Also, the auto moving wheel on entry and exit is not currently planned as an update I'm told, but could come eventually.

Ohms.Law | September 23, 2012

@Cindy.Holland - I went down to the DC store today for the purpose of getting in and out of the S. I am 6'2" and, indeed, found it to be an awkward experience. I tried it several times, using different methods of ingress/egress. I think it's mostly an age and agility thing. I have lots of age and not-so-much agility (any more). One can avoid rubbing the B Pillar if you put your right foot in first, grab the steering wheel, and swing in - the agile way. If however you plant your rear end first and then swing your legs up, over, and in it is impossible to avoid the pillar - the not so agile way. (Which was BTW showing rub marks - that is the pillar, not my rear end.).

My conclusion is that it is what it is. I'm sure Roadster owners know this drill only too well but bear the effort for planting themselves into such a great car. I too will do the same I guess.

Robert22 | September 23, 2012

If there's noticable wear on the B-pillar after just a few months of demonstrations (and this has been commented on by many), it would behoove Tesla to provide some sort of reinforcement or wearguard for this area. This is an issue that affects not only those of tall stature. There may also be a *few* non-agile drivers under 6'2".

jerry3 | September 23, 2012

Robert22 -- There may also be a *few* non-agile drivers under 6'2".

LOL. I found getting out of the back seats to be particularly challenging.

Cindy.holland | September 23, 2012

@Ohms.Law - what part of DC will you have you S? If I get mine, it will be based in Kensington. As for your comment, I wasn't as concerned getting in as I was trying to get out. I have looked at a number of luxury car websites since I went to the store and in all of them, they show the B-pillar as behind or equal to the seat. Yet when you look at the design store picture of the S's interior, you can see that the B-pillar is in front of the seat back. Why? I will have to try this again with the steering wheel as far forward as possible and with the seat as close to the pedals as I can handle. Hopefully I will be able to squeak around the pillar doing this setting.

One other area that was getting a lot of wear is the base below the door on the driver side. This really sticks up and was really scuffed in the showroom car.

jerry3 | September 23, 2012


Still it's better than this:

Cindy.holland | September 23, 2012

How funny was that! Thanks Jerry3.

Ohms.Law | September 23, 2012

Indeed Cindy you are correct, getting out is a chore. And yes, the door threshold was quite scuffed (and very plastic :-( ). Our Model Ss will be neighbors: Kensington and Chevy Chase.

Teoatawki | September 23, 2012

Well, I'm lucky, I guess. Only 5' 10", mostly torso. So I tend to sit close to the wheel. Hopefully I'll be far enough forward to get past the B pillar.

divedoggy | October 4, 2013

Model S is not tall-friendly at all. It's made for short people. I'm 6'6" and while my head barely clears the ceiling I would have to stoop down and peer up to see out the windshield to be able to tell when a traffic light is turning green and I need to have the seat all the way back and partially reclined which would leave absolutely no legroom for a rear seat passenger. Even when the front seats are not all the way back, the rear seat is extremely cramped with very limited headroom and horrible legroom. I had an early reservation for the Model S but decided to keep my Audi A8-L when I tried sitting in one. I switched my deposit to a Model X and am hoping it is a lot more spacious inside, plus I really need the AWD for the northeast winters and my steep driveway.

To be fair, I find few cars to be spacious enough for me. Ironically, the giant Detroit SUVs don't have much headroom at all, although my Toyota Sequoia is excellent, as is my daughter's Honda Pilot and (believe it or not) my wife's Hyundai Tucson (none of these has the sunroof option, which robs at least 2 inches of headroom).