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Hi - I am a "petite" woman (5'1") getting ready to purchase my first car. It is really important for me to be able to adjust my seat so I can sit high and have a clear view. I had my heart set on a Prius and test drove it yesterday but did not have a clear view either front or aft and the Prius offers no ways to adjust the seat higher (only to move the seat forward). I do not want to buy a brand new car only to have to seat on a pillow or two! I'd appreciate it if you could make some suggestions for good enviro-friendly options for the "vertically challenged"!) Please help!

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Patty Streeter,  at AskPatty.com Dear Kate, I do understand, I am 5'3", and I feel the same way...adjustable seating and good visibility is important to me, which is why I use to love my Ford Explorer... the adjustable seating gave me the feel I needed [It allowed me to sit up high, which made me more comfortable and confident on the road because I could see everything and it handled well on the road in all weather conditions] I thought I would always be a Explorer Girl! However, on a visit to the dealership I saw the Freestyle, and honestly speaking I did not think it suited me [it looked like a station wagon] but, because it was right there in the middle of the floor I sat in it...and was amazed and very impressed with the interior design and space it offered, so I test drove the Ford Freestlye and totally fell in love with it!!! It is a wonderful vehicle...it gives you the feel of both a SUV and sedan...the adjustable height control seating of both the SUV or sedan feel and the front windsheild is wide enough to see everything.....I can fold "all" the seats down if I want to transport boxes, furniture, or seat up to seven people with plenty of leg room...whatever I want or need to do in it I can because it's so flexible it's like a [mini-van / SUV / sedan] all-in-one. Plus it gets excellent gas mileage and handles beautifully! [The first time I filled up the tank - it only took $20.00] I think this vehicle is great, and I love it. Gayle Clark - A Freestyle Kind Of Girl [Smile] Hello Kate, I just checked out Edmunds.com, clicked on new vehicles and then clicked on the Hybrid category. It pulled up 15 vehicles (some trucks and SUV's)...the couple of vehicles I found that may work for you are the Honda Accord Hybrid that has an 8 way power driver seat and the Lexus GS450h that has a 10 way power driver seat... Visit the site and see if some of the other vehicles may interest you as well! You can also check the pricing and read more about the vehicles and their ratings! Then you can visit the dealer and try them on to see if you have a winner! Best of luck! Deanna Cross President The Spirited Maverick Media Company, LLC www.WomensAutomotiveNetwork.com Kate, I have had a number of "petite" women come to my shop with this same question. It is important to find a vehicle that you can see out of front, sides and rear, be 10-12 inches away from the airbags and still reach the pedals. For one customer, we put in pedal extenders in a Rav 4 for her gas and brake pedals. They have enabled her to comfortabley feel safe and secure driving her vehicle.If you have your heart on a hybrid, try driving a Honda Civic Hybrid. You might find that more to you liking.Some other vehicles that might be comfortable and easy to see out of are: Acura MDX Chevrolet Malibu Malibu Maxx Honda Accord Lexus IS300 Lexus LS430 Lexus RX330 Mazda 3 (S model) Toyota Avalon Toyota Camry Toyota Sienna But like trying on shoes, you need to get into them and drive around to see how they really feel! Amy Mattinat Auto Craftsmen Ltd Automotive Experts LLC www.autocrafsmen.com www.usedcarexperts.com 802-223-2253 amyacl@adelphia.net Hi Kate - I understand your issues.? First, never use cushions to adjust the seat.? Its unsafe - many people have been badly injured adding cushions.? It is critical that you feel comfortable in a vehicle and visibiity is 90% of your driving decision.? There fore, look for a vehicle that has adjustable pedals.? As for used cars - check minivans, Ford Taurus and a few higher end cars.? As for a hybrid - the only one is the Escape but they are only one model year old.? I'd put your personal safety first, then fuel economy.? Make sure NOT to purchase a "flood damaged vehicle"!? They are unsafe to you and your health! Lauren Fix www.laurenfix.com

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