What’s the best luxury car or SUV for access and seat height?
A reader wants to replace his BMW 5 Series GT with a new luxury car. What's the best option for ease of access and seating position?...
My wife and I currently own a BMW 5 Series GT, which suits us well because my wife is disabled and has difficulty getting in and out of some cars.
The 5 Series has a good hip point for her when she is seated in the car; she sits higher up than she would in a saloon but not as high as in an SUV, which can be too tall for her to climb into.
I have been looking for a luxury vehicle with the best access and a relatively high seating position, but I’ve not had any luck speaking to dealership staff or car brand customer service departments. Neither seems to be able to tell me which models would suit us best, and I don’t want to take my wife to numerous dealers to try out cars, because that would be difficult for her.
What Car? says…
The hip or H-point is the pivot point between a person’s body and legs when they’re sitting in a car. It is a measurement used during the design process of vehicles to ensure they are comfortable for the majority of people. In general, you can expect sports cars to have lower hip point measurements and SUVs to have higher ones, although many larger SUVs are tall and there’s a big step up to get in, so they’re not easy for anyone with mobility issues to get into.
Although car designers use hip point measurements, they are not widely published by car makers or reviewers. However, if you’re looking for a luxury car with a higher hip point than the average saloon, we’d recommend the BMW 6 Series GT, because it is the replacement for the 5 Series GT and is a hatchback version of the luxury saloon with a higher seating position and wide door openings. If your wife prefers to sit in the back, you can add electrically reclining rear seats that might help her to get more comfortable.
It's also worth considering luxury SUVs that are available with air suspension, because many are likely to have an entry mode that lowers the car for easier access. BMW X5, X6 and X7 models with air suspension have a button on the centre console that reduces the body's height from the ground. Many Range Rover models are available with this too.
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