How we measure cars

Our unique car database has measurements of over 1,600 car models. Measurements are done in a laboratory and below we show you the types of measurements that are taken and how they relate to our car search.

We hope this helps you have a better idea of what measurements are behind the numbers when you are doing a car search.

Passenger

You may not be the driver of the car, so knowing which cars have a low door sill, wide opening and plenty of head and legroom on the passenger side is important. You may prefer a high or a low seat to make getting in and out easier. If you are transferring from a wheelchair, you will want the car seat to be as close as possible to the height of your chair.

Door sill height

Shown below are examples of how these measurements are taken at the test lab. To measure the sill height, we place the marking 100mm behind the A-pillar and from there measure outwards and inwards with a spirit level and a meter stick.

Measuring the door sill height on a car
Measuring the door sill height on the passenger side

These measurements relate to the following categories:

  • Door sill height to ground (passenger and driver sides)
  • Door sill height to floor of car (passenger and driver sides)

Door opening angle

For this measurement we measure the maximum door opening angle using a protractor on the open front passenger door.

Measuring the door opening angle
Measuring the door opening angle

These measurements relate to the following categories:

  • Door opening angle (passenger and driver sides)

To determine the size and shape of the door cutout, we mark 400 mm in front of the B-pillar. This is measured at the height of the end of the lower curve of the B-pillar 400 mm forward. At this marking the door opening is measured vertically upwards by means of a roll measuring tape and cut in half.

Measuring the door shape and size
Measuring the size and shape of a car door

We then take a measurement at half the height of the door cut-out, the door width is measured using a telescopic measuring rod. Measurement takes place up to the A-pillar, disregarding all overhangs of the dashboard. 

Measuring door width
Measuring door width

These measurements relate to the following categories:

  • Headroom when getting in (seat edge to top of door)

Seats

Seat position with the door open is measured from the seat back to the A-pillar. For this purpose, the seat is set at the lowest point, all the way back, the back upright and if available lordosis (lumber curve) relaxed. We measure 100 mm above the rear end of the seat (approximately seat of the lumbar spine) by means of rolling tape on a direct path to the A-pillar.

Measuring seat position in a car
Measuring seat position

Seat height entry is measured once at the highest and once at the lowest seat position. For this purpose, the seat is moved over the longitudinal adjustment in the middle. Previously mark the start and end points on the sill and the middle signs. Then, at the highest point of the lateral seat edge, the seat height is taken in the highest and in the lowest sitting position by means of a spirit level and meter bar.

Measuring seat height on entry into a car
Measuring seat height ​​​​from ground level 

These measurements relate to the following categories:

  • Legroom getting in (driver and passenger)
  • Minimum seat edge to ground (driver and passenger)
  • Maximum seat edge to ground (driver and passenger)

Headroom

Headroom at the entrance is measured vertically between the highest point of the out edge of the seat (as in the case of the seat height above) and the upper edge of the door opening

Measuring headroom on passenger side of the car
Measuring headroom on passenger side

These measurements relate to the following categories:

  • Headroom when getting in (seat edge to top of door; passenger side)

Driver

Getting in is easier if the door opens wide and the door sill is low. If you are particularly large or tall, or have stiff legs or neck, you should choose a car with comfortable amounts of headroom and legroom. You may prefer a high or a low seat to make getting in and out easier. If you are transferring from a wheelchair, you will want the car seat to be as close as possible to the height of your chair. On the driver side of the car the measurements of the seat position are taken with the door open, seat height and headroom at the entrance are made the same as on the passenger side.

Maximum headroom is the vertical height between the seat and the headliner and is measured using a telescopic measuring rod. 

Measuring headroom on driver side
Measuring headroom on driver side

These measurements relate to the following categories:

  • Headroom when getting in (seat edge to top of door; driver side)

Boot 

When we are measuring the boot floor, if it is variable, we take the lowest possible level with the ground is worked out in favour of the greatest possible benefit.

To measure the height of the luggage compartment edge, we measure from the centre of the luggage compartment edge to the outside and inside using a spirit level and meter bar. 

Measuring the height of a boot sill from inside the boot and ground level
Measuring the height of a boot sill from inside the boot and ground level

The width of the boot opening is taken down 60mm above the truck edge.

Measuring the width of a car boot opening
Measuring the width of a car boot opening

These measurements relate to the following categories:

  • Boot sill height to the ground
  • Boot sill height to the floor of the car
  • Width of boot opening (bottom)

The width of the boot is measured at the narrowest point at the boot floor level, e.g. mostly between the wheel arches.

Measuring a car boot at its narrowest point
Measuring a car boot at its narrowest point

These measurements relate to the following categories:

  • Width of the boot floor at narrowest point

The height of the boot is measured vertically from the highest point of the boot opening to the boot floor.

Measuring the height of a car boot
Measuring the height of a car boot

These measurements relate to the following categories:

  • Vertical height of boot opening 

The following luggage compartment dimensions are made with a driver's seat adjustment of 95%, equivalent to a driver of 1.85 m and a backrest inclination of 25%.

  • Length of the trunk is measured in the case of upright seats in the middle of the boot floor level from the seat back of the last row of seats to the inside of the trunk edge by means of a roll measuring tape.
  • Length of the trunk when the last row of seats is completely folded is also measured in the middle of the luggage compartment floor level from the seat back to the inside of the luggage compartment edge by means of a telescopic measuring rod. Only the last row of seats is completely folded (5-seater / 2nd row of seats, 7-seater / 3rd row of seats).
  • The length of the luggage compartment in the middle row of seats is completely folded, does not apply to vehicles with only two rows of seats and is measured on a vehicle with three rows of seats as described above with all the rear rows of seats folded using a telescopic measuring rod.

Measuring the length of a car boot with the seats folded
Measuring the length of a car boot with the seats folded
Measuring the length of a car boot with seats folded down
Measuring the length of a car boot with seats folded down

These measurements relate to the following categories:

  • Length of boot floor - back row of seats upright
  • Length of boot floor - back row of seats folded down
  • Length of boot floor - middle seats folded down

Getting a wheelchair in the boot

For this section we checked how far a wheelchair in the folded and opened state is can be put into the boot. Here, as in the boot dimensions, in favour of the greatest possible benefit when a variable boot floor is present, we worked with the ground at the lowest level. We checked the different configurations of the boot (seats upright or folded) and if available a third row of seats folded. 

We used a wheelchair of total length of 1200mm, total width of 700mm, sitting height (from ground to top of head) of 1350mm and height of footrest above floor of 150mm

Picture of a folded wheelchair in a car boot
A folded wheelchair in a car boot