I would scratch the Symphony off your list right off the bat, because while it is a great seat, it is not a long lasting rear-facing seat. You can only use it rear-facing in the bottom two headrest positions, so while it will get most kids to two, you probably won't get much past that will tall child/long torso.
You could look at the Graco My Size 70/Size 4 Me 70. It is currently the tallest rear-facing seat on the market, and you can find it around $150. However, that being said some people are having issues with it, so if you buy it definitely keep your receipt. The same goes for the My Ride though, because MANY people are having issues with the buckle sticking, etc.
Graco is currently working on the issues with the S4M/MS70, which is about the extent of what I can say. So, if you have time, I might suggest waiting and seeing what happens.
As far as touching the seats in front, there isn't 1" rule that I know of. It depends on the seat. You are normally ok if you can slide a piece of paper between the car seat and the seat in front of it. Britax allows touching but not bracing.
I would definitely go to BRU and try them out. :)