One of the fastest-growing population segments is the over-65 crowd. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 31 million older licensed drivers in 2007. In 2008, there were 34 million people in the U.S. aged 65 and over – 13 percent of the total resident population. Clearly, there are a lot of seniors on the road. But they do have some specific needs when it comes to types of cars they drive.
As we age, our bodies lose some flexibility, making entry/egress more difficult. Vision may deteriorate, especially peripheral vision, making it difficult to see objects/people at night, or read gauges. Without going through the list of what can ail an older driver, suffice to say seniors want and need cars that are comfortable, reliable, offer good visibility, lots of safety features and as many technological advancements as possible for ease of driving. Here are our choices for Best Cars for Seniors, with comments from automotive experts to back them up.
- Volkswagen Jetta S – Kiplinger names the 2009 S as “Best in Class – Sedans under $20,000” for good reason. It “offers excellent value with a roomy, spiffy interior and European driving dynamics…fully equipped with safety features.” Edmunds says Jetta is “the only choice to consider if you’re in search of a small sedan that delivers European elegance at a very reasonable price.” Consumer Guide says Jetta “sets the class standard for overall refinement and solidity…it’s also roomy, comes with many laudable safety features, and boasts a high quality interior.” Although option prices were high when new, consumers buying used should be able to get good deals.
- Infiniti M35 – Edmunds named midsize luxury sport sedan one of the “Top 10 Vehicles for Seniors for 2007,” hailing such senior-friendly features as lane-departure warning system, adaptive cruise control, back-up camera, voice-activated navigation system, heated seats, keyless ignition and more. Consumer Guide named 2007 Infiniti M a “Best Buy,” calling it “impressively…generously equipped in standard form, with convincing performance and available all-wheel drive.”
- Ford 500 – Another Edmunds “Top 10 Vehicles for Seniors for 2007” (and 2006), Ford 500 gets high praise from the editors for its spacious cabin, tall seating position, height-adjustable driver’s seat, power adjustable pedals, rear parking sensors and more. Although Ford 500 was only offered for 2005-2007 and then renamed , another Ford alternative is the Crown Victoria. Consumer Guide gave the 2007 Ford 500 a “Recommended” pick, commenting seats are high and supportive for easier entry/exit, “near-limousine leg room” and “take-charge driving stance.”
Other Best Cars for Seniors choices include, BMW 7-Series, and Lucerne, and DTS, , , Ford Taurus, , and .
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