You won’t find automakers trumpeting cars aimed at seniors, since that is considered a marketing faux pas of the highest order. But this is not to say that auto companies don’t design certain features to appeal to older drivers, aka retirees who are on fixed incomes. They also design in safety and usability features, as well as creature comforts and other items, specifically to heighten the interest – and buying potential – of older drivers.

Bankrate, relying heavily on data from Consumer Reports, recently published a list of seven best cars for retirees on a budget. We think they’re worth a look, especially for the 65+ crowd that’s trying to make do on a slim (and getting slimmer every day) fixed income.

Requisite data include the top “Good” score from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for front-offset and side-impact testing, a very good driving position, front and rear seat access, ride quality, interior noise control, average or above average fuel economy for the class, and affordability. All of these seven best cars have automatic transmissions and a full complement of power accessories.

Vehicles with extra safety features, Bluetooth connectivity, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, power adjustable front seats with lumbar support scored even higher.

2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid – With its affordable price of $28,776, outstanding 41 mpg city/36 mpg highway gas mileage, better-than-average visibility, five-year roadside

 

 

 

 

assistance warranty and long list of standard features seniors like (such as dual-zone automatic climate control, tilt and telescopic steering wheel with redundant audio controls, 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar, Ford SYNC Applink with Bluetooth control for cell phone, iPod and other personal media players), the 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid is the only hybrid on the list of seven best cars for retirees on a budget.

2012 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 – Priced at $34,200, the 2012 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 gets 19 mpg city/29 mpg highway fuel economy – pretty decent for this size car. That’s

 

 

 

 

with a 333-horsepower, 3.8-liter V-6 engine paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. But there’s more for retirees to love, including a wide trunk opening and 16 cubic feet of cargo room, leather seating, heated front seats, keyless entry and start, heated outside mirrors with integrated turn signals, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar, Bluetooth, and five-year roadside assistance warranty. Parking sensors and lane departure warning are optional safety features.

2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited – This upscale midsize SUV, priced at $36,795, offers retirees the ability to get up and go wherever they need. Power comes from a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

290-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 engine, while V8 power and all-wheel drive are optional. Fuel economy is 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway. Other features sure to appeal to retirees include heated front/rear seats, eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar, navigation system, tilt and telescoping steering wheel with redundant audio controls, keyless entry and start, rearview camera, parking assist, dual-zone automatic climate control, voice-activated Bluetooth connectivity, and three-year roadside assistance warranty.

2013 Kia Optima SX – The stylish and comfortable 2013 Kia Optima SX, priced at $26,800, gets 22 mpg city/34 mpg highway fuel economy from its 274-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine mated with six-speed automatic transmission. Retirees are sure to like other Optima SX features: keyless entry and start, dual-zone automatic climate control, wide trunk opening with 15 cubic feet of cargo space, eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar, heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals, Bluetooth, and five years of no-charge roadside assistance.

2012 Mazda3 iTouring – Priced at $19,950 and the least expensive of the seven best cars for retirees on a budget, the 2012 Mazda3 iTouring gets 28 mpg city/40 mpg highway fuel economy with its 155-horsepower, 2.0-liter four cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission. Lacking some of the pricier models’ features, the Mazda3 iTouring does have manual height adjustment for the driver’s seat, plus tilt and telescoping steering wheel with redundant audio controls, remote keyless entry, Bluetooth, and three-year roadside assistance warranty.

2012 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited – Retirees who need to traverse slippery roads or mud or snow will appreciate the standard all-wheel drive in the 2012 Subaru

 

 

 

 

Outback 2.5i Limited wagon (priced at $28,695, 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway). Other stellar attributes appealing to retirees include a low liftover height and 71 cubic feet of cargo space, heated front seats, 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar, dual-zone climate control, remote keyless entry, Bluetooth, and three-year roadside assistance warranty.

2012 Toyota Sienna XLE – The only minivan in the bunch, the 2012 Toyota Sienna XLE (priced at $33,205, 18 mpg city/26 mpg highway) can transport eight plus two times the cargo of the full-size Toyota Sequoia SUV. The Sienna also boasts tri-zone automatic climate control, dual power-sliding side doors, power rear liftgate, rearview camera, Bluetooth, and two years or 25,000 miles of no-cost maintenance and roadside assistance.

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