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Best Cars for Seniors

Best Cars for Seniors

Older drivers are keeping their licenses longer and driving more miles than in years past as car manufacturers keep pace, offering advanced safety features like adjustable pedals, headlights that automatically brighten or mirrors that automatically dim to help with nighttime driving.

We took safety and comfort into account when selecting the best cars for seniors, along with ratings by Kelley Blue Book (KBB) experts, consumers on Edmunds and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Best sedans for seniors

Best crossovers for seniors

Best SUVs for seniors

How we chose the best cars for seniors

In creating our list, we considered more than 20 vehicles but only included those with 5 stars from the NHTSA and/or those that were IIHS Top Safety Picks. Vehicles also needed to receive at least 4 stars from KBB experts and/or consumers on Edmunds.

Next, we weighted cars with standard safety features like adaptive cruise control, emergency braking and lane-departure warning. Other features we considered include standard or base models with high rear visibility, a rear backup camera, large dashboard controls, wider-angle mirrors, adjustable foot pedals, power seats and a tilt steering wheel, auto tailgate and low door sills. It must be noted that in many instances, buyers will need to upgrade to higher level trims to get the most advanced features.

For purpose of this list, we excluded two-door models because AAA mentions that two-door cars tend to have longer, heavier doors, requiring more strength to open and close. Prices are for base MSRPs at time of publication. Consumer reviews are also up to date as of publication.

Best sedans for seniors

2019 Kia Forte

  • $17,790 MSRP
    Expert rating unavailable from KBB; 4.6 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (5 reviews)
    IIHS Top Safety Pick+

Despite being one of the lowest-priced vehicles on this list, the Forte sedan has decent standard safety features, such as lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning and lane keeping assist though more advanced features like voice command, parking distance warning, smart cruise control and auto-dimming rearview mirror are only options on the top EX trim. If you’re after comfort, you may be glad to know there is dual-zone temperature control, tilt and telescopic steering column and adjustable seats. Consumers say it’s roomy for a compact car and that steering is smooth, but potential buyers should be aware that the base trim comes with standard manual drive.

2019 Subaru Legacy

  • $22,545 MSRP
    4 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.6 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (8 reviews)
    IIHS Top Safety Pick+

The Subaru Legacy has one of the roomiest interiors when compared with other major vehicle manufacturers in the same class. It also has noise reduction features, such as aerodynamic side mirrors and laminated glass. For extra comfort, you can upgrade and get memory seating settings, front and rear heated seats, and keyless access with push button start. Like other Subarus, all-wheel drive is standard on the Legacy.

Best crossovers for seniors

2019 Kia Soul

  • $16,490 MSRP
    4.3 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.5 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (19 reviews)
    IIHS Top Safety Pick

Another budget-friendly car, the Kia Soul offers some sleek features, such as mood lighting (if you get the upgrade), a built-in touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility and designer exterior color options to personalize this boxy vehicle. All models come with safety features like electronic stability control, vehicle stability management and hill start assist control. Where this vehicle falls short is that there is no all-wheel drive and other safety features such as lane departure and smart cruise control require upgrades. Kia also offers an electric version — the Soul EV.

2019 Honda HR-V

  • $20,520 MSRP
    4.6 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.4 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (10 reviews)
    5 stars NHTSA

Although it’s on the smaller end of Honda’s SUV line, this car is still worth a look. What you lack in space, you make up for by the price and safety features you see in its more upscale trims. But even with the base LX, you get Bluetooth streaming audio, remote entry and rearview camera. You have the option of adding all-wheel drive with Intelligent Control System, meaning that the car can automatically detect when you’re losing traction and engages your rear wheels. Honda Sensing, however, is only available on the EX trim and above.

2019 Honda CR-V

  • $24,350 MSRP
    4.8 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.3 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (23 reviews)
    IIHS Top Safety Pick

With more than 40 inches of legroom, the Honda CR-V offers plenty of space and the 60/40-split rear seats fold with a simple pull, making it easy to lug extra cargo around. All models come with safety features, such as Vehicle Stability Assist and multi-angle rearview camera. However, if you’re after advanced features like the ones included in Honda Sensing — including lane departure warning and forward collision warning — you need to upgrade to a higher trim.

2019 Subaru Outback

  • $26,345 MSRP
    4.2 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.8 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (28 reviews)
    IIHS Top Safety Pick+

Where the Subaru Outback shines compared with the Honda CR-V and Kia Soul is that all of its models share safety features such as Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist technology package with things like adaptive cruise control, lane assist, pre-collision braking and pre-collision throttle management, though some more advanced features like blind-spot detection and high beam assist are only available on upper trim levels. Consumers mention how useful the safety features are and the headlights make it easier to see on the road.

Best SUVs for seniors

2019 Kia Sorento

  • $26,290 MSRP
    4.1 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.4 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (11 reviews)
    IIHS Top Safety Pick+

The Kia Sorento is a larger vehicle, capable of seating seven passengers, if you want to lug around grandkids or need extra cargo room. Exterior features include projector beam headlights to help you see better in the dark and solar control glass to help keep you cooler on sunny days. Like the Kia Soul, you get standard safety features like hill start assist control and vehicle stability management, but advanced ones such as blind-spot collision warning require you to upgrade.

2019 Honda Pilot

  • $31,450 MSRP
    4.7 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.3 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (39 reviews)
    IIHS Top Safety Pick

The Pilot, the third Honda to make this list, rises above the others because it has Honda Sensing standard on all trims. It’s also a larger and more expensive vehicle than the HR-V or CR-V (the new Passport is Honda’s most expensive SUV). Like other Hondas, the Pilot makes it tempting to upgrade — available comforts include heated seats and their Intelligent Traction Management System where you can choose a wide variety of conditions to help you maintain traction.

2019 Toyota Highlander

  • $31,530 MSRP
    4.4 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.4 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (7 reviews)
    IIHS Top Safety Pick

Like the Pilot, the Highlander offers three rows and a more powerful V6 engine. All Highlander trims also come with safety features in Toyota’s Safety Sense suite — automatic high beams, dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert and pre-collision systems. Unfortunately, if you’re after technology, such as Apple Carplay and Android Auto integration, you’re out of luck.

Ways to finance the best cars for seniors

You can finance a vehicle through your credit union, bank or online lender. Keep in mind that many lenders will take your credit score and income into consideration. Using fixed income sources, such as Social Security and other retirement income can help provide proof that you can pay back the loan. Even if you need to provide additional documentation, it’s a good idea to get preapproved at a few places before going to an auto dealer. That’s because dealers may not have the most competitive APRs, meaning you pay more throughout the lifetime of your loan. Also, consider putting down a larger down payment, which can help you lower the cost of your loan.

To compare loan offers, you can fill out an online form at LendingTree and receive offers from up to five different lenders based on your creditworthiness. This can save you time from filling out different auto loan applications.

Senior driving: Things to keep in mind

Though fatality rates have been falling over time for seniors, as a group their fatality rates begin to tick up slightly around age 70. Groups such as AAA and AARP offer resources to help older drivers including:

  • CarFit, a program developed by AAA, AARP and the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is a 20-minute checkup that helps you assess whether a car fits your lifestyle. Technicians or health professionals may suggest adjusting your mirrors or more significant changes like adding hand controls.
  • Depending on where you live, some states may have special requirements for seniors. Some common licensing requirements for older adults include more frequent or in-person license renewals. It’s best to check your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to see what you may need to do.
  • You may be able to get a discount on your car insurance if you take a safety course like AAA’s Roadwise program. Many of these courses are offered online, but check with your insurance company first to see if it offers discounts and what courses may qualify.
 

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