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The Best Cars for Older Drivers and Retirees

For the practical, the well-traveled or those who have been saving for a dream, these are some of the best cars for older drivers and retirees.

The 2019 Kia Sorento

At every age in life, drivers consider different components when looking for a new car. That is certainly the case for older drivers. Most in this demographic put a greater emphasis on factors such as visibility, safety features, easy-to-use systems and how comfortable it is to get in and out of the car. Or maybe, if they have recently retired, they decided it is time to finally splurge and get behind the wheel of their dream car. Whatever the situation, these are a few of the best cars for older drivers.

best cars for older drivers

For The Practical Driver

Subaru Forester

MSRP: $24,295

MPG: 26 city / 33 highway

Crash Test: 5 stars

The Subaru Forester makes getting behind the wheel a cinch for older drivers – literally. Large doors and elevated seating allow for easy entrance and exit to and from the car. Once set to drive, the chair-like seating position coupled with big windows and thin pillars supply excellent driver visibility. The Forester’s climate and infotainment systems are straightforward and easy to use.

The Forester comes with a five-star crash test rating. Even better, Subaru has worked to significantly cut down on crashes thanks to EyeSight, the manufacturer’s driver assist technology. EyeSight works by equipping the car with dual color cameras near the rearview mirror. These cameras can monitor traffic movement, optimize cruise control and warn drivers if they sway outside the lane. EyeSight has been found to reduce rear-end crashes with injuries by up to 85%.

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For The Traveler

Kia Sorento

MSRP: $26,290

MPG: 22 city / 29 highway

Crash Test: 5 stars

With your nine-to-five days behind them, retirees have much more free time – and much more free time to travel. Whether visiting the grandkids or checking off a destination on their bucket list, retirees need the right car for all their future adventures.

The Kia Sorento is a midsized SUV with all the prerequisites needed for older drivers: comfortable seating, simple controls and available safety technology. What makes it perfect for long trips is the large, quiet cabin, comfortable ride, ample storage space and, most importantly, above-average highway gas mileage. Check out our list of the most fuel-efficient cars.

Also, the Sorrento’s third row of seating can be folded down if you need more storage space or up to hold passengers, in case they do happen to visit the grandchildren.


best cars for older drivers

For The Frugal Consumer

Honda Fit

MSRP: $16,190

MPG: 29 city / 36 highway

Crash Test: 5 stars

Many older drivers and retirees are living on a fixed income. They’ll want to prioritize finding a safe, reliable car to get them to and from where they need to go – no need to break the bank.

The Honda Fit’s subcompact size makes it easy to maneuver, yet the model still offers plenty of cabin space. The car’s controls are large and easy to use, allowing drivers to keep their focus on the road. Newer models have improved suspension and cabin noise, providing a smoother, quieter ride.

But above all, what makes the Honda Fit one of the best cars for older drivers? The price. With a base price of just $16,190, you will be hard-pressed to find a better value.

Want to see more inexpensive cars? Here’s our list of the cheapest new cars of 2019.

best cars for older drivers

For The Dreamer

Ford Mustang BULLITT

MSRP: $46,595

MPG: 15 city / 24 highway

Crash Test: 5 stars

Those recent retirees who waited to reach social security’s full benefit age (66) most likely started their driving career in the 1960s or early 70s. This era in automotive history was marked by the rise of muscle cars and there was no such car more popular than the Ford Mustang. Assuredly, many current retirees dreamed of getting behind the wheel of a Mustang. And if they weren’t able to then, now is the time. Finding a vintage Mustang may be challenging. Fortunately, the model is still going strong. In fact, it recently celebrated its 55th anniversary.

If you really want to go all out, try the Ford Mustang BULLITT. In 2018, Mustang re-released the model in honor of the 50th anniversary of the classic film starring Steve McQueen. Just like the original, this special edition comes with unparalleled performance and that legendary mean-green color. (It also comes in black if you choose.)

Some of the updated features that you won’t find in vintage models include a 12-inch digital instrument cluster, red-painted Brembo brake calipers, and active performance exhaust system that allows you to control the volume of the exhaust.

Save up for your dream car with banking and savings options from AAA.

For more car recommendations, check out our test drives

AAA members get great rates and competitive terms when shopping through the AAA Auto Buying program. Learn more about our network of certified dealers and to start comparing vehicles today.

 

Comments
  • MARGARET D.

    Interesting you mention the Honda Fit. According to Car and Driver and other publications, sources for Honda indicate that it is not certain that the all-new 2020 Honda Fit, to be introduced in October in Japan, will be sold in the US.

    Reply
  • For cheapest places to retire, the quality of local health care (will travel for quality care be needed), cost of assisted living & nursing homes & the availability of quality facilities as well as the availability of the state’s Medicaid long-term care assistance program for should be taken into account due to the high percentage of retirees who are likely to need some or all of these types of care.

    Reply
  • REGINA K.

    Where are the Electric/hybrid vehicles? That is what every senior should use! Fossil fuels will destroy the planet for our children and grandkids!

    Reply
    • I was about to ask the same.
      A RAV4 hybrid would be better than Kia IMHO. All the safety features of Subaru and much better milege.

      Reply
    • I agree Regina and was thinking the same thing – on equal par to affordability and safety should be fuel efficiency (or EV charged with non-polluting electricity) when considering a new car. We have less than 10 years to collectively stop trashing our environment, else living will be very difficult for future generations. I think most older people want to ensure a good life for future generations but people of all generations don’t equate their purchase decisions to a livable future.

      Reply
  • Eliminating Dodge Caravan is worrisome and none of these will help with craft fairs. Need middle row seats to fold down leaving space for tent, tables, boxes of merchandise.

    Reply
    • Jeanne W.

      I agree; we go to science fiction conventions with boxes of books and foldable bookcases. Right now we have a 2005 Chrysler Town and Country, which actually holds more than our old Ford Explorer did. And unless we hit the lottery we will be sticking with used cars.

      Reply
  • Hybrids and Electric. Yes, fuel economy, but how much more of a carbon footprint do these make when taking into account the necessary battery manufacturing plants pollution, and the disposal or recycling of the batteries?

    Reply
    • Already been shown that the savings from the fuel economy far outweigh making the batteries over the life of the car.

      Reply
      • Chris O.

        I agree the low emissions outweigh the Hybrid Battery disposal issue. Having Remote start on my Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is a great feature in the winter months. Nothing like having your seat and steering wheel warm when you get in. Little to no fuel used in that mode.

        Reply
  • Forget the electric junk. Give me the Bullitt, or a GT convertible. Go out in style!

    Reply
  • Carol W.

    I have had my Forester for eleven years – love it! It’s the third Forester that I have had – they are the best!

    Reply
    • Andrew S.

      Hi Carolyn, you’re absolutely right — the Fit will be discontinued in 2021. That said, you can still purchase the 2020 model new and will be able to buy used for the foreseeable future. Therefore, we thought it made sense to continue to recommend it. Thank you for the comment!

      Reply
      • Used vehicles are a more sustainable option than having a new vehicle produced, so it’s fine to recommend models that don’t have new ones available.

        Reply
  • Ronald J.

    I’m on my second Honda Fit. I loved my first one but increased driving on metropolitan beltways made the standard transmission tiresome. I’ve got a 2019 with CVT and it gets 40 MPG! Plus I have plenty of cargo space with seats down. Minuses are the inability to put a bike rack on it, No CD player and AC works on both low and high defrost, so its too easy to forget you’re using AC when you don’t need it.

    Reply
  • Geraldine K.

    Brought a Prius Prime last Spring. I have solar panels that charge it every night and get up to 30 miles gas free every day, enough to do all local shopping and chores. Disposal of batteries is a valid concern but probably outweighed by the the lack of emissions.

    Reply
  • After spending a few weeks car shopping with a bad back, we were shocked to find so very few newer vehicles come with power driver’s seats. With a fixed seat, I have an achy back after about 30-40 minutes of driving. So, in my husband’s words, we got a power seat with a car attached. Most of the time, to get the power seat, you have to buy the top of the line, for many extra thousands, and get things you totally don’t need or want. We are in our 70s. While we do play some music on our way somewhere, the trip is the important thing. We don’t need 8 speakers and all sorts of fancy sound. And we shouldn’t have to buy all that stuff to get the power seat. AAA should advocate for power seats to be an option on lower cost vehicles. As the population ages, this will become VERY popular. If we could have bought a different vehicle for thousands less and paid a few hundred for the seat option, we would have gladly done it. We really liked the Honda HRV, which is smaller and just right for us, but no power seat.

    We got a new 2020 Honda CRV – AWD and while the seat is fairly hard (trying out some cushions this week), we love it. It takes quite a while to go from a 2010 Nissan Sentra to a 2020 with all sorts of fancy features, most of which we are still learning. But the first time I drove for an hour and was able to easily walk around, I truly appreciated the difference.

    Reply
  • Chris P.

    The car expert in the local paper was asked if you had to drive cross country what car would you drive, not a pickup or an suv. He replied “Toyota Avalon, it’s roomy, comfortable, economical and it won’t break down. I have been driving an Avalon since 2015 and I love it.

    Reply
  • My husband and I each have a Honda Fit and love them. Regularly get 40mpg. The back seats fold in such a way as to give very good cargo space. No complaints. My husband will soon be ready for a new car and is disappointed the Fit will be discontinued.

    Reply
  • Where are the Toyota products, specifically the Rav 4 hybrid? The best made cars and trucks in the world.

    Reply
  • EdRedSled

    The Honda Fit will not be available in the US for 2021. It is available in other countries (likely as the Honda Jazz).

    Reply

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