I have followed your column for years and also enjoyed the radio show. I have never seen this question asked and need some real advice. I am 69 and I keep cars a long time. (Presently I have a 2007 Honda Accord with 220,000 miles on it.) I am looking to buy a new card in the near future, but am thinking about what features I might need as I grow older. I have a challenging time getting out of cars that are too low or too high. I also need advice on which features are BEST for Seniors. There are so many on cars now that I know I would not use and don’t want to pay for. Can you please recommend some models for me to look at? I am sure other Seniors will be grateful, too, especially as we are the only ones now who seem to actually read a newspaper! Please answer in your newspaper column.
I don’t think Ray will see this as this is part of the Car Talk Forum. This is the time of year when there are many new car shows . If there is one near you that is the best way to see many different vehicles.
As for best for seniors , that is subjective . My 72 year old friend drives a Corvette Z06 , I have a Ford Fiesta so that just proves you will have to see what fits you and your budget .
I too am 69, I drive a Mustang.
I don’t need to know what everyone else drives - perhaps they don’t have the problems with arthritis that I do. I obviously asked the wrong question in the wrong place looking just for some ideas to start with. Sorry I asked - I won’t do so again.
No need to be a grumpy bunny. I have a 2013 Chevrolet Equinox, it’s a good height for my 85 year Dad to get in/out. He has an easier time with it than my wife’s Sienna minivan with a higher seat.
I wouldn’t recommend an Equinox of this vintage though. Consider a Honda CRV, Toyota RAV-4 or a Mazda CX-7. A coworker and his wife like the CRV as they have both had knee replacement surgery.
You should start with the CR-V crossover and the EX Trim from Honda. Just a few of the senior-friendly features are; Easy in and out due to perfect hip-height doors, blind spot monitoring, rear traffic alert (great for backing out of parking lots) and driver assist systems that can react to a crash faster than any driver can. Give it a try and I think you will find it to be familiar in a good way, but much easier to live with. It is a Top Safety Pick and gets better mileage than your '07 Accord. New for this year is a 38 MPG Hybrid trim if you like to save gas.
Thank you so much. Very helpful and I’ll give it a try. Your reasons are just what I was looking for as a place to start without having to check out the numerous car dealerships just in my area of the city. I really appreciate it!
Consumer Reports had an article about best cars for seniors. If I find it I’ll post back here, but they did put the Subaru Forester at the top. Another factor - some prefer leather seats because they’re easier to slide into place on. I’d never thought of that - always preferred cloth - but now at 70 I’ll consider them.
You might try dropping by a Carmax and test fit several different makes/models. I’d try out the RAV4, Mazda MX-5, etc.
@ElizabethHarris. Are you satisfied with your present Honda Accord? Is it easy for you to enter and exit or would you prefer something where you sit higher?
I guess I am a senior but don’t like to admit it (I am only 78). My wife and I both like sitting up higher, so we have a Toyota 4Runner SUV and a Toyota Sienna minivan. We both have special needs: I frequently transport my fellow musicians and musical instruments to rehearsals and performances and I find the minivan essential. My wife, who is 9 years younger (your age) goes out in all kinds of weather to make calls on people in assisted care facilities and the hospital.
How do you use your car? Do you often have passengers with you? Do you live in an area with heavy snow where 4 wheel drive would be helpful?
You may want to consider the dealer as well when you have narrowed down your list to a couple of cars. I don’t service or repair our vehicles these days. I’ve found too many other things I want to do. In fact, I may need to get a job to retire from retirement. Our Toyota dealer treats my wife with respect and dignity.
Thank you so much for suggesting different elements for me to consider. (No heavy snow in Virginia except rarely - and on those days I stay inside!) I now have had several responses from kind folks really trying to help me and I appreciate the suggestions so that I can narrow down my options to just half a dozen.
I suggested attending a new car show if there was one near you because this is the time of year for them. I and other people mentioned what they drive to point out that one size does not fit all . You did not like those replies . So yes that was help .
It was not your response that I did not care for. It was those who let me know they were still driving a Mustang, etc. when, clearly, that was not what I was looking for. I’m glad they are still able to bounce in and out, but I obviously was looking for advice for a person who had physical limitations and was not anxious to visit every car dealership. I actually thought I was writing into the newspaper column and hoped that I would get a response that way. I had no idea I was writing into a blog and would get so many replies!
@ElizabethHarris. I have to try on a car for fit just as I have to try on a pair of shoes. My shoe size is 14AA. I can’t walk into a shoe store and come out with a pair of shoes that are comfortable. The same is true with cars. When Mrs. Triedaq and I were still working, we both had to travel for the university where we were employed. Both of us were uncomfortable driving the Honda Civics in the fleet. On the other hand, my research partner was very comfortable driving the Honda Civic Hybrid and her personal car was a Honda Civic. Mrs. Triedaq did a lot of traveling on recruiting trips and preferred the Ford Taurus over the other vehicles in the fleet.
Selecting a comfortable car applies to younger people as well as seniors. Back in 1959, my dad was finally in a position to buy a new car. I had just graduated from high school. My parents had a 1954 Buick and thought they would like to own another Buick. When we took a test drive in a new 1959 Buick, we found it very uncomfortable to ride in. The Rambler and Studebaker Lark were much more comfortable. Everyone in my family was tall, and the seating position and the ease of entry and exit was much easier in the Rambler and Studebaker Lark than the GM or Chrysler products of that time period.
If you want leather seating, the CR-V EX-L has them. We have a friend with bad knees, and she found that the CR-V provided the right height to slide in and out. She is 5’10” though. The EX-L does have power seats and you can lower or raise them to aid your entry and exit. Other SUVs in this class and similar trim level should have power seats with up/down too.
CRV EX has “flatter” (or “less buckety”) seats, so it will be easy to slide in and out, but also consider you will keep sliding front and back on it - that was my problem when I was given 2019 CRV EX for 3 weeks as a loaner, while my Accord was in repairs. As I was trying to compensate for that, I had to tilt the bottom cushion to to hold me better, but then I would have right leg uncomfortable where the front of the seat would create a pressure point.
I find Mazda seats more comfortable
One thing about leather (or pleather) seats, if you’re not used to them-- they tend to be colder in the winter and hotter in the summer, relative to cloth seats (particularly if you wear thin pants, shorts or a skirt).
Check out Buick Envision
That’s why I haven’t cared for them, living in WI and MN.