Best Minivan with power-assist side & trunk doors to LEASE for a mobility-challenged senior

My mother is 78 years old and walks with the assistance of a walker. She has nearly fallen twice while loading her walker into her trunk after running errands. She has determined that she would like to replace her compact SUV with a minivan that has a sliding side door.

She has made the, in my opinion, smart decision to lease a newer car rather than buy a significantly older used one. I’m here soliciting advice on what makes and models to consider.

Some features that she does not currently have that I think would benefit her include: power-assist trunk, power-assist side sliding door (ideally on driver side!), button-press ignition, and remote ignition.

In addition to advice on makes and models, I’d also be interested in recommendations on where to look for a good lease and any senior discount programs she might be eligible for. She’s in the MN area and I am here with her to help for the time being.

Thanks in advance!

I’d suggest it might be time for Mom to give up driving. She won’t like that answer and you might not either but it might be time.

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This is a lousy time to buy or lease a new vehicle . All dealers are adding to the sticker price to make up for the lack of sales they were used to .

This is where your web browser can help . Most dealers have their vehicles on web sites and manufactures have sites where you can build a vehicle and see what options it has.

At the price that a van like that would cost she could use UBER or something like it for a lot less money .

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Since no one here will know just how a person adapts to new things the new van with all the bells and whistles might just be overwhelming for some elderly people .

We have middle aged posters here that can’t except those things.

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As an 80 year old geezer, I don’t have a problem accepting most new technology. When I sold my Chevrolet Uplander minivan to our son, and replaced it with a Toyota Sienna minivan, I wasn’t sure about the power sliding doors, but the Sienna we bought had these doors. I made certain my next minivan had the sliding doors. When I had a rental Dodge Caravan, the Caravan had a powered tailgate. I really liked this feature. I like the fact that I can pair my smartphone with the audio system in the Sienna and can answer calls with a push of a button on the steering wheel.
I like the automatic climate control in our present vehicles. A couple of years ago, our 30 year old dishwasher had to be replaced. I like the features on our new dishwasher that I had to learn.
One may have disabilities, but that doesn’t mean a person isn’t a safe driver. I have no disabilities, but I think modern features have made me a safer driver

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We have a 2019 Honda Odyssey EX-L with the power door and lift gate features you want. It also has a power driver’s seat that she can lower to get in and out of the van. It has a seat memory so that once she is in it will go to the comfortable driving position she sets. The van is also low to the ground but she will still likely need to step up a little to get in.

I also think she should give up driving. The EX-L has a list price for about $40,500. I mention the price because I don’t have easy access to lease pricing. I imagine that a lease will be in the $700/month range. Add to that about $20,000 in the first four years with a 4 year lease for fees, taxes, repairs, maintenance, insurance and gas. That is over $13,000 on average each year. That goes a long way towards using a ride service or local bus service if it’s available. We have a senior ride bus service in my county and that or Uber/Lyft might actually save her money.

The Toyota Sienna is the highest rated minivan by Consumer Reports.

Power sliding doors and push button start are standard equipment, power liftgate is available.

I don’t see anything that says the OP’s mother should give up driving. If her vision is good and mentally alert, a walking disability should not prevent one from driving.
I am going to rant for a moment. None of us know anything about whether the OP’s mother has a walking problem that affects her driving. None of knows about her financial situation. Maybe she wants the independence she wouldn’t have using UBER. The original issue was about the suitability of a minivan. Let’s stick to the issue.

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Only two options I’d recommend, the Honda and the Toyota. She can pick the one she likes.

Brother’s family just rented a Chrysler Pacifica with those features and he shifted into neutral at least once trying to adjust the radio. Don’t know what sort of discount programs Chrysler offers but fairly sure most brands aren’t doing great lease deals at the moment.

If I live to be 78 years old, I don’t think I would wait several years for a great deal on a new vehicle. The difference in retail price is insignificant compared to the amount in my retirement account.

This might not be in your price range (or even available in the cars you’re considering), but for any senior I’d add a blind spot monitor and rear cross-traffic monitor to this list.

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It isn’t age but how much she will use the van. I wanted to show that she would spend a lot of money for a vehicle that she probably would not use every day and when she does use it the drives will likely be short. In this situation it might make sense to use ride services instead of buying a new van. If she wants one anyway that’s fine and ride services might not be available where she lives in Minnesota.

I did that analysis when I graduated from college. One of the companies I interviewed with was an engineering firm in lower Manhattan. I determined that I could take a cab from midtown to work and back and then take another cab out every night and still have a lot of money left over. This was in comparison to renting a garage spot on the periphery of NYC and leaving the car there until the weekends when I might drive somewhere. Add to that the cost of the car and insurance. Had I taken that job I would have sold my car.

The difference between you and the mother of the OP is that you were a young person back then and probably not 78, although at age 80, 78 is young.
A car is a convenience for going to the grocery store, going out to eat, going to church and other events for me. One could argue that, being retired, Mrs. Triedaq and I don’t need two vehicles. However, we are both on the go a lot of the time. I don’t want to leave Mrs. Triedaq without transportation when I am at an evening band or orchestra rehearsal.
At our ages, we aren’t interested in saving money. We both worked hard in our careers. We don’t waste money, but we buy the things we enjoy and make life convenient for us. I bought a professional quality horn a couple years ago when I was 78. I didn’t know how long I would be able to play, but I am still playing principal horn in a chamber orchestra and in two concert bands. Sure, my old horn was adequate for a non-professional musician, but I enjoy having a high quality instrument.
My point is that if an older person has the funds, convenience and enjoyment are more important than saving money.

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If granny got an electric skateboard, she could save money for a college education. Is life all about saving for the future?

If my mother were alive, I would not hesitate to buy her a vehicle that suits her needs.

Is it any wonder people do not return to Car Talk?

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+1
As my mother used to say, “There are no pockets in burial shrouds”.

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I’m guessing that all manufacturers’ vans are of sufficient reliability, especially for the period of a lease. But she might find some easier to live with than others, such as getting herself and passengers in and out, stowing her walker, groceries, driver’s visibility, ease of parking (some cars self park now) operating dash controls, etc. Suggest you work with her to make a “musts and wants” list and take her around to dealerships to check things out. If she won’t be driving long trips and has a place to plug in, she might consider an electric (VW is about to introduce an e-van) and a lease might be a low risk way to try one of these.

A credit union might have Sr. discounts, or know of places that do. Also check with AARP, local Sr. organizations, etc. As my parents aged and drove less and less they found themselves replacing batteries that had been allowed to run down too far in winter (Northern Illinois). I wired a connector at the battery and got them a charger with a trickle mode they could plug in while parked.

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Minivan’s are in short supply and high demand around here, at least for the Toyota and Honda, used one’s are sometimes on the lot. VW’s van is to be available in the US sometime in 2023 as a 2024 model.