Good first car for 68 year old female stroke survivor

I have a license and have driven cars prior to my stroke in 1989 but have never

had the responsibility of owning one… and all my car info is 40 years out of date. I am thinking USED.

If you have the dollars, then get a new car with a long guarantee. That removes much the stress of car ownership and that is good for anyone. All you need to furnish is gas, oil, tires, regular maintenance and with some brands even that is covered, license and insurance. If the car breaks, it’s someone else’s possibly expensive problem to deal with. New cars with multiple air bags and more rigid body structures with energy absorbing front ends are safer too if you crash or someone crashes into you.

Hmmmm. Thanks. Good points to think about!

What’s your budget? That’s the limiting factor. Also, how many miles do you expect to drive per week/month/year, and in what conditions? Do you live in the snow belt? Where will you be parking–on the street, or do you have a garage? When you were driving before, what was your favorite car?

If this is your 1st car at 68 years old you really don’t want a lot of problems. Some used cars are a lot of problems. If your budget allows you might go with a lease on a car like a Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Ford Fuson, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry. There are good lease deals now as the end of the year approaches. Leasing gets you into a new car with a lower monthly payment. If you aren’t going to drive more than 10 to 12K miles a year leases are good options.

If you want a “used car” go to a new car dealer and look for a “certified” used car. These are pricey for used cars but generally are lower mileage cars that come with a warranty.

BUDGET: want to spend as little as possible since I’m on a fixed income [taxable income of $30,000 a year]; I expect to drive mostly in and around my small town–I’ll let/pay others do any serious highway driving. I live in a high-desert community where we do have 4 seasons but the snow & ice are moderate. I’ll be parking in the open, but in a parking space designated for the unit I’m renting, way off the street. No past favorite car, plus
haven’t paid attention to cars for 30-40 years! THESE ARE WONDERFUL QUESTIONS, THANK YOU!

I agree with UncleTurbo’s recommendations below:

Honda Civic
Honda Accord
Toyota Corolla

But because of your budget, I would suggest buying used rather than leasing. You should be able to find something 2000 or newer with 100,000 miles or less for around $5000-$6000. If you find a Honda or Toyota that has been regularly maintained, you should be able to get another 100,000 miles out of it.

Get familiar with the website. It will give you estimated value of used cars in your area, plus very useful consumer reviews written by owners. For example, here’s what owners say about the 2000 Honda Civic:

And before you buy a car, have it taken to a local mechanic for a checkup first. It’ll cost you $100 or so, but you may be saved from making an expensive mistake, and you’ll find out what deferred maintenance needs to be done in order to get the car into good working order.

Thank you so much. These are all valuable points to know!

UncleTurbo made some good points in favor of leases in this particular situation, but of you should consider this there are a few caveats of which you need to be aware.

If you have a problem with a leased vehicle, you may be stuck with it for the term of the lease. You cannot decide to sell it, like you can a purchased vehicle.

If you find you don’t like a leased vehicle, you’ll be stuck with it for the term of the lease. You cannot decide to sell it, like you can a purchased vehicle.

If you decide to take a trip, you may be heavily penalized for the extra mileage. Your mileage on a lease vehicle is limited.

You’ll never, ever own the car. At the end of the lease they’ll take the car from you and you’ll have nothing, nada, zip…unless you decide to purchases the vehicle…the same vehicle that would have been 60% paid for if you’d bought it in the first place.

And beware of the advertised lease rates…to find the true rate you nee dto include the “$X,000 due at signing”. Generally, when you factor that in the lease rate is actually much higher. And that money is gone. Forever.

Thank you VERY VERY VERY much. I don’t know any of this, so this info is hugely helpful!

I think the Ford Fusion should be a good bet. It may be worth test driving. The only thing that Consumer Reports didn’t like was that the four cylinder engine is fairly loud when accelerating. I would tell them that nobody cares about that.

You might look at cars from dealers who let you bring them back if you don’t like them for any reason. Tell them the seat is uncomfortable or something. If warning lights come on during the buy back period, do not keep the car if you can give it back to them.

Look for the M.S.R.P. the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price and offer $1,000 below that for your “out the door” price. They can arrange the sale structure any way they want to as long as the total price you pay is the one you told them you will pay. They will make enough money on that.

Go there after lunch to test drive and try to buy the car. If they say they can’t sell it to you at that price, tell them thank you, I’ll go somewhere else because I have to buy a car today. They will probably get really cooperative after that. If they try to sell you more stuff like warranties or paint sealing, you are not interested. Get the deal done while you are still young.

You may want to think about a small sport utility vehice (SUV) such as a Toyota RAV-4, a Honda CRV or a Ford Escape. I am your age (in fact, I just turned 69)and our primary vehicles are a Toyota 4Runner SUV and a Toyota Sienna minivan. The seating position in most cars today is lower than it was 40 years ago. I don’t like sitting this low to the ground and I find today’s cars are hard to enter and exit. I have driven to conventions and been assigned cars from my institution’s fleet. For me, the Honda Civic was not very comfortable. I have a friend who is 90 and just traded his Buick LeSabre sedan in for a Toyota RAV-4 SUV. His driving is now town driving and he finds the Toyota RAV-4 much more suited to his needs than the Buick. This past October I made a 400 mile round trip to a convention and was assigned a Ford Escape hybrid from my institution’s fleet. I am 6’2" tall and found the Escape very comfortable to drive. My research partner is 5’2" tall and very petite. She also was able to drive the Escape comfortably.

My advice is to try a vehicle on for size just as you try on a pair of shoes.

You may want to look into vehicles sold by rental fleets. I bought a car from a rental fleet and was quite satisfied.


Thanks! I tried not to overload it with extra details. Those, you can find anywhere.

How do YOU feel your age,gender,medical history should influence the choice in the type of car you get? You are not saying "because I am 68 I need a car that offers “xyx” or "because I am female I need a car that offers “abc” or "because I am a stroke survivor I need a car that offers “def”

I know that I will need 2 specific assistive devices to drive safely [because of the stroke], I have scoped that out already; the other major thing is my TOTAL IGNORANCE
of cars because of not paying attention to them for 40 years.

So we can drop the “stroke survivor” parameter as you have this covered. Since there is nothing particular to vehicle choice because of gender we can drop that also. Now our parameters are “what car would be good for a person on a limited income (meaning can not buy new) knows nothing about cars and will have to rely on others advice when it comes to mainteance, and is 68 years old”? Hmmm?