New car for 80+ yr. old mom?


Mom needs to replace her comfy '93 Voyager. She wants a smaller car with leather power seat, windows, etc., but great visibilty and SIMPLE controls. (Detroit, Europe and Japan aren’t taking older folks into account with their complex controls and those stupid “teardrop” rooflines) Any advice?


If she wants great visibility, a small minivan type vehicle, such as the Scion B made by Toyota would fill the bill. Honda also makes the Element, a similar vehicle. My favorite small vehicle is the Honda Fit, a fun to drive, and economical car with great visibiity. No sure it comes with leather seats.

Ata her gae you might want to go for a backup camera system, which makes parking a breeze.


FWIW, my 75 year old mom has been buying new mid-size buicks (whatever they’re called this week) every couple of years forever. Apparently she likes them, I’ve never driven one but they seem pretty basic.


Buicks and Impalas seem to be the preferred vehicles for seniors. However, it’s possible to get leather seat covers, so maybe a Hyundai Elantra would fit the bill. It would certainly be cheaper to run than a full-size sedan.


I don’t have a suggestion for a specific car, but I will suggest you now have a special responsibility and not an easy one. While is is certainly possible for a 80+ to be a good save driver, it is also possible they are past the time they can safely drive. For her own sake and for the sake of others, please keep an eye on her driving abilities. It may be any of the many possible issues, but if you see one, it is time to be read to take action. Hopefully it will not be needed and if it is that it will go smoothly, but it is one of those duties of life that you should not shy away from. Good Luck and more power to her if she can still be driving at 90+.


Many states now require a drivers test every couple of years for people over 75. The 75+ age group has as high a accident rate as teenagers.


My mother-in-law just turned 90 and she still drives her Pontiac Sunbird every day. She takes a test each year now.

Seniors like power windows and door locks (which most cars have now)and they like visibility. I would recommend removing the rear head rests if she does not carry rear seat passengers. These very much block the view when backing up!

My mother in law has sheepskin seat covers on the front seats and would not like leather; too cold in winter , too hot in summer.


You might also consider something easy to get in and out of, like a small SUV. I know 2 people with body structure problems that own Honda CRVs. They just slide in and out; no up or down that puts stress on knees or the back. Your mom may not have problems now, but she might before she stops driving. As an added bonus she will still sit higher than a car, something she might miss after the Voyager.


Thanks, guys, for your input. She bought a Subaru Forester a week ago, and was regretting the buy, but has decided to keep it and give it a shot. The controls baffle her right now, but she’s studying the manual and is determined to make it work… unless of course, she changes her mind again (oy vey). We’ll see… I may get her in a Camry, CR-V or Accord yet! (or a retirement place!)


Since you seem to have a preferance for Japanese cars, put the Toyota Avalon on that list too-- or as it is sometimes called, “the Japanese Buick”.


I was going to suggest a Subaru Forester. Two sets of grandparents prefer the ride height as its easy to slip in/out of it. They also NEED the AWD where they live due to mud season and the snowy weather.

I think the controls are more a getting used to thing than anything else which gets really hard at old age. The controls of a Forester are the same essentially as a Camry, CR-V or Accord for all intents and purposes. They are standard Japanese fair and really now domestic too.


Mine drives a Ford Fusion - 1 year old with all the bells and whistles for $14k. Absolutely loves it…