Surprised you didn’t recommend the fiat 500. Small car with upright seating!
I was listening to the show today (January 7, 2012), and heard of the woman who was searching for a car for her mother who had just had hip surgery and needed an easy car to get in and out of. She also wanted a smaller car. Click and Clack suggested a Toyota Matrix (on a corolla chassis). I have one of those and it is a good car, but I also have another car which is a bit better: a Scion Xb (2004-2006). The Xb is shaped like a toaster. It is built on a Toyota Corolla chassis. You sit very upright, and because it is also a small car it is right at ground level and easy to get in and out of. It is also very short (lengthwise), but tall (lots of headroom) and has great visibility. It usually has a small four cylinder engine and gets good mileage (hwy: 30). Toyota launched the Scion line to target generation Y, but interestingly, many of the people you see driving the Xb are older people. My wife and I love this little car; it is very fun and easy to drive.
I have a Chevy HHR, and my mother loves it! She is 87, and I drive her for her errands. She has always complained about how hard it is to get in and out of cars and fasten the seat belts. She says my car is the easiest one she has ever gotten in and out of. (By the way, she just had hip-replacement surgery too.) The car sets up a little higher than an average sedan, by not high like an SUV. My mother is also short, around 5 ft. The car is assembled in Mexico, but it is a Chevy, and most of the components and the engine are made in the US, so that should please your mother. Good luck.
I agree about the Colt Vista. I LOVED my Colt Vista. Handled like a dream (I lived in upcountry Maui, on the slopes of Haleakala,), and the engine was GREAT for the steep grades I was constantly driving. But I have to say the other part I have always spoken highly of was the seating. I loved how I was able to sit very comfortably in an upright position and excellent visibility. They didn’t call it the VISTA for nuthin’.
You obviously have not thought about car seats – or maybe you haven’t had any back trouble. The major thing to look for is an adjustable lumbar support and a seat that can be adjusted up and down, with plenty of head room so you can zoom up until your knees are below your hips. Volvos have good seats. I’m not sure what other cars do – my old Honda Accord is not good for the back, and that’s why I’ve invested in a wedge-shaped cushion to sit on and a back rest to fill in the @#$%^ concave bucket seat, which is guaranteed to give you back trouble if you haven’t already got it. On a good hair day I’m brushing the sunroof. You guys should talk to a back expert about car seats.
I’m 72, a hip replacement patient and love my Nissan Versa. I selected the car after riding in a friend’s Versa hatchback. I had tried Honda, Toyota, Subaru,Ford and others without sucess. Like Mollyh I do use a firm seat cushion to accomodate the always too soft bucket seat. The Versa has good head room for tall drivers.
I helped my mom buy her first “on my own” car years ago ( a Buick Skylark). It was a blast. Have fun.
I guess I need to add that the HHR has very comfortable front seats, and the driver’s seat in mine has adjustable lumbar support. (a necessity for me) There are no added cushions needed. I think that your mom will really like how it feels.
This is first hand advice for the lady who is wanting a compact car for her mother who is going to have a hip replacement. I have had a THR and I have a Chevy Tracker. It’s not so much the make/model of car, she needs to find something that is easy to get into w/o having to “squat” to do so. I think one of you actually said your Colt was butt high, that is what she will find the easiest for her. Any car she has to sit in w/low seats will be dificult for her to get in/out of. It’s not so much the ride comfort it’s the getting in/out. I actually find it easier to step up into my pick up then to get into some one else’s luxury sedan that I might have to squat to get into. Also regardless of the type of car she ends up with one thing that will help her getting in/out is to take a plastic bag, put it on the seat and set on that, the plastic will allow her to rotate on the seat w/o problems, this is especially helpful during her recovery time after surgery.
WHile I have not yet hit 70, I bought my current car based on having a sore hip from driving a 1995 Buick Skylark 4000 miles per month. The Skylark ran beautifully, and after 140,000 miles, i decided to get a new car. A major factor in the decision was the hip discomfort I felt in a bucket seat. I bought a PT CRUISER in 2003 which has served me very well over the 96,000 painfree miles i have driven it, and it has proven to be very comfortable. It also has a power seat for height adjustment. The seat sits like a minivan, more verticle than setback as in a bucket seat. Good luck.
Also, the Kia Soul is a small car with high seats
Another vote for the P T Cruiser - open door, stand next to the car and the seat is already at hip height for average person. No longer made; maybe find one at a good price?
Went through this with my mom last summer. The answer is a Hyundai Elantra Touring. The second easiest car to get in and out of was the Kia Ronda. They are the right size, the right height, and the space to swing your feet through the doorway is the best of any car we looked at. Went through Subaru Outbacks (seat too low), Foresters (claustrophobic rear seat), Nissans (only the Versa has decent visibility), but the Hyundai was the cat’s meow for my 76 year old mom. Great warranty.
I had a hip replacement myself. I am also short. I picked a Toyota ECHO(nowYaris). It is perfect.