Today's article on cars for seniors

Today’s article was perfect in that I’m helping my mother find a replacement car for her 1998 Toyota Corolla. The thing that bugs me today in today’s cars is that the rearview visibility is awful. Senior have a difficult time reversing because of it. The article recommended the Mini Cooper and possibly the Honda Civic, but I was wondering what other vehicles might meet the criteria of:

Modest size for easier navigation and parking

Good visibility out of the sides, back, and over the hood

Seating is comfortable to the driver

Ease of entry/exit

Large, readable instrumentation

We didn’t think of the Mini Cooper, but we are considering the Honda Civic. We were hoping that the CR-V was still small enough, but it’s gotten substantially larger in recent years. A small SUV might be good because of the raised driving position and field of view. Any other recommendations? Thanks!!!

The Toyota Echo is great … if you can find a good used one. The seating is high so you’re not trapped in a front bucket, visibility is remarkable and the instruments are on the dash in front of you.
It may not be as “safe” as a mini, but costs a lot less, gets better mileage and is a kick to drive.

Hondas and the Cooper are too low for old knees. Is the new Taurus (old 500) too big?

What’s wrong with a new Corolla? If that doesn’t fit the bill, look hard at the Civic. My guess is the Mini will require premium fuel, and what sense does that make? The Honda Fit comes to mind, as does the Nissan Versa and Toyota Yaris. There are LOTS of small vehicles from which to choose, many of which have good visibility all around. If you’re looking at SUV-type vehicles (NO, please, resist the temptation), take a look at a Subaru Outback wagon. I have a Legacy wagon, and the visibility is excellent in any direction.

We haven’t actually tried the new Corollas, but the reviews on them haven’t been so good. I found that to be quite surprising. I’ll start researching the Echo. My mom is only 5’ 1", so the height might or might not be an issue. I guess that “too low” is relative. The only reason for even considering an SUV (yes, even mom doesn’t like the idea) is because of the raised driving height.

My Mom’s on her 4th Corolla. She’s 85, 5’4" and has a 2004 Corolla, which is the latest body style I think. She loves the car and said she has no problem with rear visibility. I have her 2000 Corolla, which is also nice, but the 2004 seems to be a more substantial car. Hope that helps.

You might look at the Honda Fit; it is a stationwagon/hatchback and very easy to drive. You can also equip he car with a backup camera kit, which can be a great help.

The Corolla gets bad reviews because it is largely the same car it has been for the last decade. It’s been a good car for Toyota and for millions of owners. If Mom likes the old one, she will like the new one. Speaking of new, there is supposed to be a new design for 2009, on sale as early as February 2008.

Honda Fit.