Thanks to automakers, you can enjoy driving well into your golden years -- because there are plenty of cars on the market that cater to an older population. Check out our picks for the best affordable models based on ease of access, comfort and controls.
|Easy Access||Super-Comfy |
MSRP: $16,190 - $21,850
The 2009 Matrix makes good use of its tall design to aid comfort. Consumer Guide says its offers "generous headroom and chair-high seats that are firm and supportive." In addition, it comes standard with a tilt and telescopic steering column and driver's-seat height adjuster. For drivers with more severe mobility problems, Toyota offers a special Mobility Upgrade Package on many of its vehicles. The Matrix is available with manual swivel seats, hand controls, left-foot accelerators or wheelchair/scooter lifts. On the inside, the Matrix features a dash that caters to those with weakening vision. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, "Backlit gauges are easily read" and "climate controls are especially large."
MSRP: $19,995 - $19,995
The 2009 Forester's front seats are just the right height so that passengers don't have to bend too much or step up. A height-adjustable driver's seat is standard, and New Car Test Drive says, "There's headroom even when you jack the height-adjustable driver's seat to the top." The Forester also provides lumbar adjustment to help both front-seat occupants avoid backaches. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram found the front buckets "comfortable for even a daylong drive." The only downside for older drivers, as Cars.com points out, is that "the steering wheel in most models only tilts, and its adjustment range is limited."
MSRP: $21,995 - $34,195
The Subaru Outback, our top-ranked full-size wagon, has a similar stance to the Forester. MSN is one of several reviewers to note, "It's easy to slide in and out, and front seats are very supportive." Even better, the Outback's straightforward dash layout features large controls and simple gauges. U.S. News reviewer Rick Newman calls it "understated and spare, with minimal clutter."
MSRP: $23,635 - $29,470
The Ford Taurus, formerly the Five Hundred, may be a sedan, but its high seating position makes getting inside easy. Newsday describes the seats as "dining room chair-high" and Edmunds says seating position should "make for easier ingress/egress." Power-adjustable front seats are standard, while heated seats and power-adjustable pedals are optional. However, the Taurus comes with one downside for older drivers -- though the gauges are easy to read, Consumer Guide says "climate controls comprise many lookalike buttons and sometimes hard-to-read electronic displays, all set too low for easiest use."
MSRP: $25,150 - $42,405
One of the pricier cars on our list, the Chrysler 300 boasts quite a comfortable cabin -- and a stylish, more youthful exterior to boot. The front seats, which feature adjustable lumbar support, "provide excellent lower back and thigh support," says Kelley Blue Book. And MSN notes that the 300's big door handles "allow easy entry and exit." On the inside, some reviewers are a bit disappointed in the quality of materials, but they praise the simple layout. MSN says the gauges have a "nice classic style" and "can be easily read."
$27,325 - $34,665
The Toyota Avalon sedan seems like it must be tailor-made for an older demographic. AutoWeek says it's "so comfy that it practically reads you a bedtime story," and calls it "coddling and soothing." Kelley Blue Book points out that its wide-opening doors "have three-stage door checks to ease entry and exit." In addition, Consumer Guide says "Legible gauges are lit crisply at night" and Car and Driver reports the Avalon has "splendidly legible instruments." Best of all, the Limited model comes with both ventilated seats and a seat-cushion length adjuster. As part of Toyota's Mobility Upgrade Package, the Avalon is available with wheelchair/scooter lifts, hand controls and left-foot accelerators.