Probably the most significant element of independence is the ability to drive oneself, and for many of our elders, this is something they're still quite capable of doing.
Here's Autobytel's list of the best-designed cars for elderly drivers, with one to suit any budget - actually, these cars sound terrific for us, too:
Just a few of the elder-friendly features: Hands-free trunk opening, automated parking, collision mitigation with automatic braking, lane departure warning, and rear cross traffic alert, plus favorable crash test scores, remote vehicle access, roadside assistance, and vehicle location services.
Volvo is a higher end brand, but its engineers design with elderly drivers in mind, furnishing its cars with some of the most supportive seats in the industry, and they have found a way to make blind spots virtually nonexistent. Many of the electronic driver’s aids everyone is touting these days debuted in a Volvo, and the brand's commitment to safety is unquestioned.
Just as with every other model on this list, the latest electronic driver assistance functions are offered. Also, the controls are simple to figure out and readily grasped by older hands. The steering wheel is adjustable for reach and rake, while the driver’s seat offers power lumbar adjustment as standard equipment. Camry’s crash test scores are very strong, too.
This high end model offers a Safety Sense package that includes smart cruise control, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, frontal collision warning, collision mitigation, automatic high beam control, and an abundance of other features beneficial to seniors including power lumbar support for the driver, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, keyless entry, push-button start, and a rearview camera.
Offers NASA inspired “zero gravity” seats, which are designed specifically to reduce fatigue by providing continuous support to the body from the hips through the back. The steering wheel is adjustable for height and reach, the size of the Altima’s clearly marked secondary controls makes them easily operated, outward visibility is excellent, and it offers the latest electronic aids.
The most often accessed comfort and convenience controls are within ready grasp. Lane departure warning and intervention, blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning and mitigation, and rear cross traffic alert are all available. Awarded the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ and the five stars from the NHTSA for overall protection.
Senior-friendly features include outstanding visibility all around, wide seats and doors, and a common-sense control layout, along with automated systems for preventing frontal collisions, and options like blind spot monitoring, large, easily grasped round dials for the audio and climate control systems, and OnStar for spoken turn-by-turn directions, remote car unlocking, readily available roadside assistance, and automatic crash notification.
All of the LaCrosse’s controls are legibly marked, while large round audio dials make basic adjustments easy. Its highly adjustable front seats provide plenty of support, along with heat and lumbar adjustments. Included among the optional features are adaptive cruise control, lane-change alert, and collision mitigation with automatic braking, and the OnStar system.
Finally, for our elders still seeking a bit of adventure, the Forester offers all-wheel drive standard, a cargo compartment with optional power operated tailgate, and a flat load floor. Subaru has ergonomically designed controls, and offers optional power adjustability (including lumbar) for the driver, EyeSight technology package with smart cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and collision mitigation with automatic braking. All Suburu's have strong crash test scores.