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What Are the Best Cars for Seniors?

Merritt Whitley
By Merritt WhitleyAugust 22, 2020
Elderly man driving.

The best cars for seniors take advantage of advanced technologies to protect drivers and ease the task of driving as you age. Newer safety features such as high beam assistance or blind spot detection can be particularly helpful for seniors.

Each year, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) performs annual safety tests to scientifically gauge the effectiveness of vehicle safety features. IIHS evaluates headlights, roof strength, head restraints, seats, and more. They also perform a number of crash collision tests to determine how well a car can prevent injuries.

Find out which safety features are useful when searching for the best vehicles for seniors, and learn about the top small, mid-size, and luxury choices from IIHS.

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Which safety features are important for seniors?

Having access to reliable safety technology is imperative on the road. Aging can cause changes in vision or reaction times, which can make seniors susceptible to accidents.

Luckily, technological advancements can provide drivers with an extra pair of eyes and ears. The following safety features can keep seniors feeling safe and comfortable behind the wheel:

  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC).This system uses special sensors to maintain a safe distance between your car and the one in front of you. The control is especially useful for long-distance trips on the highway. A car with this type of cruise control can automatically brake or accelerate to let you safely follow other drivers. This includes slamming on the brakes if needed to avoid an unexpected accident.
  • Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB). The purpose of an AEB system is to help drivers react more quickly to emergencies. If sensors detect a potential collision, they apply the brakes right away. The brake isn’t supposed to replace staying awake at the wheel, but it can help older adults to improve response times in emergencies.
  • Lane Departure Warning. This system lets you know if the vehicle is starting to drift. It keeps track of the white lines on the road and sounds an alert if it notices the car leaving its lane. 
  • Rear-View Cameras.This safety feature can be a huge help for older adults who may experience pain when repeatedly turning their neck to look back.  A screen shows what’s behind the automobile to help prevent collisions when backing up.
  • Blind Spot Detection. Blind spot detection uses sensors to warn drivers when there’s a vehicle in the car’s blind spot. Usually, small lights appear on the door mirrors when other cars approach from behind.

Top car safety picks by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety

IIHS award winners include a range of small, mid-size, and large vehicles that passed a series of calculated safety and collision tests. Although the list features several small vehicles options, IIHS notes larger and heavier vehicles tend to provide better protection overall.

1. Top small car for senior drivers: 2020 Honda Civic SI

The 2020 Honda Civic four-door sedan ranks very well in crashworthiness. It also earned a five-star rating for overall safety by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The 2020 Honda Civic four-door sedan ranks very well in crashworthiness. It also earned a five-star rating for overall safety by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The Honda Civic includes anti-lock braking systems, tire pressure monitoring, multi-angle rear view cameras, and front and passenger seat belt reminders.

Price: $25,200

2. Top mid-size car for senior drivers: 2020 Nissan Maxima 

The 2020 Nissan Maxima four-door sedan includes safety features for seniors, such as road-gripping technology to reduce wheel spin in low-traction situations. It also has forward collision technology that can monitor up to two cars ahead to detect deceleration and sudden stops.

The 2020 Nissan Maxima four-door sedan includes safety features for seniors, such as road-gripping technology to reduce wheel spin in low-traction situations.

Price: $34,250

3. Top mid-size luxury car for senior drivers: 2020 Tesla Model 3

The 2020 Tesla Model 3 electric four-door sedan has high-tech features that assist with changing lanes safely, parallel parking, and more.

The 2020 Tesla Model 3 electric four-door sedan has a metal structure comprised of metal and aluminum for strength — even with an all-glass roof, it can resist four times its own mass. Its high-tech features assist with changing lanes safely, parallel parking, and more. The Tesla is fully electric and can be charged at home or at one of the 17,000 charging stations around the U.S.

Price: $37,990

4. Top large luxury car for senior drivers: 2020 Audi A6

The 2020 Audi A6 four-door sedan includes assistive technology for seniors, including a rain and light sensor to prompt automatic headlights and windshield wipers.

The 2020 Audi A6 four-door sedan includes assistive technology for seniors, including a rain and light sensor to prompt automatic headlights and windshield wipers. It has a voice-controlled navigation system, an anti-theft alarm system, and advanced airbag protection with six airbags.

Price: $54,900

5. Top small SUV for senior drivers: 2020 Subaru Forester 

The Subaru Forester features pre-collision breaking, a rear-vision camera, and reverse automatic breaking, so the vehicle can stop quickly to avoid unexpected objects.

The 2020 Subaru Forester SUV received multiple superior scores in its crash prevention tests from IIHS. It features pre-collision breaking, a rear-vision camera, and reverse automatic breaking, so the vehicle can stop quickly to avoid unexpected objects.

Price: $24,495

6. Top mid-size SUV for seniors: 2020 Mazda CX-9

The 2020 Mazda CX-9 midsize SUV has advanced lighting features to improve seniors’ vision on the road, especially at night.

The 2020 Mazda CX-9 midsize SUV has advanced lighting features to improve seniors’ vision on the road, especially at night. It also includes a specialized braking system, which can detect vehicles or pedestrians, and can either send a warning or stop immediately to avoid collisions.

Price: $33,890

7. Top mid-size luxury SUV for seniors: 2020 Lexus NX

The 2020 Lexus NX SUV features Lexus Enform, which provides emergency assistance, onboard Wi-Fi, and the ability to start the engine remotely using a smartphone or smartwatch.

The 2020 Lexus NX SUV features Lexus Enform, which provides emergency assistance, onboard Wi-Fi, and the ability to start the engine remotely using a smartphone or smartwatch. It features intelligent high beams to provide safer visibility for seniors on the road, and scored highly on IIHS’s beam and collision test.

Price: $36,870

8. Top large luxury SUV for seniors: 2020 Audi e-tron Sportback

The 2020 Audi e-tron Sportback is a luxury all-electric crossover SUV that includes multiple 360-degree cameras in front, behind, and on both sides of the car. It earned a five-star safety rating from NHTSA.

The 2020 Audi e-tron Sportback is a luxury all-electric crossover SUV. It can be charged at home or on the road; a 10-minute charge is equal to 54 miles. The vehicle also includes multiple 360-degree cameras in front, behind, and on both sides of the car. It earned a five-star safety rating from NHTSA.

Price: $77, 400

Merritt Whitley
Author
Merritt Whitley

Merritt Whitely is an editor at A Place for Mom. She developed health content for seniors at Hearing Charities of America and the National Hearing Aid Project. She’s also managed multiple print publications, blogs, and social media channels for seniors as the marketing manager at Sertoma, Inc.

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