Our driving and transportation needs tend to change as life progresses. As a student, you might be looking for something flashy yet, yet cheap to run, reliable and small enough to easily navigate through high-traffic situations. As a parent or family, a larger SUV with lots of room might be more appropriate. And as a senior, comfort and safety features will be higher on your list of most important features.

Luckily, there are lots of different car brands, models, and sizes available on the market which means there is something for everyone including retirees who might not be driving every single day anymore. In this guide, we are going to take a look at some of the most important features that most seniors prefer in vehicles.

Easy Accessibility

Our bodies tend to become a lot stiffer as we get older and it can get pretty hard to get in and out of a car when you have a few mobility issues. For seniors, it is best to avoid vehicles that are too high like some larger SUV’s, Cab Utes or 4WD vehicles that have higher rides. These may be more difficult to climb into.

It is also best not to get something that is too low to the ground because getting up out of the ride can be quite a challenge when you have sore joints.  It is best to focus on a vehicle that has an adjustable seat height that allows maximizing personal comfort. 

Wide door openings also assist in making entry and exiting the vehicle easier, especially if mobility is a concern. This seat height will allow you to easily slide in and out of the vehicle.

User Friendliness

You should always get into a car and take it for a test drive before buying. During the test drive, you will get a much better idea of what the driving experience is like. Are all controls within reach? Is it easy enough to reach the pedals? Some vehicles have a much more user-friendly design compared to older or more spacious models.

Is all the new tech, infotainment systems and screens a distraction and confusing to you while driving?

Some cars’ dash setups and technology are more user friendly than others. What suits you the best may be different to someone else. There are many varieties of cars that may have modern analog dash setups that suit you better than a one screen interface with no physical buttons.  A test drive is always beneficial before you buy to ensure you are comfortable with the way you interact and drive with modern dashes and infotainment technology.

Good Visibility

As your eyesight and reflexes speed reduces, it becomes more important to maintain good visibility. One of the key things as we get older is to have clear, uninterrupted vision in the front, side and rear of the car for everyday driving. This includes having large side mirrors and adequate lighting in your vehicle.

Cars with Bi-Xenon lights or LED lights offer superior night vision than traditional halogen lights. Higher specified models tend to have these superior lights as standard. This especially helps vision when visibility can be poor in adverse weather conditions while driving.

Both interior and exterior lighting is essential for clear visibility. Some modern designed cars and this includes SUV’s, adopt Coupe like styling that can diminish rear views and make cabins much darker in the car.  It is best to choose a vehicle that has large windows and that allows you to see clearly through all side and back windows. Vehicles with advanced features like a backup camera, parking sensors and blind spot warning can also be great assistance for reducing accidents.

Comfort Features

As you grow older, it will become harder to sit still for long periods of time. Good comfort features like thickly padded seats, seats with built-in back warmers, cooled seats in the summer, adjustable back & lumbar support, automatic cushioning, adjustable steering, ample foot space, and climate control can greatly ease joint and back pain when you are taking on a long drive. Some top line models even offer seat massaging while you’re driving. A comfortable driver is a safer driver.

Comfort can also translate into the noise in your cabin. Noise insulation and quieter cars can reduce tension and help reduce fatigue especially on longer trips. Cheaper cars can often have less noise insulation and transmit more road noise generally. 

Fuel Efficiency

Now that you are retired, you will finally have plenty of time to go and explore the world. This usually means a lot of driving. It is ideal to find a vehicle that offers good fuel efficiency. This way you can travel further at a more affordable price and you won’t have to worry about distances between fuel stations when you are planning your trips.

Compact Size

Smaller vehicles are much easier to handle. They can easily fit into parking lots, they are easier to handle in heavy traffic and they tend to be more fuel efficient. For most seniors, it is best to focus on a smaller type of car. These vehicles might not have as much room for luggage during travels but they will provide a lot more comfort on an everyday basis. 

There is however, always compromise in striking a balance between size, adequate storage and maneuverability. Everyone is different and your lifestyle needs vary so it is still important to ensure you have enough storage space for groceries, luggage and other items without compromising on comfort.

Safety & Advanced Driver Assistance Systems

Modern cars offer great safety features which were not available to many of us when we first started driving. These aids are so important to younger drivers who can be at higher risk on the road. These increased risks can also apply to older drivers as reaction times can slow or visibility and hearing can diminish, despite the vast years of experience and excellent driving records.

Modern safety systems like Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) High Speed-Low Speed, Lane Departure Warning & Assist (LDW) (LDA), Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Pedestrian Warning & Avoidance (PWA) and Active Cruise Control (ACC) are all system that combine to help avoid accidents. They are passive systems that are working for you that you are rarely aware of while driving and can be life saving. 

Older drivers when looking for a newer car should try and incorporate in their budget some or all these safety features. Generally, buying a car is not an investment but arguably stretching your budget to include these safety aids would be considered an investment into safer driving.

If you are looking for the perfect car for grandpa, grandma or if you are looking for a vehicle that is reliable and easy to drive for yourself then you should consider the services of My Next Car Buying Advocacy. We will help you look for the right car for your needs, safety and budget so you can enjoy the best functionality no matter where you choose to go. 

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