(WWJ) People are living longer than ever and with more active, fulfilling, busy lives thanks to medical technology and healthy behavior driven by scientific data.
That means a lot of older drivers, those over the age of 65, are on the road more than ever before, with more than 40 million carrying a driver’s license.
With an eye toward their specific needs, Consumer Reports has compiled a list of the Top 25 New Cars for Senior Drivers.
“Senior drivers need a car that’s easy to get into and out of, with controls that are easy to reach and intuitive to use, among other features,” said Jake Fisher, Director of Automotive Testing for Consumer Reports. “Our picks combine reliability, safety, and senior-friendly features.”
So, who’s the winner? Turns out Subaru churns out some mighty fine rides for those of all ages, especially older drivers.
The top five on CR’s list of Top 25 New Cars for Senior Drivers are:
- Subaru Forester ($22,595 – $34,295)
- Subaru Outback ($25,645 – $38,640)
- Kia Soul ($16,100 – $35,950)
- Subaru Legacy ($21,995 – $31,640)
- Kia Sportage ($23,200 – $34,200)
It’s ironic because the Forester is geared to young families, WWJ auto reporter Jeff Gilbert said, and the Kia Soul is marketed to millennials.
“The Soul is kind of this funky, boxy car where you sit upright, the controls are super easy and Kia’s reliability lately has been excellent,” said Consumer Reports’ content expert Mike Quincy said.
Consumer Reports determined the rankings on the list by giving special consideration and extra weighting to specific features it determined are essential for senior drivers, such as: front-seat access that makes vehicle entry easier for those with physical limitations, visibility with cars that enable tall, medium, and shorter drivers to see out of the front, sides, and back of the car, controls that are easy to reach and intuitive to use, and headlights that are powerful and make driving at night easier for people with decreasing or compromised vision.
All the cars are recommended by CR and earned an Overall Score of Excellent or Very Good in their respective categories.
The complete list is available on CR.org and in the July issue of Consumer Reports magazine, as is a new report by CR entitled Driving Safer, Driving Longer.
Although there are challenges, including physical and/or cognitive limitations, that may come with old age, senior drivers crash less (per mile) than teens, according to data reviewed by CR. And perhaps surprisingly, a CR survey of nationwide drivers revealed that older motorists (ages 75+) were less likely than younger ones (ages 18-29) to report difficulties and errors in the previous six months such as difficulty merging into traffic or changing lanes, driving through a stop sign or red light, accidentally putting the car in reverse instead of drive, or having difficulty adjusting to faster traffic around them.
“There are important benefits for seniors who can continue to drive as long as they safely can, and there are real challenges for those who outlive their ability to do so,” added Fisher. “Our report details the promising research and innovation that’s currently ongoing that will help meet the challenges.”