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Best cars for older drivers

| Insurance

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to choosing a car, but ultimately it all comes down to your needs and lifestyle. Are you someone who likes to load up the car and hit the open road every chance you get, or someone who prefers to only get behind the wheel to run errands? Some of us will need enough seats for the grandchildren to pile in on the weekends, while others might prefer a big boot with enough space to store a mobility scooter or wheelchair.

Our complete guide highlights some of the most popular models and key features which you may wish to consider, to identify some of the best cars on the market based on safety, comfort, visibility and assistance technology.

Manual or automatic?

If you’re looking for an easier life, then you might wish to consider switching to an automatic. Automatic gearboxes make driving much simpler and are a great option if you have mobility problems such as arthritis that might make clutch control and frequent gear changes troublesome, particularly on long journeys. It’s worth noting that it is much easier to adapt automatic cars to accommodate features such as hand pedals than it is a manual car.
Here are a few automatics with consistently positive reviews and a variety of features and options:

  • Vauxhall Astra
  • Mini hatchback
  • Hyundai i10
  • Honda Jazz
  • Skoda Fabia
  • Toyota Prius

Small Cars

If you’re just looking for a run-around car to help you run errands and get across town then a city car is likely to be your best choice. Generally cheaper and more economic to run, these cars can save you money and are generally easier to park too. Here are a few options with relatively roomy interiors and cheap running costs: 

  • Renault Twingo
  • Skoda Citigo
  • Kia Picanto

Family Cars

If you’re planning to take longer journeys or need the space to drive friends and family around, then you may have a family car in mind. It’s worth considering some of these economical cars available to enjoy a spacious interior without spending a fortune: 

  • Toyota Prius
  • Vauxhall Astra Hatchback
  • Ford Focus Hatchback
  • Suzuki Celerio

SUVs and MPVs

If you need a spacious car that can carry a wheelchair, pushchair, or even a small mobility scooter, then a sport utility vehicle (SUV) or minivan (MPV) may be ideal. Some MPVs even come with sliding doors which can be useful if you have mobility concerns. Here are some cars which boast interiors of more than 770 litres:

  • Citroen Grand C4 Picasso
  • Audi Q7 SUV
  • Volkswagen Touran
  • Peugeot 5008
  • Volvo XC90 SUV

Cars with Better Visibility

Unfortunately, our eyesight and our reactions tend to deteriorate as we get older and so it’s little wonder that senior drivers have been found more likely to have ‘failed to look’ crashes. As well as taking advantage of free eyesight tests for over 60s, you could consider a car which maximises your visibility.

Quick-clear windscreens and larger mirrors are great features for visibility, and a higher driving position may also prove beneficial. The following cars all have good visibility:

Most Comfortable Cars

A car which has good lumbar support and plenty of legroom can make all the difference on longer journeys, and so if you have any trouble sitting for long periods then you might find these models a blessing.

Heated seats can also make a world of difference for your back and hips if you find your joints stiffen up in the car. Extendable seat cushions, adjustable bolster support and massage features are all designed to improve comfort whilst driving and could help you enjoy longer trips behind the wheel.

  • Skoda Superb
  • Citroen C4 Cactus
  • Honda Jazz
  • Volvo V90

Safe Cars

Feeling safe on the roads is vital, particularly if you’re out of practice or feel less confident. Safety tests have become much more stringent and challenging over time, meaning that manufacturers are constantly striving to meet the strict testing criteria.

As well as sophisticated airbags and seatbelts, many cars now include cruise control technology, which automatically adjusts the car’s speed according to speed limits or the distance between the vehicle in front and can also assist with lane control on motorways – all of which can help minimise the likelihood of accidents occurring.

Some of the safest cars tested in 2017 include:

Assistance features

Assistance technology on modern vehicles can make your car much more user-friendly, helping with everything from parking to navigation to driving in the dark.

Age Co Car Insurance customer data shows that the majority of insurance claims are related to incidents involving parked cars.* Ford has introduced Enhanced Active Park Assist to several of its vehicle types, and it uses inbuilt sensors to help with parallel parking and bay parking, as well as helping you manoeuvre out of tight spaces and highlight items hidden from view. While none of this technology is a substitute for sound driving skills, much of it could be useful to many drivers.

Here are some of the assistance features you may wish to consider for your new car:

  • Voice recognition navigation systems
  • Parking sensors
  • Reverse cameras
  • Adaptive lighting
  • Electronically opening boots
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Blind spot detection
  • Lane departure warning system

Best Cars for Older Drivers - Top 3

While choosing a car to suit your needs may seem daunting at first, having an awareness of which features and functionality can best support your lifestyle will make it easier to narrow your choices down. While many vehicles can be specially adapted to support changing needs, looking ahead and opting for a car which will meet your needs as best as possible in the long run will help save you money in the future.

With this in mind, here are our top picks from the small car, family car and SUV markets to help make your decision a little easier:

  1. Ford Fiesta - The Fiesta is a great small car which is very economical to run. It boasts a five-star safety rating and three-year warranty as standard, and its spacious interior, with plenty of leg and head room, high driving position and adjustable lumbar support, means it’s also very comfortable. It also comes complete with some handy assistance features, including a rear-view camera and front and rear parking sensors, which make life on the road that little bit easier.
  2. Toyota Prius – This hybrid is very fuel efficient, and many owners claim that it offers great value for money in this sense. With a fabulously roomy interior, it scores highly for comfort and accessibility, and features such as a reversing camera, DAB radio and Bluetooth are all included as standard. The Prius is also one of the safest cars you can buy, and you can even upgrade to added safety features, including adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning with brake assist for extra peace of mind.
  3. Volvo XC60 - Whether you need space for your golf clubs, a wheelchair or the grandchildren, the Volvo XC60 boasts a particularly spacious interior at 1,444 litres with the backrests folded down. The adjustable lumbar support and large windows offer superb comfort and visibility, while the 360-degree camera and a Park Assist Pilot (which performs parallel and 90-degree parking) make tricky manoeuvres a breeze. Not to mention it was named the safest car of 2017 by Euro NCAP.

If you're considering changing your car it's important to make sure you have the correct car insurance in place. Find out more about Age Co's 5 Star rated Car Insurance.

This post was reviewed and updated August 31st 2018.

* This data was gathered from the period June 1st 2016 - May 31st 2017 with claims analysis from all car insurance claims using Age Co customers. 

All facts correct at the time of publishing.

 Age Co Car Insurance is administered by Ageas Retail Limited and brought to you by Age Co Enterprises Limited.

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