Best Cars for Every Life Stage

    Here are CR's recommendations for every new corner you turn over the years

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    What prompts a new car purchase is often a change in your personal life. A bigger family may have you thinking more about extra seating and storage than you used to. A new job in a more far-flung location may have you craving cabin comfort. Downsizing may turn your mind to a small, sporty car.

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    That’s why we created these curated lists of the best vehicles for key life stages. For this guide, we combed through the hundreds of data points we collect on every vehicle we test, and—for the first time—ranked them according to the specific criteria we judged to be important for each milestone. So, for instance, there's “easy car-seat installation” for new families or “good visibility” for seniors. You’ll see a specially created score from 0 to 100 in each category for just this purpose.

    Regardless of the life stage, all the cars listed here are CR recommended models and have high Overall Scores in their categories. That’s because we believe any vehicle you drive should be reliable, have key safety features, and get good fuel economy and performance for its class.

    Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the March 2019 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.


    Head shot photo of CRO Cars CIA editor Keith Barry

    Keith Barry

    Despite my love for quirky, old European sedans like the Renault Medallion, it's my passion to help others find a safe, reliable car that still puts a smile on their face—even if they're stuck in traffic. When I'm not behind the wheel or the keyboard, you can find me exploring a new city on foot or planning my next trip.