Best Cars for Savvy Seniors

Smart choices based on the specific needs of older drivers

senior woman car suv GettyImages-166835144

Older drivers may no longer commute to work every day, but they might need a car for longer road trips or one that can easily fit a car seat when it’s time to pick up the grandkids. Either way, a vehicle that’s a breeze to get into and out of is a must. “Unfortunately, many modern cars have a sleek, low-slung profile that makes them a struggle to exit and enter,” says Jennifer Stockburger, director of operations at CR's Auto Test Center.

In addition, many new cars have touch-screen-based controls—some of which can be extremely confusing for drivers of any age, let alone those who are not digital natives—so we chose cars with the least-fussy tech. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t ready for adventure. All our picks have available all-wheel drive and plenty of room for outdoor gear, plus comfy and quiet cabins.

For safety, forward collision warning (FCW) and automatic emergency braking (AEB) are must-haves.

Key Criteria for the Senior Life Stage Score:
Advanced safety features, good visibility, easy access, no-nonsense tech and/or knob controls, quiet cabin, good ride quality.

Subaru Forester

2019 Subaru Forester

Subaru Subaru

Life Stage Score: 88

The same easy access that makes the Forester a great fit for a growing family makes it an ideal choice for older drivers. We’re especially impressed with its simple controls, standard safety features, and excellent front and rear visibility.
Price range: $24,295-$34,295

Read the complete Subaru Forester road test.

Hyundai Santa Fe

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai Hyundai

Life Stage Score: 82

The new-for-2019 five-seat Santa Fe combines unique interior appointments, supportive front seats, and easy-to-use controls. The cabin is roomy and quiet. FCW, AEB, and BSW come standard.
Price range: $25,500-$38,800

Read the complete Hyundai Santa Fe road test.

Kia Sorento

2019 Kia Sorento

Kia Kia

Life Stage Score: 82

With a third row that holds extra passengers in a pinch or folds down, the Sorento is a great choice. Its seats are comfortable, its ride is composed, and its controls are straightforward.
Price range: $25,990-$46,490

Read the complete Kia Sorento road test.

Subaru Outback

2019 Subaru Outback

Subaru Subaru

Life Stage Score: 80

Lower tailgate than an SUV, easy to get into and out of, and has standard AWD.
Price range: $26,345-$38,995

Read the complete Subaru Outback road test.

Honda CR-V

2019 Honda CR-V

Honda Honda

Life Stage Score: 80

Good cargo space and wide door openings for easy access, and options don’t drive up the price.
Price range: $24,150-$34,050

Read the complete Honda CR-V road test.

Other Good Choices

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.