Every stage of life comes with different needs, lifestyles, and desires. You choose a car to match your life. As you get older in years, your vehicle needs also change. You might not need a minivan for hauling several passengers or the two door sports car you cherished as a single 30-year-old business professional. If you or someone you know if shopping for a car that fits with a senior lifestyle, here are things you should consider as you look at new cars for sale.
1. Ride height
You want your car to provide maximum comfort when you're on the road. Most people think that a simple sedan is the natural choice for an older driver, but many sedans ride low to the ground, which can aggravate joints that are already aching. Also, stooping down to get into a low riding car can be difficult some some seniors who have reduced flexibility.
One the flip side, a car that rides high off the ground is just as challenging to get into. You don't want to need to a step stool just to get into the driver's seat. So, the middle of the road is best place to start shopping. Look for small SUVs, sporty hatch backs, or crossovers that offer the handling of a car but with slightly larger tires that keep the car at a good height for getting in and out with ease. Large SUVs, vans, and trucks are often too high off the ground, even with step assist side boards. A generous space between the floor and seat will also allow for more driving comfort during your drive, especially if you are tall.
Another point to consider is accessibility and storage. A small SUV has larger access doors for people with disabilities, and larger storage capacity for hauling medical equipment like walkers or oxygen tanks. If your health is great and you enjoy an active lifestyle, these vehicles are also great for hauling bikes and sporting gear.
Every person has different preferences when it comes to technology in cars. Some seniors may dislike all the computerized components of modern vehicles, but if you embrace some the features, you can enjoy:
- heated seats. For joint pain and cold sensitivity, heated seats can feel great, especially in a cold climate.
- increased safety. If you're a grandparent who regularly visit with young children, you'll appreciate the back-up camera when you're pulling out of your child's driveway. You're less likely to hit a small child playing or to harm your car with toys that have been left in the way.
- hands-free calling. Bluetooth connections in cars make it possible for you to make and take calls without holding your phone. If you hate to miss a call, this is a great option to stay connected or to call someone in case there's an emergency.
Other more advanced features include traction control, which can help compensate for slowing reflexes, and sensors to prevent collisions should you ever happen to misjudge following distance.
If you want a general low monthly cost without the hassle of repairs, you might want a lease. Normally consumers buy a car in the hope that it will last several years. However, if you're less willing to sacrifice reliability for longevity, you might like the idea of leasing new vehicles where repairs are covered by the dealerships. Lease rates can be lower than loan rates, which makes them fit better into fixed retirement income. After the lease is up, you can buy the car outright or trade it in for a new one. Depending on your finances and how much time you'll spend driving, a lease might be a better option for your budget and your lifestyle.