DEAR SAVVY SENIOR: Can you recommend any credible resources that rate the best vehicles for older drivers? My wife and I are both in our seventies and are looking to purchase a new automobile but could use some help choosing one that’s age friendly. What can you tell us? — Car Shoppers
DEAR SHOPPERS: While there are a number of websites that rate new vehicles for older drivers, one of the most credible is Edmunds.com, a top-rated online resource for automotive research information.
For 2014, they developed a list of “top 10 vehicles for seniors” based on user-friendly features that help compensate for many of the physical changes — like diminished vision, arthritis, and range of motion loss — that can come with aging.
But before we get to the list, here is a rundown of different features that are available on many new vehicles today and how they can help with various age-related physical problems. So depending on what ails you or your wife, here’s what to look for.
Knee, hip or leg problems: For comfort, a better fit, and easier entry and exit, look for vehicles that have six-way adjustable power seats that move the seat forward and backward, up and down, and the seat-back forward and backward. Also look for low door thresholds and seat heights that don’t require too much bending or climbing to get into. Leather or faux leather seats are also easier to slide in and out of than cloth seats.
Limited upper body range of motion: If you have difficulty looking over your shoulder to back up or merge into traffic, look for vehicles with a large rear window for better visibility, wide-angle mirrors that can minimize blind spots, back-up cameras, active parallel park assistance and blind-spot warning systems that alert you to objects in the way. Also, for comfort and fit, consider vehicles that have a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, adjustable seatbelts and heated seats with lumbar support.