Remember when you bought your first car? What were the areas you looked into? Chances are, retail price, reliability and fuel economy are among the factors you considered.
Now that you are ready to retire (or already enjoying your golden years), you may need to consider additional factors such as mobility features.
And if you have certain physical or health concerns, it is ideal to consult your doctor to help you identify specific features that are fit for your situation.
Below are some things to look in for the best car for seniors:
A comfortable car will do wonders for senior drivers. Some models have power seats that can be adjusted in multiple ways making it easier to accommodate different scenarios.
Maybe you need the seat closer to the wheel to drive but then move it further back so you can get out.
Or perhaps your partner requires different seating position. Look for a car with memory setting so that you don’t need to adjust the settings each time.
Steering columns and adjustable pedals are also ideal. Some SUV models have liftgate that makes it a lot easier to open a heavy car door.
At your retirement years, you might find it challenging to squat or move sideways to get to your seat. So you may need a car with wide-opening doors, a tall roof line and a low step-in height.
You may also need to back up to your car, put your rear ends on your seat before you slide in. Non-fabric seats may be best for this case.
Some low-slung sedans offer minimal accessibility for some seniors. Higher SUVs might offer easier accessibility.
Easy-to-read dashboard controls are a treat for ageing eyes.
Many cars now are equipped with touchscreen controls, which can be a bit intimidating. But some of them can be adjusted for bigger fonts and high-contrast displays.
Some models can be controlled with voice commands, which can help you if you now have dexterity issues.
Look for cars with the best visibility to aid you in driving. As with all drivers, you need to see from every angle: back, side, and front.
Choose vehicles with big windows and installed with backup cameras. Higher seats are a wonder, which is why SUVs are more favourable than sedans.
5. Safety features
Older adults are more prone to injuries, so safety is a key concern in choosing a retirement vehicle.
Some safety features that are ideal for elderly drivers are the following:
- Backup camera
- Automated emergency braking
- Lade departure warning
- Blind spot warning
- Lane keeping guide
- Adaptive cruise control
- Driver attention warning
Bear in mind that these features are only meant to help you drive safely. You still need to pay careful attention when driving, and always clear with your doctor if you are still fit to drive.
6. Cargo Space
You need a car with enough cargo space if you need to haul things around such as scooters or walkers.
SUVs have more room compared to sedans. But sedans can help you hide your stuff from view in a trunk, while SUVs have open cargo rooms that you can access from the rear seats.
What About Electric Vehicles (EVs)? Are They Good for Seniors?
EVs have no combustion engine like diesel or petrol cars. They utilize electrical energy stored in a rechargeable battery to drive the car’s electrical motors.
The primary benefit of EVs is that you can avoid the rising cost of fuel as well as the high maintenance associated with conventional cars because there’s no need for transmission fluid or engine oil changes.
On the other hand, current models of EVs still take more time to charge up and have shorter range that traditional vehicles.
And while, there are now more than 3,000 charging stations in Australia, you may find it challenging to use an EV if you are not living in the city.
The cost of EVs are higher than traditional cars with entry-level model price starting at $45,000. But government incentives are available for those who want to invest in EVs.
For example in NSW, the government offers a $3,000 rebate on the first 25,000 new battery EVs with a Vehicle Subtotal (dutiable value) of less than %68,700 including GST.
And while the upfront price is a bit expensive, maintaining EVs are considerably lower compared to petrol cars.
Based on estimates by AGL, it is $1,346 cheaper on average to own an EV depending on the location.
IMPORTANT: Buying an EV car during retirement is a big financial decision, and you must speak to a financial advisor to check if it is the right option for you and your circumstances.
Looking to Finance Your Retirement Car? Seniors First Can Help You
Reverse Mortgages offer an alternative to generic car loans, often at a lower interest rate and without the requirement for regular monthly repayments.
Alternatively, if you already have a Reverse Mortgage with another lender and you are seeking a lower interest rate, Seniors First can help you refinance a Reverse Mortgage to a cheaper rate that may help preserve more home equity for spouses, children or other beneficiaries.
To help you learn more about Reverse Mortgage, you can download our FREE REVERSE MORTGAGE GUIDE.
You can also call Seniors First Finance at 1300 745 745 or post your comments below.
NOTE: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. All information presented here are of general in nature and should be considered based on your individual situation.