Best Cars For Elderly Passengers

Old Lady And Car
Old Lady And Car |

By © Jorge Royan / http://www.royan.com.ar, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21374973

When looking for the best car to transport elderly passengers many factors must be accounted for such as:

  • Accessibility
  • Comfort
  • Ease

The best cars for elderly passengers have a few important characteristics in common. In this article we will go over what to look for when you are shopping for a vehicle for elderly passengers as well as we will list a few models to get you started on your search.

Elderly Passenger In Back Seat Of Car

Elderly Passenger In Back Seat Of Car - www.flickr.com

Entering/Exiting The Vehicle Safely And Easily

Entering and exiting the vehicle safely is probably the most important factor to look for when shopping for a car for elderly passengers.The passengers will need to be able to enter and exit the car safely in a variety of conditions ie. rain, snow, mud. As well as different surfaces ie. wet and slippery pavement, loose gravel, sloped driveways etc.

Generally the safest way for a senior to enter a car is “behind” first. They back up to the seat, sit down, then lift and swing each leg over, one at a time.

With this in mind we want to avoid a small car that sits low to the ground if we can help it. Crouching over to crawl into a small car can be painful as well as dangerous for a senior citizen. A small car is also difficult to pull yourself out of, especially if you lack upper body strength.

On the other hand a big truck that requires running boards to crawl up inside is undesirable as well.

Small SUVs and Crossovers can be an excellent solution as their riding heights fit somewhere in the middle of a small car and a big truck.

Will the passenger always be the same senior or different people? If you will be transporting the same senior, you can bring them along with you and have them try to enter and exit the various vehicles. Or if you can’t bring them to the dealership you can ask them what type of vehicle they find easiest to enter and exit.

If you will be moving different people or groups of seniors you will want to take more of a one size fits all approach and pick a vehicle that will be forgiving for people of all shapes and sizes as well as have enough room to comfortably fit all your passengers.

Once seated some other things to look for are:

Seat Belts

Ensure the seat belts in the front seat are not awkward to reach back and grab, Are easy to latch in as well as easily adjustable. Also that the rear belts will be easy for the passenger or caregiver to find and latch in.

Remember the elderly generally want to be as independent as possible and the more they can do on their own will not only make it easier for you but will also make them feel better.

Power locks and windows

Power locks and windows make it easier for the passenger to lock/unlock the door and open or close the window on their own. Also the buttons must be easy to find.

Power Seats

Once in the vehicle and seated, power adjustable seats will make it much easier to move the seat forward or back depending on if you have cargo or other passengers.

Door Handles

Is the door latch easy to find? It can be especially frustrating for a senior to try to find a door latch on some newer vehicles. The latch should open easily as well.

Storage

Do your passengers use wheelchairs or walkers? You will need a place to store them along with other things so make sure there is sufficient storage space.

There are many vehicles on the market to choose from that can fit your needs.

Now that we have gone over some of the things to look for in a car for elderly passengers let’s look at a few vehicles that tick off all the boxes.

New Option #1

2020 Chrysler Pacifica

The 2020 Chrysler Pacifica wins our first choice for the best car for elderly passengers.

Launched as an all new model in 2017, the Pacifica has quickly won over families as the number one minivan choice. The Pacifica has not changed much since 2017 so if you look around you might be able to find a nearly identical Pacifica as the 2020 for less money.

Notable Quote From Car & Driver Review Of 2020 Chrysler Pacifica

“At the top of the minivan heap is the 2020 Chrysler Pacifica, which excelled in much of our testing and is competitive with its rivals in other tests.”

Elderly Passenger In Back Seat Of Car

2020 Chrysler Pacifica - www.flickr.com

The 2020 Pacifica makes an excellent choice for a variety of reasons:

  • seating for up to 8 people
  • roomy interior that can switch from passengers to cargo in seconds due to folding Stow ‘n Go seating… no need to manhandle heavy seats like other models.
  • power sliding door
  • strong 287-hp 3.6 liter V6 engine that gets 19 mpg city and 28 mpg highway
  • excellent crash testing and features such as blind-spot monitor, rear automated emergency braking and rear parking sensors come standard
  • packed with cubbies, bins, slide-outs etc

Also available as a plug-in hybrid which gets 84 equivalent mpg.

In your search for a vehicle for senior passengers we definitely think the Pacifica is one of the first vehicles you should test drive.

Used Budget Option #1

Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester is a compact crossover SUV that has been available in the USA since 1997.

2009 Subaru Forester

2009 Subaru Forester - ja.m.wikipedia.org

The Forester is the winner of many awards including car and Driver’s 5 Best Trucks 2004, 2005 and 2006, Motor Trend’s 2009 and 2014 SUV Of The Year Award and The Car Connection’s Best Car To Buy 2014 Award.

Subaru is mostly known for their well designed all wheel drive systems which are great if you live in a state with snowy road conditions.

The Forester was one of the first crossover SUVs with the earlier generations being more like a car with a high stance.

The modern Subaru Forester is a 2 row suv with 5 seats. The cabin is even spacious enough to accommodate 4 6-footers and the doors swing open wide for easy entry and exit.

Used Budget Option #2

Dodge Caravan / Chrysler Voyager

Next in our list of best cars for elderly passengers is the venerable Dodge Caravan. The world’s first minivan, the Dodge Caravan has been produced by Chrysler since 1984. The Caravan is currently on its fifth generation.

2011 Dodge Caravan

2011 Dodge Caravan - uk.wikipedia.org

The sister model Chrysler Voyager shares a lot with the Dodge Caravan and is preferable if you’re looking for a new model (2018 +) as the later models are generally thought of higher than the Caravan.

While we don’t recommend buying a new Caravan as the current models (2020) is outdated (and in fact is being discontinued in place of the Chrysler Voyager which is going to manufactured for at least a few more years), used models can be had for quite cheap and their Stow N’ Go seating system is a worthy draw.

Seating Systems

Over the years Chrysler has integrated various seating systems into the Dodge Caravan that make it an excellent choice for elderly passengers:

Easy-Out Roller Seats

In 1995, Dodge introduced a seating system marketed as Easy-Out Roller Seats. The Easy-Out Roller Seats simplify the installation, removal, and re-positioning of the rear seats without any tools.

Once latched, the seats are latched to floor-mounted strikers. When unlatched eight rollers lift each seat, allowing it to be rolled forward and back.

Stow ‘N Go Seating

In 2004, Dodge introduced a system of second and third row seating, Stow ‘N Go, that folded completely into under floor compartments. It was exclusively available on long wheelbase models.

The system creates a combined volume of 12 cubic feet (340 L) when the second row seats are up and with both rows folded down, the vans have a flat-load floor with a maximum cargo volume of 160.7 cubic feet (4550 L).

In 2005, the Stow ‘N Go system received Popular Science Magazine’s “Best Of What’s New” Award.

In 2011 Chrysler re-branded the system as “Super Stow ‘n Go” with new pivoting head restraints and revised folding mechanism to make operation easier.