Best cars for older drivers

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When I get to the point where I’ve shrunk so much that I can’t see over the steering wheel and I’m driving five miles an hour slower than everybody else, please take my keys away.

Consumer Reports published an analysis this week of the problems and issues facing older drivers. It said, “People 80 and older are involved in 5.5 times as many fatal crashes per mile driven as middle-aged drivers,” and says asking older people to give up their keys is a sensitive issue.

In my neighborhood, it certainly is. There is no public transportation. Without a car, you’re stuck. The 90-year-old woman who lives around the corner from me still drives her 20-year-old Crown Vic to the library and to get her hair done. The car is enormous; there isn’t much traffic; and she’s pretty sharp. But the one and only time I ever rode with her, she put a big scratch on the fender pulling out of the garage, and that made me wonder.

If you live in a neighborhood like mine, figuring out transportation solutions should be part of your retirement planning. Consumer Reports recommends that older people who are continuing to drive into retirement should buy a vehicle that accommodates their special needs.

These accommodations include easy access, good visibility, adjustable driving positions, straightforward access to controls, and some sort of electronic stability feature. It suggests these vehicle models — new and used — as cars that best meet these demands. The cars are listed in alphabetical order.

  • Acura RDX (2013).
  • Ford Taurus (2008-2009).
  • Honda: Accord V6 (2006-2007), Accord (2008-2012).
  • Hyundai: Azera (2006-2011), Genesis (2009-2012).
  • Infiniti M (2006-2010).
  • Lexus RX (2006-2009).
  • Mercury Sable (2008-2009).
  • Nissan Altima (2010-2012).
  • Subaru: Impreza (2012), Legacy (2010-2013), Outback (2010-2013), Forester (2009-2012).
  • Toyota: Avalon (2005-2012), Camry (2007-2012), Highlander (2004-2012), RAV4 (2006-2012).
  • Volkswagen Tiguan (2009-2012).

None of these vehicles are very sexy, but I suppose it is better to be safe than sorry.