Safety First: The Best Cars for Older Drivers


Automotive Editor

Writing professionally since 1999, Matt Milano has covered the automotive industry extensively, writing about the latest technologies, makes and models the industry has to offer. 

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, Automotive Editor - March 18, 2013

One of the great things about retirement is finally having the time to do the things you've always wanted to do and see the places you've always wanted to see. The last thing you want to worry about on the road, however, is the safety of yourself and your passengers. In addition to the traditional measures of safety (crash test ratings, anti-lock brakes, etc.), older drivers can benefit from cars that have easily adjustable seats and steering wheels (to make it easier to get in and out of the car), high- intensity headlights (to make it easier to see the road at night) and collision avoidance systems (to alert them in case of a potential danger).

Whether you're taking a long road trip or just driving around the block, these nine vehicles from different manufacturers are excellent choices for safety and peace of mind.

2012 Honda Odyssey

When it comes to minivans, the Honda Odyssey is a real standout, offering a well-rounded blend of performance, economy, features and, most importantly, safety. It also features a tilt-telescope steering wheel, which allows older drivers to adjust it toward or away from themselves depending on their comfort level. Despite more stringent testing that began in 2011, the Odyssey easily passed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) tests. In all three crash tests, the Odyssey earned a perfect five-star rating for each seat position, as well as an overall score of five stars.

2012 Toyota Avalon

Like Honda, Toyota has long enjoyed a reputation for outstanding reliability. Debuting in 2005, the Avalon quickly carved out a niche in the full-size car market. Ample passenger room, upscale interior, powerful engine and smooth ride make this vehicle an excellent choice for the road, town and everything in-between. With the full gamut of safety features, the Avalon is a top choice for the safety-minded driver, earning a “Good” rating from the IIHS. The 2013 version will also feature a blind spot monitor with cross-traffic detection, and pre-collision avoidance.

2013 Ford Taurus

Subaru has long been known for their outstanding safety record. As a matter of fact, Subaru is the only car manufacturer who has earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick three years in a row for every single model. The 2012 Forester is no exception. As a Top Safety Pick, it not only scored well in crash tests, but has also been noted for better than average stopping distance. Like all Subaru models, the Forester also comes with all-wheel drive, adding that extra level of comfort in bad weather and on rough roads.

2013 Kia Sportage

In a segment dominated by bland offerings lacking in style, performance or both, the Kia Sportage is a breath of fresh air. Sharp lines, nimble handling, upscale features and good fuel economy make this SUV an outstanding value. In addition, a full array of airbags, antilock brakes, stability control, traction control, hill descent and hill start control, as well as a “Good” rating from the IIHS make this SUV a great choice.

2012 Honda Accord

When it comes to reliability, Honda's reputation is almost legendary, thanks in large part to the Accord. It's little wonder the Accord has been named to Car and Driver's 10Best list for a record 26th time. Best of all, the Accord has also earned a five-star rating in each of the combined NHTSA safety tests.

2012 Lincoln MKZ

Lincoln may be synonymous with old-school luxury, but that doesn't mean it lags behind. On the contrary, the Lincoln MKZ is an outstanding example of a modern luxury car with all the refinement one would expect. There's even a hybrid version that achieves up to 41 MPG. With a “Good” rating from the IIHS, the Lincoln offers the safety you would expect.

2012 Chevrolet Impala

“Tried and true” could be the Impala's motto. Aside from a new six-speed transmission and a 3.6-liter V6 in 2012, it's been several years since Chevrolet gave the Impala a significant facelift, and for many people that's a good thing. The Impala already had a good reputation for reliability and the 2012 model builds on that, along with better performance thanks to the new engine. In the safety department, the Impala scored a “Good” from the IIHS in side-impact and frontal-offset tests, and an “Acceptable” in the roof-strength test.

2012 Honda CR-V

The CR-V was already a popular crossover SUV before the 2012 model year...and now it's even better. Honda completely redesigned the CR-V, improving the interior, performance, fuel economy, road noise and adding a number of modern infotainment options. Like Honda's other models, the CR-V doesn't disappoint when it comes to safety, scoring a “Good” rating from the IIHS.

2011 Lincoln Town Car

When it comes to comfort, few cars come to mind so quickly, or so epitomize comfort, as the Lincoln Town Car. Ample legroom, a cavernous trunk and a ride that feels like you're floating on the clouds, are some of the defining marks of the Town Car. It's no slouch in the safety department either. Front-seat side airbags, anti-lock brakes and traction control are all standard. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Town Car its highest rating of “Good” in offset frontal impacts, while the Town Car scored a five-star rating in government front and side crash tests.

, Automotive Editor

Writing professionally since 1999, Matt Milano has covered the automotive industry extensively, writing about the latest technologies, makes and models the industry has to offer. 

Follow On: Twitter

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