The best SUVs for seniors do more than just have room for the grandchildren. They should be easy to move around and ride well. They should also have lots of safety features that make up for ageing eyes and slower reactions.
For a senior to love an SUV, it needs to be easy to get in and out of, with wide doors and low door sills. And it should have an infotainment centre that is easy to use without a manual.
Here are our top seven picks for SUVs that are good for older people. Then I talk about why SUVs are a good choice.
1. Toyota Highlander – Top Pick!
Our top pick for seniors who want an SUV is the reliable Toyota Highlander. This SUV has a powerful V6 engine and enough room for up to eight people and their pets.
In addition to its roomy interior, the Highlander has a design that makes it very comfortable to drive. Drivers of all ages will appreciate this.
It also has controls that are easy to use and big pictures that make it easy to move around.
So even people who don’t know much about technology won’t have trouble turning on the music, taking a call, or changing the temperature inside.
But I like how easy it is to get in and out of the Highlander the most. The seat of the car is at hip level, and the door sills are low, so you can just slide right in.
At 24 mpg, this midsize SUV gets good gas mileage (highway). And if you want to save even more money on gas, you can get a hybrid car.
2. Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V is a practical midsize SUV with a comfortable interior and good handling.
It gets 34 miles per gallon on the highway, which is one of the best gas mileage ratings in its class. You could also look at a hybrid model if you want something that is better for the environment.
You’ll love that taller drivers can fit in the CR-V, which is hard for many midsize SUVs. The front seat has a lot of room for your head.
It also has the most space for luggage and cargo in its class, which is easy to increase because the second row folds down completely flat.
The 5-inch touchscreen for entertainment is a little small, but it is very easy to use. Even though we wish some safety features, like cross-traffic alerts, came standard, you can get them in the more expensive EX model.
3. Subaru Forester
The Subaru Forester is a favourite among seniors because it is affordable and comes with a lot of features that are nice to have.
Subaru is known for its off-roading abilities, which seniors might not use, but that’s no reason to ignore the Forester or its standard all-wheel drive.
All-wheel drive gives the Forester more grip, making it stable even on wet pavement or when it snows every once in a while.
Plus, the Subaru is the best when it comes to safety. For example, basic models come with automatic emergency braking and help staying in your lane.
The controls inside the Forester are also easy to use. It’s not too high-tech, and everything is clearly labelled, so it’s easy to change the temperature or take a call.
This SUV is a good size and has wide doors that make it easy to get in. It also has a lot of space for cargo. You can also add a liftgate that can be adjusted for height.
4. Nissan Rogue
For older drivers, the Nissan Rogue is a great choice. It has wide doors and unique door sills that slope inward, making it even easier to get in and out.
Plus, the Nissan Rogue has features like blind-spot monitoring, automatic braking, and rear cross-traffic alerts that make it a top safety pick from the IIHS.
Inside, the Rogue is pretty high-tech, but it’s not too hard to figure out how to use it. It has a big screen that you can touch and a heads-up display to make driving easier.
But those who would rather not use a touch screen can use the Rogue’s knobs and buttons instead.
The Nissan Rogue only has room for five people, so the seats can be quite large. So, the ride will be comfortable for both the driver and everyone else in the car.
5. Hyundai Santa Fe
There are a few unique things about the Hyundai Santa Fe that make it a great choice for seniors.
This car has a wide range of safety features, with standouts like safe exit assist. If you have wild grandchildren who like to get out of the car on their own, this feature is a must.
It stops people from leaving if it senses that another car is coming up or passing.
It also has front crash avoidance, pedestrian detection, and help staying in your lane, which is why the IIHS chose it as a top safety pick.
Inside, there’s a big touchscreen that’s not too hard to use. There is also a steering wheel that gets warm. Since getting older means becoming more sensitive to cold, it makes sense that this is something that many seniors love.
Also, the Santa Fe has roadside assistance that is available 24/7, which gives older drivers peace of mind. Help won’t be too far behind if something goes wrong on the road.
6. Ford Edge
For older drivers who might want a more familiar design, the Ford Edge is a good choice. Since it first came out in 2006, this car hasn’t changed much on the inside.
It has a roomy interior and a simple design. This midsize SUV has a comfortable ride and a lot of space for cargo, including several well-designed cubbies on the side walls.
You’ll love the recent updates to the Edge’s technology, like Ford’s Co-pilot 360 and the Ford MyKey system.
Co-pilot 360 has a lot of safety features, such as help before a collision, automatic emergency braking, and help steering away from a collision.
With the MyKey system, you can programme your car key to change the settings for each driver. You can set things like the maximum speed and the maximum volume of the radio, which adds an extra level of safety. When that key is used, the car acts the way it should.
7. Volvo XC40
If you’re an older person with a slightly higher-end taste, you might want to think about the Volvo XC40, which is a luxury midsize SUV. The Volvo XC40 is very reliable and is a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS.
The plush interior is very comfortable, and the car has a large cabin and a high seating position that makes it easy to get in and out.
The Volvo XC40 has a lot of technology to help the driver, and it even has a semi-autonomous driving mode.
As local laws change to allow self-driving cars, Volvo’s 2022 cars will be able to update themselves to fully drive themselves on the highway.
A car that can drive itself could be very safe, which makes the Volvo XC40 a great choice for older drivers.
Are SUVs Good for Seniors?
At first glance, seniors and SUVs might not seem like a good match. However, there are several reasons why a senior might be better off with an SUV than with another type of car.
Factor #1 – Entry Height
SUVs are easier to get in and out of than regular sedans because they have higher doors.
It can be hard to get out of cars that you have to get into by going below hip level. You have to basically do the second half of a deep squat. Most seniors would find that hard to do.
If the entry point to an SUV is too high, you’ll have to take a big step up. The steep step is also hard for many older people, who may have trouble keeping their balance or having strong legs.
So, a crossover or midsize SUV is often the best SUV for an older person. Keeping their doorways near hip height and not having door sills that are too high makes it easy for people who have trouble with their balance or strength to get in.
Factor #2 – Visibility
SUVs are better than small cars in two ways when it comes to visibility. First, large windshields make it easy for the driver to see the whole road.
SUVs are also easier for other drivers to see. You are less likely to sit in the blind spot of another driver, and if you do, it won’t be for very long.
The camera systems in new SUVs are also very high tech. Back-up cameras, monitoring for blind spots, and safety features all work together to make it easier to see. This is very important for older people who may have trouble seeing.
Other Factors that Make SUVs Good for Seniors
Many SUVs made today were made to be easy to drive, which makes them great for older drivers.
Inside the newest SUVs, you can find touch screens and voice control that are easy to use. But many SUV models still have buttons and dials for people who aren’t as good with technology.
Especially for people over 50, midsize SUVs may be a good choice. They tend to be easy to turn like a station waggon and have a good height for getting in and out. Midsize SUVs also have low door sills and wide doors, which makes getting in and out of them even easier.
Plus, they often come in hybrid or even electric versions, which help seniors on fixed incomes save money on gas.
What is the Safest SUV for a Senior?
Modern SUVs are safe for seniors to drive because they have advanced driving systems that can make up for some of the things that get worse with age.
Most of the time, the safest SUVs for seniors do well in this area and have the best technology for avoiding accidents.
They will also be very safe in a crash, so the driver and passengers will be safe even if the worst happens.
The IIHS says that the following cars are among the safest on this list:
Hyundai Santa Fe
The Toyota Highlander
We think the Subaru Forester is the safest SUV for an older person out of those. It comes standard with a forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, help staying in your lane, and a back-up camera.
All-wheel drive is standard on the Forester, which gives it great traction and stability control.
On top of all that, the NHTSA gives the Subaru Forester five stars for being safe in frontal and side crashes. It has a small chance of rolling over, but not more than any other SUV.
What is the Easiest SUV to Get In and Out Of?
SUVs with wide doors and low door sills are easy to get in and out of. Even though most of these SUVs are easy to get in and out of, we think the Toyota Highlander is the easiest.
The Highlander has a door sill that is very low. It is also narrow and easy to step over. Even for the second row, the doorways themselves have a wide opening.
Even though the second row is probably for the kids and pets, it has a wide walkway that makes it easy to get to.