This guest post is from Jason Walker. A huge fan of the hybrid, Jason would like to see cars become fully electric and possibly running on fuel alternatives, like hydrogen and solar energy. He owns two cars: one hybrid and one that runs on vegetable oil.
From 2000 to 2009, the U.S. population age 65 and older increased by 13%, and the number of licensed older drivers increased 20%, according to NHTSA.
Interestingly, the number of fatal accidents among that age group declined by 18 percent. A Huffington Post article attributes the decline in senior-involved accidents to more technology that supports senior drivers, such as grip steering wheels, better seat controls, better dashboard readability and back-up cameras. The NHTSA points out that senior drivers are less likely to be involved in fatal accidents that involve high blood-alcohol levels; in other words, senior drivers are the least likely demographic to drive under the influence.
Cars Built for Seniors
While the data point out that senior drivers are among safer drivers on the road in the U.S., AAA reports that only one in 10 of them drives a car that adequately suits his or her driving needs. The report doesn’t imply that every senior should rush out to buy the newest model; in fact, fixed-income consumers have a number of gently used, excellent cars that will serve them reliably for many years. Here are nine features seniors drivers should look for in new and used cars, according to AAA:
- Six-way adjustable power seats.
- Seat heights that measure between the mid-thigh and lower buttocks, which make getting in and out of the vehicle easier.
- Four-door models
- Thick steering wheels
- Keyless entry and ignition
- Power mirrors
- Larger dashboard controls with buttons
- Auto-dimming mirrors
- Large audio and climate controls with contrasting text
For baby boomers working to restore bad credit most used-car dealers have creative financing options that suit every budget and credit rating. For example, DriveTime car loans for bad credit are designed for consumers who have poor credit histories.
2005-2010 Toyota Prius
Reporting a whopping 46 miles per gallon, the Toyota Prius is not only fuel efficient, it’s also the most popular among the mid-sized five-door hatchback hybrids. You might find it difficult to locate a low-mileage one at a used car lot. If you do get one that has even a considerable amount of mileage, consider an extended warranty or a certified pre-owned vehicle, which passes a more stringent inspection and usually comes with a limited warranty.
2006-2011 Honda Civic
Offering drivers 41 miles to the gallon, the Honda Civic hybrid has been known to exhibit issues with its batteries, so the age if you buy used. Beyond this important factor, seniors might find this ride more enjoyable thanks to easy maneuverability and handling. Voelcker says that this hybrid looks nearly identical to the other Honda sedans and only Honda hybrid owners can tell the difference.
2009 Volkswagon Jetta TDI
Quite possibly the most efficient and senior friendly of the hybrids, the Volkswagon Jetta TDI has an EPA of 34 miles per gallon, but it’s popular among those who are fans of classic vehicles, because it runs on diesel fuel. Although it is higher in price, diesel is regarded as being a better choice, in terms of “being green.” It loves long drives, so you’ll have more opportunities to enjoy this hybrid in its second life.