Luxury Sedan: Lincoln Continental
Courtesy of lincoln.com

18 Popular Cars for Drivers Over 50

View Slideshow
Luxury Sedan: Lincoln Continental
Courtesy of lincoln.com

Golden Rides for Your Golden Years

The flashy muscle car you coveted not long after getting your license may not be the best choice when you’re staring down retirement. Fortunately, there are plenty of cars on the market that offer a great blend of practicality, value, reliability and performance to satisfy most older drivers.

To make our picks, we consulted reviews from sources including U.S. News, Consumer Reports and Car and Driver, as well as safety tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. We considered features that are especially important for older drivers like advanced safety technologies, ride comfort, and easy access; we also kept a practiced eye on prices, except in the case of luxury picks.

Related: The Cheapest New Cars and Trucks of 2019

Hyundai Sonata
Courtesy of hyundaiusa.com

Smart Sedan: Hyundai Sonata

Starting price: $22,500
The spacious Hyundai Sonata is the total package for a practical retiree who would rather drive a mid-size sedan instead of an SUV. You won’t be burning money at the fuel pump (it gets 35 mpg on the highway) and it has a more budget-friendly price than its chief competitors, especially at top trim levels. It also rates well for reliability, visibility, and easy-to-use controls, plus has an excellent safety pedigree as an IIHS Top Safety Pick+.

Feature to watch for: Blind-spot detection, lane-change assist and a rear-view camera are standard on every model.

Kia Optima Hybrid

Smart Sedan: Kia Optima

Starting price: $22,990
The Hyundai Sonata has some stiff competition in the form of the Kia Optima, with an equally wallet-friendly starting price and similar fuel economy. It also earns praise for easy-to-understand controls and a host of standard safety features that include blind-spot detection, forward and rear collision warning, and much more. Like the Sonata, it’s also an IIHS Top Safety Pick+.

Feature to watch for: A park-distance warning system comes standard, making this a great pick for urban dwellers who may have to parallel park regularly.

Subaru Forester
Courtesy of subaru.com

Sporty Small SUV: Subaru Forester

Starting price: $24,295
An IIHS Top Safety Pick+, the Subaru Forester hits that SUV sweet spot: It’s big enough to make getting in and out a lot easier than a low-to-the-ground sedan, but not so big that it’s hard to handle on the road. Good visibility, simple controls, solid reliability, and great fuel economy (33 mpg on the highway) also make it a compelling choice for an older driver. If you live in a snowy climate, you’ll be especially happy to know that all-wheel drive comes standard.

Features to watch for: Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist is standard. It blends adaptive cruise control, lane monitoring, pre-collision braking and pre-collision throttle management.

Related: Most Iconic SUVs of All Time

Mazda CX-5
tomeng/istockphoto

Sporty Small SUV: Mazda CX-5

Starting price: $24,350
Who says your practical car can’t be fun to drive? The Mazda CX-5 has carved out a niche as a small SUV that’s “geared more toward sporty driving dynamics,” Motor Trend notes. It earns experts’ kudos for a comfortable, quiet ride and doors that open wide, allowing for easy access. It’s also an IIHS Top Safety Pick+. All-wheel drive is an option on every model, but standard on the top two trims.

Feature to watch for: You’ll get blind-spot warning, a rear-view camera and rear cross-traffic alerts on every model.

Honda Fit
Courtesy of automobiles.honda.com

Dynamic Compact: Honda Fit

Starting price: $16,190
Barring any severe mobility issues that make a compact car a no-go, the Honda Fit is an ideal choice for older drivers who want a car that’s inexpensive, reliable and versatile — it’s even “surprisingly easy to get in and out of,” according to Autobytel. It’s a fuel sipper, getting up to 36 mpg on the highway, and the rear “Magic Seat” folds completely flat to accommodate bicycles, fishing gear, golf clubs, or whatever else your hobbies require.

Features to watch for: The Honda Sensing safety suite includes adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation, lane-keeping assistance, and more. It’s standard on the Fit EX and EX-L models.

Dynamic Compact: Volkswagen Golf GTI
Courtesy of vw.com

Dynamic Compact: Volkswagen Golf GTI

Starting price: $27,595
There’s a big price jump from the Fit to the Volkswagen Golf GTI, but what you get in return is a much sportier ride for drivers who still want to have some fun behind the wheel. Car and Driver raves that the GTI is “a practically perfect performance car for everyone,” and that includes older drivers who will appreciate the cabin’s good visibility, luxurious feel, and comfortable, easy-to adjust driver’s seat and steering wheel.

Features to watch for: The 8-inch touchscreen display is large and bright, making getting where you’re going or finding the right tune easy. It’s standard on the top three trims.

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
Courtesy of chrysler.com

Grandkid Hauler: Chrysler Pacifica

Starting price: $26,985
You might be retired, but if you’re pitching in to help shuttle grandkids around town, a minivan can be a practical buy. The Chrysler Pacifica seats eight and gets high marks for a smooth, quiet ride, easy access and clear controls; it’s also an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ for 2019. Even better, it boasts a lower starting price than the other stalwarts of its class like the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.

Features to watch for: Lots of safety features come standard, including blind-spot and cross-path detection, rear park assist, and a backup camera.

Related: 50 Classic Family Cars of the Last 50 Years

Hyundai Santa Fe SE
Courtesy of hyundaiusa.com

Grandkid Hauler: Hyundai Santa Fe XL

Starting price: $30,950
Not a minivan driver? A three-row SUV like the Hyundai Santa Fe XL can also ferry around a crowd, and this one gives you a lot of bang for your buck — it was even a finalist for U.S. News’ “Best Cars for the Money” honors. Testers say it’s very easy to get into, drive and park, though the cramped third row is best left to the youngest members of the family. Controls are intuitive, and the Santa Fe also earned the coveted IIHS Top Safety Pick+ designation for 2019. All-wheel drive is available on all models.

Features to watch for: Adding the premium package to the base trim will ensure you get a host of great safety features, including blind-spot detection, lane-change assist, LED fog lights, and conveniences like a hands-free liftgate and heated seats.

Toyota Camry Hybrid

Ultimate Gas Sipper: Toyota Camry Hybrid

Starting price: $28,250
Pain at the pump is especially real when you’re socking away all those pennies for retirement. The Toyota Camry Hybrid is roomier and more traditional-looking than its famous hybrid sibling, the Prius, but its gas mileage (51 mpg city, 53 highway) is equally stellar. U.S. News even ranks it first of any mid-size sedan, praising the robust standard features, quiet cabin and roomy trunk. The Camry is also an IIHS Top Safety Pick+.

Features to watch for: Toyota Safety Sense comes standard and includes pre-collision pedestrian detection, lane departure alerts with steering assistance, automatic high beams and adaptive cruise control.

Related: 20 Electric Cars Cheaper Than a Tesla

Ultimate Gas Sipper: Kia Niro
Courtesy of kia.com

Ultimate Gas Sipper: Kia Niro

Starting price: $23,490
Love the idea of a hybrid but want the easier access that an SUV provides? The compact Kia Niro is worth a long look for its excellent fuel economy (the base model gets 52 mpg city, 49 highway) and practicality for older drivers. Testers praise the visibility, intuitive controls and spacious cabin, though they do note that there’s no all-wheel-drive option, disappointing for an SUV. Like the Camry, the Niro is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+.

Features to watch for: Upgrade to the middle-of-the-line trim, the EX, for nice safety features like blind-spot detection and lane-change assist. A rear camera is standard.

Subaru Outback
Courtesy of subaru.com

Wagon Wonder: Subaru Outback

Starting price: $26,345
As long as you don’t want to haul anything, the all-wheel-drive Subaru Outback is just as capable as a small SUV. It’s an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ that earns praise from experts for its roomy interior, great visibility and lots of cargo space — there are even standard roof rails for anyone who needs to travel with lots of luggage, bikes, or other big gear.

Features to watch for: Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist is standard on the Outback. If you’re worried about night driving, steering-responsive headlights and high-beam assist are available on all models and standard on the top two trims.

Kia Soul
Courtesy of kia.com

Wagon Wonder: Kia Soul

Starting price: $17,490
Some call the Kia Soul a wagon, some call it an SUV, some just call it funky. Whichever camp you’re in, this IIHS Top Safety Pick+ is a prime choice for any older driver who wants a quirky ride that still delivers with a budget-friendly price. The boxy styling means you get a spacious, very easy-to-access cabin, and the interior also wins kudos for simple controls with a short learning curve.

Features to watch for: A 7-inch color touchscreen comes standard, or you can upgrade to a dazzling 10-inch display on the top two models. A rear camera is standard, and additional safety features like blind-spot warning, lane-change assist and driver-attention warnings are thrown in on all models but the bottom trim.

Toyota Avalon
Courtesy of toyota.com

Roomy Ride: Toyota Avalon

Starting price: $35,550
If you’re a traditionalist who envisions cruising off into your golden years in the comfort of a full-size sedan, the Toyota Avalon is packed with features and upscale enough to feel like a luxury vehicle. Experts say you’re in for loads of space and a silky-smooth ride, and the fuel economy (25 mpg city, 35 on the highway) is nothing to sneeze at. The Avalon is also an IIHS Top Safety Pick+.

Features to watch for: Toyota Safety Sense is standard, as are a backup camera, eight-way adjustable heated front seats, and a three-year subscription to Toyota Safety Connect emergency assistance.

Roomy Ride: Buick LaCrosse
Courtesy of buick.com

Roomy Ride: Buick LaCrosse

Starting price: $29,570
If the Avalon’s starting price is a little rich for your blood, the Buick LaCrosse is a perennial favorite because it is a classic full-size American sedan: spacious, comfortable, whisper-quiet, and affordable. Experts praise the powerful V6 engine and improved fuel economy that matches the Avalon’s, and note that it offers another potential leg up with optional all-wheel drive.

Features to watch for: Rear park assist, high-intensity headlights, and a rear camera are standard, as are rear cross-traffic alerts, lane change alerts, and blind-spot warnings. Other safety features including adaptive cruise control and forward automatic braking are optional.

Genesis G90L
Courtesy of genesis.com

Luxury Sedan: Genesis G90

Starting price: $69,350
If money is no object, consider slipping behind the wheel of our priciest pick, the Genesis G90. This luxury brand is a Hyundai spin-off, and its top-of-the-line sedan is full of enough bells and whistles to please drivers who would also consider sedans closer to the six-figure mark. An IIHS Top Safety Pick+, the Genesis benefits from a quiet, spacious cabin, a ridiculously comfortable 22-way adjustable driver’s seat, easy-to-understand controls, and plenty of advanced safety features. All-wheel drive is available.

Features to watch for: The base trim is still plenty decked out, with safety features like automatic emergency braking, forward collision warnings, smart cruise control, and driver attention alerts. A 12-inch touchscreen means you’ll never have to squint, and an overhead camera makes parking a cinch.

Luxury Sedan: Lincoln Continental
Courtesy of lincoln.com

Luxury Sedan: Lincoln Continental

Starting price: $46,145
If you still want a little luxury in your life without completely emptying your wallet, the Lincoln Continental is a worthy contender. Though experts note the cabin isn’t as refined as it is in higher-priced competitors, the Continental still delivers where it counts with a quiet, smooth ride, large, easy-access doors and available all-wheel drive. This IIHS Top Safety Pick+ also now comes with a host of standard safety features like automatic braking, forward collision warnings and lane-departure alerts, cementing the Continental’s value compared with competitors.

Features to watch for: If you’re really in the mood for some pampering, 30-way adjustable massaging seats are optional. An 8-inch touchscreen with easy-to-read fonts comes standard.

Luxury SUV: Audi Q7
Courtesy of audiusa.com

Luxury SUV: Audi Q7

Starting price: $53,550
Luxury buyers who want a mid-size SUV should look closely at the Audi Q7, which checks off nearly every box for an older buyer: Supportive, comfortable seats? Check. Easy access with step-in height and large doors? Check. A large, easy-to-read touchscreen? Check. Standard all-wheel drive and a quiet cabin? Check and check. Of course, experts also say it performs the way a luxury vehicle should, with a powerful engine and responsive steering well-suited for most types of driving.

Features to watch for: You’ll want to step up to the Premium Plus trim for some of the more advanced safety options, including adaptive cruise control, lane assist, and park steering assist. A rear backup camera, automatic emergency braking and forward collision warnings are standard.

Luxury SUV: Acura RDX
Courtesy of acura.com

Luxury SUV: Acura RDX

Starting price: $37,600
Whether you don’t need the Audi Q7’s third row or cringe at its correspondingly large price tag, the more compact Acura RDX is still packed with the luxury you want and the practicality you need. It’s U.S. News’ Best Luxury Compact SUV for the Money and an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ to boot. It earns praise for great handling, a comfortable interior, and easy access, but the downside may be the controls, which experts say are fussy and have a long learning curve.

Features to watch for: The AcuraWatch safety suite is standard. It includes features like adaptive cruise control, lane assist, and anti-collision braking.