Subaru Outback
Subaru of America, Inc.

15 Popular Cars for Drivers Over 50

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Subaru Outback
Subaru of America, Inc.

Golden Rides for Golden Years

2021-Cheapism-Best-Cars-for-Drivers-Over-50

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, such as advanced safety technologies, ride comfort, and easy access; we also kept a practiced eye on prices, except in the case of luxury picks.


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Smart Sedan: Hyundai Sonata
Hyundai Motor America

Smart Sedan: Hyundai Sonata

Starting price: $23,950
The spacious Hyundai Sonata is the total package for a practical retiree who would rather drive a midsize sedan instead of an SUV. You won’t be burning money at the fuel pump (it gets up to 38 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.


Related: Hyundai Shows Its Stuff With the Sporty 2021 Sonata N Line

Smart Sedan: Kia K5
Kia

Smart Sedan: Kia K5

Starting price: $23,590
The Hyundai Sonata has some stiff competition in the form of the Kia K5, which replaces the 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 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.


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Sporty Small SUV: Subaru Forester
Subaru of America

Sporty Small SUV: Subaru Forester

Starting price: $25,370
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.


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Sporty Small SUV: Mazda CX-5
Mazda North American Operations

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.


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Dynamic Compact: Volkswagen Golf GTI
Volkswagen of America, Inc.

Dynamic Compact: Volkswagen Golf GTI

Starting price: $30,824
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 raved not long ago 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 touchscreen display is large and bright at either the 6.5- or 8-inch sizes, making getting where you’re going or finding the right tune easy.


Related: 22 Most Popular Volkswagens of All Time

Grandkid Hauler: Chrysler Pacifica
Stellantis North America

Grandkid Hauler: Chrysler Pacifica

Starting price: $35,495
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.


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

Grandkid Hauler: Hyundai Palisade
Hyundai Motor America

Grandkid Hauler: Hyundai Palisade

Starting price: $32,675
Not a minivan driver? A three-row SUV such as the Hyundai Palisade can also ferry around a crowd, and this one gives you a lot of bang for your buck. Testers say it’s very easy to get into, drive, and park, with a more expansive third row than the Santa Fe had. Controls are intuitive, and the Santa Fe also earned the coveted IIHS Top Safety Pick+ designation this year. All-wheel drive is available on all models.


Features to watch for: Scaling up from the base trim will ensure you get a host of great safety features, including blind-spot detection, safe-exit assist, and conveniences such as a hands-free liftgate and heated seats.


Related: 2021 Chevrolet Blazer Brings A Taste of Camaro Style to a Family SUV

Ultimate Gas Sipper: Toyota Camry Hybrid
Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A.

Ultimate Gas Sipper: Toyota Camry Hybrid

Starting price: $27,270
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 praises 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.


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Ultimate Gas Sipper: Kia Niro
Kia

Ultimate Gas Sipper: Kia Niro

Starting price: $24,690
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 53 mpg city, 48 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 was an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ for 2019.


Features to watch for: Upgrade for nice safety features such as blind-spot detection and lane-change assist. A rear camera is standard.


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Subaru Outback
Subaru of America, Inc.

Wagon Wonder: Subaru Outback

Starting price: $26,795
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. Also available: an automatic pre-collision braking feature and adaptive cruise control that keeps  you centered in the lane.


Related: 29 Classic Station Wagons We Miss From Childhood


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Kia Soul
Kia

Wagon Wonder: Kia Soul

Starting price: $17,590
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 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 models. A rear camera is standard, and additional safety features such as blind-spot warning, lane-change assist, and driver-attention warnings are thrown in on all models but the bottom trim.


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Roomy Ride: Toyota Avalon
Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A.

Roomy Ride: Toyota Avalon

Starting price: $35,975
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 (22 mpg city, 32 on the highway) is reasonable too. The Avalon was an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ in 2019.


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.


Related: These Cars Are the Most Likely to Surpass 200,000 Miles

Luxury Sedan: Genesis G90
Genesis

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 such as 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.


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Luxury SUV: Audi Q7
Audi Newsroom

Luxury SUV: Audi Q7

Starting price: $54,950
Luxury buyers who want a midsize 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, and traffic sign assist. The list of standard features is long — including a rear backup camera, parking system, and power liftgate — partly because Audi has moved things onto it that used to be options.


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Luxury SUV: Acura RDX
Acura

Luxury SUV: Acura RDX

Starting price: $38,400
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 recently been U.S. News’ Best Luxury Compact SUV for the Money and is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+. 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 such as adaptive cruise control, lane assist, and anti-collision braking.


Related: 22 Least Expensive SUVs to Own