6 Must Haves In Good Cars For Elderly

Find a Car For Me helps all its clients find used cars in Melbourne (and new cars too).

Recently, Find a Car For Me received a client of 70 years – a senior citizen who was looking for the best car. Until, this particular client walked through our door; many of the clients that Find a Car For Me had served were between the ages of 38-50 years of age. They were generally working full time in their own businesses or in a mid-high level management position.

This particular client helped Find a Car For Me to learn the things that older clients are looking for in their vehicle choices. This particular client was looking for a high-end small car or an SUV for the budget of $30,000.

As with every client, this particular one wanted to get the most ideal car for their budget; this is what Find a Car For Me ultimately helped the client achieve.

The following sections will highlight what the older clients taught us about this particular market.

Overall Vehicle Safety

This was the biggest concern of this client. The client freely admitted that safety features both active and passive were needed to overcome the inevitable slowing of motor skills and some loss of concentration.

The client acknowledged that the crash safety of all cars at the $30,000 range were mostly 5 stars so that was not the issue.

Our client was also seeking technologies that could prevent an accident in the first place.

Technologies such as Lane Keeping Assist and Lane Departure Assist; two technologies that work together to ensure that cars stay in their lane by way of driver warnings and steering wheel vibrations. Then if the vehicle does drift to another lane; gently steering it back into the middle of the lane. However, this technology does not take the place of driver input. It is only there to assist the driver.

Blind Spot Sensors were also held in high regard as this technology used small lights on the side mirrors to profusely flash if there is another car, motorcycle, cyclist or pedestrian in the blind spot of the vehicle.  As above, this technology does not take the place of driver input. It is only there to assist the driver.

Alert/Warning – Collision Forward – basically a sensor or in the case of some manufacturers a camera which detects objects in front of the car; and then warns the driver with a series of beeps and brake assistance if required. As above, this technology does not take the place of driver input. It is only there to assist the driver.

Reverse Camera – a technology which can save lives using a screen to see what is behind the car, be that people, other cars or objects. More superior reverse camera systems even have two parallel lines which predict where the car will actually go and will bend in different directions depending on how the driver turns the steering wheel. 

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Whatever it is; this can save lives or even insurance claims. As above, this technology does not take the place of driver input. It is only there to assist the driver.

Ease of Entry

Ease of entry for a car is highly dependent on the health of the buyer of the vehicle.

For example, I often recommend to clients who are older to opt for an SUV. Generally, we are not big fans of SUV’s as they almost always offer less value for money than equivalent sized sedans and hatchbacks. However, in the instance of an older client; entry and egress are very important factors in the purchase of a new vehicle.

As time goes on, the difficulty of getting in and out of a car continues to increase. A car that is higher off the ground is easier to enter and exit.

Nowadays, many hatchbacks and sedans have lower suspension than they did even as far as 10 years ago to improve handling. This has meant that many of these cars do not cater as well to older clients as they are more challenging to enter and exit from.

One exception to this rule, in the $30,000 price range, is the Subaru Impreza. We recently discovered that the Impreza has a higher ride height than many of its SUV competition for example.

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Because Find a Car For Me has had a lot of experience finding used cars in Melbourne for different clients we were able to make discoveries such as the advantage that the Subaru Impreza has over some of the SUV competition.

Accessories To Complement Ride Height Such as Side Steps

With greater height, a shorter driver might require side steps to enter and exit the vehicle is a challenge.

So why not go for the lower riding sedan or hatchback? Because it is more challenging for older clients to lower themselves into a car instead of stepping up.

So how can we bridge the height gap with higher riding SUV’s such as the Toyota RAV4 for example? Side steps are the answer.

Making the climb upwards and downwards easy for anyone.

Generally, manufacturers produce side steps that are specific to the SUV that they sell or there are a wide variety of aftermarket manufacturers who sell model specific side steps and other accessories that add to the usability and appearance of the car. Note the sidesteps just below the doors on this particular SUV for example.

A Clear Large Screen

This is a clear one. In the $30,000 range, while many of the cars at that price point offer large screens for reverse cameras, navigation maps and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto; they do not have clear resolution.

Again, older clientele may not have the same levels of eyesight that they once did. So, the resolution of the screen is just as important as the size of the screen, if not more.

Imagine, not being able to properly see objects in the reversing camera could cost lives or insurance claims.

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The bottom line is that not all 8-inch screens are created equally so test the screen in person in different levels of light before making a final decision on the car that you want to buy.

All-Round Visibility

This is particularly applicable to rear visibility.

The design of a car can also compromise it. For example, the client I dealt with eliminated the Toyota C-HR from the list of cars that were on the short list because of its visibility issues.

We are big fans of the Toyota C-HR, read more about that here.

However, we are also aware that the C-HR has rear visibility issues. That said, Toyota has wisely fitted the C-HR has many safety aids that use cameras, screens and sensors to counter its visibility issues.

All that said and done; for most, it is always preferable to have a car that is easy to see out of and has those electronic aids.

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This is a personal thing. You will have to decide how much you prioritise the design over the visibility.

Ease of Servicing

To ensure that a car is cheap to own over its lifespan, there need to be two components.

  1. Availability of parts
  2. Knowledge of a particular vehicle by the wider community of mechanics.

The wider the availability of parts, the cheaper they will be. This is basic economics.

  1. So, a French car that doesn’t sell in great numbers is more likely to have expensive parts than a South Korean car which is amongst the top sellers in its segment.

That said, many of the parts of European cars are becoming cheaper. But the availability of their parts is still more scarce than many of those from Asia.

Also, many European vehicle dealers do not sell as many cars as those that sell Asian vehicles which means that they do not have as much money to invest in things like training for the service staff OR parts on hand. Both can lead to delays in the repair of the car if you experience a problem.

  1. Just as above, the more vehicles of a brand there are on the road and the more dealers of that brand; the easier it is to service by the wider community.

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For example, there are more Mazda dealers than there are Peugeot dealers in Australia. This means that there are more Mazda dealers competing for your business, making the Mazda easier and likely cheaper to service.

When it comes to finding the best the best cars for senior citizens in Australia to buy, while there may be many choices, understanding one’s requirements helps narrow the field.

What could help further is engaging the services of a local Melbourne car broker. Find a Car For Me offers clients an easy way to get the best deal on a car. Harvey will find the best car for your needs and will then get the best price. Please see the car buying services page for more information.

For more information, please contact Find a Car For Me by email or phone.

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