TTAC commentator DougD writes:
I put the snowtires on Dad’s 2007 Kia Rondo yesterday, and right on cue we’ve got snow today. While we worked we talked about cars, of course. My parents are in their mid 70’s, Dad bought the Rondo new and there’s a lot to like about it. Upright seating, good ingress for seniors, easy to park in the condo parking spot. It’s been reliable and still looks good, so the Rondo’s held up well.
Unfortunately Mom hasn’t held up quite as well as the Rondo. She’s got some back problems now and finds that the Rondo’s so-so seats, jouncy ride and boomy interior make it a literal pain to be in for more than short trips.
Ideally they’d like to replace it with something that combines the Rondo’s good points with great seats and a serene, quiet ride. They drive about 15,000 miles a year including the 900 mile trip to Myrtle beach each fall. All options are open from something new to a couple of years used.
What should they be looking at? I really have no idea since their wish list is pretty different from my own, but I guess this is the demographic that buys new cars.
Really enjoying your column.
It all depends on the size and the spaciousness they seek.
For a small ride with a bit of cushiness, I would test drive a Buick Verano. It seems to be the one small vehicle these days with Rondo like proportions that can provide your folks with a luxurious ride.
To be frank, the small ‘luxury’ car market has struggled for eons on end. From 1990’s Dynastys and Skylarks, to 1980’s Cimarrons and Sevilles. It’s very hard to build this segment into something sustainable for most automakers. The choices in this segment are just slim due to a lack of interest in ‘small’ luxury.
So if they’re willing to consider a midsize, I would opt for a gussied up prior gen Camry or a Lexus ES350. Both cars have rides that are like marshmallows with handling that is direct and easy. They are also the two most popular retiree vehicles I see in West Palm Beach.
Mature folks love these cars.Easy to drive. Soft. Nothing to worry about. It may not be your ideal. But for those who wish to simply go on a magic carpet to their favorite retiree villa, they are optimal vehicles.
You people are quite literally torturing me! How can I not recommend Panther Love in this case?
I will stop pigeonholing myself. I like Steve’s recommendation of a Buick Verano, even if I’ve never even seen one, much less driven it to know its worth the depreciation. But the baby Buick reminds me of my time in a Camry LE on a business trip to Long Island, NY. While I quite enjoy the stealthiness of the SE, the LE earned a bit of respect for its ability to absolutely obliterate bumps and smooth out a long hike down the Interstate. It made a hectic commute much less so. If I had a bad back…you see my point.
Granted it lacked the isolation of a Panther in the same circumstances, but they are more common, easier to park, easier on fuel and perform well enough compared to a Rondo. The ride is heavenly for someone like your Mom, it is the best in its class. So do it, go for a 2007-2011 Toyota Camry LE.
Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to email@example.com , and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.