By on January 15, 2016

06 - 1988 Cadillac Coupe Deville Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

When I was a kid, there was a plentiful selection of automobile choices for old people. There were Buicks. There were Cadillacs. There were Lincolns. There were Oldsmobiles. There were even a few Japanese cars that clearly catered to the elderly. “Enlarged Speedometer Font” was an actual option on more than one vehicle when I was younger.

But what about today?

I started thinking about this the other day when I got up behind a 2000-ish Cadillac Deville. This was a great old person car: huge digital speedometer, front bench seat, and giant brake lights that remind you that there’s an old person in front of you, so by God you should be careful. Those brake lights were amazing. They could’ve illuminated your entire home in the event of a power outage.

Well, the Deville is gone, and it’s been replaced by the XTS, which is this advanced new car that has kind of given up on all of the traits that made the Deville so popular with the elderly. The bench seat is gone. The cushy ride is gone. The easy-to-use radio with the huge buttons is gone, replaced instead by confusing CUE and capacitive touch. And there’s even a Vsport model, which has 410 horsepower and a twin-turbocharged engine. This does not scream elderly friendly.

So where have the “old person cars” gone?

Buick certainly isn’t in the old person game anymore. Oh, sure, they still have the LaCrosse — but it’s becoming more and more aggressive and bold with each passing redesign. It’s their flagship model, they treat it like such, and now the majority of them have IntelliLink, somewhat sporty suspension, and lots of high-tech features. The days of the column shifter and the bench seat are long gone.

Lincoln has the MKZ, which I personally find to be absolutely beautiful. But it too isn’t really an old person car. MyFord Touch, transmission buttons, and up to 300 horsepower don’t really scream “elderly car” to me. Admittedly, the ride is still pretty cushy, so maybe it’s about the closest thing you can now get to an old person car.

Even Lexus seems to be abandoning the idea of a car for the elderly. This brand is all about performance now: they have big grilles and big power and a coupe (and now another coupe), and the NX, which is a compact SUV that looks like a cubist painting come to life. They also have that remote touch controller, whose sole purpose — I swear — is to lower their average buyer age by deliberately confusing the elderly.

The simple truth is that if you’re an old person choosing a car today, it just isn’t as easy as it was a decade ago. Car companies are now obsessed with chasing younger buyers: they sponsor events that attract young people, they advertise in media aimed at young people, they style their cars to appeal to younger buyers, and they pack vehicles with technology designed for young users. Quite simply: car companies have seemingly become so scared of getting the reputation of being a “brand for old people” that they’re now actively eschewing older buyers in favor of younger ones.

So if you’re an old person, what do you buy?

The older people I know seem to be gravitating away from traditional “old person” brands — Buick, Cadillac, Lincoln — and into basic versions of mainstream cars. The Hyundai Sonata has a nice ride, a big interior, and controls that aren’t especially difficult to use. Same goes for the Toyota Camry. Same doesn’t go for the Honda Accord, which has two infotainment screens that make things a little more challenging for even a regularly-aged human.

They’re also getting into SUVs. But once again, it isn’t the “old person brand” SUVs, like the Cadillac SRX or Buick Enclave. They’re buying Nissan Rogues, Toyota RAV4s and Ford Escapes. They’re buying easy-to-use vehicles that are easy to get in and out of, and they seem to be doing OK. But you have to wonder: do old people long for the days when they knew Cadillac was making cars specifically for them?

If I were a modern old person, I would be very displeased by the development of formerly elderly friendly luxury brands into youth-obsessed #brands. Fortunately, there is one silver lining; one car that will always remain elderly-friendly, as long as it continues to exist: the Toyota Avalon. The Avalon is like the social security of automobiles: it’s always going to be there, in some form or another, as long as there are still old people who need it. It’s the modern day Cadillac Deville.

If only it had those taillights.

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196 Comments on “Doug Drives: What the Hell Are Old People Supposed to Buy?...”


  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Hate to recommend it but the Dodge Journey. Good visibility, nice height for access/egress, wide enough seats.

    The previous generation Kia Rondo also made a great vehicle for all of the above reasons, plus it was ‘right sized’, had basic instrumentation but all the required safety and comfort features. And available 7 passenger seating for driving around grandkids.

    • 0 avatar
      picard234

      My partner’s parents are visiting and they just cannot get in or out of his Mazda 3. We’ve been using my Journey to tote them around. Aside from the doors being a bit big/heavy for mamacita, they like it. I think any CUV or minivan of a similar size – as long as it’s not chock full of gadgets that they don’t understand and don’t need – is ideal.

      Unrelated note: I don’t get all the Journey hate. Of course the 4 cyl/4 speed is junk. I have the R/T and it’s not bad at all. The pentastar V6 is a terrific engine and the vehicle is the perfect size for tailgating or hauling some junk from Home Depot, but not too big to feel silly commuting alone; it’s nicely equipped, and of course the heavily discounted price was nice too.

    • 0 avatar

      As I am aging, I look for good visibility, decent handling and easy to get into and out of. I wish all cars had manual heating/air controls, knobs are far easier to use than touch buttons with numbers that are irrelevant. I see a lot of older people buying the Hamster mobile (Kia Soul) and small SUVs like the Escape, Honda and Toys. . We drive an older Ford Explorer before they went on steroids (better looking IMHO) and a Toyota Mini Van. Both easy to get into, higher for visibility and I doubt we will ever buy a traditional car again. As for the Avalon, nice car, but I passed an accident where a lifted pickup ran a stop light while the driver fumbled for a CD and he beheaded the 66+ year olds. The next week I saw an Expedition hit a sedan on a curve, killing the back seat passenger. I don’t think sedans are as well made because of the CAFE. Would I buy a DeVille? I had an Eldorado in my 20’s and loved it. YES I WOULD. Well made tank. If Volvo’s were a bit more affordable, they would be on my list also.

  • avatar
    BigOldChryslers

    Funny you should mention the Avalon. About a year ago my dad (about to turn 72) said to me, “The other day I saw a Toyota Avalon. I didn’t know they made a fullsize car.”

    He drives a 2006 Chevy 3500 crew cab long box. As a fullsize pickup driver myself, I’d say it can be a lot easier to find parking for such a long truck when you have a handicapped permit, as he has.

    My mom is still driving her 1992 Roadmaster, which she’s owned for 20 years now. It was her summer-only car untile recently. Her winter beater was an S-10 Blazer until the engine threw a rod. If she had to replace the RM, I could see her driving a CUV.

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      Down in Florida the typical retirement car is a Toyota Venza or Camry. Sure you see a Buick here and there. But the Venza is the go to car for over 65 years of age.

    • 0 avatar

      My dad traded his late 1990s Deville in on an Avalon (probably 12 years ago, so this is not a new problem). He’s 78 now and has decided to quit driving, so the Avalon is used by others to ferry him about. It’s not an exciting car, but he put loads of miles on it and they treated each other well. Personally, I love the reclining rear seats and legroom.

      Big boring Japanese sedans (maybe Korean ones, too) are probably the default choice where once there were Cutlasses and Caprices. When I get old, I hope big cushy Euro-machines are financially feasible. An A8 or big Jaguar would suit my style and comfort needs…if the tech hasn’t gotten beyond me.

  • avatar
    Sloomis

    These days I see a l a lot of older people driving bland Toyota sedans – Avalons, Camry and Corollas. Also seems like those older folks who once would have bought Cadillacs are now buying Lexus sedans.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      Came on with the same statement as Sloomis. I’m seeing old people driving Camrys and Avalons. Accords not as much, not even the ones old enough to lack the confusing touchscreens.

      Camrys have become the kind of “do the speed limit in the left lane” road-cloggers that I remember Ramblers being in my youth. This is probably fodder for a whole column of its own.

      Generally, when I see a Cadillac other than an Escalade, it’s an old person driving it no matter what kind of Cadillac it is. Even the last-gen CTS, essentially a good-handling compact car, was usually driven by an old person who’d have probably bought a DTS if they still could. (In my ‘burb, Escalades are driven by moms wearing lots of jewelry who are unconvincingly pretending to be both sophisticated and blonde.)

  • avatar
    k9H20

    Old people with pensions and financial stability are a dying breed. The Camry and Accord, having grown in size over the years are probably their best bet.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “Old people with pensions and financial stability are a dying breed.”

      In my area, I see old people (over 65) driving Avalon, Tundra and Prius more than anything else.

      They’re not all wealthy, but they are all able to finance the purchase and make the payments and insurance, and that includes those that Lease instead of buy. With the low threshold to qualify for a car loan these days, maybe more old folks qualify for subprime.

      They may be a dying breed, but if they are, they must be hiding it very well.

      • 0 avatar
        Mattias

        Second that on the Prius my grandma drives one

        • 0 avatar
          tjh8402

          Back in 2008 when gas prices shot up, my grandparents looked into getting a Prius. Their Lexus ES gets pretty horrible mileage with them doing almost all city driving. It was definitely putting a crimp on their fixed income budget. For better or for worse, though, the Lexus was paid off and Prius prices were high then. They also weren’t driving much (10k or less per year on the Lexus), so it wouldn’t have made financial sense. Had the Lexus been due for replacement or still had a payment going, I could’ve seen them go for it.

    • 0 avatar
      Wayne

      +1.
      With few exceptions more Americans are getting older and poorer. I read an article a while ago that something like 36% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their saving account. Whenever I see Lexus, MB, BMW, or other “luxury” vehicles at a stop light the majority of the time it’s some old guy or old lady behind the wheel.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Cars for the elderly.

    MKS – non-ecobost
    LaCrosse – I actually found a CPO one on Autotrader a few weeks back that was painted red (almost fire engine color), had a tan landau top, and was AWD. The kicker was that it was at a dealer in the god awful hot part of AZ – AWD unnecessary.
    Toyota Avalon – as DeMuro said.

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      Those three plus every compact CUV. Old people love the CRV, Rav4 and similar vehicles. AWD for traction, decent MPG, east ingress/egress and good for taking junk to the recycling center or loading groceries.

      My parents are now on their second Highlander, also a good choice. I suspect that the new Pilot is as well and possibly the EDGE.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        My parents (in their mid 70s) went from a Sonata to the Escape. Easy of entry was the main reason. While testing driving various CUVs they complained about lack of seat comfort and stiff rides. So the “living room on wheels” days are long gone. Instead of coming out with more sport mode options (that do little anyway) some of these larger vehicles should come with extra soft settings to mimic those old Caddys with the floaty suspensions and some big plush seats you can sink into.

      • 0 avatar
        Zoom

        Don’t forget the Kia Soul. I never see young people driving those.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          Yep. My grandma bought one…in Alien Green II, no less. A lot of the reason she bought it was because of easy ingress / egress height. Her other main choice was the Juke.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I believe the color you’re thinking of is called “Crystal Red Tintcoat”. It’s a very pretty metallic red. The only one that looks better, IMO, is Mazda’s Soul Red.

      • 0 avatar
        56BelAire

        You’re right Kyree, that is the color of my ’09 DTS and it is gorgeous. Mine has a gray gut, I love the car it is the best most luxurious car I have ever owned. It’s the premium model with every conceivable option. I stole the car in 2011 at an estate sale for $22K. I now have 45K miles on it and have never had one issue with it. Great ride, plenty fast with the Northstar V-8 yet I can coax nearly 30MPG out of her on the open road.

        Yes, I’m 72 and while I was hunting for this car I also looked at Lincoln TC, several Avalons, several Buicks and a few Lexi. Very happy with my purchase. I also own a Long Bed Ford F150 w/Reg cab, a Mustang GT Convert and wifey has a Forester. So we have all our bases covered.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      The older people in my retirement golf club seem to drive a ton of the MKS sans turbo. I EVEN see some with those aftermarket fabric landau tops!

      Where do they get these tops aftermarket????!!!

      And then there are the, believe it or not, minivans.
      Minivans are everywhere. And it is strange how many Caravans they drive.
      So, with the Caravans and the large Ford Explorers…seems these are the new old folks drives.
      They like the sitting higher and full sized protection.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        “drive a ton of the MKS”

        How do you drive half an MKS?

      • 0 avatar
        wumpus

        My parents’ last two cars have been mini-vans. They love them (oddly enough, they’ve also bought some amazing cars over the years). Easy to get in and out of, plus lots of cargo room. On the other hand, my dad is turning 80 soon and what he really needs is a self-driving car (Google cars have been safer than Dad for years, and it only gets worse).

        And a golf cart. Unfortunately Smart hasn’t made a “golf cart option” for their smart car, so the golf cart stays in the tiny golf community. It does take a ton of stop and barely go (20mph local roads) driving off the minivan.

        Smart: listen up. Your car only makes sense in NYC and golf courses. You need to get the car USGA (US Golf Association) approved for at least golf paths.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Helped the mother-in-law buy a used Lacross several weeks ago. It’s the perfect old person car.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Except that the MKS is cramped in front and harder to get in and out of and has Ford’s confusing touch screen and controls that many quibble about just like in the current XTS. They also ride a lot stiffer and busier with there massive over sized 19 and 20″ tires. The current Avalon is fairly comfortable and smooth but as Motor Trend stated has an overly hard ride so that has definitely changed the past couple of years.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Minivans. Old people love ’em.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      In my family at least, the “older” folks loved the loaded minivans until the grandkids got too old to be visiting them much anymore. Then the minivan was too big. Mom got a Prius-V (she listened to me for once). My aunts got CUVs. My Grandparent’s last car was a Windstar though. I suppose those turds will put you off car ownership altogether!

      I really don’t think very many people in the +/- 70yo age bracket today has any desire for a boat like an old DeVille or even a DTS anymore. Realistically, not many did 30 years ago either. If my Mom (68) could have anything her heart desired, it would probably be a C-class wagon. When we were in Germany she absolutely loved that car, inside and out.

      I expect to be like my Grandparent’s dear friend Ernestine French. She was in her late 80s when I was in high school, and drove a bright red stickshift Saab Turbo. Rapidly, and well. Way ahead of her time, Mrs. French was.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I lived in Highlands County, Florida (35% of the population is 65 or older) from 2009-2013 and the old boats definitely still ruled the roads. In fact, the local Lincoln/Mercury dealer kept about two rows of retail (!) Town Cars and Grand Marquis in stock.

        I’m guessing that this is another one of those regional things.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Along with landau tops long after they were a factory option.

        • 0 avatar
          ponchoman49

          Those cars along with 2010/2011 Buick Lucerne’s and Cadillac DTS’s are all still in demand in Upstate, Ny where I live and you see these types of cars all the time. Even the 2000-2005 LeSabres and Park Ave’s are still floating around everywhere.

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          That is good info about the Panther collection in FL.

          If anything bad were to happen to my Grand Marquis, I will definitely check that area out for a nice replacement.

          There is nothing new out there today that qualifies as an old man’s car, not even the Avalon.

          The off-screen protagonists of The Big Short have pretty much hammered most older peoples’ confidence in springing for a newer car anyway. But even if I wasn’t thinking about what might be left for my (humblebrag alert) younger wife and a son who is just barely into adulthood, I doubt I would want to take on a slew of payments and full insurance post-retirement.

          Which is why I am so happy that I happened upon an opportunity to get my Grand Marquis about a year ago…an Aero generation one, the best of the best series…the last of the Aero’s.

          I would rather put money into fixing it up (which it rarely needs) than to stroke a couple of three figure checks every month for insurance and purchase or lease payments.

          If there were new Panthers, that might tip the scale for me. But since there aren’t, I prefer to roll with a large RWD V8 sedan like my GM.

          I am still young enough, at least in heart and mind, and agile enough, to fit into a smaller car. But what I can do is not necessarily what I prefer to do…and for the same reasons as I mentioned above, the performance vehicle options don’t make financial sense to me.

          So it is no surprise to me that the manufacturers are chasing younger buyers, given that they have failed to provide new cars with the appeal of the older traditional large sedans with analog controls.

          I worked for decades as an independent IT consultant, so it is not a matter of digital phobia…I just don’t want to have to deal with changing interfaces at seventy mph in traffic. I want to use my mental capacity for situational analysis in close quarters at high speed, not for keeping track of where I am in some menu structure as I try to defog my windshield. And I certainly don’t need digital “toys” in my car to make me feel like I am “cool” or “with it”.

          Sometimes retro is just better.

      • 0 avatar
        manny_c44

        Oh man a pastel-colored Prius is the ultimate old person vehicle, i forgot about those.

    • 0 avatar
      56BelAire

      They remember the Conversion vans from their hippie days and having orgies in the back.

    • 0 avatar
      JREwing

      Absolutely a minivan! My sixty-something mother drives one happily, even though the years of toting around 6 passengers are pretty much over.

      Crossovers are pretty popular among the elderly as well. Soft riding, all-wheel-drive, and the right height to get in and out of easily.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Scion xB for ease of entry, huge back seat, fairly comfy ride. But the gauges centered in the dash probably kills it for old folks, who are used to having them in front of the driver. Avalon was the first car that came to my mind, nails it for this demographic.

    • 0 avatar
      55_wrench

      Center mount gauges are just fine for the XB..it’s probably more a matter of taste than anything..after all, Prii and Hondas have used them to a certain extent and I’ve not heard about a single accident caused by spatial disorientation because the speedo & tach was in the “not expected” place.

      Oh yeah, I’ve been driving for 46 years now. Off my lawn, please.

    • 0 avatar
      la834

      The Scion Xb (xB, whatever) is a big hit at the retirement home my mom lives in, likely for its low price and easy ingress/egress with its high roof, upright windshield, and low floor (the latter that crossovers usually lack). A bit ironic since Scion was intended to snare young, hip buyers that found the Corolla too dull, but has instead attracted seniors who saw in it a car they could easily get into and see out of. The first-gen xB did attract some young buyers too, but the pudgy 2nd-gen model lost the kids entirely.

      The Avalon is quite popular with this group, but the most recent generation could benefit from a smoother ride, softer seats, and a less rakish roofline. The related Lexus ES remains a senior favorite.

      Nobody’s mentioned the VW Passat yet. It checks most old-folks boxes – tall upright roofline, smooth ride, quiet, good visibility, loads of room, comfortable seats, easy to use controls.

    • 0 avatar
      kmars2009

      My Dad always baught Ram pickup trucks, and Lincoln Town Cars for my Mom. After Mom passed away, he sold them both and got a Scion xB. I was shocked. For decades, he said he would never buy imports. He made a complete turnaround. Must have been the girlfriend he had for two years, then married, while my Mom was sick and dying.
      Then it all made sense. He was a real piece of work.
      Now I look at xB cars and they make me sick. All I can think of is that liar, and his new woman running around in it.
      BTW…The new Impals seems to also be quite popular now with the elderly. Evey one I have seen here in Phoenix, is elderly driven.

  • avatar
    shedkept

    Subaru Outback is good choice. They sit fairly high.

  • avatar
    kefkafloyd

    Old people are buying mini-CUVs, like the Buick Encore. They’re also just buying or, more increasingly, leasing Camcords/Corollas. Rav4s are also popular with the oldies set.

    The reality is that buying a Cadillac or Lincoln is really hard on a fixed income. You can get floatier / more comfortable sedans at far cheaper prices by sticking to non-luxo brands.

    My father and mother, both mid-sixties baby boomers, drive a RAV4 and a Corolla, respectively. Both are leased, and my dad’s RAV is up in a year, while Mom recently got a new Corolla in the summer. Right now the argument is whether or not they need two cars. My mom still works (she is a nurse) but my dad is mostly retired and on his GE pension. He spends most of his day at home or out doing civic things in town. He doesn’t need a car most of the time, but with mom still working and often at odd hours, it’s hard for him to commit to being the chauffeur.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    http://dougdemuro.kinja.com/what-the-hell-do-old-people-buy-these-days-718345492

    Doug, how much do you get paid for recycled articles from 2013? At least sort of change the title.

  • avatar
    Loser

    I see a lot of Kia Souls and full size trucks being driven by old folks.

  • avatar
    dwford

    There are plenty of cars that are easy to use for old people – assuming they want a lower trim basic model. What there aren’t any more are luxury cars that are easy for old people to use.

  • avatar
    Waftable Torque

    The cars I see seniors drive tend to be the ones marketed to 20 and 30-somethings: Honda Element; the Chevy Cobalt; Toyota Corolla, Toyota Yaris, and Dodge Caravan with Canada Value Package.

    As a financial planner, the biggest challenge is getting clients to start investing immediately when they finish college, not when they turn 50 and realize that they missed at least 2 decades of compounding interest/dollar cost averaging and try to turn to inappropriate investments to make up for it.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Don’t forget that (presumably) students earned so little in college that their standard of living should be well within first real job’s income, which makes it easy to drop money into savings.

      Unfortunately, I hear a ton of stories of students living like mommy & daddy while in college & paying for it with debt.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Tell that to my advisor. For the past 30 years I have put 10% of my net income into investments for my retirement.

      My now ex-advisor’s sage advise has left me with a nest egg in 2016 that in constant dollar value is worth slightly less than what I had in 2001.

      • 0 avatar
        Waftable Torque

        Sounds like you need a second opinion, Arthur. You’re in Ontario so I’m not allowed to solicit your inter-provincial business, but check around. Read David Chilton’s latest book “The Wealthy Barber Returns” before you do so, his philosophy is pretty close to mine.

        And congratulations for developing the habit of saving. Everybody else wants you to spend to prove how clever and important you are.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          @waftable: thanks. Just bought that book last night. $2 from the local library.

          My ex-advisor had me in a seg fund but that had heavily invested in the early to mid 2000’s in US banks and financial companies. Took a large bath on that one. So I got back my principle but due to inflation lost money. Not to mention that if I had invested in the GTA real estate market 10+ years ago, I would have at least doubled my money.

          Fired him recently and sold off all my stocks just before this recent crash.

          Looks like TDBank and CN and maybe a real estate REIT plus some T-Bills for now.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    I see gobs of elderly folks driving the bigger Scion xB.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    The Kia Soul is a big hit with older people I know.

  • avatar
    hubcap

    What the Hell Are Old People Supposed to Buy?

    What kind of question is this? They should buy whatever they want. There are lots of options and I trust most can decide which factors are important to them.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      “There are lots of options and I trust most can decide which factors are important to them.”

      That’s the point. Who makes stuff that’s “important to them” anymore?

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        First you need to define “important to them”, but absent that I’d say ease of access and comfort would be a primary consideration.

        There are plenty of options available.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          “There are plenty of options available.”

          There sure are! And from what I have seen in different places, men often drive a full-size pickup truck and women often drive an Avalon.

          But the Prius also makes a fair showing for scooting around town and grocery-getting and is often a third vehicle.

          For folks under age 65, the vehicles they drive run the gamut.

          Ease of getting in and out of a vehicle appears to be the biggest consideration factor for people over age 65.

          My wife and I will be 70 but we favor the Sequoia and the Tundra, but I also keep a 1989 Camry V6 around to scoot around town with.

          My conclusion: whatever works for an old person is what they will buy.

    • 0 avatar
      hybridkiller

      “What kind of question is this? They should buy whatever they want.”

      This was my immediate reaction to this article. “Old people” are no more monolithic as a group than “young people” are. While it’s true that some are stuck in the past (much like DeMuro), many are not.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        I think it’s a perfectly valid question. Elderly people do not like or buy what most younger folks do. You don’t see Millennial’s buying full size sedans with chrome wheels and tan interiors just like you rarely ever see an elderly person want a sporty sedan with rubber band tires, a stiff ride and black painted rims. Two very different demographics. And it has little to do with being stuck in the past and finding something that is comfortable, large enough and doesn’t ride like a bucking bronco. The truth is there are fewer choices than ever for these types of buyers if you take minivans out of the equation and they don’t want a huge full size truck or SUV. That leaves today’s compromised laden sedans and hatches/wagons etc that leave much to be desired in the visibility, ride comfort, ease of use controls and seat comfort which is annually being made firmer and firmer with lower slung sportier roof lines. These types of vehicles are a tough sell for the elderly and I think why the sedan segment is faltering!

  • avatar
    ArialATOMV8

    My grandfather is looking for a new car to replace his Toyota Highlander. I’m pushing for him to get a Ford F-150 SVT Raptor just for fun because, he’d be the coolest grandfather around! Best of all, when he’s too old to drive, we’ll get to inherit it from him!

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    If they have grandkids visiting or have hobbies that require a lot of cargo space (antiquing, model trains, etc.), chances are they’re in a minivan. Easy to get in and out. If they don’t have grandkids around, it’s either a compact or subcompact CUV, Scion xB, or Kia Soul.

    On the off chance they’re still sticking to a sedan, the Avalon seems to be the top choice. That thing looks and feels like it was made for retirees.

    My grandmother has an Equinox LTZ. Probably a little bigger than she needs, but she’s used to LTDs and LeSabres, and probably thinks a Trax or Encore would look silly.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      A colleague of my Dad’s was way ahead of the trend on this. He was 65 years old in the late 1990s and looking to get rid of his D186 platform Lincoln Continental. The replacement (due to higher hip point) ended up being a loaded Pontiac TransSport Montana.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        My maternal grandfather drove a Grand Caravan for almost 10 years before he won a Wrangler, pop-up camper, AND 2012 Ranger at the casino across the river. My maternal grandmother doesn’t have a license and has never driven.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    My 74yo father just bought a Buick Enclave – to replace the Saturn Outlook that he totaled. I hate it, but he seems to like the ponderous beast enough.

    He still has a ’99 Olds Aurora that he just won’t sell. It isn’t some low-mileage garage queen, but has ~120kish miles and shows it. But because he bought that car with cash, somehow letting go of it is impossible for him.

    I often see the Scion Xb and Element driven by old folks. But the largest number of them seem to drive Civic/Accord or Camry/Avalons. My father-in-law is a Chrysler man so he’s in a 2-3yo 200.

  • avatar
    alexrcp

    I’ve had the pleasure of driving my grandma around for a good while, particularly on road trips.
    Minivans – a must. Easy egress and ingress. She doesn’t have to “climb” as she says calls it into a tall vehicle, or claw her way out of a low vehicle. That’s the only con I’d have against the Avalon.

    Recently however, she mentioned just how much she liked the Edge. Good for her to drive, and even better for to be driven in. Heck she’s 85, she’ll gladly tell you when she does/doesn’t like something.

  • avatar
    Rday

    I am a certified Old Fart and I like the Sienna vans, Ridgeline pickups because they ride great, get reasonable mileage and are easy to get into. seats are very comfortable and there is plenty of room. Reliability on both models is excellent along with resale values. Never had to take the Sienna in to the dealer, Ridge went in once for hose leak.
    THe problems with Detroit are numerous but they consistently try and rip off the customers with many defective parts and a complete reluctance to own up to the problem and correct them without government interference.

  • avatar
    NOSLucasWiringSmoke

    Old people like Impalas a lot too…my 64-year-old father loves his and is thinking about getting a newer one.

    • 0 avatar
      scottcom36

      Yep, I drove one and it seemed much like a none-too-fancy Buick. And the cheapest steering wheel I’ve ever seen and felt wouldn’t be an issue if it’s going to be covered by one of those fuzzy covers!

  • avatar
    derekson

    Lexus ES. Lincoln MKZ. Lincoln MKX. Acura RDX/MDX. Lexus NX/RX. Buick Lacrosse. Chevy Impala. Avalon.

    My parents actually drive an Edge and an Explorer. They are both in their mid 60s.

    • 0 avatar
      CobraJet

      My Father in Law is 88 and has owned three Lincoln Town Cars over the last 30 years, the last one being an 07 model that got totaled. To my surprise, he just bought a used Lincoln MKX. Too soon to know if he will really like it. He doesn’t drive much anymore.

  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    My 70 year old mom drives a Venza and loves it. It’s pushing 100K miles and she doesn’t know what she wants to do when it comes time to replace since the Venza has been discontinued. One of her friends drives a CR-V and she thinks it feels too small, but the Highlander feels too big. It seems like the best course of action is to keep the Venza going as long as possible.

    • 0 avatar
      Mickiemac1

      I’m a young at heart 65 years of age and also have a Venza and love it. It’s a 2011 FWD V6 w/24K miles so it should last me quite some time before it needs replacement. The only downside to the car is the rather stiff ride depending on the road surface. Too bad Toyota didn’t improve/update the car as it has so many great features as well as plenty of room and handles rather well for a car. I also have a 2014 Ford F-150 King Ranch that has tons of room and is actually quieter and more comfortable than the Venza. The seats in the F-150 are lounge chair comfortable!

      Since the F-150 is so new it’s a keeper for years to come but if/when I replace the Venza I want something that has a more supple ride but with the same features/room. As of now, there’s nothing similar other than the Murano but I don’t really care for the styling and I am reluctant about the Nissan CVT’s.

      As for the current Toyota Avalon being a good old person’s car I found that it requires a bit of stooping to get into the car. I’m rather tall and still limber enough to crouch down to get into one but didn’t like the mostly black interiors – even the one’s with the tan or gray interiors were mostly black except for the seat cushions, headliner, a small patch on the door panels and dash. Too dark and gloomy. My Venza has a light gray interior w/pano roof and the only the carpet, dash and top portion of the door panels are black. Much brighter and cheerful than the darker Avalon.

      As I continue to age (as we all do) I tend to drive less and may end up getting one of those hover-round electric chairs with AWD!

  • avatar
    jrhmobile

    Living in the home of the Early Bird Special, I’d say the new geezer car of choice is the Buick Encore. Small size, (relatively) good fuel mileage, at least hopes of traditional Buick reliability and a crossover-high seating position that makes it easy to get in/out of and offers great visibility. Cracker Barrel and Golden Corral parking lots are chock ful’o’them.

    Solid second place seems to belong to Kia Rios/Hyundai Accents, in part because the local dealers offer a dealer option of driver-seat spacers to help elderly drivers see traffic at least through the steering wheel, if not above it.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    My elderly aunt recently bought an Escape and loves it.

    My mom is presently leasing a Venza (definite old person car) and knowing that I needed to take charge in her future vehicle ownership lest she wind up with a ticking time bomb I picked up a low mile, rough condition Lexus IS300 Sportcross.

    It didn’t cost a lot to buy though I have put enough money in that I should have just bought a low mile one in good condition. Regardless, I’ve been working on it for 3 months now to give it to her in April when her lease ends. It has plenty of airbags, it’s small enough to fit through her garage door easily, it has enough cargo space for her imagined needs, and it’s darn near bulletproof. Plus I think with the seat in its highest position, where she’ll sit, it shouldn’t be that hard for her to get in and out of.

  • avatar
    cretinx

    Old people are buying Subarus where I live, and driving them appropriately terribly.

  • avatar
    agent534

    The answer was supposed to be the Lincoln Blackwood, but no one understood they were looking at the body on frame Town Car replacement, they thought they were looking at an entry into the luxury truck market and cried because it was not 4×4.
    Now it is Avalon for most if they want a low car, if not the old folks I know drive Suburbans.

  • avatar
    threeer

    My 71-year old mother drives a Buick Verano she bought new in 2012. While she didn’t want a large boat, she wanted something she could comfortably handle while still enjoying some semblance of luxury. Coming from thirty years of Toyota Corolla and Camry ownership, she couldn’t see her last car being either one of those and the Avalon was much too big for her. She toyed briefly with the idea of buying a CPO C-class, but prefers to buy her cars new and be the one and only owner of said vehicle. She has been very pleased with the little Buick these last three years.

  • avatar
    callmeishmael

    Late 60s here. I still drive an NB Miata. Though I can’t get in and out of it as quickly as I could I still get a kick out driving the thing. And, yes, I’m already looking into personal hoists for when I get really old.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I’m almost 65 and I have no aspiration to buy any “old people” cars, if they still made them. I’m driving the largest car I’ll ever own, and when it goes over the rainbow, I’ll get something a bit smaller, at least as long as my eyesight holds out.

  • avatar
    jeoff

    My mom is in her 70s and loves her basic Honda Fit. My dad is well into his 80s and drives the beigeist, most basic Toyota Corolla with an auto around–probably both of their last cars–if not, there will be a 95-ish-year-old old man hitting up a Toyota lot for a Corolla with roll-down windows in about ten years!

    • 0 avatar
      Mattias

      Second that on basic jap cars. My Grandpas last three cars have.been an 01 Corolla, an 07 Lancet and a 13 Colt

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Our elderly lady friend’s daughter just bought a Honda Fit and she just recently went for a ride with her. She positively hated it! The all black interior with rock hard seats, the ultra cheap carpet and the noisy rough ride were complained about. She did say it was easy to get into and out of however and liked the utility out back. She currently drives a 1989 Buick and says it is the most comfortable car she has ever owned.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Next time I’ll look at a Chrysler 300 first, though I doubt I can set aside my concerns about its “worse than average” reliability.

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    My wife is in her 60’s, and wanted the smallest car possible, for ease of parking. She went with a Mini Cooper S, when I advised against the car she really wanted, a Fiat 500 Abarth. When she picks up her 87 year old mother (who no longer drives, but most recently had a VW Jetta), I get stuck in the back, and the back of the Fiat was not a place I wanted to be!

  • avatar
    pragmatist

    Not sure why old people are supposed to be looking for certain (stereo)types of cars.

    At 66 some would consider me an ‘old person’ and I drive an old (89) Jeep Wrangler, mostly maintained by me. I can’t see myself in another type of car. My wife and I do some actual offroading events (I’m not considering a muddy road as ‘off roading’) a few times a year as part of our vacation plans.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Consider yourself lucky if you are not wrought with joint and muscle pain the way many people over age 65 are.

      • 0 avatar
        56BelAire

        +1 HDC. Muscle and joint pain is high on the list of reasons to move to the southwestern desert states.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Yessir! And they are coming in like a flock.

          Good for the rental and real estate bid’ness, but not so good for the easy-living most people already in-place are accustomed to.

          Both El Paso, TX and Las Cruces, NM have ginormous expansion plans on the books but housing (apartments and Single Family Homes) is still in short supply.

          Rents are at all-time highs. And people pay them willingly, often outbidding others for a place to live until they find something permanent.

          The Southwestern desert states are the destination of choice for many retirees from back East, and those cashing out of California.

    • 0 avatar
      hybridkiller

      “Not sure why old people are supposed to be looking for certain (stereo)types of cars.”

      Shhh… you’ll blow up DeMuro’s neat little preconceptions about how “old people” are.

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      You’re my hero pragmatist. I would love to do this.

      At 46, I’m missing my ’89 and ’04 Wranglers (sold when the last of the off-road parks in my former city closed due to knuckleheads ruining the trails with parts and trash). I’ve been trying to decide if I was too old to drive one anymore, as most of the JK’s and newer around here seem to be 4-doors with fake bead lock wheels and “you wouldn’t understand” stickers.

      I now live half an hour from Disney off road park, and the itch is inescapable.

  • avatar
    zoomzoomfan

    My grandmother has had five cars since I was born, 26 years ago. First, she had a Buick Skyhawk. Why, I have no idea. I don’t remember it. Then, she had a 1992 Chrysler New Yorker Fifth Avenue (in powder blue). I do remember it. The seats were like a plushy living room couch. It didn’t feel like a K-car, that’s for sure.

    Her Cadillac buying started in 1999. She traded in the Chrysler and bought a then-new 1999 Cadillac Deville. Pearl white with red leather. In 2005, she bought a one-year-old pearl white 2004 Cadillac Deville. This was obviously her favorite, as she kept it for ten years. It began having a few age-related issues (definitely not mileage related – it had 60,000 miles). So, in early 2014, she traded it for a…you guessed it…pearl white Cadillac. This time, it was a 2012 SRX “Performance” Collection. Believe it or not, she can get in and out of the SUV better than she could the car.

    However, her complaints about the SRX are: it’s too noisy, it rides rough sometimes, and it has “too many buttons.” I have tried explaining to her that they don’t make cars like the Deville anymore and they probably won’t until self-driving cars become the norm someday. She still wants her Deville back, though.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Currently 65, and have the option of finally cashing my Social Security this July. In the driveway is a first generation xB with manual, and a Kia Sedona. Yes, I like the easy entry of both.

    However, in the garage is a Harley Davidson Superglide, a Honda 996 Super Hawk, and a Yamaha Zuma 125 (my daily driver). Also like the easy entry on these. Had a couple of sports cars, found out that motorcycles still speak to the soul a lot better.

  • avatar

    My 80-something-year old grandma just unloaded her 92 Grand Marquis and got into a Toyota Camry. Doug, I think you’re onto something…

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Not sure what I’ll be driving when I’m actually old but right now nearing 68 have a Cruze (wife’s), Cad SRX (3 seat to hold ALL the grandkids at once), 67 Camaro convert (no explanation reqd), and a GMC Sonoma pickup (hopefully a LS swap this summer). For those planning retirement years, I highly recommend building a shop with a vehicle lift. It makes things so much easier to work on.

    Now with gas at a buck forty per gal my single regret is being able to drive only one at a time.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    I guess at 76 I’m not the stereotypical old fart. We’re looking at Mustangs.

    • 0 avatar
      56BelAire

      Good for you. Us old dudes like us our Mustangs. I was at the donut shop a few days ago and a brand new Red GT-California Edition pulled in, out crawled an older guy and his wife, struck up a conversation, he was 78 and loved his new ride.

      Forever Young.

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    At 75 I dont consider myself old, In fact I dont ever intend to grow up. Because my knees are starting to give trouble, getting in and out of the Mercury G M . was a chore even at my weight 165 #. My Sienna is now a year old and I could not be more pleased. If Vans were this good 20 years ago that is what I would have been driving. Vans look big, but it is a foot shorter than the Grand Marquis.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    I had a guy walk in the funeral home recently, heavily dependent on a cane. He and I got to talking, and he said he’s about ready to trade in his Camaro convertible (?!?) and get a car that is easier to get in and out of.

    We see acres of boring Asian sedans and CUVs on the lot during visitations.

    My parents, well into their 70s, drive 2 Kia Sportage CUVs…they still drive to their winter home in AZ…1800 miles each way, several times a year.

  • avatar
    daviel

    KIA Cadenza, KIA K900, comparable cars from Hyundai. An Optima is a good choice. Me, I’m 72 and just bought a KIA Forte Koup SX. Traded in a 2011 Sportage EX. I’m just a KIAphile pushing back against car magazine and car blog KIA hate. They are really nice rides.

  • avatar
    Clueless Economist

    Test drove a Nissan Altima last year. Very soft and comfortable. Drove like my dad’s old Buick LeSabre. Altima is the new Buick.

    I hated the car.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The old people I know love the CUV hip point. Many, many RAV4s and CR-Vs among them. A few stick to old used DeVilles and such, but I think in general the CUV revolution has included the elderly as much as anyone else.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    I think there will be a bit of divergence. My mom and 2 of her sisters are great instructive examples. All 3 in their late 60s, and all 3 drove stereotypical old people’s cars – mom and sister one had panthers and sister two had a 2000 Deville (and an Eldorado before that). I actually wrote to Piston Slap a couple years ago seeking advice for the Panther driving aunt who was lost on what to replace her beloved Grand Marquis with. She and my Town Car driving Mom both bought Chrysler Town & Countries which they both love. It’s a bit amusing. I got a frantic text from my aunt when the story about the Pacifica hit her local paper. She as worried she wouldn’t be able to replace her T&C with something similar. She said “they keep cancelling the cars I love!” Cadillac driving sister says minivans are essentially too unfashionable. She recently bought a Lincoln MKC. My in his 80s Grandfather (only remaining grandparent) still loves his Ford Ranger (he’s always had compact pickups since I’ve been alive). If something happened to the Ranger, I imagine a Frontier or Tacoma would be in his future. He also still drives my late Grandmother’s Lexus ES, a car she absolutely adored.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    An “old person’s car” is whatever he wants it to be. There are many car guys who always wanted a Porsche, BMW, Jaguar, etc. but never bought one because things like mortgages, college tuition and saving for retirement got in the way. With the house paid for, the kids self sufficient and the retirement nest egg big enough, they are finally free to indulge themselves. My retirement present to myself was an Infiniti G37S coupe with the 6-speed manual.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Ah, how I remember my own parents’ ’79 Sedan deVille; a massive barge of a car that rode nicely pretty much no matter what speed you were driving. Granted it was no racecar, but it was fast enough and maneuverable enough for most cities and highways even with that huge honkin’ V8 under the hood. My mother’s more current late ’90s (or maybe early ’00s) model seems so much smaller in so many ways. Still, it rides well and ‘feels’ so much heavier than it looks.

    In my own case, I don’t think I want her car when she passes (inevitable and very likely to still have when it does happen as she’s currently 91) because it is still too big for my tastes, though I won’t deny its comfort when I do drive it for her. Someone is going to luck up on a surprisingly low-mileage car when it finally hits the market just as my current 18-year-old Ranger had less than 20k miles on the odometer when I acquired it from her late husband now six months ago.

    Strangely however, I’m also well aware of other ‘mature’ individuals driving much different cars today. Rather than the big luxo-barges, they’re driving anything from mid-sized sedans (not crossovers) to some really tiny cars like the Fiat 500, Kia Soul and others. I even saw one in a Chevy Spark not all that long ago at the store. I’m not necessarily surprised, as their economy does make routine driving notably less expensive both up front and on the road. But they also seem to be enjoying the smaller cars more. They want to go out and express their independence despite their age. To me, that’s a good thing. Some of these people are rapidly closing in on their century mark and still sharp as a tack, if not as quick as they used to be.

    Yes, some cars will always be considered ‘old-folks cars’ but the best known brands are now actively fighting that perception through their advertising.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Electric wheelchairs is the norm in these parts

  • avatar
    nels0300

    I must be wise beyond my years because I’m 39 years old and I want an old person’s car. I am tired of loud, rough riding cars at this point. I want something that floats over the thousands of potholes we have here in Minneapolis.

    I really wish Toyota didn’t mess up the Avalon’s ride with the latest generation. I like the 2012 and earlier models.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      The 2013 on up Avalon has a much stiffer ride than before and that is often complained about. So is the lower roof line and the darker interior colors. The current Impala rides a bit smoother but has rear visibility concerns so a backup camera is a must on many of these new cars.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Impalas are still pretty popular with the segment. Also Mercedes E and S classes, big traditional and luxurious.

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    Winnebago

  • avatar
    Southern Perspective

    Hi Mr. DeMuro,

    I enjoy your writing on Jalopnik and on this site. Since today is Friday, I will soon go to Jalopnik to look for your Friday article.

    Your present article is a thoughtful one about a real problem. For me personally, I can only afford one good pair of glasses, so my bifocals double as my driving glasses. As a result, I cannot read the speedometer of my not-made-for-old-f**ts dashboard because it is low, and falls in line with the bifocal part of my glasses.

    Fortunately, I can afford to put a GPS device on the dashboard which has a nice big speedometer face which can be selected instead of the map. This has saved me some speeding tickets, I’m sure!

    It would be better if dashboards were designed for easy use, but I doubt that I will live long enough to see that miracle.

    Thanks Mr. DeMuro for your writing, and for putting up with all the dimwits and haters who take issue with it.

  • avatar
    mikeg216

    Toyota avalon, Camry, corolla… Yaris.. I think ford still makes the Taurus?

  • avatar
    Wraith

    I’m on my second Legacy, so I tend to notice other Subarus on the road. One thing I’ve noticed is there are a lot of old folks driving Outbacks.

  • avatar
    theoldguard

    I’m 58 and tell my kids that my next car will be a Cadillac ATS or a Verano T. 30 years from now (or less) they will take the keys from me and I will call them ungrateful. Cadillac and Buick not too bad. I will take either one.

    • 0 avatar
      JEFFSHADOW

      The way to buy a 2011 and older DTS is to get the Buick Lucerne with V6 or V8. Same platform, same dash (except for the clock) and similar ride.
      Of course my V8 Super became a Wildcat.

  • avatar

    I was into my second gen CTS for six hours when I got the first “you are officially old” comment.

    300 hp – rwd – posi- CTS-v steering and the burgerkingring are meaningless.

    Back in the day, we used the code “hat’. The old guy in the square caddy would always be a pre Kennedy era person who didn’t go out without the hat on. He drove 55. Turn signal always… They died off or moved to Florida. The car is still there, sun bleached with kudzu in the grille.

    I see it practically. If you can, you should get whatever you want…life is too short….

    Never forget the line from Fried Green Tomatoes…I’m older and I have better insurance !”

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    I’m 62 and I would not buy any car with all these electronic gizmos that make you take a course in advanced computing to figure out how to just turn on the radio or the a/c

  • avatar
    glwillia

    My mom turns 69 this year. I’m recommending she replace her E46 sedan with a Lexus RX.

  • avatar

    I am 70, so I suppose I fit your definition of an “old person”. After driving a Lexus SC400 for almost 20 years, I bought a Lexus GS350 F-Sport a few years ago. Great car, but I keep yearning for a Porsche. It is not practical from a reliability standpoint (I have owned five Porsches in the distant past.) I found the Lexus RC-350 totally boring, so if and when the local Lexus store gets an RC-F, I’ll seriously consider it.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    My parents are in their 70s. My mom drives an Impreza sport wagon and my dad drives a 350z. Both stick.

    I win! Except I drive a Sonata, the first exemplar of an old person car.

    I lose.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    I honestly don’t see older people driving new cars anyway. I see those same older Cadillacs, Buicks, and Mercurys. I think those older people are going to drive their Grand Marquis, and DeVilles until they fall apart. And they probably won’t as old people don’t drive that much, and take good care of their cars.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      For many old people, leasing is the best option. When they die, there’s one less thing for the kids and grandkids to fight over who gets what.

      I read about a guy in NM who died intestate in 2014 and his stuff is still in probate after all this time, which includes his cars and truck impounded by the State and parked in some dirt lot adjacent to the court house, losing value by the day.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        What kind of crappy state does that? I know from personal, recent experience that in Florida, all it requires is a petition to the court to get the authority to sell a car for an intestate individual. The proceeds go into the estate account, but the vehicles don’t have to sit around waiting for the estate to be settled.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Bunkie, I think most states do that when someone contests the distribution of the probate court. First the contestants have to show cause to prove their claim has merit and that takes months. And once the judge has decided that the claimants have a valid case, the trial has to be scheduled or put on the docket, behind everything else that is ahead of it.

          Think Robin Williams, Casey Kasem, James Brown, et al, where someone issued a legal challenge. This stuff can drag out for years, and after probate there are other legal avenues someone can travel to claim chattel and real estate redistribution.

  • avatar
    GST

    Wife at 65 loves her new Audi Q5 . It is quiet, comfortable and has good backseat room for the grandkids seats. At 70 I finally bought a new BMW 320i . It has been a very good all round car. For the summer days we have our 2001 Audi TT that is such a pleasure to drive that we now have 150,000 miles on it. All the engines are 4 cylinder turbo charged with great economy and power.

  • avatar
    GST

    Here’ what we bought. 65 year old wife loves her new Audi Q5. It is comfortable , quiet and has enough room in the back seats for the NASA approved car seats for the grandkids. At 70, I finally bought a new BMW 320i. We also drive in good weather a 2001 Audi TT that we have put 150,000 miles on. All are 4 cylinder turbo’s with good power and economy.

  • avatar
    hybridkiller

    Others have already noted this, but if it wasn’t for “old people”, the Kia Soul would probably be discontinued for lack of demand.

  • avatar
    stuki

    CUVs are where it’s at for oldsters, thanks to easier ingress/egress.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    I see a lot of Crown Vics, Grand Marqis, and some Impalas and Roadmasters, but the “rising star” of the old folks rides around Toledo has to be the Camry. Other popular cars with the older crowd (Over 70) are VW Passats, Nissan Altimas and Sentras, and the Soul. A friend’s dad is 77, and he just bought a Charger R/T in TorRed, and he loves it. He hates slow cars. He figures that he’s got 5 years left to drive, and his grandson will eventually get the Charger, when he’s about 25.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Old people just want loose cars, tight sphincters and a warm place to nap.

    Anyone else remember Earl Butz?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Better question is, does anyone remember Harley Earl? His designs were for loose cars that were a warm place to nap, while driving, behind the wheel. I owned a ’49 Buick. It was all that, and more.

      Tight sphincters can be arranged through elective surgery by a plastic surgeon.

      • 0 avatar
        lot9

        Earl knew how to design autos…. His autos are prized today as collector’s items.
        I too have owned many old autos, all that I could afford at the time. Have owned a 49 and older Buicks as well as newer ones. Like the old La Sabre, Road Masters, Electra, old Pontiac and ’56 Olds 88 were nice as well as the 98’s.
        Quit buying Buick when they went to these weird names and smaller sizes.
        Miss those old days.. you could tell a car brand when you saw it… all cookie cutter cars, today.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Except that’s objectively wrong. Every car company has a very distinct look today.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “Every car company has a very distinct look today.”

            Completely agree; they all distinctly look like blobs. Some are just a little taller than others.

            But they are being more leveled to a <60" norm with each new generation.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          lot9, I know what you mean.

          I, too, have many fond memories of the classic old cars; among them my ’49 Buick with FluidDrive, my ’52 Mercury with cable-activated Overdrive and that fantabulous flat-head V8, my 1959 Chevy 2-door Bel-Air with the 265 Straight 6 and Bangshift Hydramatic PowerGlide, and my 1960 Mercury Montclaire with the awesome 430 cubic inch, 4-barrel V8.

          Wadda country! So many choices, so little time.

  • avatar
    Lownslow

    I think I’ve been well beyond my years when it comes to the cars I love, because when I was 19 years old, my first car I ever bought was a 72 Cadillac. I’m 32 years old now and nobody in my age group, nor any of my friends own old luxury cars. They all think I’m crazy and don’t understand the reasons behind it.

    I personally can’t stand road noise, rough riding, cheap feeling cars. All the cars I’ve owned have been huge luxo boats and I don’t think I could ever own a small to mid size car just because the simple fact they don’t ride as nicely as an old Buick, Lincoln TC or a Caddy.

    I personally have owned my 94 Cadillac Fleetwood for 7 years, and it has been the most reliable car I have ever had. It has a ton of room inside, it has power, and the ride is super comfortable and it is built like a tank. They don’t make huge Cads like this anymore either. And because it’s RWD, and shares components with a Roadmaster or Caprice, parts are cheap and the repairs are easy to do. As young guy myself I love old peoples cars, and when someone sees me getting out of my Fleetwood at a gas station they sometimes have this funny look on their face.

    My father who is now 65 owns a 2002 Lincoln Town Car L edition. He’s had it well over 10 years and it still runs great. Prior to that he drove a 95 Camry and a 90 Toyo pickup for years. He told me he’s waiting for Cadillac or Lincoln to make a large sedan again so he can upgrade to. Well the new Continental is coming out, and he will most likely check it out he said.

    My mom has been driving Hondas and Toyota’s ever since she was young. She’s currently driving a Honda Accord and doesn’t care for big cars. But she did tell me that she wants something new eventually, but a CUV type where she can carry large items and a vehicle that is big and safe for her to drive.

    Everyone’s different, I think once people get into their 70’s and 80’s is when they’ll be yearning for a car that is a little easier on the body. Generally speaking a stiff harsh riding car isn’t good on the organs nor the back, and overall health to the body compared to a softer riding car which doesn’t transmit vibrations and jolting as much that can a negative effect on your well being. I am not saying cars that have to be floaty, but soft enough that they that don’t jolt, and disturb you every time you hit a bump or pothole in the road.

    The future isn’t so bright for us people that love the old smooth riding comfortable cars of the past. At least finally Cadillac and Lincoln are returning to their old self again by releasing cars that are reminiscent of the old school luxury cruisers from back in the days (CT6 and the Continental), but they too probably won’t be nearly as soft riding as their predecessors, and they aren’t as big as the old schoolers, but hey it’s a step in the right direction after all these years which is a great thing for once.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “the old smooth riding comfortable cars of the past.”

      Four-door pickups and the larger SUVs are today’s version of “the old smooth riding comfortable cars of the past” but with vastly better interior dimensions and ease of ingress.

      They don’t come cheap and their physics can’t provide the exact same coddled cushiness as an old boat but those are prices we pay for no longer being the smooth bending agile folks of our past.

  • avatar
    Wheeljack

    My 75 year old Mother is on her 2nd Chrysler 300 and she loves it. The first one was a 2006 model with the 3.5L engine. The only issues it ever had was a module that controlled the adjustable pedals (warranty) and a leaky transmission wiring connector (known issue with the Mercedes 5-speed, also covered by warranty). Before my Dad passed, he wanted my Mom to have a new car, so they got the 2013 300. It has the 3.6L and the 8-speed, and so far so good. Much quitter than the ’06 and rides better too. The visibility is better than the earlier car and my Mom loves the backup camera.

  • avatar
    scuzimi

    I’ll be 70 this year. I drive a Fiat 500 Abarth… F all that old folks stuff! Drive what makes you happy.

    Oh and I don’t wear polyester either.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Good for you! I’ll be 70 this year as well and I drive what I want to drive. My DD is a 1989 Camry V6, but I have two other vehicles registered to my name as well.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I’ve been in Charlottesville, Virginia for a few weeks. UVA is out of session. This town, which should be known for serial killers, police and ABC violence, corruption, and totalitarian politics has instead managed to manipulate its image as a good place to die of old age. Mind you it will happen sooner here than somewhere with decent weather, but maybe that’s by design. What are old people driving? Everything. Every time I see a car that I’d associate with a typical Pacific Beach yoga-babe, I turn my head only to be staring at the crypt-keeper’s profile. Scion FR-S? Senior citizen. Jeep Wrangler? Senior citizen. Subaru WRX? Senior citizen. New Porsche Cayman? Senior citizen. It’s probably safe to assume all the mainstream cars are driven by old folks too here, but it still surprises me to see a Nissan Juke driven by someone with nothing but liver spots on their scalp.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Many people of advanced age decide to get exactly what they want when they buy that “last” vehicle of their driving life.

      In 2006, my 70-yo brother-in-law (married to my youngest sister, then living in West Palm Beach, FL) bought for his “last” ride a 2006 Mustang 4.6 GT with a Manual Transmission, all done in Light Baby Blue Metallic on the outside and Black Leather on the inside. Drove it every day. Loved it! Had regained his youth. And was reliving it.

      Today, he lives outside of Tel Aviv, Israel, with my sister, and he drives……… Renault. Wadda change. Wadda difference.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I know enough people in their seventies to think that the majority of the folks I see here are considerably older, or at least their lives have aged them considerably more.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Often times what ages people is the lack of a productive lifestyle, missing a sense of direction, like when they quit working voluntarily or involuntarily.

          Being retired really is a full-time job.

          If a person becomes a spud or couch potato, they generally head downhill quickly.

          Often the lack of initiative to go out and do things is what ages people prematurely.

          People who make themselves do things every day, like play a round of golf, or walk with a group, or create their own projects, often defy the aging process.

          Even taking a morning drive every day just to go out and see things can have a positive effect on a person. Buying the right car to do that with…..priceless!

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “This town, which should be known for…”

      It just makes me think of Charlotte’s Web.

      *sniff*

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    in the mountain East: the wife drives a Taurus and the husband drives the same pickup he was driving ten years ago.

  • avatar
    MostlyOnJalopnik

    Doug –

    What about the Hyundai Azera? It’s a big FWD-platform car, with a soft ride and comfortable seats and a MASSIVE bank of LEDs across the rear end.

  • avatar
    heybob

    I”m 64 and just bought a taurus limited. It’s kind of like an MKS -1. But I’m not too old for my Mark VIII.

  • avatar
    hiptech

    I’m curious as to what age constitutes old people, geezers, old farts, one foot in the grave, BOD, etc. If we’re going to resort to generalizations and stereotypes let’s keep in mind not all “old people” drive sofas or want to. Some drive Porsche 911, Corvette Z06, Shelby Cobras, etc.

    Another thing to keep in mind, while many younger people or “young straf” (farts spelled backwards) “stupid teenagers railing against failure” claim to want to buy high end cars many can’t even get out of their parents home much less afford to buy anything.

    So if car companies want to cater to the upcoming millennials or next gen of Wanna Be’s remember who has the money to buy a $35K median average new car today… “old people.”

    Car companies better start realizing brand loyalty doesn’t mean today what it once did. Catering to younger generations may pay off down the road but it won’t guarantee they stick around after they buy their first car. Especially if the airbag send shrapnel into their faces or the ignition lock kills a few of them, just saying.

    Hey that’s funny brand loyalty isn’t that an old people concept?

  • avatar
    Johnster

    Where I live it’s rural and I see a lot of elderly people, men and women, buying full-sized pickup trucks, followed by mid-sized pickup trucks. Then there is smaller number buying SUVs and minivans. The RAV4, CRV, Subaru Forester and Outback seem to be popular. The Enclave is popular with the ones who have a little money. Among the ones still buying cars, the Camry and Prius are both popular.

  • avatar
    dolorean

    Once while doing a Mustang club event in KC, a large group of 20-30 Smart cars roved in filled with an AARP group doing a KC to StL tour. In talking to their leader, a Septegenarian and his young girlfriend who was 59, he went on about how good the Smart was for an old fart and his lady. Easy as hell to get in and out of, great gas mileage so he didn’t have to get out much for that, way too easy to park and there’s always parking, and just enough room for your luggage for a weekend outing, grocery getting or Christmas presents for when you see your kids.

  • avatar
    Mattias

    The average old person here tends to drive small Japanese cars like the Toyota Yaris, though Suzukis/Mazdas/Toyotas/Hyundais/Kias/Fords tend to be common among old geezers here due to the fact that many elderly prefer to purchase from the local dealers (one ford and one that’s Hyundai/Kias but used to sell Mazdas, Suzukis and Toyotas). Otherwise pretty much varies on income/taste. Examples from my fam include my great aunt and uncle purchased an X3 last year to replace a 95 Contour and a 02 E46. My other great uncle recently bought a new 5 series after maintaining a 97 E39 for years. Grandma owns a Prius that she bought shortly after retirement in 07 but owned a 92 Lumina for years. Grandpa owns a 2013 Mirage after having owned an 07 Lancer, an 01 Corolla and an 88 Peugeot 504 that he loved dearly (his partner owned a 96 Galant for years though, my grandparents are divorced btw). My aunt seems to be into green technology as she owns a 13 Lexus CT and a 13 Leaf. My dad drives a 13 Fusion hybrid after owning multiple Saabs and preludes. Mom drives a Tesla after dumping her 01 Odyssey (common trans problems on those) and 02 Accord that my late paternal Grandmother gave to her (only my maternal grandparents are alive). My paternal uncle seems to be happy with driving Lexi like an 08 LX and an 08 RX hybrid though he drove a 2000 Camry for years. My maternal uncle expirements a lot and has owned a 94 Mercedes E, an 08 A5, a Leaf and now an M4.

  • avatar
    mikey

    How do we define “old”? I’m 62 and thought I would be happy with an Impala … ( I bought and traded a W and an Epsilon) Tried a 2SS Camaro. 6 speed stick . Too much car, and not enough visibility , for this “old ” guy. I love the full size truck, but just find them just too big.

    I’m four months in with my 2015 Mustang , and it still gives me a thrill , every time I get behind the wheel.

  • avatar
    lot9

    Seniors with their old backs are not what they used to be… ingress and egress is critical as well as the seats assuagement and comfort being utmost.

    The Honda Element was a nice choice for many for around-town auto. The suicide doors make it easy to get in and out. But, they Don’t make them anymore. Vans are replacing them.
    Appears Kia are making some larger model autos as well as Hyundai. Chevy Impala is a nice choice, too. Nice riding and good power and economy.
    Rear somewhere, Ford is coming back with the large sedan model.

    Suv and pickups are common, too. The pickup needs to be easy to enter and exit. Most have running boards, etc. Many have wheel chair racks on rear hitch. You see drivers getting out and then getting out a walker from the rear seat or back, so they can be mobile.

    Smaller autos are too hard to get into and low seating. You don’t get into or out of them, you feel like you are putting them on and off, like a coat.

    The Chevy Traverse and their ilk, seems to be popular with the snowbirds. I have driven them and like their ride. Gas mileage is not that great, but what is in that size of SUV?

    Go to some of these senior parks for winter visitors and see what they are driving. Their overall health, bad back conditions and agility dictate their choices, now.

    Yes, the auto makers have overlooked the older set, they have forgotten the ones with some money to buy autos. They prefer to cater to the younger set that may not even want to own an auto or can afford one.
    Cant they do both?

    I have a bad back and need to find something that is comfortable. Sure miss the bench seats.
    Do not buy sedans anymore..no bench seats. And they are making them harder to crawl in an out of..(boy, has the rear vision gone to hell, in the newer models.

    Now, get pickups and SUV. Last four autos been SUVs and Trucks.

    Looking for a 2017 model but have not see them all,yet. Not sure how the new Durango will be.

    The new vans sit to low to the ground for my needs…so stay away for them. Not good in high snow or dirt roads.

    Not impress with the New Pilot and GMC SUV or newer ones so far.

    I like autos that are quite and they move down the road and have some features along with comfortable and ease. They are getting harder to find.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      These are all good observations; however: how many pickups and SUVs actually have bench seats? The only SUV available with a front bench is the Tahoe/Yukon/Suburban, as a low-production option on the LS model only. (2006 was the last year you could get a bench on a Ford Expedition, but since the current model is mechanically the same, it could hypothetically be swapped in.) On pickup trucks, benches are more widely available.

      And even then, every “bench” seat available is actually two buckets with a flip-down console seat (which is more practical IMO anyway). The last true one-piece bench seat was (IIRC) in the 2010 Super Duty, XL only (vinyl).

  • avatar
    14Tundra

    I’m in Louisiana, most old guys drive crew cab trucks (lots of F150s and F250s), and their wives drive Tahoes or a CUV.

  • avatar
    daro31

    Don’t you just hate generalizations and stereotypes. Makes you iether an oddball or conformist if you agree or disagree. I guess I am the oddball. I look at it as a personal challenge at age 66 to still be able to get out of my Jaguar XK8 convertible. I plan on staying in good enough shape to be able to do it for another 10 years. The challenge of entry; worth the trip once your in. The challenge of exit is you never want to leave. Easier in the summer with the top down I must admit.

  • avatar
    Pat D

    I’m sixty freaking eight, looking at sixty nine as just another year, not a position.

    I drive a Turbo Beetle, which is a fun drive and quite economical. The little old lady I’m married to likes it. She doesn’t know what happens when you smash the go pedal, or how it feels taking Dead Man’s curve at 70+ instead of the recommended 35. She putters along at 30 and never ventures onto freeways.

    She likes the nostalgia of it. She had one in her youth and loved it. She still thinks the engine is in the trunk, under where we put the groceries.

    So far, we don’t have problems getting in and out. Wide doors help. Being in good health helps even more. We can both do the test where you sit on the floor and rise to a standing position without using your arms or knees. Try doing it. It’s a challenge.

    I’ll get another one, or a Golf GTI.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    My 77 year old mother drives a 2008 Impala LS with bench seating. She hates the silly overly large center consoles on today’s vehicles so the Impala’s roomy open bench seat suites her fine. Her next vehicle will probably be a small CUV so she will have to live with some type of console thereafter.

  • avatar
    Marsden

    Most old people and all fat people in the USA now drive SUVs, which they like for their ‘waddle-in, waddle-out’ convenience. Women, also, prefer the ‘commanding view’ over traffic. Between these three groups, I’ve just described about 90% of the Merkin Public.

    Minivans and Crossovers are in the same category, for the purposes of this discussion. So, while old people *might* like Avalons and such, they’re pretty much obsolete.

  • avatar
    Jagboi

    I got my Mom a Jaguar X Type, and she loves it. Small enough to be easy to park, comfortable ride, AWD for winter traction (and we get a lot of winter here) and an easy to use dash and climate control. Each button only does one thing, so it doesn’t take long to memorize the position of the buttons. Big enough to be able to push with gloves on (winter again) and not push the button beside it.

    Her friends all think it’s special to ride in a Jag, even though I bought it used and it was very affordable. Only 25,000 miles on it when I got it for her, another older person bought it new.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      I’ve got all that and more with a 97 Grand Marquis. Panthers forever, beeyotches!

      If mine were totalled tomorrow, I’d be shopping for another one.

      Only problem is I can’t decide if I want to go for the beefier drivetrain from about 2003 on, but probably severely decontented, or stick with my first ODB-II year, smooth riding but relatively flat cornering 97.

      Then there was a limited production CrownVic for a year or two that was loaded with goodies, but they are almost impossible to find. Clean P71’s that were supervisor types, not full of drilled holes, plastic benches, etc., are another attractive option.

      Or a Marauder would be a nice replacement.

      But my Grand Marquis, in the ubiquitous Prairie Tan color and with a mild chip tune, is still a lot of fun and a lot of car, to me. Not quite beefy enough to be a true sleeper, but beefy enough to surprise more than one driver who thought big equalled heavy equalled slow.

      Even though I once also owned a Jaguar, for the money, and being an incipient old geezer who still has a hooning streak in him, I absolutely think that the Panthers are the best used car option going, especially when you factor in cost and availability of parts.

      YMMV, but you’d have to GIVE me something like a Hurucán for me to think of getting out from behind the wheel of a Panther.

      And even then, I’d want a Panther-mobile for a backup, for when I wanted to carry more people or things.

  • avatar
    Jagboi

    You’ve got AWD in a Panther? Small, easy to park? I don’t think so. Prior to the Jag, my Mom drove a Crown Vic. Ok in the summer, she hated it in the winter. Even with winter tires and a LSD, it was a pig to drive. There was lots of times she couldn’t get up the drive to their house when it was icy and had to leave the car on the street and walk up. Never a problem with the Jag, it can always make it up to the garage.

  • avatar
    dgwil

    You Hit the nail on the head with the 2000ish Cadillac Deville being old age appropriate. I am 67 yrs and 10 to 15 yrs ago, as I entered my 50s, I bought a 2002 Cadillac Deville. A couple of years earlier, my boss, also in her 50s, bought the 2000 Deville with the new, at that time, night vision. My boss’s mother, in her late 70s soon purchased the 2003 Cadillac, you guessed it, Deville. Just for good measure, my cousin my age also drove a 2001 Cadillac Deville. Now 12 to 15 yrs later, due to deaths and vehicle sales of my boss her mother, and my cousin, my 2002 Deville is the last man standing, albeit barely.

    I presently own and drive a 2003 Nissan Altima SR 3.2 V6. However, I could not bring myself to trade or sell the Deville and have used it as a backup when necessary. My trusted Deville was recently stolen and recovered with a post shaped ripple in the passenger side between the front wheel and passenger door. one possibility is that a probably youthful unauthorized driver thief, while making a right turn, underestimated the length of the Cadillac Deville. I will soon sell it for salvage or whatever and my days of the Cadillac Deville will be over. Say what you want though, the Northstar engine provided plenty of acceleration and pep to many and old bone.

    I recently purchased for my granddaughter’s 21st birthday a very used (73,000 miles) 2010 Audi Q5 Prestige which she and myself love. After the rare permissions to drive her Audi, my next old person vehicle has got to be a 2005 or 2006 Audi A8 W12. Surely this Transporter 2 luxury beast will get close to my price range within 2 to 3 yrs.

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