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Best Vehicle for Elderly/Limited Mobility Drivers

My mother has had both knees replaced, and my 80 year old father is about to have his knee replaced as well. They have a 1993 Taurus that is just too difficult for them to get in and out of.

So, what they are looking for is something that has tons of front leg room, and the seat and roof is of the correct height that entry and exit is as easy as possible. The want something a little smaller than a Gran Marquis, and the Taurus is not big enough.

My father has always owned Ford's since 1950, but he would consider a GM or Chrysler. They do not find it easy to get into my brother's 98 Gran Voyager, but I'm thinking something like a LeSabre, Impala, or perhaps a "taller" vehicle like an Escape or a PT Cruiser. I have to say they both perfer simply styled vehicles, and image is meaningless to them.

Any suggestions, as I assume this is a common issue for elderly drivers?


  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,077
    jsylvester, my grandmother, late 80's, has similar mobility problems. She lives with my aunt & uncle and does not drive herself, but they recently took her shopping with them when they bought a vehicle because she could not get in and out of a sedan or SUV without a lot of help. They ended up with a PT Cruiser (Turbo), and it has worked out perfectly. Though the car is tall-ish, it's low to the ground and spacious in the front.

    I have a Chrysler van, and it has a remote-operated rear liftgate feature. If they have this on the PT, that could be a bonus if they ever need to stow walkers. The back seats fold down too. Some models do come with the interior passenger entry/exit assist handles.

    Bonus: for an extra $500, they can get flames on the sides :)

    I'm sure you'll get additional opinions from those who have had experience with other vehicles.

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  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    ...what about a Windstar or other mini-van? They seem to have about the right step-in height for many elderly or people with medical conditions. My wife's aunt has MS, and finds that getting in and out of a mini-van or SUV much easier than a regular car.
  • janzjanz Posts: 129
    are VERY comfortable and easy go get into. I'd stay away from an SUV-type, unless it's a a crossover or maybe a Forrester. Many traditional platform SUV's have a high step-up to get in.

    Besides, PT is shorter than a minivan, possibly easier to maneuever.
  • nonjth13nonjth13 Posts: 91
    Look At a Toyota Avalon. Lots of interior room, relatively small exterior, you sit up high which makes entry and exit easier and you get 30mpg on the highway. Mine is 2 years old and is the preferred car over the Audi for family trips. I have two bad knees which need replacement so I know how difficult some cars are to get in and out of.
  • audia8qaudia8q Posts: 3,138
    Gran Marquis and the LeSabre are the undisputed champs when it comes to satisfaction of senior buyers. The Town Car and Avalon also might work, but the door opening on the mercury/buick/lincoln is a bit bigger than the Avalon...The mini-van suggestion could be good also, but traditionally they dont have the front seat "stretch out" room that the full size sedans offer
  • JPhamJPham Posts: 148
    We just sold an 80-yo gentleman with a bad back
    an RX330 which he just loved.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    They have no trouble getting into our CRV. It's high enough they don't have to stoop to get it.
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    I'm not 80 yet, but truly appreciated my PT
    Cruiser this Spring when I was dealing with a broken ankle. The doors open widely, the seats (at least the front seats) are at chair level so they are easier to get in and out of. Interestingly enough, during one of my visits to the orthopoedic surgeon, I was waiting for my wife to pull up in her PT when another PT pulled up to the entryway and another of my doctor's patients climbed in. We had a nice chat while waiting for my wife.

    One of the people in my church has bad knees and a Toyota Matrix. While I was on crutches, she did some ferrying me about. My only complaint about the Matrix are that the seats are lower, a little more difficult to get in and out of. The doors open widely. Either would be a good choice.

    I was visiting my dad a week or so ago. He rode for the first time in my PT Cruiser. He has a very bad back, he commented on how comfortable the Cruiser was and how easy to get in and out of.
  • Need suggestions for my mother-in-law. She is getting rid of a Taurus wagon. Doesn't do much driving, just around town (Las Vegas) for shopping. She didn't like the Hyundai, seats not high enough. Anyone have experience with a Nissan Maxima or Subaru Impreza? I hear the seats are height adjustable in that car.
  • lancerfixerlancerfixer Posts: 1,308
    Don't know, but among others the entire Volkwagen lineup and Ford Focus have height adjustable seats. I can't remember if the Civic or Prtoege, do, though.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Most sedans are too low to the ground and most SUV's too high.
        PT Cruiser, Toyota ECHO, Toyota Prius are 3 sedans with excellent height and wide opening doors for "less-agile" people.
        The RAV-4, CR-V, and some other "Cross-Over" vehicles are next best while most minivans are also a viable choice. All of these are unfortunately a little higher and more difficult to get into and out of than the PT, ECHO, and Prius.
  • afk_xafk_x Posts: 393
    Is worth a look. Sits lower than just about any other SUV
  • peeetepeeete Posts: 136
    finding the right car for disabled seniors is a big problem. The choices are rather limited. Nonetheless, there are surprises out there.

    My mother has severely restricted mobility. Getting in an out of a car is tough, and forget about suv's or vans if you have to step up at all.

    When I visit her in Florida I rent Grand Marquis, and she loves them..besides the ease of getting and out, the seats are large so she can move around. (Plus, I love GM's) :)

    Surprisingly, she can also get into an accord, a taurus and yesterday a Civic (which totally shocked me), so I guess the realtionship of door size, seat height etc makes a difference.

    Another car to consider is an Impala (or wimpala to some lol). It is also quite big inside and a foot shorter than the GM. A basic one is pretty cheap as well.

    I still think the GM/CV is the best value and most comfortable for the $.
  • I think I just need to have my parents try different vehicles and see what they are comfortable with. My parents don't drive much, and the nice thing about the PT Cruiser is it gets reasonable fuel economy, and there are low mileage used ones readily available everywhere. Also, it snows enough in Ohio that FWD may be a better choice for them since they are not the drivers they used to be.
  • audia8qaudia8q Posts: 3,138
    As a dealer who has alot of older buyers I fully understand your needs....
    you say they don't drive much, but yet your concerned with gas mileage....forget gas mileage and worry about comfort and your parents needs. If they are only drive occasionally the gas savings between a kia and a navigator will be minimal....also chances are if it's snowing they arent again, go for a perfect fit comfort wise....generally large, full sized domestic cars fill your needs the best.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    I overheard a conversation the other day on this very subject.

    These people tried everything they could think of.

    Of all things, they found the Pontiac Aztec to be the best for this!

    I'm sure a person could get a steal on one of these!
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    My friends are 65 years old and still quite mobile. They looked at all sedans, SUVs, minivans, pickups, cross-over vehicles, etc.
        They liked the Toyota ECHO seat height and ease of entry and exit but felt the interior looked and felt too cheap. The Toyota Prius was also nice but at their age they did not trust new technology.
        They purchased a PT Cruiser as seat height from ground and floor of the PT Cruiser felt just right as well as having wide opening doors that make it very easy to enter and exit.
        All other sedans were difficult for them to get into and out of compared to the PT Cruiser, ECHO, and Prius. The CR-V and RAV-4 were also considered. They would have purchased either the CR-V or RAV-4 had there not been PT Cruisers.
  • Most of the elderly people that I have taken out looking for a vehicles tend to prefer larger domestic sedans - the Crown Victoria, and most Buicks fit the bill very well.

    While SUVs may be easier to get into, a lot of older drivers do not feel comfortable driving something that is generally a lot larger than what they have been driving all along.
  • Some people I've talked to with back or knee problems say that getting down to get in a car is problematic for them, so something a little higher like a 2wd pickup can be better for some.
  • crkeehncrkeehn Posts: 513
    Please come back and let us know what they decided.
  • The purchase has been put on hold for now, as my father just had knee replacement surgery about 10 days ago. I would not expect anything to happen for a month or so right now.

    Based upon the miles they drive, we will probably go used car route, as depreciation expense would be pretty steep on something driven only 5-7 k miles a year.

    I have seen a lot of Gran Marquis with low miles for good prices, as well as low mileage PT Cruisers. We shall see.
  • Not entirely because of the vehicle, but partially because the dealership owners go to their church, and the Honda dealership is the closest to their house. It is a certified used car with 18,000 miles. It is my parents first non-Ford since a 63 Impala convertible, and a 76 Monte Carlo; needless to say their first foreign car. They are donating their 93 Taurus to charity.

    My mother also tested the Pontiac Vibe, Saturn VUE, and I tested a Ford Escape Limited with them. I liked the Escape much better (faster, more comfortable, better looking, and a much better price), but the CRV sits lower to the ground, and with them driving only 5-6,000 miles a year, it should work out okay. I do have to say that here in Columbus, OH, CRV's sell very quickly, and the dealerships all had very few in stock, except for the ones not prepped for delivery.
  • clarkjvclarkjv Posts: 1
    I am caregiver for my 90 year old parents. When I take them anywhere I have to pack a wheelchair and walker in the trunk. I am ready to buy a new sedan (no SUV -they can't step up into one) and am looking for one with lots of trunk space and backseat leg room. Any suggestions?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    What kind of price range are we talking here? Maybach has plenty of space, but it costs north of $300 grand.
  • slorenzenslorenzen Posts: 694
    across the street, retired and about the same age as your parents(90?), sold their Cadillac sedan and bought a GM mivivan(Silouette?), because it was way easier to get in and out.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    ...have you tried a small wagon, like a Pontiac Vibe or Toyota Matrix? Either that or a large sedan, maybe a Ford Crown Vic or Mercury Grand Marquis (largest trunks in the industry)? You can get any of them for ~$20k.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 4,056
    I'd suggest a small minivan like the Mazda MPV. When my mother became disabled, she could easily get into a minivan (but not SUV or sedan. You can back up to them and just sit down as the seats are higher than sedans, but no step-up like SUVs. And they have lots of space for equipment such as wheelchairs. You can probably get a 1-0r 2 year old one for less than $20 grand.

    That being said, the trunk space of the Le Sabre is huge for a sedan.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
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  • New Ford Freestyle, Lexus RX330, Toyota Highlander, etc. with automatic transmissions are really nice.
    My father-in-law, age 75, had a knee replacement. He likes the ease of access in his Highlander, as it is much higher than a car, but lower than truck-based SUV's. Lots of space, decent mileage, and flip-up seats for grandchildren.
    Worst are any kind of lowered sports or performance car. I drive a BMW 330i. A partially disabled coworker struggles getting in and out when I give him rides as my seating is so low.
  • SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
    Unarchived on request
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