High cars for elderly drivers

Looking for an affordable, comfortable car with a high driving position and easy access? Here are eight of the best cars for older drivers

Sam Naylor
Sep 30, 2021

It’s something most people face at some point in their driving lives: their car just isn’t suitable any more, and it’s time to look for a new one. With the case of elderly drivers, getting in and out can become a big hurdle, so many look to get a high car to solve the issue.

Here we’ve picked out eight of our favourite models that have a higher driving position that should make it easy to get in and out. That’s not the only thing we've focused on with our choices, though: the models here are also easy to drive, comfortable and affordable.

A final thing to bear in mind is that you may need to notify the DVLA about any developments that negatively affect your driving. There’s more information on the Government website about what you need to do. You should also consult your doctor to check it is appropriate for you to drive if you are having particular trouble getting in and out of a car.

Information from the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RIDC) and the Older Drivers website can be useful when you’re choosing your next car. There’s no specific guidance on an optimal height for cars for older drivers, but it can be helpful to try out any potential purchase to make sure it’s right for you.

The cars that we’ve chosen here are all smaller models, because there’s definitely a point at which a car becomes too high for older drivers - climbing up into a large SUV that requires a step is not practical if you have trouble with mobility. Yet some models are particularly low and while you can get in okay, getting out can be a problem - so we’ll avoid those as well.

We’ve also stuck to affordable models that are easy to drive and most come with the option of an automatic gearbox. Other things to look for are adjustable seats that are easy to use, adjustable steering wheels and low door sills that mean there's less to climb over when getting in and out. Read on for our eight favourite high cars for elderly drivers.

Best high cars for older drivers

1. Skoda Kamiq

Best all-rounder

Our pick Skoda Kamiq 1.5 TSI SE L DSG
Used deals from £22,750
Monthly finance from £371*

The Skoda Kamiq is a great choice of car for just about anyone, but its high driving position and manageable size makes it our pick as the best all-rounder car for older drivers. The seats are comfy and should be easy to get into, plus it’s available with good automatic gearbox options.

It’s really easy to drive because the controls are nice and light, and it has modern safety tech to give plenty of peace of mind as well. The Kamiq has a neat and practical cabin and all the buttons are sensibly placed. There’s a touchscreen media system with sat-nav included on the SE L model we’ve chosen here, too.

The Kamiq has practicality on its side too, with a big boot and lots of rear legroom. You can even slide the rear seats forward and back to increase legroom or boot space depending on what you need that day. It’s quiet, smooth and economical, so is a great choice whatever you're after.

SKODA KAMIQ BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Citroen C3 Aircross

Best for comfort

Our pick Citroen C3 Aircross 1.2 PureTech 110 Flair EAT6
Used deals from £14,995
Monthly finance from £240*

The Citroen C3 Aircross is all about comfort - it’s nice and high so it’s easy to get in and out of, plus the seats are well designed, as they’re both comfortable and easy to swivel on to get your legs up and into the car.

The Citroen is available as an automatic - look for the 'EAT6' name when searching for one as this is the six-speed automatic version - and the controls are really light and easy to use. There’s also a reversing camera as standard so you don’t have to turn around when parking.

The touchscreen media system in this Citroen is a bit fiddly to use and will take some getting used to, but the rest of the interior is really practical and roomy. There’s lots of light inside because the windows are big, and visibility is good too. The best thing about the C3 Aircross is the soft ride, which means it glides over bumps in the road.

CITROEN C3 AIRCROSS BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Mercedes GLA

Best for luxury

Our pick Mercedes GLA 200d Sport Auto
Used deals from £20,280
Monthly finance from £299*

If you want a higher car that’s easy to get into but also want a luxury feel and an upmarket cabin, then try the Mercedes GLA. It’s a smart, modern-looking car with a high-quality interior, but has that all-important high driving position too.

The GLA isn’t the most comfortable car over bumps, but it has supportive and plush seats and comes with an automatic gearbox to make it nice and easy to drive. The diesel versions are good value and offer strong fuel economy, so are a decent choice unless you only do short local trips - in which case, get a petrol instead.

The GLA is reasonably spacious inside and has a big boot, so it’s nice and practical. It’s not the best choice for visibility, but some versions come with a reversing camera - look out for that if you find parking difficult as it can make things a lot easier.

MERCEDES GLA BUYERS' GUIDE

4. BMW i3

Best for electric power

Our pick BMW i3
Used deals from £18,199
Monthly finance from £274*

Not all high cars are SUVs, as the BMW i3 proves. It has tall alloy wheels and a high driving position despite being a hatchback, and the clever doors (with the front ones opening normally and the rear doors opening backwards - to reveal a particularly big opening) mean that access is really easy. The i3 is comfortable to sit in too, and has one of the most special-feeling interiors of any modern car - with all sorts of interesting materials used, including optional eucalyptus wood trim.

Best of all, the BMW i3 is electric. There’s no engine at all (provided you avoid the 'range extender' or 'REx' versions, which include a small petrol motor to keep the car running when the batteries are flat), and with a range of around 160 miles it’s perfect for local trips. You can charge up at home and make the most of the near-silent running and ultra-low costs.

It’s easy to drive - all electric cars are automatics - and visibility is good. The boot floor is a little high up so it’s not as practical as some of the other cars on this list but there’s plenty of space inside and you can fold the rear seats to get larger items into the back. It’s packed with safety kit too, and the i3 is fun to drive, being quick to accelerate and offering precise steering.

BMW I3 BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Kia Niro

Best for hybrid power

Our pick Kia Niro 1.6 GDi 3 DCT

Used deals from £15,963
Monthly finance from £263*

If you’re not ready to go for an electric car yet, the Kia Niro is a good option for older drivers looking for a higher-up driving position. The Toyota Prius is what most people think of when you talk about hybrid cars, but that car is quite low to the floor. The Kia Niro is a small SUV, so you sit a lot higher up and access is easy.

It’s powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine and an automatic gearbox alongside its electric motor, so it’s quiet, smooth and easy to drive. The Niro is efficient, so running costs are low, and it’s affordable for a hybrid model too. It’s comfortable and practical as well.

The Niro has a really well-designed interior that is very easy to live with. All the buttons and controls are well-placed and easy to use, plus there’s lots of safety kit and useful functions like sat-nav and a reversing camera. It doesn't feel like the most upmarket car inside thanks to the dull plastics but it does feel built to last.

KIA NIRO BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Honda Jazz

Best for practicality

Our pick Honda Jazz 1.3 SE CVT
Used deals from £9,995
Monthly finance from £189*

It’s almost a cliche to suggest that an elderly driver choose a Honda Jazz - as it's such a popular car with older motorists - but there’s a good reason for that: the small Honda is a brilliant choice if you have trouble getting in and out of a car, and once you’re in it’s very easy to drive. The light controls and excellent visibility are just two reasons why it’s so popular with seniors.

The Jazz isn’t as high as some of the other options here but because it’s a supermini, which means it’s lighter and smaller too. As a result, it costs less to run, is easier to park and see out of. It has a high driving position despite being a small car, too, and the controls are nice and easy to use.

The Jazz is also way more practical than you might expect. The rear seats can fold back and forth to allow all sorts of configurations and the boot is huge for such a small car. Look for models with 'CVT' in the name as this is the automatic version.

2015-2019 HONDA JAZZ BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Peugeot 2008

Best for style

Peugeot 2008 front

Our pick Peugeot 2008 1.2 PureTech Allure Premium EAT6
Used deals from £23,413
Monthly finance from £351*

The Peugeot 2008 is one of the best-selling small SUVs around, and this means it’s really affordable second-hand and it's easy to find one that has the equipment you want. It’s also nice and high off the ground and easy to get into. The small steering wheel might be helpful to some, as well, because it’s easier to hold.

The 2008 is a stylish choice, with a funky design inside and out, so it looks the part. It’s also quite comfortable and the engines are good - the diesel versions are economical but the 1.2-litre petrol is our pick because it’s better for local trips and is quieter.

The 2008 is really practical thanks to its large boot, which is easy to access, plus there’s a decent amount of rear headroom and legroom as well. It has lots of kit for the money including autonomous emergency braking on most models and a touchscreen media system with sat-nav. There are plenty for sale so look out for one that has the equipment you want.

PEUGEOT 2008 BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Ford Fiesta Active

Best for a familiar favourite

Our pick Ford Fiesta Active X 1.0 EcoBoost Auto
Used deals from £15,470
Monthly finance from £238*

The Ford Fiesta is one of the best cars for all sorts of drivers because it has such a brilliant range of ability. It’s practical, affordable, great to drive, efficient and comfortable - but the normal supermini version might not be high enough for some older drivers.

Yet there’s a version that could work well - it’s called the Fiesta Active, and it has raised suspension that should make it easier to get in and out of. It's also a good choice if you live on a rough road because the suspension is a little softer and more comfortable over bumps. The seats are nice and supportive, too.

The Fiesta Active is at its best with the 1.0-litre 'EcoBoost' petrol engine, which is quiet, smooth and punchy, plus it brings good fuel economy as well. The Fiesta isn’t as practical as some of the other models on this list because the boot is quite small, but if you go for the five-door model, there’s enough space in the back seats for adults to fit in comfortably for relatively short trips.

FORD FIESTA ACTIVE BUYERS' GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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