Best cars for seniors with arthritis

Arthritis can make driving uncomfortable if you're in the wrong car, so we've rounded up eight cars that are suitable for older drivers

Sam Naylor
Mar 19, 2021

If you’re looking for a new car, but suffer from arthritis, it can be hard to find out which cars are best suited to you. You’ve come to the right place, though, because we’ve picked out eight cars that have all the right attributes for someone suffering from joint pain.

We’ve driven and tested every car on the list below, and checked them against guidelines set out by respected arthritis charities for choosing a car. There’s more information on what each car offers below.

Before that, though, it’s important to be aware that you may need to notify the DVLA about any condition that affects your driving, such as arthritis. There’s more information on the UK government website about what you need to do. If your condition is severe, you should also consult your doctor to check whether it is appropriate for you to drive.

The Research Institute for Disabled Consumers (RIDC) is a charity that provides information for disabled and older people. The RIDC’s guide to driving for those with arthritis is a great resource, and has lots of extra information about driving with the condition once you’ve chosen a car.

Our focus here is on picking a car - and the RIDC notes that a potential car should be an automatic, have power steering, height-adjustable seats, doors that are easy to open, controls that are easy to access, an electronic parking brake, electric windows and more for the best comfort and control. The full list of features is comprehensive and while it’s rare to find a car with everything that’s suggested, we’ve based our picks on these kinds of criteria.

Similarly, Versus Arthritis, another UK charity supporting those with arthritis, suggests that any potential car should have a comfortable steering wheel, a good seat backrest, a supportive headrest and a large rear-view mirror to avoid you needing to move your neck. A rear-view camera would help with this too. It is possible to have an aftermarket camera added to most cars, so don't necessarily write off a car that doesn't have this as standard.

Read on for our eight favourite cars to suit those with arthritis.

Best cars for arthritis

1. Citroen C3 Aircross

Best for quirky looks

Our pick Citroen C3 Aircross 1.2 PureTech 110 Flair EAT6
Used deals from £8,790
Monthly finance from £137*

The Citroen C3 Aircross is a small SUV, which means it has a slightly higher driving position than an equivalent hatchback car - perfect for ease of access for older drivers. It’s also blessed with flat, upright seats with plenty of adjustment.

It features light steering, too, and Flair models have a reversing camera as standard. Go for models with 'EAT6' in the name as this means there’s a six-speed automatic gearbox, which is smooth and easy to use.

The Citroen is smoother over bumps than many alternative cars and has plenty of space inside, so it’s one of the best all-round picks for seniors - especially as it’s very affordable as well. The only issue we can see is that the air-conditioning controls can be a pain to use, as they are located in the touchscreen menus rather than having physical controls on the dashboard. This will take some getting used to.

CITROEN C3 AIRCROSS BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Renault Zoe

Best for low running costs

Our pick Renault Zoe 65kW Dynamique Nav
Used deals from £4,800
Monthly finance from £95*

The Renault Zoe is a great choice of car for many seniors, as it’s suited to doing lots of short trips rather than longer ones. As it’s fully electric, it will bring very low running costs so long as you can charge it up at home (use public chargers and it'll cost you more per mile). Do this and you should spend much less charging the Zoe than you would on petrol or diesel with a conventional car.

As there’s no engine, it’s nearly totally silent while driving at low speed, and the light steering, comfortable seats and automatic gearbox are all great for arthritis sufferers. It’s very easy to drive and comes with essential equipment such as cruise control and electric windows all round.

A range of around 130 miles on a full charge - for a 2015 model - is enough for lots of local trips, but if you’re buying a car to go on holiday road trips in, the Zoe isn’t for you. You could move up to a newer model for a bit more range, but a typical petrol or diesel car is still king for long journeys. However as the electric car charging infrastructure around the country improves, doing longer trips becomes easier and easier.

RENAULT ZOE BUYERS' GUIDE

3. BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

Best for electric car sceptics

Our pick BMW 225xe M Sport Premium
Used deals from £22,000
Monthly finance from £311*

The BMW 2 Series Active Tourer is a comfortable, easy to drive and spacious car that many overlook because of its less-than-sporty design. Yet if you don’t mind how your car looks it’s a great choice.

The 225xe model is an interesting model, too, because it’s a plug-in hybrid. This means it has a normal petrol engine that does most of the work, but it also has an electric motor and battery that can be charged up by plugging the car in. Plug the car in and the battery pack means it can use the electric motor without the engine on for up to around 30 miles or so, so you can do short trips without using any petrol at all.

This means it’s a great car to dip your toe in the water when it comes to electric cars. It can be used as a normal car (albeit you won't get much benefit from having the electric motor if you fail to recharge regularly), but you can also see if an electric model would work for you. The fact that it’s quiet, has a highly adjustable driving position and lots of equipment including lane keep assist (that stops you accidentally leaving your lane on the motorway) is just a bonus.

BMW 2 SERIES ACTIVE TOURER BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Hyundai Kona Electric

Best for higher-budget electric motoring

Our pick Hyundai Kona 64kWh Premium
Used deals from £23,450
Monthly finance from £328*

The Hyundai Kona Electric is one of the best electric cars around, no matter whether you have arthritis or not. It’s more expensive than the Renault Zoe we’ve already mentioned, but with a near-300 mile range in the 64kWh model, it’s a better car as well, and can easily be your only car - even if you head on the ocassional very long journey.

It has a high driving position with lots of adjustment, a comfortable seat and light steering that’s easy to use. Forward visibility is good and even though it’s not as good out of the back, you get a reversing camera as standard so you shouldn't have to turn your head too much when parking.

The Kona Electric is also spacious inside and all the controls are chunky and easy to use. Only the electric motor will take some getting used to, as there’s very little noise and it feels surprisingly powerful for this type of car. Charge it up at home often and it’ll be really cheap to run, and the long range means even longer trips aren’t too much hassle.

HYUNDAI KONA ELECTRIC BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Honda Jazz

Best for practicality

Our pick Honda Jazz 1.5 i-MMD Hybrid EX eCVT
Used deals from £18,950
Monthly finance from £259*

A new Honda Jazz was launched in 2020 and it’s a fantastic car that’s easy to get into and drive. The Jazz has always been popular with seniors and there are many good reasons for this: it has a comfortable, upright driving position, light steering and a very practical interior.

It also has rear 'magic seats' and Honda calls them ‘magic’ for a reason - they fold upwards as well as downwards, so it’s really easy to fit all sorts of things in the back, from potted plants to picnic chairs. You won’t have to bend over to reach into the boot, either, as it’s quite high and easy to access.

The newest version has a great-looking interior, and the hybrid model is very good in terms of fuel economy as well as from a driving perspective. It’s automatic-only - as is the case with most hybrids - and stays nice and quiet most of the time. The Jazz is also comfortable over bumpy roads and comes with a reversing camera.

2015-2020 HONDA JAZZ BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Mercedes B-Class

Best for luxurious interior

Our pick Mercedes-Benz B-Class B180 Sport automatic
Used deals from £8,450
Monthly finance from £179*

The Mercedes range includes many cars certified by the German organisation AGR, which only awards its seal of approval to cars with seats that alleviate back pain. This is great for those with arthritis as well and the B-Class is the easiest model with these seats to get into, which is why we’ve picked it out here.

The B-Class has a very smart interior design and comes with all sorts of useful equipment including a reversing camera and lane keeping assist, plus a clever sat-nav that displays instructions right in front of the driver, so they won’t have to turn their head to check directions.

The seats are highly adjustable and comfortable, and the B-Class is nice and easy to drive as well. It’s not perfect, as bumpy roads can feel a little choppy, but it’s still relatively smooth and the upright driving position helps keep you settled. Wide door openings help with access, too.

MERCEDES B-CLASS BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Kia XCeed

Best for all-round usefulness

Our pick Kia XCeed 1.4T GDi DCT 3
Used deals from £16,000
Monthly finance from £221*

Kia models share a lot of attributes that are of benefit for those with arthritis: an adjustable driver’s seat, light steering that’s easy to use, lots of safety equipment and a spacious interior. The Kia XCeed is the model that we think combines them best.

For a start it’s comfortable on bumpy roads, which keeps you settled in your seat. Then there’s the practical hatchback shape: it has a big boot with lots of room for shopping and the back seats have lots of space for grandkids. It’s also really good value considering the amount of equipment you get.

For example, even the affordable ‘3’ model has lane keep assist to stop you wandering out of lane, as well as a reversing camera to keep your head facing forwards and cruise control so you can rest your foot. It’s worth noting that the Ceed is also great in all these ways, but the XCeed’s slightly higher suspension means it’s slightly more comfortable and easier to get in and out of.

KIA XCEED BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Skoda Citigo

Best for those needing a small car

Our pick Skoda Citigo 5dr 1.0 MPI Elegance automatic
Used deals Limited stock

Not everyone needs a big model with lots of practicality, and if you’re looking for a small car then the Skoda Citigo is the model to pick. Automatic models are harder to find than manuals, but they do exist, and many are in excellent condition because they’re chosen by careful older drivers.

The Citigo doesn’t have the most adjustment in its seats, nor does it have equipment such as a reversing camera, though it is small and easy to park. If that’s not a dealbreaker for you, though, the Citigo makes up for it in other ways.

The steering is super-light and easy to use, there’s plenty of visibility and the driving position is comfortable. Similarly, it’s smooth over bumpy sections of road and despite its small 1.0-litre engine, it’s also quite good on the motorway, and it will do long trips with ease (and using very little fuel).

Access is also easy thanks to the decent door openings and you can step in and out without much trouble. Just remember that the five-door model is essential if you carry passengers regularly and don't want them to have to clamber in and out, as it can be a pain to get in and out of the rear seats in the three-door model.

SKODA CITIGO 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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