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Kelley Blue Book: 18 of the best new and used cars for seniors

If you recall exactly where you were when you heard JFK was shot, read on. Don’t let the word “seniors” in the title put you off.

This writer doesn’t like the word either, and he is crossing the 70 Rubicon this year. Hey, it is what it is, right?

No matter the age, here at Kelley Blue Book, we believe in owning a car that makes everyday life easier, driving safer, and fits our budget. On the other hand, we’d be kidding ourselves to think there aren’t some features and issues that take on more consequences as we get older.

So, with all of that in mind, we approached pulling together a list of the best vehicles for seniors.

Considerations and features for senior drivers

You probably don’t need us to tell you what to keep in mind as you shop for a car. However, we want to tell you about a few things to consider and features to consider as you carefully weigh your buying decision.

The goal of our process aims to put you into a comfy, safe environment so you can concentrate on what is important. That is, an environment allowing you to keep your attention on the road and surrounding traffic.

So, as you set out on your search, you can use the information below to create a checklist that helps you itemize the features you want in a new or used car. Just know that scoring all of them in a single vehicle is a tough nut to crack. However, acquire a majority of them, and you should be more than satisfied with your choice.

Accessibility

Whatever you drive, you’ll want to be able to get into and out of any vehicle with ease. That means wide door openings and seats just below hip level, or as close to it as possible. You will eventually tire of falling into and leveraging yourself out of a sports car or a subcompact if that’s what you had in mind. If you are more than 6 feet tall, you probably figured that out a long time ago. It only gets worse with age.

See: The best new and used cars for tall people

Likewise, if you are considering a pickup truck or large SUV, you’ll want running boards and grab handles on the A-pillars to hoist yourself in. We didn’t include any large trucks or SUVs among our picks for that very reason.

We also didn’t include any 2-door coupes. Folding yourself into a pretzel crawling into the back seat of a 2-door is a kid’s game.

Visibility

In any vehicle, you want to see and be seen. We are convinced a higher perch with plenty of glass surrounding you is your best bet. Our list leans heavily on crossovers providing exactly that.

LED exterior lighting, like headlights with auto on-off taillights and daytime running lights, provides better illumination over a wider space than conventional lights. These lights shine brighter, and other drivers will easily spot them.

Don’t miss: Congress is about to kill this popular retirement tax move

We like the idea of rain-sensing wipers that we don’t need to keep fidgeting with as the rain volume increases and decreases. In the Snowbelt, wiper de-icers will be a big help, as are headlight washers. If you buy a crossover, a rear-window wiper and defroster rank as must-haves.

Comfort

Give yourself a break. Driving makes you tired regardless of age. What you want to do is minimize the fatigue. We strongly recommend a power-adjustable driver’s seat. And not just a 4-way or 6-way seat.

Insist on one that adjusts fore and aft, up and down, and reclines. While at it, consider seats with power lumbar adjustments. On that next multi-hour driving trip, you’ll be glad you did.

Adjustable steering wheel

A steering wheel with height (tilt) and telescopic adjustments is a must. Between a fully adjustable seat and an adjustable steering wheel, you should be able to find the most comfortable driving position.

If you deal with cold winters, heated seats and a heated steering wheel make a lot of sense. If you reside in the Sunbelt, the same goes for ventilated seats, which help to cool you down in hot weather.

Convenience features

Stick to automatic transmissions. It probably goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: An automatic transmission is a no-brainer. Even if you are still determined to select the gears yourself, many of today’s automatic transmissions provide a manual shift mode. Many even have steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Keep controls close at hand. Keeping controls at your fingertips at any age is crucial. You need not reach too far for anything. User-friendly systems help you get what you need without too much effort. As much as the car can be automatic, it should be. For example, you can turn on dual-zone automatic climate control once because it’s a set-it-and-forget-it system. It also allows you and your front-seat passenger to tailor the temperature to individual preferences.

Look for larger touchscreens. A large, easy-to-use touchscreen controlling audio, phone, and other systems is preferable to a tiny one. An infotainment system with voice recognition is even better. Telling the system what to do is better than taking your hands from the wheel and eyes from the road to do it manually — the same with your Bluetooth smartphone interface.

Go for the proximity key. We are also big fans of proximity-key systems allowing the doors to lock or unlock simply by walking up to the vehicle with the key fob in your pocket, purse, or anywhere on your person. Such systems usually include push-button start, as well. Along those lines, hands-free smart trunks and liftgates also make life easier. They automatically open — a big help when your hands are full. Another perk of the proximity-key systems: it’s hard to lock your keys in the car because most vehicles will not let you. Instead, the car sends a signal or beeps at you if you try.

Noise control

Some vehicles do better than others at controlling the amount of racket seeping into the cabin from the engine and surrounding traffic. Noise is annoying and distracting. So, it’s best to spend time in as quiet an environment as possible.

Many of our vehicle picks excel in this area.

Lowest maintenance costs

Even if you did everything right and are sitting on a big pile of retirement savings, value still counts. It’s just a reality of car ownership; stuff goes wrong. The goal is to minimize upkeep costs. Well, all costs, really.

Driving a vehicle with solid fuel economy helps at the start. We’ve included the combined mileage estimate from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the models we’ve picked. Beyond mileage, some models simply require less maintenance than others.

Also read: I never expected to retire to Panama — but we are living ‘very comfortably’ on $1,200 a month

Safety

Cars, trucks, and SUVs are safer today than ever before. Features like anti-lock brakes, stability control, traction control, and rearview cameras are now on every new car. Most vehicles have at least six airbags, and many provide more than that.

The government and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) crash test cars, scoring their safety. All of the new cars on this list earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick (TPS) or Top Safety Pick+ (TPS+) rating. Used cars posted the IIHS top score of Good in their crash tests. The one exception is the all-new Volkswagen ID.4, which hasn’t been tested.

Additionally, safety technology in the form of active driver aids is advancing at a blistering pace.

We can thank the relentless march toward driverless cars for most of the driver-aid (driver-assistance) technologies.

Velcro and microwave ovens were born of our efforts to send people into space. Today, all manner of gee-wizardry is a side benefit of trying to make cars self-driving.

Those of us still haunted by the flashing clock on a long-abandoned VCR can take comfort in knowing many of these driver aids don’t require much in the way of input from us.

However, keep in mind that totally autonomous cars may still be decades away. No matter how much a car maker boasts about its driver-assistance systems, they all require hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. There are no exceptions.

What are driver-assistance technologies?

Rearview or Back-up Camera: Government-mandated since 2018, these rearward-pointed cameras capture what is behind us as we back up. Shifting into reverse will bring up the image on the touchscreen or some other dashboard-mounted display. (In older models, the display may be in a section of the rearview mirror). More advanced cameras feature bending trajectory lines. Using a rearview camera effectively requires a bit of practice but can save you from having to stretch around to physically see what’s behind you.

Parking Assist: Depending on the system and availability, it can parallel park or diagonally park the car on its own.

Parking Sensors: Mounted on the rear and/or the front bumper of a car, these sensors detect a close-by object and sound an alarm.

Forward Collision Warning: Using a camera alone or with radar, this feature sounds a warning when it detects an impending front crash. Many systems also include an emergency braking feature in case the driver fails to respond to the warning.

Adaptive Cruise Control: Once the speed is set, adaptive cruise control maintains the preset speed and responds to the changing speed of the vehicle ahead. It slows your vehicle as the vehicle ahead slows, then speeds back up with the flow of traffic. Some systems will come to a complete stop, if necessary.

Traffic Jam Assist works like a low-speed adaptive cruise control feature because it’s engineered specifically for slow-moving, stop-and-go city traffic.

Blind-Spot Monitor: Sensors mounted on the corners of the rear bumper detect and warn of traffic approaching your flanks.

Lane-Keeping Assist: A forward-pointing camera keeps track of lane markings, nudging you back if you begin drifting out of your lane.

How about electric cars?

As you research that next car purchase, you may be shocked by the number of vehicles on the market featuring some degree of electric propulsion. Cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks are represented in the wave of vehicles offered at least partially electrified.

What are the three types of electric vehicles?

Hybrid (HEV): A gasoline-fueled engine and an electric motor (maybe more than one) work in tandem. A battery, which is charged by the gas engine and through the brake system, powers the electric motor. The Toyota Sienna on the new car list is an HEV.

Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV): A gasoline-fueled engine and electric motor team up, but the motor can power the vehicle all by itself. Typically the electric-only range is between 25 and 50 miles. Although the brake system might help charge the battery, a PHEV requires charging by plugging into an electric source.

Fully Electric (EV): An EV sources all of its output from an electric motor powered by a battery array. As with the PHEV, the EV must also be charged by plugging into an electric source. The range of a fully charged EV varies wildly from the government-estimated 110 miles of the MINI SE Hardtop to the 353 miles of the Tesla
TSLA,
+1.39%

Model 3 Long Range. The Volkswagen ID.4 is an EV on the new car list, as is the Hyundai Kona EV on the used car list.

See: 10 plug-in hybrids you can score used for under $20,000

And: The 2022 Nissan Leaf vs. 2022 Mini Electric—which is better?

Which is best for seniors: Cars or SUVs?

Our picks do not include full-size trucks or SUVs. Taller drivers may be happier in a big truck or SUV, but we believe most older drivers (and passengers) would find entering and exiting challenging and potentially unpleasant.

As for midsize or small crossovers, these are well suited for easier ingress and egress. They also provide a higher seating position and better view than passenger cars. For these reasons, we lean toward midsize and smaller crossovers.

We have, however, placed several 4-door cars on our list. We live in an SUV-crossover world, but there are still plenty of people who prefer sedans. And, manufacturers still build terrific cars.

Check out: Where should I retire? MarketWatch’s updated tool warns you of climate risks while helping you find your dream spot

The best cars for seniors

New cars

Here are our new car picks, based on the best combination of features, fuel economy, safety, and reliability for the money. However, we’ve also included the base prices for the entry-level trim level so you can get an idea of whether or not each vehicle will fit into your budget.

1. 2022 Toyota Camry

Best value for seniors: $30,045 (XLE)

Base price: $29,295

Expert rating: 4.6

IIHS rating: TSP+ (2021)

Combined fuel economy: 31 mpg

You won’t get an argument from us if you want to crown the Toyota
TM,
+1.50%

Camry as one of the best midsize cars ever. It’s roomy, quiet, and easy to live with. We score it high for reliability and holding its value. Camry offers a 4-cylinder or a V-6 engine, as well as a hybrid. All-wheel drive (AWD) is available on 4-cylinder models. Ten airbags are standard on all grades.

The base LE grade provides the full battery of LED exterior lighting (auto on-off headlights, taillights, and daytime running lights [DRLs]), an 8-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support, and Safety Sense 2.5+. Safety Sense 2.5+ includes forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning with steering assist, lane-tracing assist, adaptive cruise control, and high-beam assist.

Moving up to the XLE ($30,045), however, adds blind-spot monitoring, dual-zone automatic climate control, an upgraded rearview camera, upgraded adaptive cruise control, the proximity key, and a larger 9-inch touchscreen. 

2. 2022 Subaru Legacy

Best value for seniors: $25,245 (Premium)

Base price: $22,995 |

Expert rating: 4.2

IIHS rating: TSP+

Combined fuel economy: 28 mpg

The Subaru
FUJHY,
+1.87%

Legacy is another great choice, which is especially true if you live in the Snowbelt. All-wheel drive is standard and it still manages 28 mpg in combined driving. It’s library-quiet, spacious, and has a reputation for solid resale values. You can choose between two engines in the Legacy, both of which use an automatic transmission. The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine delivers good power and fuel economy. The optional engine, included on all Legacy XT models, is a more powerful, less fuel-efficient turbocharged 4-cylinder.

For seniors, we would pass on the base model, moving up to the Premium ($25,245). The base trim does come with steering-responsive LED headlights, high-beam assist, automatic climate control, and a tilt-telescopic steering wheel. Also standard is Subaru EyeSight with forward collision warning with auto emergency braking, lane-centering assist, lane-departure warning, and adaptive cruise control.

Stepping up a notch to Premium, however, adds an advanced infotainment system with a larger 11.6-inch touchscreen, a 10-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats, a wiper de-icer, heated outboard mirrors, and dual-zone automatic climate control. It offers the proximity key, blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-change assist as options. 

3. 2022 Hyundai Sonata

The Hyundai Sonata

Hyundai

Best value for seniors: $25,950 (SEL)

Base price: $24,150 

Expert rating: 4.4

IIHS rating: TSP (2021)

Combined fuel economy: 32 mpg

Another midsize winner, the Hyundai
HYMTF,
+2.56%

Sonata racks up points for styling, efficiency, comfort, technology, and value. With a cabin large enough for the EPA to classify it as a large car, it delivers a quiet, fuss-free experience. In addition to its choice of three different 4-cylinder engines, there are Sonata HEV and PHEV versions. Oh, and it has that terrific 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Anchoring the grade lineup is the well-equipped base SE. It comes with LED exterior lighting (headlights with auto on-off, taillights, and DRLs), a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, and an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen. Its standard driver aids include forward collision warning with auto emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, lane-following assist, driver attention warning, high-beam assist, and adaptive cruise control with start-stop.

Stepping up one grade to the SEL ($25,950) brings with it heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals, the proximity key, a hands-free smart trunk, dual-zone automatic climate control, and heated front seats. SEL also adds a blind-spot monitor with steering assist and rear cross-traffic alert with auto rear braking. 

4. 2022 Honda CR-V

Best value for seniors: $28,260 (EX)

Base price: $25,750

Expert rating: 4.7

IIHS rating: TSP (2021)

Combined fuel economy: 30 mpg

Apply the drivability of the Honda Civic to a small SUV and the result is the Honda CR-V. Handling like a car, this tidy crossover delivers loads of passenger space and a tall driving position. Moreover, the CR-V is quiet and easy on fuel. In addition to its turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, the CR-V is available as a hybrid delivering 38 mpg in combined driving. AWD is available, and standard on the hybrid.

Be sure to read: Chip shortage means vehicle inventory likely won’t recover until 2023

In its base LX guise, the CR-V doesn’t offer an overwhelming number of our sought-after features. It does come with auto on-off halogen headlights, single-zone automatic climate control, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, and a 5-inch touchscreen. Among its driver aids are forward collision warning and auto emergency braking, lane-departure warning and steering assist, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control.

We would recommend the EX grade ($28,260). It still doesn’t provide rain-sensing wipers, LED headlights, or a power liftgate, but it does add a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, and heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals. Also standard are LED fog lights, a 12-way power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustments, and a larger 7-inch touchscreen. 

5. 2021 Kia Telluride

The Kia Telluride

Kia

Best value for seniors: $37,790 (EX)

Base price: $32,790

Expert rating: 4.8

IIHS rating: TSP

Combined fuel economy: 23 mpg

The largest SUV in Kia’s
000270,
+2.63%

arsenal, the Telluride resides in the 3-row midsize segment. It’s a kissing cousin to the Hyundai Palisade. Kelley Blue Book named it the Best 3-Row Midsize SUV for 2021. An impressive value, the Telluride provides plenty of passenger and cargo room and an amazing amount of standard content. Every grade uses a V-6 engine mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available.

In entry-level LX form, the Telluride comes with auto on-off headlights, LED DRLs, heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals, and a tilt-telescopic steering wheel. Other standard fare includes dual-zone automatic climate control, a 10.25-inch touchscreen, and the proximity key. Among its driver aids are forward collision warning with auto emergency braking, blind-spot monitor with steering assist, and Highway Driving Assist (which helps the driver steer and brake). Also included are lane-departure warning, lane-following assist, lane-keeping assist, rear-park assist, and rear cross-traffic alert.

To add LED taillights, power-folding outboard mirrors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an 8-way power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustments, heated-ventilated front seats, and a hands-free power liftgate, you need to go up a level to the EX ($37,790). 

6. 2021 Toyota Sienna

Best value for seniors: $39,750 (XLE)

Base price: $34,460

Expert rating: 4.7

IIHS rating: TSP+

Combined fuel economy: 36 mpg

Toyota completely overhauled the Sienna for 2021. Now every Sienna is a hybrid. We give the Sienna high marks for comfort, space, versatility, impressive fuel economy, and, of course, Toyota’s reliability. Capable of seating seven or eight, plus hauling loads of luggage, it’s ideal for cross-country touring. It has 10 airbags. Its hybrid propulsion system uses an automatic transmission to funnel output to the front or all wheels.

The entry-level LE grade comes with LED exterior lights (headlights with auto on-off, taillights, and DRLs), heated outboard mirrors, and tri-zone automatic climate control. Among the other standard content are a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, power sliding side doors and liftgate, an 8-way power driver’s seat, and a 9-inch touchscreen. Its active driver aids include forward collision warning with auto emergency braking, lane-departure warning with steering assist, lane-tracing assist, high-beam assist, and adaptive cruise control.

Moving up to the XLE ($39,750) adds LED fog lights, hands-free power side doors and rear liftgate, heated front seats, an 8-way power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustments, proximity key for all five doors, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. 

7. 2021 Nissan Murano

Best value for seniors: $35,940 (SV)

Base price: $32,810 

Expert rating: 3.7

IIHS rating: TSP+

Combined fuel economy: 23 mpg

Despite being deep into its life cycle, the Nissan
NSANY,
+1.80%

Murano remains a viable choice for older drivers. In fact, when Nissan first introduced it, it described the Murano as a vehicle for empty-nesters. We like Murano for its elegant styling, quiet cabin, carlike ride, popular Zero Gravity seats, and open spaces. Its only engine is a V6 mated to an automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available.

Right out of the box it comes with a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, LED lights (auto on/off headlights, taillights, and DRLs), 8-inch touchscreen, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Included among its driver aids are rear-park assist with rear emergency braking, forward collision warning with emergency braking, blind-spot monitor, and rear cross-traffic alert. Also standard are lane-departure warning and high-beam assist.

Tossing in another three grand for the SV ($35,940) grade adds to the content list with heated outboard mirrors, LED fog lights, and a 10-way power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustments. Among the other additions are an auto-dimming rearview mirror, adaptive cruise control, and front-park assist. 

8. 2021 Ford Bronco Sport

The Ford Bronco Sport

Ford

Best value for seniors: $32,860 (Outer Banks)

Base price: $27,215

Expert rating: 4.6

IIHS rating: TSP+

Combined fuel economy: 26 mpg

Yes, we are probably rushing this a bit, but we’ve driven the Ford Bronco Sport and like it. If you are a little adventurous, this is an ideal SUV to take you off the beaten path. All-wheel drive with terrain management with five G.O.A.T. modes (driving modes in Bronco speak) is standard. The base engine is a 1.5-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder that delivers impressive fuel economy. We appreciate the interior room, high seating position, sculpted seats, better-than-expected fuel economy, and standard driver aids in the guise of Ford’s
F,
+5.45%

Co-Pilot360.

The base model comes with LED DRLs, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, and an 8-inch touchscreen. Included in the Co-Pilot360 are forward collision warning with auto emergency braking, blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist, and high-beam assist.

We suggest stepping up to the Outer Banks ($32,860) grade. Among our recommended features it adds auto on/off LED headlights, LED taillights, rain-sensing wipers with de-icer, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Other Outer Banks content includes proximity key, remote start, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated outboard mirrors, heated steering wheel, and heated front seats. An 8-way power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustments is also standard. 

9. 2021 Volkswagen ID.4

Volkswagen ID.4

Volkswagen

Best value for seniors: $44,495 (Pro S)

Base price: $39,995

Expert rating: 4.4

IIHS rating: Not yet rated

Combined fuel economy: 97 MPGe

We are coloring a little outside the lines with this pick. The Volkswagen ID.4 is so new, the IIHS has not posted its test results. We enjoyed our time with it, so, here it is. A more affordable base version is scheduled for early in 2022. For now, though, the rear-wheel-drive (RWD) Pro and 1st Edition comprise the grades. Available AWD will also come later. We like the interior roominess, the whisper-quiet cabin, the abundance of standard content, and the combined driving 97 MPGe of its electric motor. The government estimates this VW’s
VWAGY,
+3.80%

range at 250 miles.

Standard features in the Pro trim include LED lighting (auto on-off headlights, taillights, and DRLs), heated windshield washers, rain-sensing wipers, and heated outboard mirrors. Also included are an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, a 10-inch touchscreen, and a navigation system. Among the standard driver aids are forward collision warning with auto emergency braking, blind-spot monitor with steering assist, and rear cross-traffic alert. Other standard driver aids are lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control. Also included is Travel Assist, which when engaged, helps drivers steer and brake the car.

Stepping up to the Pro S trim ($44,495) adds premium LED projector headlights with dynamic cornering lights, a hands-free power liftgate, a 12-inch touchscreen, and power-folding outboard mirrors. Note: These are the prices are before any applicable tax credits. 

Read: How does the Volvo XC40 Recharge compare to the VW ID.4?

Used cars

Here are our picks for the best used cars for seniors. The fuel economy, IIHS score, and KBB Expert rating are all for the most recent model year listed or available. Car makers tend to bake in some new standard feature every year or two. The features listed are for the most recent model year in the model-year spread.

1. 2019-2020 Subaru Forester

Price range: $27,000-$31,000

Expert rating: 4.4

IIHS rating: TSP+

Combined fuel economy: 29 mpg

Subaru did a total Forester redesign for 2019. As with nearly every Subaru, AWD is standard. The Forester is larger on the inside than you might expect. We like its space, unflappable ride, standard AWD, and relatively excellent mileage.

We’d look for the Limited grade. It comes with steering-responsive auto on-off LED headlights, an 8-inch touchscreen, dual-zone automatic climate control, proximity key, power rear liftgate, heated front seats, heated outboard mirrors, windshield wiper de-icer, and LED fog lights. Among the standard driver aids are forward collision warning with auto emergency braking, lane-departure warning with steering assist, blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruised control, and high-beam assist.

If you want to dig back a little farther check out the 2018 Forester ($27,000-$32,000). However, to get a fair share of our recommended standard features, you’ll need to shop the top-of-the-line Touring trim. The EyeSight System of driver aids was standard on the Touring grade. It included all of the driver-aid features named above. The Limited also included a 10-way power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustments, dual-zone automatic climate control, LED auto on/off headlights, tilt-telescopic steering wheel, heated front seats, heated exterior mirrors, front wiper de-icer, and more. 

2. 2016-2018 Toyota RAV4

Price range: $24,000-$31,000 

Expert rating: 4.4

IIHS rating: TSP

Combined fuel economy: 25 mpg

No matter what you are looking for in a sensible vehicle, somehow the RAV4 always makes the list. This universally well-received compact SUV is often cited as beginning the compact-crossover-SUV segment. And, it’s still a standout. We like it for its reliability, spunky performance, and high-end interior. Toyota offered it in these model years with a 4-cylinder engine and as a hybrid.

We suggest looking at the SE grade. The price range takes into account finding one with the Advanced Technology Package that adds a surround-view camera, as well as front and rear park assist. On the SE standard content list are dual-zone automatic climate control, an advanced rearview camera with projected-path dynamic lines, and a tilt-telescopic steering wheel. Also included are an 8-way power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustments, heated front seats, LED exterior lights (auto on/off headlights, taillights, and DRLs), and heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals.

Standard driver aids included forward collision alert with auto emergency braking, lane-departure alert with steering assist, blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, high-beam assist, and adaptive cruise control. 

3. 2018-2020 Honda Fit

The Honda Fit

Honda

Price range: $17,000-$24,000 

Expert rating: 4.6

IIHS rating: Good

Combined fuel economy: 33 mpg

Never has something so small on the outside been so big on the inside. We are sorry Honda decided not to bring the next-generation Fit here. Its last year in America was 2020. However, they are still available on the used market. We are fans of pretty much everything about this car from its roomy, comfy interior to its zippy 4-cylinder engine.

Stick with the EX or the top-of-the-line EX-L. The EX came with auto on/off headlights, fog lights, proximity key, and tilt-telescopic steering wheel. Among its driver aids: adaptive cruise control, high-beam assist, forward collision warning with emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist.

The EX-L added heated outboard mirrors and heated front seats.

4. 2018-2019 Kia Soul

Pictured is the 2021 Kia Soul

KIA

Price range: $17,000-$19,000 |

Expert rating: 4.3

IIHS rating: TSP

Combined fuel economy: 28 mpg

We like a lot about the Kia Soul, which is why it’s on this list. Kia thought it was aiming Soul at young hipsters, but the average owner’s age skews much closer to 60 than 25. Why? Because it’s roomy, easy to get into and out of, it has a tall greenhouse with great visibility, and it’s relatively inexpensive to own.

The trim level you want to be on the lookout for is the Plus (+). However, even with this grade, the Soul will need to be packed with options to have many of our recommended features. The Plus came with auto on-off headlights, fog lights, heated outboard mirrors, tilt-telescopic steering wheel, and single-zone automatic climate control. The only standard driver aid is adaptive cruise control.

Option packages include an audio package with an 8-inch touchscreen. To pick up another significant bundle our features require the Primo package with a 10-way power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustments, heated front seats, blind-spot monitor, and forward collision warning with auto emergency braking. Also in the Primo package are lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and LED taillights. The Primo package was $4,500 on 2019 Souls. This package will probably add at least $3,000 to the price of a used one, but it’s worth finding a Soul that’s equipped with it. 

5. 2017-2018 Hyundai Santa Fe

Price range: $20,000-$29,000 

Expert rating: 4.0

IIHS rating: TSP+

Combined fuel economy: 21 mpg

The Santa Fe received a major freshening in 2017 and then was totally redesigned in 2019 as a 2-row SUV. If you want a 3-row midsize SUV with some clout, a good choice is the 2017-2018 Santa Fe. A torquey V6 didn’t give it the best fuel economy in its segment, but it can tow up to 5,000 pounds. We also like it for its interior space, quiet cabin, loads of standard features, and terrific warranty.

Look for an SV Ultimate with the Ultimate Tech Package. It adds forward collision warning with auto emergency braking, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, adaptive HID headlights, and high-beam assist. What the SV Ultimate does provide are a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, rear park assist, and surround-view monitor. Also included are heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals, auto on/off headlights, LED taillights, LED DRLs, dual-zone automatic climate control, and an 8-way power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustments. Also standard are heated seats fore and aft, a tilt-telescopic heated steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and an 8-inch touchscreen. 

6. 2019-2020 Hyundai Kona EV

The Hyundai Kona

Hyundai

Price range: $26,000-$35,000

Expert rating: 4.5

IIHS rating: TSP

Combined fuel economy: 120 MPGe

Because some driver aids are standard on lower trims, you may be able to find a used Kona EV in a lower trim with enough safety features to make you happy. On the other hand, there are very few used Kona EVs available anywhere in the country. Most of what is out there are Limited and Ultimate versions. The price range here is for the Limited. We like the Kona EV for its carlike manners, nimble handling, impressive mileage, and unbeatable warranty.

Included in the Limited’s price are heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals, an 8-way power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustments, heated front seats, and single-zone automatic climate control. Among the other standard fare are a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, an 8-inch touchscreen, and the proximity key. The included driver aids are a blind-spot monitor, lane-change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning with auto emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, and driver attention warning.

You must go to the top-level Ultimate grade for high-beam assist, adaptive cruise control, and rain-sensing wipers.

7. 2018-2020 Nissan Rogue

Price range: $19,000-$25,000 

Expert rating: 4.3

IIHS rating: TSP

Combined fuel economy: 29 mpg

The 2018-2020 Nissan Rogue was the end of that generation, before Nissan redesigned the all-new version for 2021. But the previous-gen Rogue is still well equipped. We like Rogue for its roominess, amazingly comfortable seats, affordable price, and unpretentiousness. AWD was available.

We suggest you look at the SV trim. If you can find examples that include the Premium Option Package, all the better. It adds a surround-view camera, adaptive cruise control, a heated steering wheel, and Nissan’s ProPilot driver-assist system that helps the driver steer, brake, and accelerate.

Otherwise, the SV includes heated outboard mirrors with integrated turn signals, auto on/off headlights, LED DRLs, LED taillights, heated front seats, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Also included are the proximity key, and remote start. Among its driver aids are forward collision warning with auto emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert with auto rear braking. 

8. 2019-2020 Kia Forte

Price range: $17,000-$24,000 

Expert rating: 4.6

IIHS rating: Good

Combined fuel economy: 33 mpg

Kia redesigned the Forte for 2019. Our advice is to stick with the EX grade. Its standard content includes an 8-inch touchscreen, fog lamps, and LED taillights and daytime running lights. Also included are a 10-way power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment, heated and ventilated front seats, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Listed among the driver aids are forward collision warning with emergency braking, blind-spot warning, lane-changing assist, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist.

You can also venture back to the previous-generation Forte, say 2016-2018 ($11,000-$18,000). Again, look for an EX. The EX standard content included auto on/off headlights, a wiper de-icer, fog lights, heated front seats, proximity key, LED taillights, and dual-zone automatic climate control. It also provided a hands-free power trunk lid, blind-spot monitor with lane-change assist, and rear cross-traffic alert. Options to look for include heated and ventilated front seats, 10-way power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment, and adaptive headlights. 

9. 2014-2017 Honda Odyssey

Price range: $20,000-$29,000 

Expert rating: 4.6

IIHS rating: TSP (2014-2016)

Combined fuel economy: 22 mpg

We reached pretty far back for this one. Honda updated Odyssey in 2014 and redesigned it for 2018. All these years later, those Odyssey model years in between hold up rather well. There is a lot to like about Odyssey. What about that crazy built-in vacuum, right? If you stick with the EX-L grade, you’ll find several of our recommended features, even in models this old.

Also see: We want a $250,000 home within an hour of the mountains or the ocean — where should we retire?

Standard EX-L content included the proximity key, headlights that popped on when you engage the wipers, and LaneWatch, displaying the passenger-side blind spot on the 8-in touchscreen. Among the other standard features are forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, auto on-off headlights, and tri-zone automatic climate control. Also standard were a power liftgate, heated front seats, a rearview camera with guidelines, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, and a 10-way power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustments. 

This story originally ran on KBB.com

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