When you walk into a Chicago car dealership, salespeople are eager to talk about and show off safety features on new models. They’re keen to talk about safety because it’s an increasingly important component of many people’s buying decisions.

Buyers especially keen on vehicle safety

Because aging unavoidably makes people frailer, many seniors are when car-shopping especially keen on advanced safety features that can help them avoid motor vehicle crashes. With that fact in mind, the editors at Car.com recently compiled a list of the best vehicles for senior drivers.

In order to qualify for consideration, the vehicles had to be 2020 models that were awarded either the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick Plus. Because many seniors have fixed incomes, the editors narrowed their selections to vehicles under $35,000.

Important vehicle attributes

The editors were to consider the following vehicle attributes when choosing the best vehicles for seniors:

  • Safety features beyond IIHS-tested safety systems, including blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, etc.
  • Good visibility
  • Automatic transmission
  • Easy access (wide-opening doors, low step-in height, etc.)
  • Readability of instrument panel and system-control display
  • Quiet cabin
  • Comfort of vehicle’s ride
  • Powered adjustable seats and steering
  • Readability and ease-of-use of multimedia system

Top vehicles for older drivers

Keeping all of those aspects of vehicles in mind, the editors then chose their favorites for older drivers:

  • 2020 Kia Soul EX: $23,810
    The editors affectionally refer to their top pick as “Kia’s quirky box on wheels,” an affordable, peppy hatchback with good visibility and easy access into and out of its quiet cabin. The Soul includes a wide array of advanced safety features: forward-collision avoidance, lane-change and lane-keep assistance, blind-spot warning, driver attention warning, rear cross-traffic alert and projector LED headlights.
  • 2020 Subaru Forester: $25,505
    The Forester’s “copious amount of glass” results in standout visibility. It also features all-wheel drive, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and front-collision warning.
  • 2020 Subaru Outback: $27,655
    The Forester’s stablemate comes with matching safety features and a “comfortable, roomy cabin.”
  • 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe: $34,200
    This mid-size SUV “offers great value and straightforward controls,” as well as a user-friendly touchscreen and standard safety features such as a blind-spot monitoring system that shows a camera view of the spot when the turn signal is used.
  • 2020 Hyundai Tucson: $29,240
    The compact SUV is “an exceptional value” that’s loaded with “lots of standard safety technology.”

The 2020 Honda CR-V Touring ($34,470) and 2020 Kia Sportage ($34,710) rounded out the list of vehicles best-suited for older drivers. Of course, the safety features in the included vehicles help to keep all drivers safe, regardless of age.