How To Choose A Vehicle To Suit Your Retirement Needs

When choosing a new car to last through your retirement years, all the technological innovations that apply with new cars can be rather overwhelming and a little distracting. This guide will help you focus on the features that are most desirable in a car to suit your needs as a senior motorist.

Getting Prepared

Entering a new car dealership can be quite a shock, particularly if you haven't bought a vehicle for quite a while. You may feel bombarded with information concerning new hi-tech features and gadgets. Don't let this sidetrack you; work through a simple plan that considers each of the important factors: safety, comfort, visibility, ease of access and reliability.

Your new car needs to suit your changing needs for life in retirement. Carefully assess these features.

Comfort and Fit

Be sure to look for adjustable seats with good lumbar support. Seats that tilt and a telescopic steering wheel will ensure you have the right fit and correct driving position. You need to easily reach the pedals but also allow enough space away from the steering wheel in the event of airbag deployment.

  • Take time to sit in the seat and ensure you have a good view to the front, rear and sides.
  • Make sure that you are able to reach all the controls and operate them comfortably.

Ease of Access

Cars that sit low to the ground are more challenging to enter and exit from. As you age, the easier it is to get in and out of the vehicle will become an essential concern. Look for a car with wide door openings and chair height access. Many models of smaller SUV offer these desirable features.

  • Take time to carry out a few "getting in and out" exercises with every vehicle you try.
  • Don't overlook the access to the rear seats if you plan to regularly carry passengers.


All new cars in Australia area tested for crash-worthiness through ANCAP (Australasian New Car Assessment Program) and given a star rating according to the level of protection that is offered.

The more stars, the safer the vehicle. By choosing a vehicle with the highest rating of five stars, you are guaranteed that it has performed to the highest level in all crash tests. This is the most reliable indicator for judging your vehicle's safety.

Vehicle Handling

Power assisted steering

This feature is becoming standard with new vehicles, but check to make sure that the cars you try include this helpful addition. It is invaluable when you aren't as strong as you used to be and allows you to turn the car with ease in tight corners and manoeuvre into parking spaces.

Anti Lock Braking (ABS)

This assisted braking feature is another to look for as it will assist you to maintain control during sudden braking situations by safely supplying extra pressure.


The visibility in modern vehicles is an issue, particularly if you are used to driving an older model car. Because of the structural design with roof-crush protection styling, narrow rear windows and head restraints, there is a tendency for reduced visibility in a today's vehicles, particularly to the rear.

Fortunately there is a safety option that overcomes this drawback and is a desirable additional feature. A reversing camera begins operating when the car is put into reverse gear. A video image of the view to the rear displays on screen in the centre of the dashboard. This is a great advantage for people with reduced flexibility, such as that needed for turning and stretching to peer out of the rear window. It is especially convenient for parking or hooking up a trailer and prevents backing into unexpected obstacles or people!

Buying your retirement vehicle is a major decision. Using this guide will help you consider the features that will cater to your needs. You will find that there are many choices available that will provide you with the stress-free and pampering ride you deserve in your retirement lifestyle.