Consumer Reports: Subaru, Kia serving older drivers best

The 2017 Kia Soul Turbo. (Bruce Benedict/Kia)

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The 2017 Kia Soul Turbo. (Bruce Benedict/Kia)

Consumer Reports believes older drivers have different needs in their cars than do younger ones, and in a section of its website devoted to senior motorists it identifies two automakers doing the best job of designing vehicles for them.

On a list titled the Top 25 New Cars for Senior Drivers, Consumer Reports credited Subaru and Kia with providing the five best choices. They were the:

— Subaru Forester

— Subaru Outback

— Kia Soul

— Subaru Legacy

— Kia Sportage

Consumer Reports examined cars’ features such as easy front-seat access; good visibility for drivers of various heights; dashboard controls that are easy to reach and understand; and powerful headlights to help vision during night driving.

“Our picks combine reliability, safety and senior-friendly features,” said Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports.

The publication noted that despite the increased likelihood of physical or cognitive limitations with age, older drivers crash less on a per-mile basis than teenagers. Its survey of motorists also indicated older drivers are less likely — compared to the youngest age group of drivers — to have recently driven through stop signs and red lights or to report having difficulty with merging, changing lanes and adjusting to faster traffic.

With older motorists in mind, manufacturers are taking steps such as increasing the size of dashboard gauges and screens. Those and other trends are outlined in Consumer Reports’ “Driving Safer, Driving Longer” analysis, which includes an article advising how to keep driving skills sharp in later years.

“There are important benefits for seniors who can continue to drive as long as they safely can, and there are real challenges for those who outlive their ability to do so,” Mr. Fisher said. “Our report details the promising research and innovation that’s currently ongoing that will help meet the challenges.”

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