Reader Question: A Better Car For Mom?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Clay asks: If you can scratch your head for a minute and give me your immediate thoughts on this I’ll be grateful. My widowed 82 year old mother has a 2015 Highlander and the side mirrors are directly in her line of sight. She is short and we’ve played around with seat height etc but to no benefit. Coupled with the wide A-pillars she has trouble seeing and I’m worried about it. I’m thinking of buying her a different car. The older ones didn’t have this problem. The other thing she’s not good at is technology. All the touch screens and digital controls are confusing to her. I remember her old Falcon, the old LeSabre, a ’56 Chevy; maybe I should just buy an old analog car. If any cars or SUV’s spring to mind that might be good for this somewhat special case please let me know, thank you!

My reply: I think you may have already answered your own question! Many newer vehicles are afflicted with horrendous blind spots, largely caused by design changes needed to comply with the various federal “safety” regs. Which of course is ironic because a car with horrendous blind spots is by definition unsafe.

What to do?

One thing – as you’ve already deduced – is to buy a vehicle without such blind spots. In the case of your mom, I would recommend considering a smaller vehicle, which will be easier for her to drive – especially as regards her sense of spatial relationships (i.e., where her car is relative to other cars, objects, etc.). She might really like a Toyota RAV4, which will have a similar feel – but which she will likely find much easier to drive. The Honda CR-V is similar. I’d shop for one about 6-7 years old, with low miles – and largely free of the tech that bewilders your mom (and me, too!). As these vehicles are extremely popular, it should be no trouble at all funding a good one – probably for under or just over $12k or so.

Hope this was helpful!

. . . .

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  1. Hi Clay,

    Have you considered a used Subaru Forrester? It is a smaller SUV so it will give your mom the additional ground height that she has become accustomed with the Highlander, but it is also considered one of the sturdiest cars on the road.

    • Morning, RG!

      I’ll amen your recommend. The Forester is a stout little crossover. Its only major deficit is awful gas mileage, a problem with most Soobies…


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