If you are a car enthusiast like me, you routinely receive questions from or provide unsolicited advice to your family members, friends and grandparents on their car purchases. It usually involves asking about the price point, its intended use, what features are important, and how long they plan to keep the vehicle.
A few years ago, my grandma decided to finally upgrade from her 1993 Buick due to its high mileage and retirement of her faithful mechanic. During a visit from her, I spent a few days driving her up and down I-45 to various car dealerships, which spanned from Buick to Mercedes-Benz and many in between. This made me think about how I can help others who also go through the same exercise. As a car nut, I want to share considerations for the various types of grandparents you may have and a selection of cars that may align to their needs and personality. After all, we want to save you from constant tech support phone calls about the car and to keep you in the will!
The “This is the Last Car I’m Going to Buy” Grandparent
Toyota Avalon Hybrid
If your grandparent only wants to purchase one more vehicle, a reliable Toyota should be a strong contender. If your grandparent wants to ride in comfort, the Toyota Avalon is a fantastic option over the Camry or the Lexus ES350. The Avalon provides the expected comforts of a Lexus without the price tag of a Lexus. Additionally, Toyota extended the battery warranty on their hybrids, with coverage for 10 years or 150,000 miles. If your grandparent wants to have a reliable ride into the sunset, the Avalon Hybrid should be a strong contender, especially since they are ending production in 2022.
The comfort-oriented Lincoln Nautilus harkens back to the days of the beloved Panther Platform Lincolns. It offers rich interior appointments at a lower price point, comfort-tuned suspension, and was refreshed for the 2021 model year. The Reserve Trim offers a great value from an American carmaker being equipped with heated and cooled front seats, the availability of two engine options and drivetrains, and available 22-way ultra-comfort front seats.
The Nautilus is larger inside than the Corsair and offers comfortable seating for four (five in a pinch) with larger interior room than the Corsair. The Nautilus is a worthy consideration, especially if the grandparent has fond memories of driving a 1980s Lincoln Town Car.
The “I’m waiting on my Social Security Check” Grandparent
Hyundai has really improved their product over the last few years, usurping some market share from their Japanese competition. With the increase in quality, their famous 10-year powertrain warranty, and a five-year new car limited warranty, a Hyundai Sonata is a great option for the budget-minded grandparent. It also includes three years of complimentary maintenance!
I recommend the 2021 Hyundai Sonata SE, equipped with 191-hp 2.5L GDI engine that achieves 38 mpg on the highway. This trim is the base model, but it comes with a host of safety features standard, such as forward collision avoidance assist with pedestrian detection and lane follow assist. If your grandparent wants to reduce their carbon footprint and save some money at the fuel pump, they can opt for the Sonata Hybrid trim, which offers up to 54 mpg on the highway.
You may wonder why the Toyota Camry is not the recommendation since it is the most popular car in the USA. However, with the lower price point, increased interior room compared to the previous generation, and availability of hybrid propulsion starting at $23,650, the Toyota Corolla offers a competitive value compared to other Toyota models and its competition.
The Corolla offers 9 different trims to choose, and for this type of grandparent, we recommend the Corolla LE. The LE affords you a larger touchscreen, keyless entry, and automatic climate control for a $400 premium over the L. You also receive two years of free maintenance and roadside assistance with ToyotaCare. The Corolla continues to offer a reliable, cost-effective option for the budget-minded grandparent.
The Grandma Who Only Drives In-Town to Bingo and The Grocery Store
Honda Insight EX
A strong value option, the Honda Insight is a truly an underrated option for in-town driving. The sharp styling will make your grandma the envy of the other bingo players, and she will not spend much time filling the car at the gas pump. The Insight comes standard with Honda Sensing, which are safety and driver assistance technologies such as Collision Mitigation Braking System, Road Departure Mitigation System, and Adaptive Cruise Control.
Your grandma receives these options, and others, for a starting price of $25,210 for the base EX model. If she wants more creature comforts, the Touring trim provides leather-appointed seating, heated seats, and power front seats. The Insight merits strong consideration from your grandma as her next vehicle.
Toyota RAV4 PRIME Plug-In Hybrid
The RAV4 offers your grandmother an easy way to drive around town rather economically. The RAV4 PRIME is a plug-in hybrid, and she can charge it up while doing some early morning grocery shopping or while playing bridge with her friends. She can be sure to make the 6:00 PM bingo start time in inclement weather with standard AWD.
It affords the best of both worlds – stellar fuel economy without the range anxiety of a fully-electric vehicle because of its 2.5-Liter Dynamic Force 4-Cylinder engine. The vehicle is charged via a 120-volt outlet, the standard outlet in American homes. The RAV4 also comes with ToyotaCare, just like the other Toyotas mentioned in this article. If your grandma wants to make water aerobics while reducing emissions on her way there, the RAV4 PRIME is perfect for her.
The Grandpa Who Has a Need for Speed to Get to His Tee Time
At his age, many of grandpa’s friends probably drive a Lexus ES350, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, or a Porsche 911. However, they may not consider an SUV due to their perceived lack of agility and sportiness. The Audi SQ5 breaks that mold. Out of Spec Studios recently reviewed the SQ5 and could not believe the quickness and efficiency from its 3.0-liter six cylinder engine, which turns out 349-horsepower, 369 lb.-ft. of torque, and gets from 0-60 in 4.7 seconds per Audi.
It is quick enough to help him make that 7:00 PM show or the 8:00 AM tee time with the grandkids. It also offers enough room for his golf clubs and grandchildren in the back with a 40-20-40 folding second row. When he calls to ask if you want to golf, be sure he offers to give you a ride in this sporty SUV.
“They don’t make them like they used to,” is something I have heard growing up, which I’m sure many can relate. However, sometimes that is a good thing, just like the Cadillac CT5-V demonstrates. The luxurious rides of the Coupe de Ville and DeVille of days gone by are just a memory for Cadillac, as they focus on their SUVs and electric vehicles like the LYRIQ. However, the CT5-V shows how Cadillac radically changed their sedan lineup to compete with the Germans.
The CT5-V offers a twin-turbo V6 engine that puts out 360 horsepower and 405 lb.-ft. of torque and has launch control and a limited slip differential. The CT5-V makes it to 60 in 4.6 seconds in the RWD version. It can also be equipped with Super Cruise driver assistance feature. The CT5-V starts just under $48,000 with room for that new set of irons, making it a compelling hot-rod perfect to drive him into a thrilling retirement.
The Tech-Savvy Grandparent Who Built Their Own Computer
Tesla Model S
At SwerveAutos, we love our electric vehicles, so it should not be a surprise we recommend a Tesla. Though the Plaid would offer insane performance, I recommend the Long Range Model S, which offers an estimated 405 miles of range, 670 peak horsepower, and goes from 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds. The tech-savvy grandparent will love the technology built into the Model S, including Autopilot, Auto Lane Change, Summon, and Autopark.
They also can plug into Tesla’s Supercharger network if they decide to take a trip down memory lane to see Silicon Valley. A fun feature of Tesla’s technology-forward design is Beach Buggy Racing 2, a fun take on the racing games of the 1990s (Mario Kart on the N64) and could be considered the modern version of Hot Wheels tracks. If your grandparent is up-to-date on the latest in technology and still tinkers with computers, the Model S would be perfect for them.
The Volkswagen ID.4 is VW’s first take in the United States on a fully-electric vehicle, and we think they truly hit it out of the park. The design is futuristic yet minimalistic, almost harkening back to the original Beetle that graced our shores over 60 years ago. The ID.4 Pro has an estimated electric range of 260 miles, perfect for those grandparents who prefer to stay in town.
Icing on the cake is that buyers of new ID.4 receive 36 months of complimentary DC fast and Level 2 charging for your ID.4 through Electrify America. Electrify America has over 17,000 charging stations nationwide (they just installed some Electrify America chargers at my King Soopers). The ID.4 starts just under $40,000, excluding potential federal tax credits. Out of Spec Studios recently reviewed the ID.4 in the lens of a typical driver, and it received rave reviews by the driver. For those grandparents both tech-savvy and still using an iPhone 5, the ID.4 is a great contender for them to consider going full EV.