Copyright 2006 Maurice van der Velden

(Copyright 2006 Maurice van der Velden)

Seven Sedans for Retirees Who Are Young at Heart

Retirement Planning Bankrate.com

Sedans for the Young at Heart

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With the conviction that growing older doesn't have to mean getting old, Bankrate put together a list of the seven best cars for young-at-heart retirees.

Because active adults tend to have friends with whom they enjoy socializing, only four-door sedans made the cut. They're also easier to get in and out of.

Front-seat comfort, ride quality and a quiet cabin are important, particularly for older drivers. Bankrate looked to Consumer Reports to grade these characteristics for each sedan. To make the list, CR had to award the car a "good" to "excellent" rating in each category. Prices were capped at $35,000 before the destination fee.

Bankrate believes safety is a must-have feature of any car it recommends. It turned to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to rate the safety of each pick. To earn a spot on this list of best sedans, a car had to earn the highest front, side-impact and roof-strength crash-test scores of "good" from the IIHS or five stars from the NHTSA. Most had both.

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Finally, fuel economy is on the mind of every consumer. To qualify for this list, a car had to have at least an estimated 21 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving.

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Acura TSX

  • Price: $30,510
  • Gas mileage:
    • City - 22 mpg
    • Highway - 31 mpg
    • Combined - 26 mpg

As entry-level luxury sedans go, the TSX has a lot to offer senior drivers. Its sporty exterior and well-crafted cabin, with such upscale features as perforated leather seating and dual-zone automatic climate control, cover the luxury appearance cues. A technology package with an upgraded surround-sound audio system, navigation system and rearview camera is offered as a $3,000 option.

Although a V-6 is available for $9,000 more, the 201-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is more than spirited enough to put a smile on the face of most drivers when errand running. A five-speed, driver-shiftable automatic transmission transfers engine output to the front wheels.

Consumer Reports rated front-seat comfort as "excellent," ride as "good" and cabin quiet as "very good."

Audi A4 2.0 T Premium Quattro

  • Price: $34,600
  • Gas mileage:
    • City - 20 mpg
    • Highway - 30 mpg
    • Combined - 24 mpg

An upscale, smaller car, the Audi A4 nimbly straddles the line between sporty and refined. It's easy to see why it makes Bankrate's list of best sedans for retirees. Audi enjoys a reputation for high-quality interiors, and this applies to even the smaller cars in its stable. Leather seating, automatic climate control and rain-sensing wipers are just a few of the luxury features in every A4.

"Quattro" is Audi-speak for all-wheel drive. Not only does AWD provide more stability in foul weather, but it improves handling on dry pavement as well, giving senior drivers peace of mind. Go is derived from a 211-horsepower 2-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine. As priced here, an eight-speed driver-shiftable automatic transmission ushers power to the wheels.

Consumer Reports rated the A4's front-seat comfort, ride and cabin quiet as "very good."

Ford Fusion SE

  • Price: $24,625
  • Gas mileage:
    • City - 24 mpg
    • Highway - 37 mpg
    • Combined - 28 mpg

Ford completely redesigned Fusion for 2013, giving it bolder lines and a dynamic front end. The end result is a sporty appearance and a car that looks more expensive than its midsize family sedan price tag. In its SE trim, as priced here, it's loaded with the most popular convenience features. Ford also offers a number of options that could make driving easier for senior citizens, such as blind-spot warning, backup cross-traffic alert and adaptive cruise control.

Bankrate chose to outfit and price the Fusion with the peppy 178-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost engine and six-speed, driver-shiftable automatic transmission. It delivers the best mileage on our list. Getting good fuel economy has never been more fun.

Consumer Reports rated the Fusion "very good" in front-seat comfort, ride and cabin quiet.

Hyundai Genesis 3.8

  • Price: $34,200
  • Gas mileage:
    • City - 18 mpg
    • Highway - 28 mpg
    • Combined - 22 mpg

Hyundai's Genesis 3.8 has the lowest fuel economy numbers among our best sedans for retirees. But if rated on value alone, the Genesis 3.8 shines. It delivers the amenities and quality of luxury imports for thousands of dollars less. Its hot looks and athletic performance are the one-two punch of a winner.

Under the hood revs the 333-horsepower 3.8-liter V-6 engine that uses an eight-speed, driver-shiftable automatic transmission to hustle output to the rear wheels. The cabin is brimming with prized comfort and convenience features for older drivers, such as leather seating, keyless ignition and dual-zone automatic climate control. Driving around in this sedan will make you feel like a million bucks.

Consumer Reports rated front-seat comfort and cabin quiet as "excellent" and ride as "very good."

Kia Optima SX

  • Price: $26,800
  • Gas mileage:
    • City - 22 mpg
    • Highway - 34 mpg
    • Combined - 26 mpg

Not including the Kia Optima on any list that involves sedans is nearly impossible, whether that list is best family sedans, best sedan values or best sedans for the young at heart. It's terrific on so many levels. From its sharp exterior styling to its comfortable cabin to its spirited, fuel-efficient performance, it overachieves in every area. It's an attention-grabber! SX, the top trim level, is loaded with standard features such as leather seating trim.

With the SX comes an engine upgrade to the fun-to-drive 274-horsepower 2-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine. It is mated to a six-speed, driver-shiftable automatic transmission. There will be squabbles over who gets to run family errands.

Consumer Reports rated front-seat comfort and cabin quiet as "very good" and ride as "good."

Nissan Altima 3.5 SL

  • Price: $30,560
  • Gas mileage:
    • City - 22 mpg
    • Highway - 31 mpg
    • Combined - 25 mpg

Redesigned for 2013, the newest Altima displays a more expensive look and feel than the car it replaces. Nissan upgraded the interior as well. Soft-touch materials have replaced some of the hard plastic. The front seats were engineered based on NASA research to make them more comfortable for older drivers on long trips. A tire-pressure gauge isn't required to inflate the tires; when they reach the proper pressure, the car's horn sounds.

Although you can get into an Altima for less than $22,000, the top-end 3.5 SL with its 270-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 is included here because of its excellent touring capability. Nissan has become a huge proponent of continuously variable transmissions, and every Altima has one.

Consumer Reports rates the ride as "good," and the cabin quiet and front-seat comfort as "very good."

Volkswagen CC 2.0T Sport

  • Price: $30,965
  • Gas mileage:
    • City - 21 mpg
    • Highway - 32 mpg
    • Combined - 25 mpg

Looking much more like a four-door coupe than a sedan, the Volkswagen CC gets high marks for style and pizazz. But it's not all just show; there is plenty of substance, too. With a German sedan always comes the high expectation of uber performance, and the CC doesn't disappoint. Its sharp handling and spot-on steering make it a blast to drive. Under the hood is a highly responsive 200-horsepower 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. As priced here, it sends power to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission. For older drivers who want to take a break from a manual transmission, a six-speed, driver-shiftable automatic is available for $1,100 more.

Among the standard features are run-flat tires, automatic climate control and heated 12-way adjustable power front seats.

Consumer Reports rated front-seat comfort, ride and cabin noise all as "very good."