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carguy123 SuperDork
9/1/10 1:33 p.m.

I need to get a car for my mother in law who is 82. She still drives and does a good job of it. She really only has about a 5 mile radius she needs to travel.

Her 1989 Taurus with 80k orig miles is falling apart around her. And even at free labor it's just not worth fixing. I'm trying to get the family involved with the purchase (read that as to get them to pitch in some money) but everyone is coming up short right now.

Tmama, as we call her, has only 3 requests in a car

1) it's easy to get in and out of 2) it doesn't have a big blind spot like the Taurus when she's backing 3) something easy to park - she goes to Walmart a lot.

I was thinking a Yaris or something like that, but a friend suggested a lease on a new car. He recently bought a Jeep and if he'd have leased it his monthly payments would have only been $200. $200 she can handle. Actually the family would probably reimburse me for it on a rotation basis. Yes, I know that probably means I'm going to pay for it.

He said that while a lease has some downfalls she doesn't have any of the tell tale signs that would make a lease an issue. She has protected parking so little or no door dings, she drives very few miles a year, and she's not intending to modify it. The only issue is the lease term because she obviously won't be driving for many more years.

Any sage words of wisdom about the downfalls of a lease?

I have an IN with a Ford Dealer and can get a Ford product for a great price so what do you guys think about a Fiesta or a Focus?

Streetwiseguy HalfDork
9/1/10 1:53 p.m.

Brand new shiny red super stock Dodge?

carguy123 SuperDork
9/1/10 1:54 p.m.
Streetwiseguy wrote: Brand new shiny red super stock Dodge?

Now why didn't I think of that! slaps head! Then when she can no longer drive I can offer to drive her.

jrw1621 SuperDork
9/1/10 1:58 p.m.

The Elderly really like a car where the seat is high enough but does not require climbing into. A test fit with her present will likely be very important. The newer tall but small cars are big hits. Things like Echo, xB 1 & 2, Versa. This does not provide many old versions since the small but tall phenomina is sort of new.
Maybe a Gen 1 CRV.

Edit: another old vesion is the Dodge/Mitsu/Plymouth Colt wagon thing.

Brett_Murphy New Reader
9/1/10 1:58 p.m.

In reply to carguy123:

Why not buy a used car off the Ford lot? I shudder to say this, but a Civic or other beige car might be just the thing.

And alright, I can't resist. Get her a used Town Car.

mndsm Dork
9/1/10 2:01 p.m.
Brett_Murphy wrote: In reply to carguy123: Why not buy a used car off the Ford lot? I shudder to say this, but a Civic or other beige car might be just the thing. And alright, I can't resist. Get her a used Town Car.

Only if it's white.

I don't know that I'd go Civic. Those aren't the easiest things to get into if you're a little short on ability. Nor would I suspect a lil old lady to be super happy with the Civic you'd get for the $$$. Honestly, what about a vannish type vehicle? Something like a Mazda 5? decent visibility, plenty of room, tall enough to get into, small enough not to be a huge issue, and so on. Or even something like a Flex....

Stealthtercel Reader
9/1/10 2:03 p.m.

With an older driver there are two issues that younger people might not think of at the top of the list. One is entry/exit logistics (OK, maybe kind of obvious): you don't want your grandmother to have to bend her neck sideways and back while at the same time sitting down farther than she's used to. (And remember, removal is the reverse of installation.)

The second issue is familiarity. If she knows how an 89 Taurus feels, how it responds to inputs, how big it is, and what the sight lines are, then that's the target that you want to "meet or exceed." For example, what about a last-gen (pre-2007) FWD Taurus? If you have an IN with a Ford dealer, a decent car for a decent price ought to be a no-brainer.

I think the Yaris is a good idea too (assuming the entry-exit thing works for her) BUT you have to remember that she'll go looking for her gauges & warning lights and see only a blank piece of plastic. If she's OK with the learning curve involved in that, great. If something more familiar would be better, keep looking.

alfadriver Dork
9/1/10 2:05 p.m.

The one thing I would add is make sure ingress and egress are easy. It's very hard for older people to get in and out of seats that are low.

If you can find a later Taurus- you'll see what I mean.

I think there are a few choices out there that will meed those kind of needs.

I can't recall if the Yaris we had would fit into that mold or not...

(and if it's a new F product, contact me directly).


edit- I see that it was one of the requirements.

If cost isn't too bad- Edge.

4cylndrfury SuperDork
9/1/10 2:07 p.m.

CRV/Escape/Tuscon/other tiny SUV

914Driver SuperDork
9/1/10 2:11 p.m.

E-Z Ingress Egress

Something tall like a mini van.

No Blind Spot.

Greenhouse like a BMW 2002 or station wagon.

E-Z to park.

So it must be small or at least narrow.

I'm thinking.......

Older Tercel 4WD; but if a Taurus is falling apart......

Toyota Previa van, easy in and out.

Civic wagon with the greenhouse out back.

How's the view from inside an Escort?


mndsm Dork
9/1/10 2:13 p.m.
914Driver wrote: How's the view from inside an Escort? Dan

Surprisingly dismal. I'd go Focus before i'd go as far back as an Escort, given the view thing.

skruffy SuperDork
9/1/10 2:13 p.m.

90's Buick Century with the 2.5 iron duke. You can pick them up in good shape with low miles for around a grand, they never break, get awesome gas mileage, and are pretty easy to get in and out of with the bench seat. Also, if it does eventually break the parts are dirt cheap and you only need an adjustable wrench to work on one.

914Driver SuperDork
9/1/10 2:15 p.m.

Honda CRV?


Ooo, ooh Geo Tracker. Keep the roof down all the time.

ReverendDexter Dork
9/1/10 2:15 p.m.

What about a CTS? If this is gonna likely be her last car, why not step up to a Cadillac?

I know my grandfather had no issues with egress/ingress with the one I rented and they have reasonable turning radii, only thing I'm not sure of is how bad they are to see behind while backing up. Later ones may have a backup alarm or camera, though.

jrw1621 SuperDork
9/1/10 2:16 p.m.

The Century is an interesting choice. It certaily is "traditional" in look and feel and should seem familiar. I can likely bet that more than one of her friends has the same car and I will bet it is beige. She may even have a tough time in the church parking lot figuring out which one is her's (because there will be so many.)

BoxheadTim Dork
9/1/10 2:21 p.m.

What about one of those boxy things like a Nissan Cube or a Scion xB?

I rented a Cube recently (not intentionally) and while the rear visibility I found it really easy to get in and out of, plus you're sitting a little higher up with would help with visibility. In fact it struck me as being almost a scaled down minivan without looking like one.

1988RedT2 Reader
9/1/10 2:22 p.m.

I was gonna say Buick.



dj06482 Reader
9/1/10 2:27 p.m.

First Gen CR-V and Forrester came to my mind...

fastmiata Reader
9/1/10 2:33 p.m.

Most of the active little old ladies around here including my Mother and Mother in law, drive Toyota Camry's. My Mom also has a Solara convertible but that is a totally different story. I admit that I made those recommendations and the Toyota's have not let me down yet.
I would recommend against a new car because it is quite likely that in the next few years that they will rub a few bumpers and fenders. Something off-lease or low mileage would seem to be a good idea. For that same reason, I wouldnt lease a car. There will be damage as they age. I can remember the damage that my grandfather did to his cherry Caddy just before they took the keys away from him. He got all four corners in separate instances.

carguy123 SuperDork
9/1/10 2:45 p.m.
carguy123 wrote: Any sage words of wisdom about the downfalls of a lease? I have an IN with a Ford Dealer and can get a Ford product for a great price so what do you guys think about a Fiesta or a Focus?

I was really looking more for reasons To or Not To lease as well as hoping someone had a new Fiesta or Focus and could chime in as to whether they might work well for an older lady.

They Yaris is the yardstick at the moment in that she has been in one and found it to be much easy to get into than her Taurus, has limited blindsides and would be easy to park. She has never had a wreck or a fender bender in her life, but I'm sure that can change.

A lease is just one of the options we are considering. It does have the up side of being less up front and low monthly payments since I'm betting that I have to foot the bill for most of the money. You know how relatives can be when you ask them for money.

4cylndrfury SuperDork
9/1/10 2:48 p.m.

unfortunately I have not been in a recent example of either, so I cannot comment, but if my little sister (possessing suspect driving skill) can parallel park a focus without parking by braille, then it must have reasonably small blind spots

fornetti14 Reader
9/1/10 2:51 p.m.

Early 2000 Camary. My 91 year old grandmother really liked hers. She just stopped driving a few months ago (her call) and her '02 only had 38,000 miles on it lol.

integraguy Dork
9/1/10 3:09 p.m.

I guess every body missed the BRILLIANT suggestion about a lease, as no one else "ran with it". My mother's sister leased the last 3 cars she owned, after a lot of discussions with my cousin who is a professional "numbers cruncher". ALL the plus points seem to be there for a lease, with none of the minus points, EXCEPT watchout the costs if the lease needs to be terminated early.

I sort of agree with folks who said you should stay with the familiar, and buy a newer Taurus. My parents have had 3 Tauruses and I think the familiarity with controls and what to expect when this or that control is used helps them. That said, I also agree that a small but tall car is a good choice. Fit, Yaris, xb, xa, Matrix, are decent choices and can be leased at their respective dealers as "lightly used"/certified used cars. The 09 models of the cars I mentioned are basically unchanged from the 2010s, and can be had in abundance....especially the Toyotas.

Sofa King
Sofa King Reader
9/1/10 5:13 p.m.

When my father died, my mother was left with two aging cars, and I knew that with her driving just a few miles every week, I would be stuck with trying to keep the better of the wo cars running. She was willing to buy a new car, but as I told her we could take $20K and buy her a car and in 10 years she would have a very low mileage 10 year old car, or we could invest the $20K and use the interest to lease her a new car every 3 -4 years. The first one was a 1998 Altima, 3 year lease about $ 220 per month at the time. It started every time that she turned the key, and I would take it on an occasional business trip to make sure that it got some carbon burned out of it. Turned it back in at 4,000 miles and leased another Altima for about the same payment. Same deal for the next 4 years, except that I bought that car after 4 years for $8000 with 8,000 miles for my then 17 year old daughter. That car has been great for us and my daughter is still driving it with less than 75K miles and I have done little more than change the oil. The next lease for my mother was an 05 Sentra. The Altimas were a little more expensive by then and with a lease payment in the $180 range it was hard to pass up.

My story is getting pretty long, but I do have a point. It was durring the Sentra lease, that my mother passed away. The POS bank that I leased the car through was no help at all in helping me get rid of the car as I settled her estate. They would only sell the car to me, the executor of the estate, meaning that if I wanted to sell the car I had to buy it, pay sales tax, and then sell it and the buyer would have to pay sales taxes again. The double taxes took the purchase price over blue book making it difficult to get out from under the car with out a loss. Luckily a $180 payment on a low mileage car wasn't tough to work into our budget and we used it as an extra appliance until the lease was up and I sold the car to a friend who was delighted to have an $8000 used car with 2000 miles on it!

The Nissan dealer that I dealt with said that if the lease had been through Nissan, they generally forgive leases when the owner dies. I never saw this in writing, but it would have made things much easier. Even with the hassles that I went through with the last car, leasing was absolutely the way to go for us, and I would do it again in a heartbeat! Nothing is tougher on a car than driving it once or twice a week and never getting it up to temperature. The newer the car the better! Lease it!

carguy123 SuperDork
9/1/10 6:38 p.m.

Thanx for the lease insight guys.

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