Top 10 Safest SUVs & Sedans for Seniors (+Awards List)

Crash safety ratings are a crucial factor in choosing the safest cars for senior citizens, besides ride comfort, driver visibility, and ease of entering and exiting the vehicle.

While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also rates vehicle safety, the tests that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts are arguably more stringent, thus the ideal reference.

The following are some of the safest vehicles for seniors, grouped by size and body style.

Safest Small SUVs for Seniors

#1 Honda CR-V

honda crv safest small car for seniors

Japanese and Korean car manufacturers produce among the most reliable and safest vehicles in the industry.

Compact SUVs are perfect for retirees given their affordability and ideal ride height, and the Honda CR-V is one of the safest SUVs for elderly drivers.

The latest-generation CR-V which, debuted in 2023, heads the small crossover pack with IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus award, the organization’s highest accolade, besides incredible roominess and outward visibility for the driver.

Except for some model years, the Honda CR-V has been earning IIHS awards for many years:

#2 Toyota RAV4

toyota rav4 safest small suv for seniors

Toyota is an ultra-dependable auto brand, and the RAV4 is the Japanese marque’s best-selling crossover, and for excellent reasons.

Toyota RAV4 has rock-solid reliability, excellent vehicle design, and solid crash-worthiness, making it an impeccably safe SUV for seniors in the compact crossover segment.

Opting for the regular RAV4 or plug-in-hybrid Prime affords you the same level of crash safety.

Like its famous Honda rival, the Toyota RAV4 comes with a long list of IIHS awards:

#3 Mazda CX-5

mazda cx-5 safest small car for retirees

Mazda is a class leader in producing fun-to-drive vehicles.

While its Japanese counterparts are more-famous nameplates, the Mazda CX-5 boosts a stronger crash safety record, making it arguably the safest small SUV for seniors.

The CX-5 has earned an exhaustive list of IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus accolades:

#4 Volkswagen ID.4

vw ID4 safest ev for seniors

As the industry transitions to alternative sources of energy to power modern automobiles, electric cars are solid options worth considering.

Since Volkswagen introduced the ID.4 EV in 2021, the model has garnered top safety awards from IIHS, and this electric SUV is an incredibly safe small vehicle for older drivers and retirees.

It is an easy get-in-and-drive EV, with plenty of helpful driver safety aids, besides being a solid option from a mainstream European manufacturer.

Safest Midsize SUVs for Seniors

#5 Subaru Outback

subaru outback safest vehicle for seniors

Larger vehicles are logically safer than smaller ones, and midsize SUVs are ideal for older drivers needing more interior space and cargo room for the occasional road trips in their golden years.

The Subaru Outback SUV is probably the safest midsize SUV for seniors, with helpful attributes and an extended list of IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus awards.

Subaru Outback comes with standard all-wheel drive for greater wet-weather traction, and the above-average ride height enables the sports utility to go places where most peers would struggle, perfect for more-adventurous older couples.

#6 Hyundai Palisade

hyundai palisade safe midsize suv for elderly

If you need a third row for the extra seating capacity, the three-row midsize Hyundai Palisade is hard to beat, with an incredibly roomy interior, excellent ride quality, and many standard safety features at an attractive price.

Except for its 2021 debut year, the Hyundai Palisade has gained the IIHS’s highly-acclaimed award for consecutive years, making it a solid proposition for a safe midsize SUV for retirees.

The Korean carmaker’s industry-leading warranty is another strong reason to own a Palisade.

Safest Luxury SUVs for Seniors

#7 BMW X3

bmw x3 safe suv for seniors

As smaller crossovers suit retirees and older couples, the BMW X3 is a solid pick as one of the safest luxury cars for seniors in the compact SUV space.

While the X1 exhibits similar positive traits as an extra-small crossover, the slightly larger X3 is the ideal size with an appreciable roomy cabin that elderly drivers and passengers will find easy to slide in and out of.

The BMW X3 has amassed a string of Top Safety Pick Plus honors since its third generation debuted in 2018.

#8 Volvo XC-90

volvo xc90 safest luxury suv for seniors

Should the older couple need a larger SUV to regularly ferry grandkids and friends, this Volvo model is an excellent choice.

The Volvo XC90 is a midsize three-row sports utility vehicle and one of the safest luxury SUVs for seniors, with an admirable history of picking up many Top Safety Pick accolades from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The XC90 is an elegant-looking vehicle that drives as capably as it protects its occupants in a beautifully-finished cabin.

Plus, outward visibility is excellent, and sliding in and out of the vehicle is effortless with the XC90’s large door openings.

Safest Sedans for Seniors

#9 Subaru Legacy

Although small sedans cost less, midsize models are ideal for elderly passengers, providing more interior room to stretch and get comfortable without being too unwieldy.

The two mainstream midsize sedans on this list are exemplary in the crash safety aspect.

The Legacy is Subaru’s all-rounded midsize entrant and one of the safest sedans for older drivers, with impeccable safety ratings across several generations.

It offers standard all-wheel drive for enhanced grip in inclement weather and unimpeded driver sightlines for a safer drive.

#10 Toyota Camry

toyota camry safest sedan for older drivers

Retirees and older drivers after a fuel-efficient, comfortable, and super-reliable car will be pleased with this Toyota midsize.

As an ultra-competitive vehicle in the various practical metrics, the Toyota Camry is the safest sedan for seniors, having won heaps of safety awards with its solidly constructed body.

Camry’s long-running success is a testament to the car’s low running costs and ever-dependable build quality and crash safety.