Comfortable American Cruisers

Many challenges present Americans as they get older, and mobility is one of them.  Back aches, muscle pulls, sore joints, and other unpleasant inconveniences can make getting around more difficult.  America’s automakers are up to the call, however, and they have a host of features that make vehicles more comfortable, more usable, and even more affordable for seniors.

2023 is turning things around for the auto industry, for both consumers and automakers. Inventory is increasing and supply chains are improving, per the Wall Street Journal, mean you should have a much easier time finding a new car this year than in 2021 or 2022.  Many people have resorted to paying sticker price given the new conditions.  Here’s a look at some of the most comfortable cruisers available for sale right now.

Buick

The Buick lineup has long been a favorite of seniors, though things have changed since the LeSabres and Regals of yesteryear.  Buick has recently parted ways with passenger sedans, saying goodbye to some storied nameplates like the Regal, as well as less-loved vehicles like the Lacrosse.  In its place comes a family of SUV’s in a variety of sizes and prices to fit senior budgets as well as requirements. 

Buick’s largest SUV, the Enclave, comes with a standard 3.6L V6 that has 310 horsepower, propelling the Enclave to 60 miles per hour in about 6.5 seconds. Leather seats are standard and a massaging/heated feature for your back is optional.  A power liftgate can be opened without using hands, which is convenient for loading things in the back.  The Enclave has many safety features, such as automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, and front pedestrian braking, to protect seniors from accidents. A peaceful ride is provided via available QuietTuning technology, which makes the sounds of outside world fade away via door seals, suspension tweaks, and laminated glass.

The mid-size Envision is seats five people starting at $33,400 MSRP. It has features that make it quiet, comfortable, and convenient, such as QuietTuning technology, heated steering wheel and seats, power liftgate, and soft touch materials. The Envision may be a good choice if you want an easier to drive SUV than a 7 seater, while retaining many of the same features. It also has a rear camera that helps with reversing. The Air quality indicator and air filtering mean folks with asthma or other respiratory problems will breathe easy inside the Envision. Watch for deals on the outgoing 2023 Envision as a brand new model debuts for 2024.

Budget conscious buyers will be happy to learn of two great options from Buick for the 2024 model year.  First up, the fully updated Encore GX brings down its starting price by $300 to $25,600 MSRP.  With new sheetmetal and a new logo, the 2024 Encore GX represents a substantial facelift for the model. AWD is optional for folks who live in winter climates, pushing starting prices closer to $29k.

Buick also has a brand-new model this year, the Envista, its first all new name in quite some time. With a sleeker design than the Encore GX, it starts at $22,400 msrp.  Automatic climate control means seniors won’t have to fuss with adjusting heat temperatures, and can set their desired temp and forget it.  Flat-bottom steering wheels, standard on all trims, makes it easier to grab the wheel when driving.  And the top of the line Avenir starts at $29,695 MSRP, and brings many luxury features to a small package, including 19 inch wheels, power liftgate, heated front seats and steering wheel, and leather seating surfaces.

Cadillac

Unlike Buick, Cadillac has not said goodbye to sedans, with a number of SUV and sedan options alike to please older clientele.  If you want a gas-powered Cadillac, now is the time, as the brand is scheduled to go all-electric, with no more gas motors in 2030.  While it remains to be seen whether or not buyers will respond positively to this development, the current Cadillac model represents the apotheosis of American luxury for the brand.

At roughly 40,000 units sold per year in both 2021 and 2022, the Escalade outsells its Lincoln Navigator competition by nearly three times the amount.  Starting at $80,795 MSRP, the 2023 Escalade is amongst the most envied vehicles at the golf course parking lot.  Power running boards makes it easy for seniors to get into despite its height, and air ride adaptive suspension means there is a smooth ride for your back. A 6.2L V8 with 420hp is standard, as well as an optional 3.0L turbo-diesel, or the supercharged 682hp Escalade V-Series, which starts at an eye-popping $149,695.

A host of more-attainable Cadillacs occupy the middle of its range, with the smaller XT4 SUV and CT4 sedan, and their larger XT5 SUV and CT5 sedan brethren.  While the CT4 and CT5 share similar design language, they are distinct looking vehicles, while many will have a hard time telling the larger XT5 apart from its smaller XT4 cousin.  The XT5 SUV starts at $44,195, while the smaller XT4 SUV starts at just $36,295, one of your cheapest ways behind the wheel of a Cadillac (though it is being redesigned for 2024 and starts at $37,895 but in a much more modern-looking package).  The XT4’s gas mileage is easy on senior wallets, getting up to 30MPG on the highway, and it has parking assistance, emergency braking, and other smart system safety features.  The larger XT5 has chassis damping control, to make for a smooth senior ride.  Optional memory packages remember your driver seat and mirror settings, so both husband and wife can sit how they like with the push of a button.

If you still want an American luxury sedan, Cadillac is the only stop left in town. The CT5 starts at just $38,195 msrp, which means it’s the most affordable luxury car of its size that you can buy, and makes fully loaded Honda Accords and Toyota Camrys less appealing.  The compact CT4 is the cheapest new Cadillac for seniors on a budget, starting at just $34,395, going head-to-head with BMW 3-Series and Mercedes C-Class.

Lincoln

Like Buick, Lincoln has also said goodbye to sedans, much to the chagrin of limousine drivers and coachbuilders everywhere.  With the Mercury nameplate also discontinued, four Lincoln SUV options round out the luxury range from Ford Motor Company.  For those who miss a big-cushy American sedan, the mid-range Nautilus has what you need.  Starting at $47,325 MSRP, it seats five and has a well appointed interior and handsome dashboard.  A standard power liftgate means seniors won’t have to lift it on their own, and a ride height of just 64.1 inches means getting in isn’t too difficult. Two different engine options are available including turbo four cylinder and turbo six cylinder.

For seniors on a budget, the Lincoln Corsair is your FoMoCo first stop, starting at $38,690 MSRP.  Lincoln’s smallest model, it still has a host of excellent features, such as power liftgate and “Auto Air Refresh” to remove the harsh elements from the outside. A 2.0L turbo four cylinder is the standard motor, and there is also an optional plug-in hybrid which has 266-hp, which comes on the top-of-the-line Corsair Grand Touring, which starts at $53,925 msrp. Real leather seating surfaces can be had when upgrading to the Reserve trim and above ($43,115 msrp).

Lincoln’s almost-Navigator is the Aviator, and it does so with a near-Navigator-like 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque. Indeed, the two vehicles run nearly neck in neck in a drag race, polishing off the quarter mile in about 14 seconds apiece. Seating six or seven, to the Navi’s seven or eight, the Aviator still has plenty of chrome and looks like a fairly large SUV. Starting at $53,350 entry level msrp, there is also a plug-in hybrid option which starts at an eye-wwatering $91,675, but juices performance figures to 494 hp and 630 lb ft of torque combined.

Lastly, Lincoln’s top dog has long been the Navigator, starting at $79,725 MSRP.  Zigging where the Escalade zags, the Navigator is more curvy and less boxy than its more traditionally shaped Cadillac competition despite its non-traditional biturbo six cylinder engine.  The longer wheelbase Navigator L trim competes with the Escalade ESV and Yukon Denali, but starts at $94,965. The top-of-the-line Black Label L starts at $112,300, with an available “Central Park Theme” interior trim. Seniors won’t have to keep track of their keys with the “phone as a key” option, which enables programming your smartphone to act as the key to the vehicle.  When you approach your Navigator, the ground will light up so you don’t trip, and power running boards make getting inside easy.  Sound dampening technology and laminated window glass keep the sounds of the outside… outside.