By Anthony Santiago - Editor-in-Chief

April 1, 2023

I suffer from gout, a form of arthritis in the joints. 

During an attack, it is painful and debilitating, so I personally understand how difficult daily activities can be.

As a car guy, I know getting in and out of your vehicle can be a HUGE challenge.

This is especially true if you have to drive or ride in a car. In this article, I will share the features and things you need to consider if you also share the same condition as me.

Let's dive in on our list of the best cars for people with arthritis

Remember, there is hope, and there are plenty of options available. While it may not cure your pain, it will make moving around and driving to your destination easier.

TLDR; 

I've created a list of 10 top cars for arthritis sufferers. In addition to the industry's standard amenities and features like adjustable seats, budgeting, costs look, easy controls, and a comfy drive. A good rule of thumb is to look for cars that are easy to enter and leave, have supportive seats, and have good visibility.


The 10 best cars, in my opinion, for people with arthritis are:

  1. Mazda CX-5
  2. Honda CR-V
  3. Toyota RAV-4
  4. Ford Escape
  5. Subaru Forester
  6. Hyundai Tucson
  7. Kia Soul
  8. Toyota Corolla Hybrid
  9. Honda Accord
  10. Subaru Legacy

What Exactly is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a form of joint disorder that causes extreme pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of movement in the joints. It can be in the hands, elbows, knees, ankles, and multiple places.

Various conditions, including injury, age-related wear, tear, or autoimmune disorders, can cause it. While it can affect any joint, it commonly affects the knees and hands.

I have it in my knees, toes, and ankles, which makes driving with my right foot very difficult.

Depending on its severity, the pain can range from mild to debilitating. Personally, my arthritis has been quite severe at times — so understanding how to manage driving is essential to being able to live normally.

Features You NEED in Your Vehicle If You Have Arthritis

  • ✅ Automatic transmission, power steering, and power seats are features that can make driving easier if you have arthritis
  • ✅ High-step in SUVs and crossover vehicles. Higher seat height makes it much easier to get in and out of your car since you don't have to bend as much
  • ✅ Keyless entry and push-button start can minimize the strain on arthritic hands
  • ✅ Vehicles with softer suspension, leather seats, and thicker tires can reduce the bumps and impacts of the road
  • Car accessories such as hand controls, pedal extenders, and steering wheel covers can help provide more comfort to arthritis joints
  • When picking a car, it's important to consider controls and seating comfort. Low-effort rules, like push-button start and keyless entry, are ideal as they don't require extreme movements or flexing.

    For seating comfort, look for adjustable seats or lumbar support. Shifting around in the seat can lead to unwanted joint movement in the knees and legs.

    Listing of the best cars for people with arthritis

    As an arthritis sufferer, I know how tough it can be to get in and out of vehicles. Thankfully, getting in and out is easier with a market full of crossovers and SUVs with higher ride height.

    Arthritis can make car journeys tricky and sore. But, with the right vehicle, it can ease joint pain.

    I've created a list of 10 top cars for arthritis sufferers. In addition to the industry's standard amenities and features like adjustable seats, budgeting, costs look, easy controls, and a comfy drive. A good rule of thumb is to look for cars that are easy to enter and leave, have supportive seats, and have good visibility.

    The 10 Best Cars, in my opinion, for people with Arthritis are:

    1. Mazda CX-5
    2. Honda CR-V
    3. Toyota RAV-4
    4. Ford Escape
    5. Subaru Forester
    6. Hyundai Tucson
    7. Kia Soul
    8. Toyota Corolla Hybrid
    9. Honda Accord
    10. Subaru Legacy

    These vehicles have good legroom, step-in height, and well-padded seats for comfort. Any one of these models can provide years of trouble-free ownership as well.

    For example, when looking for a car, I check for a low step-in height. This helps older drivers with their hips and knees. Plus, tall crossovers' and SUV roof lines provide more headroom when getting out.

    Wide-opening doors make it easier to hurry in if you have joint pain and when you have to carry things without bending too much. And an adjustable seating position helps me find the perfect distance from the steering wheel.

    For those who have arthritis, buying a car is all about your everyday needs. Electric seats, high seating, and chunky steering wheels are great for reducing physical strain since it requires less energy. Extra features like adaptive cruise control help reduce foot strain on highways. If you opt for reversing cameras, it can help with neck strain and add additional safety.

    Consider these, too, regarding drivetrain, legroom, and build quality. If you need extra trunk space, an SUV is a better choice for people compared to a crossover or sedan. But if you need to transport mobility aids, a minivan may be the way to go. (Minivans did not make a list due to their size and larger dimensions.

    Does driving aggravate arthritis?

    Like me, you wonder if driving can aggravate the pain. The short answer is yes, but you can minimize the impact by adjusting your driving position and limiting the time on the road.

    Arthritis sufferers know how uncomfortable getting in and out of a car can cause mobility issues. If you don't have to drive, I suggest resting your joint. But if you have to drive, some pain medication and common sense can help minimize your pain.

    How to adjust the car properly to reduce pain while driving with arthritis?

    For those of us with arthritis, driving can be really painful. When driving, consider the driver's seating height too. If the seat is positioned too low, it can cause muscle strain.

    Thankfully, there are ways to ease the pain. Here are my top tips for adjusting cars for people with arthritis:

    1. Adjust the driver's seat to enhance the lumbar and back support. This protects your spine from fatigue. It can also help ensure your driver's position with the right posture.
    2. Adjust seat height - Adjust the seat so all controls can be reached without leaning or reaching. Adjusting your car seat will ensure optimum comfort each time you drive.
    3. Pick a car with adjustable mirrors, technology like rearview, and a 360-degree camera to minimize movement to check surroundings. This reduces neck strain and hand strain while providing better visibility when driving.
    4. Ergonomic - Look for "ergonomic" features like adjustable pedals, telescopic steering wheels, and better leg room. Adjust the tilted steering wheel so you are comfortable.
    5. Heated Seats - Activate heated seats to help warm up the body, back, and joints. Heat therapy has been shown to help reduce pain and allow better blood flow.
    6. Cruise Control - Use the cruise control on long stretches to help reduce pressure and pain in the foot or ankle. It can transform a painful journey into a relaxing drive.

    How do you adjust car seats for maximum comfort for seniors?

    I know firsthand how it is to maximize comfort for senior citizens with mobility issues. First, you must adjust your car seat to swing your legs in for the most space. Joint pain and leg conditions can limit the angle to get in and out of the vehicle.

    Be very patient and mindful of your limits and your senior passengers. Many manufacturers now take aging drivers into account and offer adjustable seats and power-operated controls. Carefully adjust the seat belts to a comfortable position and secure the buckle in the latch.

    Best Car Accessories for People with Arthritis

    As someone with arthritis, I understand the difficulty of completing everyday tasks and moving freely.

    While driving can provide me with a sense of freedom, I must also make it as easy as possible to drive, particularly with my arthritis condition. For this reason, I've researched and tested several of the best car accessories with arthritis-friendly features.

    1

    Steering Wheel Cover

    best cars for arthritis

    This is a popular accessory if you have arthritis in your hand. Why do I like it? It's easy to install, adds more comfort with the grip with its soft memory foam, and it's relatively inexpensive. It does not impact steering design.

    2

    HandyBar

    best cars for arthritis

    Easier entry and exit of the vehicle/ My dad uses this to get in and out of the car. It's universal, strong, and lightweight. It allows a strong grip to help gain better leverage in entering and exiting a car, truck, or SUV.

    3

    Car Seat Cushion

    best cars for arthritis

    Helps support your back and bottom where you need it most. It gives you a softer ride instantly. This is especially good for elderly people. You can also get one swivel to help swing you in and out of the vehicle.

    4

    Magnetic Phone Mounts

    best cars for arthritis

    Having a phone mount where it is easy to access and you don't have to reach far is ideal. Please be aware of your local laws on texting and driving. Always keep safe on the roads. My favorite styles are the magnetic mounts that are easy to position without the use of strong clamps.

    5

    Larger Rear Mirror

    large mirror

    If you are like me, you want to be able to see everything behind you. These extended mirrors help expand your rearview and surrounding for safer driving. This helps with backing up and changing lanes. You are able to see 30% more than the original mirrors. Plus, they are easy to install or remove if needed.

    Final Thoughts

    If you have arthritis, there are many things that you can do to make driving comfortable.

    First, consider a SUV or crossover because of their high-entry level. 

    Secondly, if you already have a car, follow the detailed tips to improve your driving experience. 

    Third, consider adding some helpful car accessories to make it more comfortable and ergonomic.  

    You might be interested in learning more about the best cars for seniors and older drivers. Be sure to check out that articles too for more tips.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: What are the best cars for people with arthritis?

    A: The best cars for people with arthritis have features that make getting in and out of the car easier, including higher seating positions, automatic transmission, power seats, and handles or grips for support. The most common class is the crossover and SUV segment. Some top choices include the Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, and Toyota Rav4.

    Q: What kind of seating is best for people with arthritis?

    A: Drivers with arthritis should look for cars with seats that provide good lumbar support and can be adjusted easily. Power seats can also be helpful for those with limited mobility, as they can adjust the seat height and angle with a simple touch of a button.

    Q: How important is the ease of entry and exit in a car for people with arthritis?

    A: It's important to choose a car with easy entry and exit features, as people with arthritis may have difficulty getting in and out of lower cars. Higher seating positions and doors that open wide, found in crossover and SUV segments, are ideal and can make a big difference in comfort.

    Q: What kind of technology features might be helpful for people with arthritis?

    A: Cars with keyless entry and push-button start features can be helpful for those with limited hand mobility. I recommend Backup cameras and blind spot monitoring to reduce excessive movement of the driver having to turn their head or twist their body to check surroundings.

    Q: How can adaptive equipment modify a car for people with arthritis?

    A: Adaptive equipment can modify a car to meet the specific needs of people with arthritis. This can include hand controls for the accelerator and brakes, pedal extensions, seat lifts, and steering wheel modifications. Consult with a medical professional or therapist to determine what changes are necessary.

    Q: Why Should I Choose a Car with Adjustable Seats?

    Adjustable seats allow you to customize your driving position for maximum comfort and support. You can move the seat to align your hips with the steering wheel, change the height of the seat to clear easy ingress and egress, and the lumbar support is perfect for back pain.

    Q: Why is a Rearview Backup Camera Important for People with Arthritis?

    A rearview camera helps avoid the uncomfortable movement of looking over your shoulder to back up your car. Arthritis in the neck can make it hard to twist, turn and look around, which can cause pain and discomfort. A rearview camera can, therefore, prevent the need to turn around and reduce neck pain, muscle spasms, and stiffness.

    Q: What is the role of a Keyless Entry in a Car for People with Arthritis?

    A keyless entry allows you to unlock your car with a button or a remote, reducing the need to turn a key in the door lock, which can cause pain and stiffness in your wrists, fingers, and arms. A keyless entry also eliminates the need for fish-hooking to turn a key in a difficult-to-access lock mechanism.

    Q: Can People with Arthritis Drive Cars with Manual Transmissions?

    Automatic transmissions are preferred, but people with arthritis can drive manual transmissions cars. Unfortunately, the repetitive movements of the left foot and left arm can exacerbate joint pain and stiffness.

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    Anthony Santiago - Editor-in-Chief

    About the author

    I am a passionate car enthusiast who likes to help people save money and avoid headaches when it comes to cars. I believe that everyone can find the right car at the right price. I share my tips and experience so you can learn quickly and maximize your next SUV, truck or car purchase.

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