Certain cars, through no fault of their own, gain a stigma of being associated with older drivers. There is an old saying though: With Age Comes Wisdom. Younger buyers tend to avoid specific brands or models because of these ageist ideas, and preconceived notions of the cars being uncool. This article will serve to open your mind to appreciate a few select overlooked cars in a new light. Read on for ten cars undeservedly maligned as Grandpa (or Grandma) rides, that really do suit drivers of any age, from the Greatest Generation, to the soon to be licensed Generation Alpha.
10 Lincoln Continental
This is the epitome of the grandpa car, in fact, science has proven that the most uttered phrase upon the sight of a Conti in traffic is, “Come on Gramps”. Well, maybe not science... but it's definitely the epitome of the grandpa car! The Continental has been in production for over seventy years, with a notable absence from 2003-2017. Some of the more memorable models include the infamous suicide-doored convertible and sedan of the '60s, the big Mark V coupe of the late '70s, and, of course, the current 400hp highway cruiser (Also available with those cool backward doors, in very limited numbers). Whether you are looking for a classic Sunday driver, or a modern luxury sedan the many iterations of the Continental offer something for everyone.
9 Cadillac Eldorado
The Eldorado is another model that spans decades of production, though unfortunately it has not been made for quite some time. Early models sport the famous fins and bullet taillights associated with The King himself, but the car was always a looker, even as styling became more tame.
The Art and Science Eldorado of the 2000s sports the sharper lines of Cadillacs Y2K design language. That most recent version was available with a 300hp Northstar V8 making it reasonably quick, to match that angular look. Those hoping for a modern equivalent will have to look to the late-model CTS Coupe, which itself is a decent and overlooked car.
8 Buick Riviera
With a long run is the always handsome Buick Riviera. Each generation featured its own unique styling. Probably peaking in the looks department with the hidden headlight models of the mid-to-late ’60s, as pictured above, the Riviera was always striking in its time. The final version of this car was available with GM’s 3800 supercharged 3.8 liter V6, which had a respectable 240hp. That final version, if you can find a clean example, slots very much into the affordable category. Buick survived GM’s brand thinning during the Great Recession, but still struggles to find traction with younger buyers. If you're considering a new Buick, the Regal TourX is struggling to sell, even though it seems perfectly suited to today’s crossover obsessed market.
7 Chrysler 300
The 300 series of vehicles from Chrysler would have appealed to your grandpa in his youth, as a big-finned beast in the late ’50s, and up to today’s Hemi-powered stately sedan. Although the lineage doesn’t track as easily as the previous entries on this list, the 300 definitely has a heritage that would make any patriarch proud. Something about the slab-sided four door seems like it would appeal to grandparents throughout the country. The current 300 has sold well to younger buyers, and the whole slew of vehicles deserve a reputation as fast, well-proportioned sedans any buyer should be proud to drive.
6 Kia Soul
This contender is a little out of the ordinary but, for whatever reason, when a car company tries to brand a car as a fun, affordable option for young buyers, retirees flock in droves (See Scion). The Soul is a relatively young entry on the list, so your grandparents may be driving one now.
It turns out practical, funky, and inexpensive cars check a lot of boxes for young people and the older crowd. The Soul has one of the higher repeat buyer rates of any car, which must mean it is good. Give this hamster mobile a chance, even if a good majority of owners get a senior discount.
Another brand that seems to have the unearned image of being uncool, or an old person's car is Lexus. Here’s the thing: Lexus makes world class luxury cars, with Toyota reliability. It must be cool to live on the edge, always wondering when your next breakdown will cause you to go bankrupt. Despite producing insane cars like the LFA, Lexus has struggled to shrug off the reputation of being boring. The F series of sporty offerings should be enough fun for enthusiastic drivers. Sure, Lexus makes comfy, reliable road couches, but they also make hot-rod versions of those same dependable machines.
4 Toyota Camry
Speaking of Toyota Reliability… The Camry is associated with a bunch of undesirable stigmas, but almost all of those are the result of the car being an intelligent, practical choice. It turns out old people are smart, and the Camry is a smart buy. The best selling midsize sedan, and even its larger sibling the Avalon, are also pretty fun cars to drive in their most current guise, sharing an optional 301hp V6, and improved handling over previous models. These cars are fun, safe, practical, and you can buy one now, and pass it down to your grandkids when the time comes.
3 Chevy Corvette
Although the Corvette is generally on the cutting edge of performance, and certainly the ingress and egress of such a low slung body is hard on people of a certain age, it has earned an association with older men.
Maybe that is because it has always been America’s dream car; something people plan to buy when they are more established, and the kids are out of the house. The Corvette is possibly the best performance value, and it has come a long way in interior quality. Now a true world-class sports car, consider the Vette regardless of your age.
2 Pontiac Trans Am / Chevy Camaro
These little brothers to the Corvette provide 90 percent of the fun, with 200 percent of the practicality. The backseat has enough space to occasionally pick the grandkids up from school, but you can still option a big V8 under the hood to smoke help smoke the tires as you pull out of the lot. More cautious buyers can save money and fuel by getting the V6, which in the modern Camaro has 335 horsepower. The best years have T-Tops for open roof enjoyment, and the Camaro and Trans Am are a little more comfortable for most normal driving situations than the Corvette. The Camaro and Trans Am (RIP) are more frugal fun for the older crowd, but are well suited for the young and young at heart.
1 Ford Mustang
The Mustang is a hard car to stick on just one demographic, but surely a fair share of Mustangs have at least one grandpa owner in their Carfax history report. Similarly to the Camaro, you get a practical and fun package, thanks to the 2+2 design. You also get great styling, and a reasonably comfortable interior in almost every generation (Sorry Mustang II). From the extremely classy original 1964.5 Mustang to the absolutely insane new GT500, the Mustang is a great car for every kind of grandpa. It’s also a great car for just about anyone, besides like grandpa always says “It’s a lot of car for your money.”