What is the best car for a teen driver?
I'm looking for a car that is some combination of safe, reliable, and inexpensive for my son who is just starting to drive. Any recommendations?
My recommendation would be:
1. Ford Taurus: Though not one of the sexiest cars around, but with a mileage of 20 miles/gallon, with roomy interiors and quite good handling. The approximate annual insurance premium is around $3300. And we are looking at an average price range of around $5500 for cars around 10 years old.
2. Honda Accord LX: The base price of a used car (Around 8 years old) is around $7300 . But remember that this price is applicable only for the LX version. All other Accord models cost way above $15000. The Honda accord is renowned for it's reliability and has well proven track record of great handling and being sturdy at the same time. It has a 4-cylinder engine for good fuel economy. The approximate annual insurance premium is around $3300.
3. Scion xB: A wagon with excellent pick up and control. This wagon is also known for it's luxurious leg spaces and cargo hold. A 4-cylinder engine takes care of the fuel economy. The only draw-back being it's price. Most used models are at an average of around $12000, however there are models that do get sold for around $8700. The approximate annual insurance premium is around $3500.
4. Subaru legacy: This is an all wheel drive. This definitely gives an edge over others as far as safety is concerned. Well styled, with nice interiors and elaborate internal spacing makes this a good vehicle. Price range varies. You can get a legacy for as low as $2500 for a 15 year old car and can be as high as $18000 for a 2 year old vehicle. The approximate annual insurance premium is around $3500.
5. Ford Focus: A 4-cylinder engine with fuel economy and sturdy exteriors gives this car a good safety edge. As is the case with most sedans, you would get a used car of year 2000 or 2001 for around $5500. The approximate annual insurance premium is around $3800.
6. Honda Fit: It's one of the best for starter drivers. A surprisingly good handling combined with equally good mileage, roomy interiors and over-all styling makes this an attractive choice for any teenager. The non-sport version would cost you approximately $6000 for a 7 to 8 year old car. The Sport versions cost is higher though. The approximate annual insurance premium is around $3950.
I am sure that there are tons of more options but at this moment I could only think of these models. Hope it helps
Thanks for these recommendations! Insurance cost is certainly a factor to consider. Interesting to see that the smaller vehicles have somewhat higher insurance premiums.
@drpennypincher: For the simple reason that insurance companies just assume that the smaller cars are more likely to be involved in crashes than their sturdier cousins of sedans and wagons
A car that is similar to a tank. Thank God I had my grandmother's Oldsmobile. Two accidents, sometimes the car didn't turn on, the roof sagged, a couch on wheels with enough room in the trunk for three dead bodies. But it got me through everything. But in case you don't want to go that route, try a Honda or Toyota. They are reliable, inexpensive, safe, and you see them everywhere. Just watch out for the accelerator. That's the only thing that will go in the vehicle and must be replaced every 5-8 years, the rest of it can run for years without any problems.
Actually, my son would love to drive a tank! That would make quite an impression. I do think bigger cars are safer, at least for the person driving the big car... The gas bill is higher, but the insurance bill is lower. Maybe a big car is best.
Also consider that bigger also means more difficult to maneuver.
Best place for a teen to start isn't, I think, the safest, most reliable, or even necessarily the cheapest. it the one that serves as a teaching tool.
Start with a VW beetle-one of the old ones. any Toyota or Datsun from the 70s will do as well. These cars are safe enough, inasmuch as they aren't crash prone powerhouses, and are limited in speed and performance enough to prevent inadvertent recklessness.
What they provide, though, by their very nature is a raw driving experience. No computers to fiddle with, no complicated electronics, rarely even power steering. The result here is that all the modern improvements can be appreciated, without creating a dependence, or spoiling the young driver, leaving them to rely on dealers and mechanics for the simple problems that will occur.
Part of the driving experience is minor repairs, from flat tires to oil leaks to overheating. Dings and scrapes and maybe even so forth that can be a real tragedy on a new car but for an old beater can be written off as experience.
And old cars can be worked on, tinkered with, modified and customized on the cheap.
Practice, in other words.
And then for that second car, the one they can keep and use for years to come? It will be better appreciated, better cared for, and become the safe, reliable car they need to haul them into adulthood, with all the basics of car ownership already at hand.
Still a VW, Toyota, or Nissan, but a newer one this time.
It certainly wouldn't be the coolest car in the school parking lot, but an old volvo wagon wouldn't be a bad call- they're very safe and practical. I'd avoid older cars for sure though- safety technology has massively improved in every decade. Although old American cars are huge and look like they'd be pretty indestructable, they wouldn't stand up to an early 2000's honda civic for example. Speaking of which, if you aren't particularly concerned about performance or anything like that, go with a civic or accord. You can get them in a manual if you want to teach your son how to do that, and those powerplants are bulletproof. Nothing more than oil changes, tires, and brake pads needed to get those to 250,000 miles.
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