Best Cars for teen drivers?

<p>Starting a new thread following thumper's request. New or used? Which make? Mazda? Subaru? Ford? VW? Electric or hybrid or gasoline?</p>

<p>My D20 (okay, technically not a teen any more :)) drives my 2003 Subaru Forester. 160K miles, runs great (but it has been mine, so I know it has been well cared for, has good tires, etc.). It has a good safety rating. Note, 2003 was the year side airbags became standard, they are not standard in the older models.</p>

<p>I agree that Subarus overall have very good safety ratings. You might look at the Impreza for a student.</p>

<p><a href="http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/Subaru_Impreza/%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/Subaru_Impreza/&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>You can click for rankings.</p>

<p>The article also says that if you willing to pay for an Impreza, you should look into the Jetta too.</p>

<p>One more note, another cc poster stated that insurance rates went down when they replaced a 2 door for a 4 door car. I don't know if that theory holds true across the board, but you might want to inquire about that if you are considering a 2D car.</p>

<p>You need to throw a dose of subjectiveness in with the selection since in reality there are many makes and models, both new and used, that would be fine for a teen driver. If the car is just for the teen to drive (as opposed to another car for anyone in the family) I suggest asking the teen what their preferences are - style (sedan, coupe, SUV, hybrid, etc.), make/model, color, etc. If she wants to be able to use the back seat for passengers sometimes she should make sure she gets something with a usable back seat since many models have a back seat suitable for no one older than a 3 year old. If you live in snow country you might want to get something that's all wheel drive. I also suggest something with 5 star crash safety ratings. If you get a used vehicle just make sure it's checked out well and if the budget allows it, get one that still has some factory warranty left so you know you're protected if there's a problem within the first year or so.</p>

<p>Forget about electric - you likely won't be able to get one for some years that'll suit her purpose unless she only plans to drive in town shorter distances and even then electric cars are only just about to be available on the market.</p>

<p>You could get a hybrid for decent mileage but you pay for it with a premium on the car for the hybrid technology. You'd just need to consider whether the premium paid for the car is worth the savings or 'feel good factor' for you/her.</p>

<p>If it were me I'd opt for safety over getting a few extra MPGs but you can really get both. Something like a Toyota Corolla actually has a decent back seat and returns around 38mpg on the hwy.</p>

<p>My kid's Hyundai Tucson (now 5 years old) I mentioned in that other thread 2 years ago still hasn't had a single problem. You'll get a lot of anecdotes from people about their cars that have been fine but most cars nowadays are pretty reliable. Even my 12 year old Dodge with 176K miles on it is still kicking fine.</p>

<p>My D1 (20 y/o) has been driving a Nissan Xterra for 4 years and it has been a great car. It's easy to drive, and has not had even 1 problem in the time we've owned it. We bought it new.</p>

<p>I would not give a new driver an SUV to drive. Too easy to flip with overcorrections. We liked a hyundai sonata. Lots of airbags (7?) and an engine designed to drop under the passanger in a front end collision.</p>

<p>One of our kids drove an OLD OLD OLD Volvo and then a less old Subaru Sedan and then an Honda Civic. All used...good buys...and we felt safe and good handlers.</p>

<p>We just bought a Suburu Forester for our college-aged son. High school kids drive our old Toyota Camry, which has been really reliable. The following list is from Consumer Reports:</p>

<p>Acura TSX Nissan Rogue
Ford Focus sedan (2003 or later) Pontiac Vibe (2006 or later)
Ford Fusion (4-cyl.) Scion xB
Honda Accord (4-cyl.) Scion xD
Honda CR-V EX (2005 or later) Subaru Impreza (non-turbo)
Honda Civic EX Subaru Forester
Hyundai Elantra SE Toyota Camry (4-cyl.)
Hyundai Sonata (4-cyl., 2006 or later) Toyota Corolla
Kia Optima (2006 or later) Toyota Matrix (2006 or later)
Mazda 3 (with side airbags) Toyota Prius
Mercury Milan (4-cyl.) Toyota RAV4 (2001 or later, non-3rd row)
Mitsubishi Outlander (4-cyl.) Volkswagen Rabbit </p>

<p>In the list above, we've identified vehicles that Consumer Reports has tested that we think are appropriate for young drivers. The list is based on our test results, and government and insurance-industry crash-test results. These vehicles also showed average or better reliability, according to our 2009 subscriber survey. (</p>

<p>My D drives a 2006 Honda Civic---great mileage and will run forever with care! </p>

<p>I however drove a 1974 Plymouth Scamp----no wonder I never had a date in high school----but at San Diego State it did have air conditioning and a giant trunk for beach trips! Whenever my D gave me trouble I would threaten to find that old Plymouth!</p>

<p>Once you get a list of cars that you are considering, call your insurance company and get quotes for each. You may be surprised at how much they vary. We knocked several off the list before we even looked at them due to the greater insurance rates.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I would not give a new driver an SUV to drive. Too easy to flip with overcorrections.

[/quote]
This really depends on the particular model. A lot of the SUVs nowadays (and sometimes called a 'crossover utility vehicle' rather than an SUV), especially the smaller ones, are built on a car chassis rather than a truck chassis and although higher than a sedan aren't as high as some of the SUVs that people are often thinking of when they think 'SUV' and thus don't really flip too easily. Some people like the higher seating position to be able to see down the road easier and the utility of them - especially when moving stuff around a lot.</p>

<p>(I'm a high school student) A little over 6 months ago, my parents finally agreed to buy me a car since I had had my license for over 6 months at the time. They would pay for half of it and I would pay for the rest. Similar to many parents, my parents wanted to get me a car that was safe, reliable, and not more than $15k or so. We had pretty much narrowed it down to either a Civic or Corolla. At first my parents were only considering getting me a used car, but after research, they found that the price of a car that was a couple years old was just slightly below the current price for a new one. Getting a car with more than 80k miles on it was out of the question at the time. I test drove both cars and liked them, but my only complaint was that because they were the base models, they were rather...plain. Not that having a GPS and touchscreen was a necessity at all. I would have been happy with either car. At the time, we would have had to pay about $13k for a Corolla and $15k for a Civic. It was around the holidays, so there were better deals.</p>

<p>My mom was able to find someone (via Craig's List I believe) who was trying to sell their used 2005 Prius. It was the top of the line model and had a little under 110k miles on it. As I mentioned earlier, buying a car with that much milage on it was out of the question; however, after researching, we found out that it is not uncommon for a Prius to make it past 200k miles...more so than a Civic or Corolla. So my parents and I went to visit the person to see the car (they lived about 30 min away) and we loved it. The person was willing to sell it for only $10k, which was a great deal considering that the car was in mint condition. Since it was the top of the line model, it had a keyless entry, touchscreen, GPS, and extra airbags. Obviously way nice than a base model of a Corolla or Civic. I absolutely love my car and have no regrets choosing it over a Civic or Corolla.</p>

<p>For most people, getting a new Prius or slightly used Prius is out of the question, due to the price, but it is possible to find more inexpensive Priuses (< $12k). I understand that the appearance may be a turn off to some, especially teenage boys who want a sports car or something. The backseat of the car is very spacious...more than a Civic or Corolla, imo. There's also a decent sized trunk. Obviously, Priuses are more environmental friendly and get great milage. They have top safety rating and are very reliable. I only make short trips (<10 min to school and 15 min. to work), but I still manage to average 48 mpg. When I took my car on a roadtrip with all highway driving, I got >56 mpg. It's nice to only have to go to the gas station once every 5 weeks or so and only spend $25 on gas. I know most teens are expected to pay for their gas, so this is a plus!</p>

<p>Cars</a> for teen drivers</p>

<p>Helped us when we were looking for a used car for our new driver.</p>

<p>1995 Ford Escort Station Wagon with at least 175,000 miles (that way, everything that is going to break and need replacement already has).</p>

<p>Great lists! Thank you, toledo and mom111. I don't think I can put a kid in a car with over 100,000 miles. My short list now has a Ford, a Subaru, a Mazda3, a VW, a Hyundai. I would love a Mini or a Bug. I would also love a Prius. The accelaerator issue concerns me a little. The price of a Prius is prohibitive anyway.</p>

<p>Our 18 year old son loves his Nissan Rogue.</p>

<p>The issue about the accelerator in Priuses has been blown up into such a big issue when it's really not. There were 10 2005 Priuses that had accelerator problems out of the 85,000 that had been sold. And that's over 5 years. Due to the recent recall of other Toyotas, Toyota had the recall of all Priuses after 2004, so most should be fixed. It's not like 5% of the vehicles had this problem.</p>

<p>It bothers me that they are still squabbling over whether it's electronic or the gas pedal that's at issue. I don't know what "fixing" means when they don't agree on the cause. At any rate, I am priced out of a Prius. I am looking for something under $20K. Many of godd recommendations are over that. I'll also look into Honda Civic.</p>

<p>I have a small suggestion regarding your teenager's car and that is to drive it yourself every now and again. My D's drive with the music playing loudly and they don't know anything at all about cars except that they get them where they want to go. Our dependable old Volvo is in the shop right now for a complete brake replacement as the youngest D who has been driving it at school for a couple of years now apparently didn't notice anything wrong with the brakes until the pads were entirely gone. Another time, years ago, her older sister was driving it for ages with a huge pool of water in the spare tire well (there was a leak in the rubber gasket lining the hatchback door). I had to use the car one day and driving without the radio, when I'd turn a corner I heard a wave slosh across the back of the car. It was splashing up the inside and the carpet was all wet. They hadn't heard a thing.</p>

<p>Puzzle: good suggestion. I've had various problems with my car, and while I notice them, I have no idea what's going on. When I tell my dad I wasn't always explaining them well other than "dad I think my brakes are going bad" and "dad I think something's wrong with my clutch", and it turns out I needed new brakes for months and never knew it, and my shifter link cable was loose for months. It wasn't until he drove with me that he actually understood these problems. </p>

<p>Teenagers just haven't been around cars that long to know what's right and wrong. I suggest parents go over the basics of what to look for in major car parts, such as what to look for in braking (my dead give away was when I would go from 70mph down to 30 or so quickly, such as braking on the way home from school on the interstate, my steering wheel would shake due to the drum brakes), power steering, tires, and engine noises. Clarify that how they sound now is correct, but should that change, they need to let a parent know. That way they'll be aware of what is right and what isn't. At 22 I'm finally getting a handle on how a car should work since I've seen just about everything on my Jetta die or need replacement.</p>