Need to buy reliable used car for kids-suggestions as to make/model?

<p>I would vote for the used tarus as well. A couple of reasons...</p>

<p>College parking lots are brutal on sides of cars. Buy new and you'll get a call or two about dented or scratched doors. The old don't take something to school that would hurt you to lose applies here.. don't drive anything to school if you want it to remain pristine. ain't gonna happen.</p>

<p>Safety. A tarus is a bigger car, wide wheel base and pretty durable. </p>

<p>Mileage. They get respectable mileage. Our kids, average about 30 miles freeway and around 20 city. </p>

<p>Engine. the 4.3 v6 is one of the best blocks ever produced imho. Both cars have over 200k miles on them. We've replaced several smaller inexpensive parts but the main part of the engine has held up very well. </p>

<p>Insurance.. very low cost to insure. </p>

<p>Character... While there's alot to be said about the student who's mommy and Daddy bought her a new beamer for college.... most of it isn't very nice.
Wait till after college to worry about keeping up with the joneses...</p>

<p>D has a used Hyundai (01 we bought 03)that we purchased after extensive research.That car has been everywhere in the US (lived in NY,college in Arizona,road trip of over 5,000 miles across the US,grad school in St Louis).Besides tires and a battery the car has had no problems.D doesn't care about sporty,etc. She cares about reliability and gas mileage.
We are a Honda family but Civics are the #1 stolen vehicle here in NY and where she originally was driving the car in Arizona (they are tricked out into low-riders and racers).
S is driving a used Jeep Grand Cherokee(04), its a tank-warhorse with horrible mileage but it was a deal we couldnt resist..Sis-in-law was getting rid of it and sold it to us really cheap.</p>

<p>We had bad luck with the Mercury Sable, which is the same as the Ford Taurus. That was a few years ago, but in terms of quality it was much inferior to the Mitsubishi Galant and Subaru Legacy we had.</p>

<p>Umm....this is one Mommy who won't be buying the new beemer. I went to law school at SMU and was astounded that just about everyone but me had a new beemer. (For graduation, the typical gift was a new little Mercedes or a condo...but this was during the "go go" 80s.)</p>

<p>We bought D (college sophomore now) the oldest Honda Accord we could find that still had air bags. I wouldn't want my kids driving anything that didn't have them. D's never minded its way-less-than-flashy looks a bit, and S1 prefers it - for his practice driving sessions - to either my Volvo or dad's midlife crisis mobile. :)</p>

<p>My H, a BMW fanatic, did a Lot of research and got a great ?97 Aura, Legend I think, with leather seats via Craigs list. It gets dinged in the parking lot, but My D has fewer problems then me and dad and we both have BMW's (but they are very comfy and fin to drive.). For my soon-to-be 16 y.o. son, we are more concerned about cost of insurance than cost of a new car.</p>

<p>Missy, being a "recovering car nut" I'd be glad to help, but need a little more info -- mostly about priorities and budget. You are right, though, most Toyotas are hopelessly Momish.</p>

<p>If you are looking at used cars I can give you my first rule of getting a good deal -- buy the oldest car you can find with the lowest mileage.</p>

<p>I like the idea of you buying a Prius and giving up one of yours. I have had two Priuses and love them - my daughter likes driving it too. If you know how to drive it, it's easy to get 50+ mpg - winter is tougher because mileage is not as good with a cold engine.</p>

<p>I bought a second car recently and also went with the Mazda 3 hatchback and my daughter is in love with that car. I am a faithful Toyota owner but couldn't find a used one with low mileage and side air bags. I would NOT get a car without side airbags - huge safety factor. The Mazda is an '05 that just happened to have the side airbags/curtains. I looked at the Scion but there are very few used ones. Looked at the Matrix, but thought they weren't a good value and the used ones had high mileage or no side airbags.</p>

<p>Another Hyundai family here. 04 Accent and 05 Tucson (bought bought new). Incredibly reliable, excellent mileage on the Accent, better than expected on the Tucson. Fabulous warrantys.</p>

<p>We bought an 05 Hyundai Tucson to be used mostly by my D as well - top safety ratings, lots of airbags, stability control, top warranty, rates tops in initial quality, SUV seating position, not too big, relatively inexpensive (around 17K new), designed in America. There hasn't been a single issue with it so far.</p>

<p>Should be able to get some deals on used ones by now.</p>

<p>What about insurance on a new car for a teenage boy? Is that just "lore"? What's cheapest and most expensive ( i.e "sports cars and 4 by 4) to ensure? Does it matter if it's off-the-lot new vs. need a secured loan vs. not secured loan new? Does it matter if you get to chose how much coverage, and if so, how do you decide how much coverage makes sense?</p>

<p>Wouldn't know. I would never spend more than $2,500 on a car - for any member of the family.</p>

<p>no it is not just "lore". When my daughter got her drivers license at 16 her insurance was considerably lower than her 19 year old brothers. He is an excellent driver and had had no accidents. That was for old cars with just 3rd party insurance.</p>

<p>"would never spend more than $2,500 on a car - for any member of the family"</p>

<p>wow...what do you drive?</p>

<p>I drive a '99 Chrysler Concorde.</p>

<p>It's an AMAZINGLY reliable car...never breaks down and it's never given me any trouble ('cept yesterday when I had to call Triple A because my battery had died,but the battery is OLD so it probably needs to be replaced). Plus, my friends all love it because the backseat is very roomy and I can hold 3 in the back comfortably. ^_^ Great for after school hang-out trips. AND it gets great mileage.</p>

<p>Re insurance, ask a lot of questions! See if there's a driver's ed discount, a good-grades discount, and so on. </p>

<p>For kids in college, it's worth finding out if your insurance company is one that pro-rate the fees if your kid is mostly away at school (if school is more than XXX miles from home).</p>

<p>Srinkrap, our insurance for DD Matrix Corolla was the same loan or no loan (we then went with 0% loan and did opt for gap coverage which was only $20/yr in our case). We were told that sports cars and 4X4s which we never considered would cost more to insure for teenagers. If you are worth a lot, it makes financial sense to look into buying the max coverage and get an umbrella policy, too. If a kid messes up big time (hits two lawyers in a Lamborghini :)), and only has $50K min required by the laws (in our state) parents' net worth might be at stake.</p>

<p>"would never spend more than $2,500 on a car - for any member of the family"</p>

<p>wow...what do you drive?"</p>

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<p>Sorry Mini. Couldn't resist.</p>

<p>I called my insurance company after I narrowed my choices and they told me what the ratings were on each car that they based the premium on. I have State Farm and I found the ratings online. They rate how expensive the car is to repair, how often the car is stolen and safety. I was amazed at the difference in cars that seem really similar. A 2 door is more expensive to insure than a 4 door - anything that says "sporty" is more expensive. You can take a look at the State Farm ratings to give you an idea of how a car compares. </p>

<p><a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>I drive a 1988 Nissan Maxima with 220,000 miles - it is my 'baby', and I expect it will get another 100,000 easily. Cost $2,250 4 1/2 years ago.</p>

<p>My wife until last week was driving a 1995 Ford Escort Wagon with 200,000. Drove great! But was rear-ended in a big series of accidents on the highway near us. Bought the car for $1300. It was rear-ended once before - we received $1600 for it, and bought it back for $175, and spent $75 to reattach the back bumper. This time it is totalled, and I expect we'll get between $1600-$2000 for it.</p>

<p>Daughter drives a 1999 Saturn SL2 with 143,000 miles (very posh!), purchased for $2,100. Previously, she had a 1990 Honda Accord, for $2k.</p>

<p>Never had a car loan in my life. Never bought a new car. Why should I send money to General Motors or to Bank of America when, if needed, I can support my local mechanic?</p>