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Buying First Car for Teen Driver


Grumpy Vet

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Thank you everyone for your input.  I've done a little research and I'm trying to stay away from SUVs and smaller cars because of safety and higher insurance cost.

 

My wife and I had several Camrys when we first got married and had no problems w/ them.  They were good cars.

 

I'm trying to decide if the Honda/Toyota/Subaru are worth the extra bucks in reliability to offset the $2K premium vs. the lower tier.  I'm frankly a bit surprised to see the Chevy rated as high as it is.  I like the look of the Ford but am a bit concerned about the lower ratings.  My daughter doesn't really care what she gets.  The Hyundai used to have a stigma of a lower end car but I'm pretty sure that has changed.  It seems to be a pretty good car now.

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Just some non brand specific thoughts that I think helped me become a good driver and appreciate driving (no accidents and no tickets):

- learning on a bigger car makes it easier to park or drive any other car (we had a 92 Buick road master). There’s no substitute for metal and space and having that big of a boat made sure even if other people hit us they had to go through a V8 block or the rear trunk area. Station wagons are great first cars. MPG may stink but you’re paying for piece of mind not worrying about every fill up. 

- perhaps go older and a car that’s possible to maintain. Learning how to do basic car maintenance is a good thing when young. Changing oil. Brakes. Spark plugs. And smaller items are possible on older cars. Even my 2012 car has to go to the dealer to release the electronic parking brake to do work on the rear rotors and brakes. Having to do repairs on my Buick made me understand cars better. 

- as mentioned before assume this first car won’t survive long. Back in hs all my

friends that got newer cars or anything that required a payment wrecked or damaged them in the first year. If I was car shopping for a first time driver I’d have like a 5k budget and try to find a grandmas car that has low miles but may need a little

TLC. 

 

Best of luck. 

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  • 1 month later...

The Accord is pretty reliable. It offers a comfy ride and the interior is roomy. Its Vehicle Stability Assist is a nice feature. I love my Accord and I have no big issues with it so far. It came with nexen tires that are smooth on the road though tread life isn't remarkable so I'm planning to replace them with some Michelin's.

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My parents bought me a new (at the time) 2006 Corolla as my first car in high school.

 

As a teenage boy, it wasn't exactly the ideal car i had in mind to get the attention of the opposite sex, especially when I was parking next to dudes whose parents bought them Mustangs :ols:

 

However, it is without a doubt one of the most reliable cars on the market.

 

I recently bought my first car on my own (2019 Mazda 3) a few months ago. Meaning, that Corolla lasted me 13 years and over 100k miles without a hiccup, granted you take care of it under the hood. And another overlooked aspect of Toyota's are the resale value. I managed to fetch 4k for my car, which is without a doubt impressive for a car that old with that many miles.

 

As far as your daughter, I'm sure the ego of what she drives is not as pronounced as a teenage boy. But eventually she will grow up and move up in class as her career grows, so I'd highly suggest cars that will last and retain value, which is almost exclusively Honda/Toyota.

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Camry or Civic, reliable and durable perform basic maintenance and it’ll last forever. Front wheel drive with newer traction control is as good as some all wheel drive from ten years ago. 

 

I’ve owned twenty six cars since I got my license twenty years ago. I’ve had everything from a first generation Honda Insight to Ford Expedition and multiple Mercedes. 

 

Stay either Japanese or American, maintenance costs are so much lower than European. Most cars 3-5 years old are going to be more than reliable enough for a teen. The build quality is substantially better than it was ten years ago. 

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Just handed off keys to ‘09 Honda Fit w 105k miles that his mom drove off the lot w 7 miles brand new.

 

His mom seems to think the Fit will mitigate his “options”.  That was before I mentioned the fold down rear seats and recounted the days when we used a friend's Datsun B210 as our go to “shaggin’ wagon” for that very reason.

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On 7/8/2019 at 6:06 PM, PleaseBlitz said:

 

We used to tie a waterskiing tow rope to the roll bar of my Jeep when it snowed, and I would tow my buddies around our neighborhood on snowboards at like 40 mph.  If I did a turn just right, it would whip them into people's yards. :ols:

That's funny!  We used to do that water skiing in the irrigation ditches around here.  I had a '73 land cruiser.  I still miss that vehicle (best one I ever had) and I'd love to get another one but they are incredibly expensive now.

 

As for first time cars, much as I hated it the big, ugly, bad gas mileage getting nova that was my first car was a very good choice by my pops.  Making it expensive for me to go too far was a good check on me.  

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Camrys are solid.  For a teen driver however, you might want to go with the less expensive version, the Corolla.  Still very good MPG, reliable, lasts a long time.  Camry's are pricey, unless you are looking at a used one, but then Camrys tend to hold a lot of value. 

 

I had a used Camry, it was about a decade old when I had bought it. One of those rare gems you find out of pure luck at the small little corner lot dealerships that I tend to avoid.  Favorite car I ever owned used or new.  The thing was solid, never had any issue with it at all. It had just gone over 200k when the check engine light came on and the issue was the motor mounts (that hold the engine in place) were worn down and the cost to fix those was over the value of the car, so I decided not to fix it, but on as it turned out my mom's contractor bought the car from me to fix up and gift to his 16 year old daughter. 

 

Granted, I am not really a car person. I can care less for the most part.  All I really look for in a vehicle is good MPG and comfortable driving. (Oh and a super powered A/C) I don't live in a location that requires any kind of horsepower or muscle etc etc.....

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3 hours ago, stoshuaj said:

Just handed off keys to ‘09 Honda Fit w 105k miles that his mom drove off the lot w 7 miles brand new.

 

His mom seems to think the Fit will mitigate his “options”.  That was before I mentioned the fold down rear seats and recounted the days when we used a friend's Datsun B210 as our go to “shaggin’ wagon” for that very reason.

 

There's a sub on reddit just dedicated to things that fit in a Fit. 

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On 7/9/2019 at 7:38 AM, Grumpy Vet said:

Thank you everyone for your input.  I've done a little research and I'm trying to stay away from SUVs and smaller cars because of safety and higher insurance cost.

 

My wife and I had several Camrys when we first got married and had no problems w/ them.  They were good cars.

 

I'm trying to decide if the Honda/Toyota/Subaru are worth the extra bucks in reliability to offset the $2K premium vs. the lower tier.  I'm frankly a bit surprised to see the Chevy rated as high as it is.  I like the look of the Ford but am a bit concerned about the lower ratings.  My daughter doesn't really care what she gets.  The Hyundai used to have a stigma of a lower end car but I'm pretty sure that has changed.  It seems to be a pretty good car now.

Part of the deal of the "first car", at least for me, is to teach the new driver how to maintain and care for one. Honda/Toyota/subaru are pretty forgiving in terms of maintenance schedule. hondas and toyotas, at least from experience are easy and relatively inexpensive to maintain. Your mileage may vary on that comment. Compared to a Mazda, they are less expensive and low maintenance. 

 

My family has owned toyotas and that have gone 200K+ miles, so the $2K more may be worth it as they may still own it as a "poor" college grad. In fact, other stuff (electronics, AC, body, upholstery) failed before the engines ever came close to quitting. My mom recently sold a 92 toyota corolla with 180K+ miles on it for about $500—so she's still got some money out of it in the end. I'm saying the $2K may be a bargain in the long run. 

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