A teen’s first car is a rite of passage that can cause a ton of hassle at home. Parents want their kids to drive in something similar to an armored tank, while the kids want to make a fashion statement. It is possible to find something in between that will keep the teens safe without doing too much harm to their reputation. A little research into safety ratings and reliability will help you find the right car for your teen.
Choose a Sedan, Skip the Compact
With the price of gas on the rise again, it may be tempting to find an inexpensive hatchback or compact car for your teen. Unfortunately, these are some of the most dangerous vehicles on the road today. Compact cars and hatchbacks put very little metal between the passenger and the outside world. Research shows that serious injury and even fatality rates are extremely high for small economy cars that are involved in collisions. It is worth it to pay a little extra for gasoline for a two-door or four-door sedan in order to ensure a little extra safety for your teen in the event of an accident.
Avoid Most Pickups and SUVs
Going to the other extreme by purchasing a pickup truck or SUV has its own dangers. These high profile vehicles are much easier to roll over than sedans that have a lower center of gravity. Teenage drivers with little experience on the road can overcompensate on a turn or take a turn too quickly without realizing it and accidentally turn a truck or SUV over. Pickup trucks tend to be lighter in the back and heavier in the front, which can make them difficult to control in certain conditions. Some newer SUVs that are lower to the ground and build on a car chassis are safer, but in general, it is best to avoid any kind of truck when choosing a first car.
Late-model Used is a Better Deal
You don’t need a new car to get all of the current safety and comfort technology. In fact, a teen’s first car should never be brand new. A new car immediately loses value as soon as it leaves the lot no matter who is driving it, and a teen driver is highly likely to put a dent or scratch in the car within the first year. Used cars that are only a couple of years old are less expensive to repair. You can also find more information on the car’s safety and reliability because it has been on the market long enough for research to be done.
Remember to Check Insurance Averages on Each Model
Full coverage auto insurance is a good idea for a first-time driver. Teenagers have the highest accident rate among all drivers, so it makes sense to make sure they carry the most comprehensive insurance possible. While you are shopping, you can research which makes and models score better with insurance companies so that you can choose a car that would be less expensive to insure.