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Best Car for a new teenage driver

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  • Why?

    Shouldn't cost more than $5-6k a year for liability ;)
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,595
    My son will be driving in two years. The best car for him will be a 2005 Passat wagon or a 2000 Honda Odyssey. His choice.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,706
    Remember though that the Odyssey is sold in Japan and the rest of the world with a 4 cylinder engine. The automatic in the U.S. version is identical and is not designed to work with a V6. Hence the enormous number of transmission failures that are plaguing it. I'd drop it as soon as possible and get something more reliable, because a $3000 transmission repair bill is a large amount of the car's entire worth at this point.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,195
    He's had the van for 11 years and you're telling him it's unreliable?
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,706
    I'm saying that in another 2 years, it'll be a 13 year old Honda with a new driver at the wheel and almost for certain the transmission, if it's not dead by then, will likely not survive a brand new driver who doesn't drive it as carefully.

    13-15 years for an Odyssey is about it as far as the transmission and electrical systems are concerned. Something is going to cause a big repair bill by then.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,595
    The van is 11 yo as fezo noted with 120K on it. I've gotten plenty of life out of it and right now it's used as a third vehicle getting driven maybe 50 miles a week. Thus far, it's been a reliable and bullet proof vehicle. Remember, the vast majority of that vintage Odyssey DIDN'T have the transmission issue.

    If my son kills it when he gets it, I'll be fine with that. Today the car isn't worth the cost of a transmission. When it dies, I'll call one of the charities.

    The plan is actually to have that Odyssey go to Maine so my in-laws can use it in the summer for grocery runs and the such. If it lasts a couple of more years, then the boy can have it or the VW wagon as I plan on getting another car when he learns to drive. That car will be used and will be passed down to his sister 3 years after that.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 877
    That sounds like a great plan. That van should have a lot of life in it, and my cardinal rule is never give a valuable car to a new teen driver. The only caveat I would add is that with a van, it often will have more people in it than is good for a new driver. For that reason I prefer an old sedan -- big, old, and slow!
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 7,595
    The only caveat I would add is that with a van, it often will have more people in it than is good for a new driver.

    Oh I know that. But MA has some pretty strong restrictions on new drivers. Further, we're pretty lucky in the fact that he's rule follower.

    In reality, he'll most likely get the VW wagon.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,011
    edited November 2011
    ...continues to be the 1975 BMW 2002 I bought a few years ago. It's inexpensive to run as well as maintain. I did buy an LED tail lamp retrofit kit to make the car a bit more visible- and I replaced the seatbelts with rebuilt units. My son has also attended the two day teen school at the BMW Performance Center as well as the one day Street Survival course. I believe that proper training is a more important factor than vehicle selection.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,217
    I believe that proper training is a more important factor than vehicle selection.

    That works for reducing the odds of being the cause of an accident, but it doesn't do anything towards surviving an accident caused by someone else. For that you should really want your son's car to have safety systems that weren't available in 1975. Air bags, side impact strengtheners, improved rollover protection, crumple zones, and other designs, materials, and technology make accidents not only survivable but can drastically reduce the severity of injuries.

    I say this only with the best wishes for your son's health in mind. I've personally seen how the lives of those around me were impacted as a result of auto accidents. About six years ago one friend's teenage son became quadriplegic as a result of an accident in a '93 Accord. Rollover protection & ABS + airbags probably would have changed that. 30+ years post-accident my sister still limps & had to deliver her kids via C-section as a result of an accident in a late '70s car (she was a passenger) that broke her pelvis. Side impact strengtheners & again airbags would probably have changed her life.

    In the past 13 months, though, two other adult male friends both walked away from separate accidents (both were unavoidably rear-ended while commuting on the highway) as their cars had crumple zones, whiplash protection, & air bags. The cars were both totaled but that hardly matters as my friends were both able to go home to their families.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,011
    Well, the car does have crumple zones and side guard door beams. And I'll trade a bit of rollover "protection" for the ability to have virtually unimpeded 360 degree visibility. An SRS is a good secondary mode of protection, but the US systems are primarily designed to protect the imbeciles who don't wear their seatbelts(an unwarranted interference with the Law of Natural Selection).

    The only downside is that my wife tries to tempt my son to take her X3 so she can drive the '02, but he rarely falls for her schemes.

    One final thing; if you happen to check out the BMW 2002 FAQ you'll find it has over 9000 registered members- and 100-200 members and guests are usually online at any given moment. Our fondness for the 2002 hasn't resulted in our extinction so far...

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,706
    Air bags, side impact strengtheners, improved rollover protection, crumple zones...

    Air bags - no

    Excellent seat belts - yes. (zero play/has to be adjusted to each driver - designed more like a racing harness than a typical retractable design)

    Side impact protection - yes.

    Crumple Zones - yes.

    Rollover protection - well, the center of gravity is so low that if you roll it, you'll be among the few dozen other than rally racers in the 70s and people who are doing similar kinds of stupid activities. (cool as it is, rally racing *is* blatantly insane)

    If it matters that much, put a roll bar in the thing. It'll look cooler as well. ;)

    Some older cars are plenty safe, even by today's standards. Not all of them, to be sure, but Mercedes, Volvo, and BMW always put safety as a priority, even then.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,195
    Back on the Ody - my SIL has an 04 Ody with over 240K on it. No transmission issue.

    I've had two. One did have a tranny go but Honda paid for the whole thing and had me in a laoner for the two days to fix it. I just traded on the second one at 94K and no issues and got a Solara convertible. Not at all a comparable vehicle but it's November 14 and I had the top down today in Jersey. Sweet.
  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,217
    And I'll trade a bit of rollover "protection" for the ability to have virtually unimpeded 360 degree visibility.

    Again, my point is about protection when the car is in an accident, not accident avoidance. I give your son the nod that with the added training he'll be an aware driver, probably above average, and has less chance of being the cause of an accident. But that counts for little should someone else be the cause.

    An SRS is a good secondary mode of protection, but the US systems are primarily designed to protect the imbeciles who don't wear their seatbelts

    Umm, no. They're designed to supplement seat belts, not act in their place. That's why they're called a Supplemental Restraint System.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,706
    Federal laws mandate that they be strong enough to act as a primary restraint since not all 50 states had mandatory seat belt laws when they were first required in passenger vehicles (1993 or so, IIRC)

    As such, they are often far too powerful and cause needless injures where a seat belt alone would not. In essence, as they are in the U.S., they are really only offering any improved protection at highway speeds, since seat belts do more than enough without the airbags at city speeds.
  • fushigifushigi Posts: 1,217
    If New Hampshire would step up & pass a mandatory seat belt law (it apparently still doesn't have one except for minors) then perhaps we could move towards the Euro standard, which does assume the occupants are belted.

    We'll have to agree to disagree WRT whether they're useful at low speeds. My mother-in-law is coming up on her second anniversary of broken ribs that won't heal after she was in a relatively low speed (~35MPH) collision during which the air bags did not deploy. She was belted but suffered the broken ribs & many other minor injuries + some major bruising. An airbag would have kept her from hitting her head on the dash & possibly downgraded the rib injury to severe bruising.

    I've just known too many people who've been in accidents. It's colored my opinion, but basically the more safety stuff I can get in a car the better.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,011
    As such, they are often far too powerful and cause needless injures where a seat belt alone would not. In essence, as they are in the U.S., they are really only offering any improved protection at highway speeds, since seat belts do more than enough without the airbags at city speeds.

    Exactly.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • I would have to agree with the cars that you've recommended. But it has come to my attention that you said "No Civics or Integras, insurance is to insane".

    I don't think that a Honda Civic would be expensive for insurance. The Civic isn't even considered a sports car. It has a 4cyl. 1.6L engine which only outputs 127 hp which isn't that much (1998). Back a few years ago, my sister drove a stock 1995 Civic HX hatchback. She was under my mom's insurance and my mom never complained about it being expensive. For it's size and practicality, I don't understand why the insurance would be that high, UNLESS the car has massive after market engine upgrades. Other than that, insurance for a civic shouldn't be expensive
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,442
    edited November 2012
    The key factor is "Under my mom's insurance". It was insured as if your mom was driving it, not your sister.
    Funny, you were replying to a post from 2006, and I guess so was I. :surprise:
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,195
    OK, I'll play back to the future.....

    I can tell you that under the folks' insurance or not it's tough to insure a young driver. It costs me nearly twice to insure my daughters' cars than mine and my wife's. And that's when our cars have collision while the kids do not (both old miled up cars).

    At least in another 14 months my oldest turns 25 and her rate will plummet. Maybe not long after that she'll marry her boyfriend and my insurance costs for taht car drop to zero.
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