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First Car for 16-Year-Old Under $8K

geekychickgeekychick Posts: 2
edited October 2017 in General
I need some help. I have a soon-to-be 16-year-old who will be getting his first car within the month. His grandfather is funding this, and put a cap of $8K (so, obviously, we're talking used). I want it to be as safe as possible, especially with the handling. Realistically, I know that sooner or later, he will go faster than he should. When that happens, I don't want him to be in a fish-tailing death trap. The teenager in question doesn't want something that looks drab, so we are looking at sporty-ish. He was leaning strongly towards a 2009 Dodge Charger, but I'm really not comfortable giving him a RWD first car. His teenage friend who thinks he knows everything about cars has tried to convince my son that horsepower should be his only concern, which is maddening. Anyway, I thought that a 2010 Nissan Altima might work, but I haven't suggested it until I hear some recommendations from you guys. Can anyone advise? Thank you so much.

Comments

  • mlevinemlevine Posts: 397
    geekychick
    My son had a charger SXT 2014. It had some good safety features and handled pretty good in the rain and highway. My concern is reliability on an almost 9 year old car and certain safety features probably were not available. I would look into a lease if money is tight, but someone needs to be the responsible party to sign. My opinion is the Altima feels like it is made from tin. If you really want to buy would look at Subaru, Volvo, MB, BMW, Lexus, and Infiniti for safety. I would use to 8K as a down payment on a certified vehicle which will have warranty coverage. 2015 to 2016 coming off lease. Unfortunately there will still be car payments. My son worked hard in school and with his job he wanted a car that he liked, not what I liked.
  • MichaellMichaell ColoradoPosts: 121,674
    Frankly, it doesn't matter how many HP the car has, it will be able to go fast enough to get into trouble.

    In general, sedans have the least expensive insurance rates, so skip coupes or pickup trucks.

    $8000 is a pretty decent budget for a used car - I'm sure there will be lots of folks along to offer you their opinion.

    If you give us a location, we might be able to find some specific examples of cars for sale. We love to help folks spend their money!

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    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R / 2014 MINI Countryman S ALL4

  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,712
    Of course a 16 year old wants a classic style hot rod and being a parent who built a classic for my son, my advice is don't.My son's vehicle lasted 6 months.

    Do yourself a favor and save the headache and follow through with the safety features.
    Subaru, Hyundai and Toyota are all vehicles that are decent on safety and reliability.

    Mercedes, BMW and Volvo, while great reliability, are extremely expensive to repair.

    Go with the vehicle that YOU feel most comfortable with and tell your son that once they prove they are responsible with that vehicle, then you can talk about trading it in on something more their style.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,246
    edited October 2017
    I'd rather put the kid in a $5,000-$6,000 car and spend the remainder on driver training; send the kid to a good teen DRIVING school- like the ones offered at the BMW Performance Centers in CA and SC. I'd also have him attend the one day Street Survival course. As a HPDE instructor I've seen first-hand how little most drivers know; my wife and I agreed that our son should receive the best training possible.

    Most people want a driver side airbag and ABS as a minimum, and I'd tend to agree- although my son's first car was a 1975 2002, and he survived just fine. As for RWD, that wouldn't worry me one bit; too many nitwits think FWD/AWD is a necessity to drive in the rain; don't let the kid get dumbed-down to that ridiculous level of incompetence.

    I firmly believe professional training trumps whatever car the kid ends up driving. I told my son if he drove the '02 for one year and kept his grades up, had no at-fault accidents, and no citations we would discuss an upgrade. He kept his end of the bargain and he upgraded to my wife's X3. He's now 22 and out on his own in an E90 328i.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • suydamsuydam Posts: 4,110
    A basic boring sedan. Like the Altima, Camry, or Sonata. Insurance rates are killer for 16 year old males, so the less "sporty" and the most safe will ease the pain a little. If he has to pay for his own insurance he might change his tune! A sedan lie the Altima will also be more forgiving in the certain instances where teens overcorrect and make other mistakes of inexperience.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • mlevinemlevine Posts: 397
    I can tell you where I live insurance for Toyotas and Hondas can be high. I am not sure what one can get in the used car market for 8K. It will be a vehicle with a lot of miles and potentially need repairs. If concerned about safety, may need to get a 3 to 4 year old car. I did not like the feel of the Toyotas, Hondas, Hyundia, Kia , or Nissan cars when I test drove with my son. I compromised with him as he always wanted a dodge charger. The insurance rating was not bad.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,246
    I don't think a Charger would be a bad choice either.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • We're in North Carolina, zip code 27028. Thank you. We are now thinking of a Dodge Avenger. We can get a 2013 model, with about 50K mileage, for about 7K. I do think we're going to enroll him in a program so that he can really learn to drive better.
  • mlevinemlevine Posts: 397
    I would check with insurance company for cost of insurance. This may also help in your decision. See how both he and you like how the car handles. My son could not fit into some of the dodge cars. The charger he had plenty of room. I had driving lessons with a driving school. I would take him to the back of target to practice driving.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,246
    Send him here.
    It is worth every penny.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • graphicguygraphicguy Edmunds Poster EmeritusPosts: 11,539
    Not a fan of Dodge “anything” that has some mileage and/or 5+ years on it. Likely, repair bills will be an issue (they aren’t known for their durability nor their longevity or build quality).

    Insurance is going to be high on anything you get for a 16 year old male....new driver.

    I agree on the used Corolla, Civic, Elantra....or a car of that ilk. Hard to get into trouble in any of those. And, in the case of the Hyundais, likely there will be some factory warranty left.
    2018 Acura TLX 3.5 SH AWD A-SPEC
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAPosts: 10,961

    I'd rather put the kid in a $5,000-$6,000 car and spend the remainder on driver training; send the kid to a good teen DRIVING school- like the ones offered at the BMW Performance Centers in CA and SC. I'd also have him attend the one day Street Survival course. As a HPDE instructor I've seen first-hand how little most drivers know; my wife and I agreed that our son should receive the best training possible.

    Most people want a driver side airbag and ABS as a minimum, and I'd tend to agree- although my son's first car was a 1975 2002, and he survived just fine. As for RWD, that wouldn't worry me one bit; too many nitwits think FWD/AWD is a necessity to drive in the rain; don't let the kid get dumbed-down to that ridiculous level of incompetence.

    I firmly believe professional training trumps whatever car the kid ends up driving. I told my son if he drove the '02 for one year and kept his grades up, had no at-fault accidents, and no citations we would discuss an upgrade. He kept his end of the bargain and he upgraded to my wife's X3. He's now 22 and out on his own in an E90 328i.

    Only exception being that a larger, heavier, and/or more well-engineered structure can keep them safe for those "not at fault accidents" that may be unavoidable regardless of training. I hate to think of what happens when someone in a SMART car gets rear ended at 65 MPH by someone in an H2.
    '16 Audi TTS quattro 2.0T, '15 Audi A4 quattro 2.0T, '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion AWD
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAPosts: 10,961

    Send him here.
    It is worth every penny.

    I plan to give my daughter advanced training for driving when she's of age. What is the minimum age?
    '16 Audi TTS quattro 2.0T, '15 Audi A4 quattro 2.0T, '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion AWD
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAPosts: 10,961
    I'm biased against Dodge, so I'll keep this short. I wouldn't TRUST anything from Chrysler.
    '16 Audi TTS quattro 2.0T, '15 Audi A4 quattro 2.0T, '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion AWD
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    edited October 2017
    Only real complaints about the Charger that keep showing up are that it eats ball joints, has sub-par gas mileage, and, well, basic build quality (fit and finish). Not too bad, really.

    Teen Age drivers are likely to fit into 4 categories (according to scientific research! :p )

    1. Fast and Furious--incorrigible speeder and tire burner
    2. Texter (maybe the most dangerous)
    3. Timid/Cautious
    4. Entitled child (fancy cars)
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 4,110
    The biggest category that they all fall into is INEXPERIENCED! Even well trained and attentive teens will make mistakes because they lack enough experience. Some are more costly than others.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • andres3andres3 Southern CAPosts: 10,961
    suydam said:

    The biggest category that they all fall into is INEXPERIENCED! Even well trained and attentive teens will make mistakes because they lack enough experience. Some are more costly than others.

    There is data and studies that support the notion experience is the number one factor making new drivers more dangerous (by far). In fact, it seems delaying the driving age 3 years would provide zero benefit. A zero experience new 16 year old driver performs the same over the following 3 years as a 19 year old with zero experience does by the time they are 22.

    Let's face it, when do we really mature? Probably when we have kids.
    '16 Audi TTS quattro 2.0T, '15 Audi A4 quattro 2.0T, '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion AWD
  • MichaellMichaell ColoradoPosts: 121,674
    andres3 said:

    suydam said:

    The biggest category that they all fall into is INEXPERIENCED! Even well trained and attentive teens will make mistakes because they lack enough experience. Some are more costly than others.

    There is data and studies that support the notion experience is the number one factor making new drivers more dangerous (by far). In fact, it seems delaying the driving age 3 years would provide zero benefit. A zero experience new 16 year old driver performs the same over the following 3 years as a 19 year old with zero experience does by the time they are 22.

    Let's face it, when do we really mature? Probably when we have kids.
    The male brain is not fully developed until about age 30....

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    2015 Subaru Outback 3.6R / 2014 MINI Countryman S ALL4

  • andres3andres3 Southern CAPosts: 10,961
    edited February 2018

    Only real complaints about the Charger that keep showing up are that it eats ball joints, has sub-par gas mileage, and, well, basic build quality (fit and finish). Not too bad, really.

    Teen Age drivers are likely to fit into 4 categories (according to scientific research! :p )

    1. Fast and Furious--incorrigible speeder and tire burner
    2. Texter (maybe the most dangerous)
    3. Timid/Cautious
    4. Entitled child (fancy cars)

    I wonder if there have been any lawsuits filed against the makers of the Fast and Furious movies to be held liable for creating #1 above.

    However, by far, as you mentioned, #2 is the most dangerous. They don't have the experience of seasoned drivers to know when cell phone use is merely very dangerous, vs. EXTREMELY very dangerous. :disappointed:
    '16 Audi TTS quattro 2.0T, '15 Audi A4 quattro 2.0T, '19 VW Tiguan SEL 4-Motion AWD
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