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Best Car for a new teenage driver

alp8alp8 Posts: 656
So what would you folks put your 16-year old teen (female) into?

I am not all that concerned about mpg, as she will not be driving it much - just back and forth to school, and to soccer practice (local). I guess it's possible she could put 20 miles/day on it, but that is on the high side. And it's likely that in a year or so, she will be shuttling her younger sister around, a bit.

I would like it to have AWD, as we have a place in the mountains and she may need to drive it up there in the winter.

I am leaning toward a small wagon, but I want it to be safe, as we live in California which means a fair share of freeway driving.

Yes, I am willing to buy used, and I don't necessarily expect her to take this vehicle to college. I can hand this one down to her younger sister and get her a different, higher MPG vehicle for college, if she even needs a car for college. (I didn't have one, and it wasn't a disaster.)

Oh, and let's keep the dollar limit at $20k.

Used Volvo V50?
Really used Volvo V70?

Am curious if any of you would recommend an SUV, as I believe teens should not drive SUVs as I don't believe they are likely to know how to handle them. I think the rollover risk is less in a convertible. We use a particularly dangerous section of freeway, notorious for overturns, so I'd like to miminize the potential for that.


  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Impreza wagon, if you can find one. Or an AWD Toyota Matrix or Pontiac Vibe. Any of those would be good, not prone to tipping, and modest enough to keep her out of trouble.
  • prosaprosa Posts: 280
    I second the vote for an Impreza wagon (more commonly called the Outback Sport). It has Subaru's proven AWD system, excellent IIHS crash-test ratings, and you can get one for under $20K out the door.
  • odie6lodie6l Hershey, PaPosts: 1,173
    I would say a '97-'00 Jeep Wrangler with both tops. This way you are looking at a vehicle that can take a little punishment and has 4WD. If I was going for a vehicle that was not 4WD I would go for a Del Sol or something along the line with only 2 seats.

    Odie's Carspace
  • alp8alp8 Posts: 656
    odie: Please give your reasoning behind a two-seater (I think I agree with it, by the way)

    I was thinking of an old Volvo V70 (XC70?) wagon, with the rear seats taken out.

    "Why?" people might ask.

    I am guessing Odie has the answer.
  • odie6lodie6l Hershey, PaPosts: 1,173
    The reason for the 2 seater would be less people you could put into the car = less people hurt in an accident.
    Also most of the 2 seaters from the late 90's you could get with-out much power to it = less chance of speeding + better MPG.

    Odie's Carspace
  • alp8alp8 Posts: 656
    no, that's not the reason

    come on, odie!!!

    teenagers are tremendously impaired by having more passengers in the car. Hell, I can barely drive when I have 4 teenagers in the car. Teens are actually very safe drivers when they are in the car, alone.

    but thank you for your ideas!!!

    My daughter is a pretty sensible kid, so I think she'll be a fairly conservative driver. We'll see once we really get out there.
  • alp8alp8 Posts: 656
    I like the Impreza suggestion
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    Basically a Toyota but cheaper and a lot of cargo room.
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    Hmm, interesting question. I've got an 18 year old daughter who is heading off to college next week and we bought her a Saturn ION 2 equipped with ABS and traction control.

    Not sure that you need AWD if you only head to the mountains a few times a year. We live in Colorado and probably see more days of bad weather in a single winter than she will experience in several years - traction control, coupled with plowed roads, should be more than enough. That way, the other 360 days a year, you don't have the weight penalty of the AWD dragging down mileage.

    But, I do like the idea of the Vibe .. test drove one with some friends a few years ago and was pleasantly surprised with how much room there was inside.
  • alp8alp8 Posts: 656
    Michaell: I agree re the AWD, but the driveway of our place in Tahoe is north facing and steep. Unless it is absolutely clear, making it up is tough. I've made it over Donner Pass and then been unable to get up the driveway.


    I'll take the decreased fuel economy, given how few miles she will be driving.

    I feel differently about the car she takes to college, however, as she's likely to drive more in college, especially if college is within a day's drive of home. Making a few hundred mile drive once a month is a lot of gas, and I'd go for something more fuel-wise. But I doubt she'll put 10 miles/day on her high school car. Yeah, I've been wrong before.

    Of course, we could just sell our place in Tahoe and buy one with a better driveway.....but it makes such an EXCELLENT sleddling run!!!


    Best wishes to your daughter in her college adventure.
  • m1miatam1miata Posts: 4,556
    The Subaru line of AWD is hard to beat. That's what they do. With intelligent AWD, and the boxer engine, they are good little cars.

    When I was her age, I bought a motorcycle, which of course I would not do today. With so many cars on the road, it would be going from risky in my time, to out and out crazy these days to challenge the cars on the road. But I did buy every bike, motorcycle, and car myself. Should have kept a used car called the Mustang, bought for $1,100 back around 1970.
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    Sorry, for some reason I thought we were talking about the mountains in Southern California (Big Bear Lake, Arrowhead) .. must be because I grew up in Ventura County.


    I have some friends who owned a house with a driveway like yours and I totally understand where you're coming from. Given that the Tahoe area gets snow measured in the dozens or scores of inches it makes perfect sense that AWD is a necessity.

    Since I'm such a Saturn nut, how about a VUE with AWD? You might be able to get into a new one right around your $20K price limit. Lots of space; decent gas mileage (we average about 22-23 MPG with the Honda-sourced V6 and AWD) and the polymer panels, IMO, will allow the car to look great years down the road.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    I'd look for a 93-94' range AWD Audi S4-Quattro. My god some of you guys are "boring" his poor daughter. :surprise:

    alp8, I doubt she wants to drive a station wagon. Why not get her at least a sedan ? The Audi S4's of the early 90's came with "bullet-proof" turbo 5-cylinders. Yes they are hard to find, but seem to make good practical cars that are safe.

    Just my 2-cents. ;)

  • john500john500 Posts: 409
    Pontiac Vibe or Toyota Matrix

    AWD for safety
    under $20K for price
    mpg 25-31 or thereabouts even with AWD

    You just need to make sure it's OK with teenagers.
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    You just need to make sure it's OK with teenagers.

    Ha! My kid will get what I give them. :P If that means mom's old minivan, then so be it.
  • alp8alp8 Posts: 656
    nice idea - I like it when people think outside the box
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    Thanks. I'm trying to help out. I remember when I was 16, I wouldn't want to drive a wagon. A sedan like a Audi Quattro would have plenty of pep and would give her a safe AWD vehicle that get's good gas mileage out of one of the best 5-cylinder engines in the world. ;)

  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    How is a 12- to 13-year-old Audi supposed to be reliable, especially a sport model that could very likely have been thrashed?

    Also, it seems like too much importance is being placed on that very last part of the drive -- the very steep driveway.

    Is it possible to park at the bottom and walk up if necessary? Then, awd wouldn't be needed.

    Also, 2-seaters and SUVs of any kind should be dismissed as out of hand. You need a larger car with more predictable handling for a teenager. I think the evidence is pretty clear now that side curtain airbags and stability control are much more likely to save your backside than awd.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    I think the evidence is pretty clear now that side curtain airbags and stability control are much more likely to save your backside than awd.

    AWD, IMHO in slippery conditions is still better than any stability, or curtain airbag devices. Cars without such devices in the early 90's were pretty darn safe. Their are cars today such as a Toyota Yaris, that have those devices and still are unsafe. ;)

  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Stability control will probably keep you from losing it better than awd or 4wd in dry, wet, or slippery conditions.

    Side curtain airbags are far superior to not having them if you do get hit in the side.

    Still, as I said, I wouldn't recommend a small car like a Yaris for a teenager. My son wanted a Mini Cooper when he went to L.A. last year -- he got our 2004 Camry with side airbags instead.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganPosts: 13,994
    Well basically all cars today have those features. If one is rich enough they can just buy their son or daughter A Acura RDX, RL, with SH-AWD and it has all the features you just mentioned plus many more. the SH-AWD not only has stability control from losing it, but it also send torque to the tire with most grip, keeping you safe. ;) These Acura's will make very nice used cars for my kids generation. ;)

  • alp8alp8 Posts: 656
    210: In snow country, you are not allowed to leave your car parked on the street (lest it impede the snowplows, and you DON'T want to impede the snowplows)

    The car must get up a steep driveway. Another alternative is that she just doesn't get to take her car to Tahoe in the winter. Not that big a loss.

    Of course, if she wants to go, and I like the friends she is going with, I might let her take my XC90

    and I'm REALLY not sure I want her to do that

    on a separate note, why do you need a larger car for a teen? I am guessing it's more likely that a teen will hit something, rather than be hit. (can someone find me the facts on that?)

    I completely agree that a car with predictable handling is important for a teen, thus eliminating all the truck-based SUVs, at least.

    There is data that shows that teens are as safe as you or I when driving along. But that if you add even one teen passenger, they become much less safe (thus the California law that new teen drivers can't be the driver of a vehicle with only other teens or kids, until they are 16 1/2 or so)

    Thus my comment about removing all the seats but the driver seat
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    I'm thinking a decent choice for her needs might be a lightly used CRV, Element or Rav4 with AWD.

    Fairly inexpensive, dependable, useful for hauling stuff (we all remember college, right?), and not terrible on the gas mileage.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    No offense, but some of you people are out of your minds. An Audi S4 for a teenage girl? Since when does a car need to be overpowered to keep a young driver out of trouble? Or is the notion that it'll be in the shop so often that she'll never get a chance to crash it? What else now--a Jeep Wrangler?! Yeah, that's smart...what, do we want the kid to tip over, or just have his friends romping around with the top down? I don't think I could even get behind the idea of a Volvo, unless the kid has unlimited funds for repairs. Why not keep it simple? And why does every parent in the United States suddenly feel like they have to buy their kid a brand-new car, or at least one that costs twenty thousand bucks (and where were these parents when I was a kid) to keep them 'safe'? What ever happened to Tauruses, Prisms, Cavaliers and Sentras? Seriously, you don't have to be an open checkbook to keep your kid from being killed on the road...I mean, aren't their chances of injury reduced if they don't have a vehicle constantly at their disposal?

    OK, enough of my sermon, we've had this discussion ad nauseam already. Of the vehicles mentioned earlier, I like the idea of the Vibe/Matrix the best....reasonbly nice, not expensive, fairly safe, not fast enough for them to do any stupid kid tricks.
  • alp8alp8 Posts: 656
    ghulet: so give us some of your ideas. Do you really want to stop at The Vibe/Matrix?

    Please keep my parameters in mind. I realize that not all parents will use the same parameters as I am.

    Maybe my logic is flawed, that she'lldrive the car for two years, til she heads to college, at which time she'll hand it down to her younger sister, and the college-bound one MAY get something to take to college. She won't need or want a car if she is at NYU, for example.

    also, my kids are girls - far less likely to engage in stupid pet tricks than are boys

    I like the Subaru Impreza the best, so far, but this party has only just started. I am sure other folks have good ideas and reasons. Heck, some of my reasoning may be very flawed and I am willing to examine it.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    ...if you can do without the awd, take a look at the first 11 or so of these, although personally I'd skip the VW/Audi products because of reliability issues. You can even go back a few years to 2004 and still get cars with good front and side safety ratings, IF you can find examples with side airbags. I wouldn't worry as much about less than stellar rear (whiplash) ratings.

    Secondly, a larger car is helpful whether you hit something, or someone else hits you. This is also true for single-vehicle crashes, which account for almost half of vehicle occupant fatalities.

    And for a given size/weight, cars and minivans have lower death rates than SUVS, which in turn have lower death rates than pickups. Check this out.

    A snippet:

    Driver deaths per million registered passenger vehicles 1-3 years old, in calendar 2004:
    Vehicle size / Rate
    Mini 117
    Small 98
    Midsize 68
    Large 67
    Very large 50

    Small 118
    Large 100
    Very large 104

    Small 68
    Midsize 65
    Large 56
    Very large *

    *Insufficient exposure for estimating reliable death rates

    IMO, nothing should be more important than your child's safety.
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    also, my kids are girls - far less likely to engage in stupid pet tricks than are boys

    When I was working at a Virginia hospital, we had three young ladies come into the emergency room and they had to be med evaced to hospitals in Richmond and Norfolk. Seems like a 17 yo girl and her two friends were driving a Volvo (old style "the safest car on the market"). The driver was passing a car while heading up a hill on a two-lane rural road. Ran splat into a dump truck.

    Any young driver is capable of making driving errors due to INEXPERIENCE and poor judgment. For a CLASSIC example, see link title which should be required reading for all parents with driving age children.

    Personally, I agree with ghulet - it should older and midsized and generally unattractive. And if it is paid for (that is, no payments) you can self insure (no collisiona nd comprehensive) and save substantially on insurance premiums.
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    And why does every parent in the United States suddenly feel like they have to buy their kid a brand-new car, or at least one that costs twenty thousand bucks (and where were these parents when I was a kid) to keep them 'safe'? What ever happened to Tauruses, Prisms, Cavaliers and Sentras?

    I remember the "good old days" when the car was a Ford LTD muffler optional or maybe a Chevette. And both were a HUGE improvement over the city bus or the "SLE" (shoe leather express).

    Ghulet, I have sold about 15 USED cars from my fleet. Five or six of them have been to parents buying them for children. At least two of them never made it to the child as "they wouldn't be caught dead in them." (A three year old car is "not good enough" for a teenager.) Egads.

    I like the Vibe/Matrix.

  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628 the risk of sounding like an 'old guy' here (at 37!), I bought my first car, an ugly tank '71 Buick, in 1985, for $450 of my own money and was ELATED to have second car was a $1700 '77 Caprice that my mom bought for my twin and I because we weren't insurable on her new car at the time (a new Porsche 944); it wasn't like my family couldn't buy us cars, it just wasn't an option, people just didn't do that back then, at least not in my town. I wouldn't have dreamt of turning down ANY free car. Apparently things have changed a LOT in twenty years. God, I do sound old.

    Anywho, back to reality: I understand everyone wants their kids to be in a safe, reliable car. I still say that's perfectly do-able for a lot less than $20k, and without AWD or 4WD (in fact, I think those are more a bad idea unless your climate absolutely dictates), and without paying half a million dollars a year in insurance.

    Basic rules of thumb, IMO: should be reliable, low-maintenance, safe, economical (good MPG; remember your kid will likely pay for at least SOME of the gas out-of-pocket), something not so nice that you'd freak out if it gets knocked around a bit, nothing fast or fancy (unless you want an egomaniac junior, I'd advise against hand-me-down BMWs, Audis, Mercedes, etc.). By all means, CHECK THE INSURANCE RATES before you buy anything for a teenager.

    My short list:

    03-06 Honda Accord (all have ABS, side airbags); they're 'big enough' to have some metal, small enough to be managable, and four-cylinders (don't get a V6) get great gas mileage. Used under $20k, 03-04s are sometimes under $15k if they can live with a DX or LX.

    Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable '01-05 (most are under $10k): get good safety ratings, are cheap used, reliable and cheap to fix.

    Toyota Corolla/Chevrolet-Geo Prism: reliable, economical, newer Corollas (03-06) have good safety ratings.

    Nissan Sentra, Altima: again, reliable, managable size, reasonably safe, not expensive, good MPG, not too fast.

    No Civics or Integras, insurance is insane.

    I think Subarus are fine, though they're not cheap to buy or fix, and do you have a dealer within 50 miles? Same goes for Volvos, and you will never convince me that a sixteen year-old needs a used AWD Volvo that retailed for $40k new.
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    I would add in the following:

    Post 2000 Ford Escorts
    00-05 Buicks, especially with the 3.8 engine

    I strongly advise a face to face meeting with your insurance agent LONG before looking at the 1st car.

    Egads. Volvos. See some of my fleet repair bills on those beasts!
  • alp8alp8 Posts: 656
    am not sure why you guys think MPG is a big issue. The car might get driven 10 miles/day.

    everybody has stories of teenage girls who got into crashes, but the simple fact is that girls are about half as likely as boys to get into wrecks, thus the much higher insurance cost for teen boys

    doesn't mean it won't happen, of course

    does anyone know what % of single car fatality accidents also involved alcohol?

    putting a teen driver in a minivan is a mistake. There is too great a chance that that minivan will get filled with teen passengers, and teen passengers are terrible passengers. They screw around and distract the driver. Hell, they even distract me when I am driving. Makes it tough for a new driver to pay attention to the road.
  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    ...putting a teen driver in a minivan is a mistake. There is too great a chance that that minivan will get filled with teen passengers, and teen passengers are terrible passengers. They screw around and distract the driver. Hell, they even distract me when I am driving. Makes it tough for a new driver to pay attention to the road.

    Doesn't California have graduated licenses? That a 16 year old cannot transport anyone (other than relatives) in the car with them for the first 6 months or a year after obtaining their license?

    I know that Colorado has a similar program in place now for its teenaged drivers.
  • alp8alp8 Posts: 656
    yes, same approach here
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628 well as some sort of curfew (maybe under 18 can't drive after 9 or 10pm unescorted, or something along those lines?)
  • odie6lodie6l Hershey, PaPosts: 1,173
    What else now--a Jeep Wrangler?! Yeah, that's smart...what, do we want the kid to tip over, or just have his friends romping around with the top down?

    As I said, '97 - '00 model years. This was the redesign that added the better suspension. If the person that will be driving this vehicle LEARNS how to drive it, there wouldn't be any worry about tipping, plus you can even pull a small trailer with jet ski's / snowmobiles if needed.

    Odie's Carspace
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    I sure hope so ... deaths of teenage drivers in McHenry County in the past few years has to be in the 30s ...
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    Check the insurance rates; they can vary a lot between cars.

    Given the way my 18yr old sister drives and text messages at the same time... I'd suggest trying to get her into a stickshift. I learned on an auto but later had to learn stick, and at that point I became attuned to the sounds the car makes, and that did wonders for my maintenance habits (another issue that will come up...).

    Regarding the Vibe... I drove one and felt rear/side visibility was a problem. Less so in the Matrix due to the larger third window. But those two cars will struggle up mountains if loaded with people or cargo. A lot of small hatches can't actually carry much by weight even though they have the room =/.

    And of course get her input. The more she likes it, the more she'll care for it.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    Sorry, odie, still have to agree to disagree about the teens-with-Wranglers idea. My spouse has an '01 (4.0L six, 5-speed manual), and while it's fun to drive and reliable, even at 37 years old with 21 years of no-major-accident driving experience, the thing scares me on occasion. It's still tippy (being 'learned' or not, physics still come into play, especially with a young driver) and is very sensitive to tire pressure, throttle and braking input (recall, this is a short-wheelbase, mostly RWD vehicle with no electronic traction aids and no ABS). Also, dollar-for-dollar (even used, they have unusually high resale for a domestic), it's the tinniest thing one can buy with ZERO creature comforts, lousy safety ratings all around and crummy gas mileage. Attaching a trailer to one with a teen driving and their mates as passengers is borderline crazy, IMO. Sorry...I like the Wrangler for what it is but I could never recommend one for anything other than a 'toy', but not for kids.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,092
    A large local newspaper is looking to interview 18-25 year olds on what type of car they are looking to purchase. Please send an e-mail to [email protected] no later than Friday, August 18, 2006 by 2:30 PM PT/5:30 PM ET containing your daytime contact information.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 4,363
    Having had 3 teen drivers, I offer the following:
    1. Buy nothing you or they are passionate about. Teen drivers make mistakes and the car will take some lumps and bumps -- one kid totalled his first car -- the others had parking lot dents and encounters with deer and sliding on ice. They can fall in love with their second car.

    2. MPG does matter. Gas is expensive even if they don't drive a lot, so either you or they will pay for it. And eventually they'll drive more than you think.

    3. They will be more responsible if they have to pay for at least some of it. Yes, they may make mistakes but they will feel a lot worse if some of their money was on the line, and be more careful next time. The teen who totalled his car has been accident-free ever since. Which leads to:

    4. Don't buy an expensive car. Insurance is very expensive, even for teen girls. The cheaper the car the less you have to pay. Everyone will feel much worse with a big dent in a $20K car than a $5K one.

    5. My vote has always been: big, safe, and slow. Buick Century, Toyota Camry, that kind of car.

    6. A 2 seater? YOuve got to be kidding! They will drive with friends eventually, and need a lot of trunk space if the car goes to college with them. And 2 seaters are often more speedy than they need. A Jeep Wrangler? Never!

    7. Safety equipment is more important than the cool factor. If they want cool, they can get jobs and pay for it themselves. Given a choice between no car and uncool car, most teens will opt for a vehicle of any kind. And if they don't, well, they can walk.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • mirthmirth Posts: 1,212
    Excellent advice. I'm making mental notes for when my kids are ready to drive (which thankfully isn't for another decade).
  • alp8alp8 Posts: 656
    all good points

    I'm wondering if you have experience with the hand-me-down approach versus the one owner approach? My kids are two years apart. Do I buy daughter #1 a car to use for two years and then hand that down to daughter #2? or does daughter #1 take that car to college (the one owner approach) and I buy a different car for daughter f#2?

    I agree with having the kid pay some money toward the car, but I think that can be worked out with both approaches, though obviously it is easier with the second approach. And I feel strongly that every "problem" needs to be OWNED, and the first approach does not give any true ownership to the first daughter, since the plan is to hand it down

    then again, I don't need to tell her what my plan is, do I? :-)

    admittedly, it's not very fair to make her pay for half the first car and then have me give it to her sister

    but the college car could easily be a different car than the "around town" high school car, but there may be no point to that
  • jlawrence01jlawrence01 Posts: 1,828
    I'm wondering if you have experience with the hand-me-down approach versus the one owner approach?

    A few ideas:

    1) I believe that the parents, not the child should own (and control) the vehicle. That gives the parents more control should the teen driver need an attitude adjustment. As for OPERATING costs, she who uses the car shouls pay for them.

    2) My parents believed in the "fleet" approach. Two cars for five teen drivers.

    3) Who knows if a teenager will need a car for college? many universities discourage drivers as parking is often pretty limited.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 4,363
    There are pluses and minuses to either the hand me down or one owner approach. My kids were very proud of having worked to pay some of the money for their cars, and I don't think they would have liked handing them over to a younger sibling. On the other hand, if they got newer cars, maybe not so bad! I guess it depends how far they are going to college and if you think the car will be safe and reliable transportation.

    You might go with the ownership approach since you also don't know what will happen to this car -- it might be just fine in two years or it might not. Keep in mind that accidents can happen caused by other people than your children -- high school parking lots are a nightmare! So, if fine, she could take it with her. If it doesn't seem like a good safety bet, or if it's fine around town but not driving all over the place (college students dont always stay in one place . . .!!), then it might be wise to consider getting the college student something different. I do think it's important to treat each kid as an individual so the younger one may have different needs.

    While parking is limited, the trend is more and more for kids to bring cars to college. They are more used to driving and the freedom it brings than in the past and are reluctant to give that up. I teach at a small liberal arts college and it is much more common for students to bring cars even though the college would prefer that they didn't. Sometimes the first years will not bring cars but after that they will.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • alp8alp8 Posts: 656
    I agree with what suydam and jlawr said.

    I couldn't have afforded a car at college. Hell, I barely had beer money. And I'd rather that my daughter spend her money on pizza then on gas. It would be great if she could go to a college where you really didn't need (or want) a car, at all, freshman year. That experience, alone, is valuable.

    I've lived without a car, before. There are disadvantages, to be sure, but I didn't miss having to move it on the street cleaning days, or having to maintain it. But I lived in a place with a great mass transit system, or a place where bikes were the preferable way to travel (Goleta, California - UCSB). Barely missed not having a car in FOUR YEARS at SB.

    yes, the parents do need to be able to control the car, but that's an academic question, since there's no way my daughter will be able to afford buying her own car, right away

    I don't mind buying the car, as a good percentage of her driving will be errands that my wife is currently doing. If she's doing family business, there's no reason the family shouldn't pay. But I also favor her bearing a good deal of the expenses. I agree that it can have a direct relationship to them taking responsibility for the car, which is important to teach.
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    I had a car in high school, which my twin brother kept our first year in college (at my school, Freshman were not allowed cars), but he was in the city, so it was a bit of a pain for him. Sophomore year, I kept the car, which was nice at times, but a big pain more often (people wanting to borrow it, being foolish enough to say yes), just another thing for my already-overwhelmed head didn't need....things were a bit unstable, I had no money, I was partying too much, it was just another distraction, another burden, and it just was kind of...a crutch. Made it real easy to be one of those suitcase college kids. I did kind of 'need' the car, though, since I went to NIU (DeKalb, IL) and when I went away to school, my parents moved out of state (to St. Louis and Connecticut); nice, huh?

    Anyway, if your family situation is somewhat 'normal', the kid isn't too far away and other transportation to and from (you pick them up, they car pool with locals, Amtrak, Greyhound, cheap flights) are an option, I wouldn't recommend sending junior away to school with a car. I mean, if you and they couldn't afford the car, that wouldn't be an option, so why is it just because you can...does my reasoning make sense? I think for most kids, it's a burden and responsibility they don't need and many can't handle, whether you're aware of that at the time or not. Remember, college freshman are 18, which doesn't make them adults anywhere except in the eyes of creditors and the armed services, IMO.
  • suydamsuydam Posts: 4,363
    2 of my kids went to college 500 miles away, and we got very tired quickly of transporting them to and fro or paying for airfares. I love not having to do that! My oldest child's car was a stick shift, which few college students can drive, so it didn't become the "dorm car".

    All I'm saying is it's not a bad idea to have college (or elsewhere -- one of our kids joined the Navy) in the back of your mind as a possibility when you consider a car for a high school student. It may not work out -- the car could get wrecked or be mechanically unsound, they could become commuter students -- but a car that gets good gas mileage and has enough room to tote stuff has the potential to save you shopping for yet another car come college time.
    '14 Buick Encore Convenience
    '17 Chevy Volt Premiere
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628 that case, it made more sense, financially and from a time standpoint, for your kids to have cars. 500 miles is a pretty long way, especially with $3+ gas, and running there and back TWICE (to both pick your kids off and drop them off) at holidays or other breaks would be obnoxious and expensive. I was about 300 miles from my mom, that was bad enough, though gas back then (1987-88) was pretty cheap, so even with a large car (77 Caprice), I probably only spent about $20-25 each way on gas.
  • alp8alp8 Posts: 656
    it's probably cheaper to pay for a couple (more?) round trip airfares than it is to keep the car registered and the 18-year old driver insured

    but it's not ONLY about money

    still, all good stuff to think about
  • nj2pa2ncnj2pa2nc Posts: 813
    they have that law here in north carolina but alot of them are allowing their friends to ride in the trunk. Trying to hide them.
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