There’s a lot of romance surrounding getting your very first car as a teen. Whether you saved up for it or were lucky enough to have it gifted to you, it’s a pivotal moment as you make your way toward becoming an adult. That being said, now that you’re the parent, you want to make this as much of a landmark occasion for your child as it was for you. You want to be able to help your teen find the perfect car for his or her birthday to the best of your ability. You need to find something reliable, durable, and safe. Here are a few suggestions to consider that will help you find the best starter car for your teen.
Safety comes first
You’ve spent your whole life protecting your child. And as they get older, that becomes harder to do because you’re not able to monitor them as they get themselves into more adult situations. According to the New York Times, around 6,000 teenagers die each year in car crashes. That number is difficult to hear and can be quite alarming. Although you might not have the most money to spend on your teenager’s car, you can still get models of used cars that will keep your precious cargo safe. Not all of these cars are flashy, but they will get your child around securely. Once you’ve purchased one of these cars, make sure you talk to your teen about car safety and the responsibility they have to other drivers and pedestrians on the road.
Not a VW Bug, but still great
One of the first cars you should consider is the Volkswagen Passat. You’ll want a used one made after October 2012. For a car like this, you can expect to pay around $6,600. This car was a top safety pick in 2013, and it has good scores in terms of crashworthiness. Find one with heated mirrors to ensure that your child will always be able to see behind them, even in the dead of winter. When buying used, always do your due diligence to see if the car has already been in crashes. If it has, make sure you inquire about the seriousness of the accident. You may want to go see the car in person and ask who fixed it so you can assess the quality of the repair. If the car has already been in an accident, it’s important to follow up and get the full picture.
The commuter kid
If you trust that your child will be very responsible on the road, and you’re aware that he or she will be driving their friends around quite a bit, you may want to look into getting them a minivan. Although it’s certainly not the hottest car on the “cool meter,” it will get the job done. Of the minivans you could choose from, Honda Odyssey models from 2014 to the present are considered very reliable. You’re probably looking at paying close to $13,000, but if your child plays sports and needs to travel from school to school, it might be worth the money. This was a top safety pick due to its front-crash prevention. In fact, it remains the only minivan to receive a top rating in the IIHS Small Overlap Frontal Test. This car will give your teen the room they need to store their sports gear and also prevent injuries in the case of an accident.
Deciding on a car is a big decision that you might want to involve your teen in. Make sure they’re considering safety and cost just as much as aesthetics. This can be a really great teaching moment that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.