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2003 Honda CR-V First Car Teenager? Safety?

I found a nice, well maintained CR-V that I was considering for my 16 year old daughter. She is not driving yet, but gets her permit soon. I have been looking at cars util I am dizzy. This 2003 Honda CR-V fits our budget (5-6k) and my daughter likes it (in photos, anyway). Of course, as her Dad, my biggest concern is safety. I did some research and this car seems to have good ratings for the most part, but 3 stars on the rollover test. Am I worrying too much about rollover or should this be a concern for a new, inexperienced, teen driver?

Thanks in advance for any replies.

2003 Is probably before electronic stability control and the lack of that in a crossover/higher car with a new driver might be an issue. has a list of cars that are safe for teens and it breaks it down for different price ranges. Just google it but also remember at the end of the day the driver (your daughter) is the most important variable. Having recently gotten a teen off her training wheels I can not emphasize how important it is to be a bit of a pest to make sure she is safe.

Well rollover was my big concern. They have a higher center of gravity but I dunno, if she likes it? One thing I would hammer and hammer and hammer is to use the seat belt always and especially if she carries kids around in a vehicle like that. The car doesn’t move until everyone is belted-period. I can’t count how many times kids have rolled over or crashed and they weren’t wearing their belts and got ejected. Dead but would have been fine if they had their belts on.

The other thing is, see your agent about an umbrella policy for a few million liability coverage. Its cheap and even good kids do some silly stuff.

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Rollover crashes are far less common than they once were. A 2003 wouldn’t have all the advanced stability control features that keep newer cars even better planted, but it still wouldn’t be high on my list of concerns if I were you. Unless you live in a rural area or your daughter is likely to be driving on dirt roads regularly. Those are the places where cars/trucks are more likely to roll (other accident rates are higher, too).

If she’s mostly going to be driving on city streets, I’d be more concerned with side impacts, and the usual frontal crashes. Rolling a car at lower speeds isn’t that common.

I might ask why she needs her own car? U work, u have a car. Wife works, she has car. How does kid get to school now? She will drive every day? Or not? Go to friends house. Go to store. Can she use your car than? Kids do not need their own car. Does she work? Sports? Does she have money for insurance and gas and tabs and repairs?

If you want the safest vehicle for your daughter, concentrate on the most unsafe variable you can - your daughter! No insult intended but she will be her biggest enemy when it comes to safety, not the vehicle. Rollovers are the result of the driver making a mistake. Usually trying to avoid a crash in a way that just makes it worse. Consider signing her up for a school like this;

(Sorry the website is sooo bad it doesn’t even tell you where the course is offered! Maybe if you input your email they will tell you the locations offered.)

Actually learning to handle the car in an emergency is very important and must be experienced and practiced. That is very tough to do on the street or some empty parking lot.

+1 to Mustangman’s comments, and along that line, I suggest that the OP consider a monitoring device that will allow him to see exactly how his daughter is operating her car when parents are not present.

Take a look at this page, which describes monitoring devices:

As was said, that CR-V will be fine as long as the daughter operates it in a sane, safe manner.

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I think the CR-V is good choice. Any 2003 model has a lot of advanced safety features. One 2003 make/model isn’t really gonna be that much safer than any of the others. I prefer front wheel drive sedans myself due to their better handling, but that’s just me. As mentioned above, your daughter’s driving style is the most important safety factor that you have some control over. Some kids that age do fine driving, others, not so much, tend to have a problem keeping focused while driving, and keeping to the speed limit. You are the best judge of all that. To increase the odds, when she drives, for the first couple years or so, she drives alone, with no other passengers in the car. Parents riding along to monitor progress are an occasional exception of course.

The common wisdom of the experts here seems to be that before writing any checks, see what Consumer Reports Used Car Guide says about the car’s reliability, and to schedule a pre-purchase inspection using your own mechanic. I also think it is a good idea when buying a used car to make sure it has had all it recalls and customer interest program work done.

The only real concern I’d have with this car as a daily driver for your daughter is if it is a 4WD version, b/c they tend to be a little less reliable and more expensive to repair.

For the 2.4 L 2wd version, I see 3 general recalls, 22 safety recalls, and about 25 customer interest bulletins listed. A Honda dealership should be able to print those lists out for you and help you determine if the work has already been done based on the VIN.

It wouldn’t be a bad choice for a first car IMHO. It’s cheap to insure, isn’t particularly fast or have any sporting pretensions, it’s probably going to be reliable, and repairs aren’t going to expensive either.

For what it’s worth, I learned to drive on a 1974 Ford F-100 with mildly warmed over 390 4bbl, , Three on the Tree, 4.11 rear end, manual steering, and lap belts. I turned out okay.

Those Ford trucks of that era w/ the Ford 9 inch differential are tough beasts. In those days you couldn’t go more than a day or two without hearing on the radio or tv “Ford Trucks Are Built Ford Tough”. Rust in areas where road salt deicing is used is their Achilles heel. Is your 1974 F100 still on the road @FoDaddy ?

@GeorgeSanJose Surprisingly it is. I don’t own it anymore, my dad kept it up until around 2010 or so, and sold it to a to guy who as it turned out lives very close to my place of employment, so I still see it driving around a few times a week. I live in central VA, while we do get snow, it’s usually pretty mild and so rust isn’t a huge problem.

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That reads more like an ad than an article.

Why would a parent ENCOURAGE their kids to text all the time, especially if they are behind the wheel of a car?

First texting and now wifi access?!

What type of car is she learning to drive in now? She might not like going from a nice car to a less nice car. Kids have been known to somehow bang up the lousy car in order to get a different one.

My #1 concern would be the airbag recall. I would have it checked to make sure it is safe. I know a lot of newer drivers that have a crv like the one mentioned. they have been reliable and safe. rollover would be a concern, but it would be less of a concern if it was all city driving. I’m not sure side curtain airbags were available in 03. I would make you are aware of common issues with those crvs (A/C compressor failure #1). I have a few cars with the 2.4 engine. generally no issues, but I have burned a little oil 1/2 qt 4k miles. if you let the oil get too low on these motors the timing chain doesn’t get adequate lubrication.