Buy a car for 2 teenagers to learn to drive on

We have a 2003 Accord but we don’t want our 2 kids, 15 & 16, to learn to drive on it. What kind of used car should I buy for them? I thought it should be manual so they are forced to pay attention. I also like the idea of a small truck so they can only carry 1 or 2 passengers in the vehicle.

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A larger American car is a good choice.

They don’t need to learn to drive a manual until they’ve mastered driving. A manual would be a distraction.

You set the rules. I did with my kids. I say no passengers and no cell phones on, at least for a while. I hope you have raised the kids to be trustworthy. Here’s where it pays off.

You are the parent. You have this chance to assure your kids’ safety. You’d never forgive yourself if you make poor decisions and somebody gets hurts.


Where do you live? What kind of roads will the “kids” be learning to drive on? A small truck like a Chevy S-10 or Ford Ranger sounds fine but might not be the best choice in some areas. I think a manual is possible if the kids have ridden in stick shift cars and are somewhat car savey.

Something – anything – with no power. If it can make it up a hill without struggling, it’s the wrong car for a teenager.

Have you ever taught anyone with no driving experience to drive a car with a manual transmission? It can be done. That’s the way everyone in my generation learned to drive. But it is not a process that has much to recommend it.

Plan on a number of hours each in the Honda before you present them with a clutch otherwise they are going to be focusing on manipulating the clutch and gas when they should be attending to stuff like where the car is pointed, how fast it is going, and what that old lady with the shopping cart is likely to do. Once they are comfortable with steering, braking, maneuvering, signaling, and paying attention to everything within striking range, a manual transmission is fine.

Kids learn to drive quickly, it’s in their DNA. Any 4-cylinder stick-shift pick-up will be fine. Or a Crown Vic, a retired cop car bought at an auction. Safe, cheap and indestructible.

You might have a chat with your insurance agent first…

The Accord is an excellent choice if it’s an auto. Any other compact will do. I would teach them to drive first BEFORE insisting they drive a manual. If the only car that was available to them was a manual, and you can drive one well, they will too. Don’t think a small truck will limit their capacity unless you keep it open…even then they could find away to put three in the front of a Ranger and make it just as problematic as 5 in a compact. One vote for a Chevy Prism/Corrolla.

I agree. I think the ideal vehicle to learn to drive on would be the most spartan stick shift vehicle you can get. I learned on a 1973 F-100, 3 on the tree, no power brakes, no power steering, no A/C, etc. If you can master a more difficult to drive vehicle then future vehicles you drive will be a breeze.

Teenage driving the the most dangerous thing they will do in their life. Period. Don’t save money by buying an older car that lacks modern safety equipment.

if you are looking for a vehicle for them just to learn on…why not use a rental?
If they are fast learners a week of a rental is cheaper than buying…

Another vote for the Prisim/Corolla.

I learned in the family cars,a 66 dodge van and a 62 t-bird, that t-bird was a nice car,not really that fast.

What’s wrong with the Accord? If it has a four cylinder engine, and not the available V6, I think it would be a great choice.

My older brother and I both learned to drive manual cars, and, unfortunately, they didn’t force us to pay attention. Your kids will have the shifting routine down so quickly it won’t matter.

If your 2003 Accord has an underpowered I4, I don’t see what is wrong with letting them drive it.

?They don’t need to learn to drive a manual until they’ve mastered driving. A manual would be a distraction.?
I could not disagree more. I learned on a stick shift and I think it forces you to pay much more attention to what the car is doing and how you are driving. Additionally, stick shifts have the added benefit of being cheaper to buy and, in most cases, cheaper to run. A used Ford Ranger would be not a bad choice. However a compact sedan would be safer and get better gas mileage. Think about a used Ford Focus or Mazda Prot?g?. Both of those cars are easy to find with a manual transmission, get decent fuel economy and are reliable. As a bonus neither of them has a ton of power.
Good Luck!

I like driving manual cars, but I have to disagree with your assessment.

First, learning to drive a manual means your attention is divided, at least while you are learning. Any student driver can benefit by first learning to drive an automatic and then learning to drive a manual. The student driver will be less overwhelmed with simultaneous tasks if he/she can first learn how to navigate through traffic in an automatic.

Second, after you get experience driving a manual, shifting becomes automatic since you don’t have to concentrate on it as much as when you were learning. Let’s face it, it is just as easy for a driver of an manual to become distracted as it is for a driver of an automatic.

Driving a manual used to save cost on the vehicle and cost on repairs, but the technology has improved so much, and demand for manuals has declined so much, it has become a matter of nothing more than preference. If you take care of an automatic transmission, it should last just as long as a manual transmission.

No transmission “forces you to pay much more attention to what the car is doing and how you are driving.” That is a myth.

If you buy them the truck they will be popular. They get to pick up the keg! :wink:

trucks are a good choice for a first time driver, but a manual transmission may not be a good idea until they have more experience driving. trucks will help with your kids haveing too many passengers but it can also cause problems with them having passengers in the back of the truck, either way i think a truck is a good way to go.

Why not pretty much any 4-cylinder economy car from the late 90’s to early 2000’s? As for manual vs. automatic, I don’t think it really matters. I learned to drive with a manual transmission and I don’t think it was any harder than an automatic. Kids pick up on these things very quickly.

I’m sure many would disagree but I’d personally stay away from pickups or anything that’s RWD for a starter car.

I vote against a truck. An unloaded RWD truck doesn’t handle well in slippery conditions, so I don’t think that’s a good idea with a new driver.

My Dad had my brother and me washing and waxing the cars in our household from the time we were in junior high school. When we became driving age, we were expected to make certain that the cars were maintained. Money was tight in our house, and we respected the privilege of using the cars. My Dad purchased the newest car he had owned in 1955–a 1954 Buick. Ten years and 120,000 miles later, I purchased the car from him my second year of graduate school. When my own son was 5 years old, I purchased my first new car–a 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass. We hadn’t owned the car a month and my son accidentally blew up a bottle of root beer in the car. I put him to work helping me clean it up. I told him that we had to take care of car because this would be the car he would be driving when he started going out with girls. When he began driving and went on his first date, he reminded me of what I said when he was 5. He then said, “You weren’t just kidding were you Dad?”

I firmly believe that if you instill in teenagers a sense of responsibility, they will live up to your expectations. When my son became engaged and the Oldsmobile was 23 years old, he took his fiance a ride in the car “for old time’s sake”.

Living here in Mayberry USA, I taught 4 boys to drive in old pickups and a surplus Jeep. Clutches were quickly smoked but that was expected. In the “big city” it may be better to go with an automatic as someone already mentioned. BTW, there is an 8 acre field behind my shop where the boys learned the basics with no traffic to bother them or worry me. They seemed to learn better alone out there in the gravel and mud.

The rest of the world learn to drive properly without 1/2 the whining that we do in this country. I applaud the OP for not dumbing down an universal driving skill.

As for the choice of car, I would put my money on a 4 speed Tercel, which curbed my enthusiasm as I tried to find a nonexistent 5th gear, or a 3 cylinder Geo Metro. Trucks can fling their rear ends around when it’s wet outside.