Should I purchase a 2005 Toyota Prius for my soon to be 16 yr. old son? I know it is more money than I wanted to spend on the car, but I fear the dreaded gas money requests. Any opinions?
You can buy the Prius without fear, as long as you have it checked out by your mechanic first just as you should any used car. Consumer Reports Used Car Buyers Guide from the local bookstore will give you more detail.
If you buy him a car, let him earn the gas (and maintenance) money to feed it. You want him to have unlimited miles by footing his gas bills? You may never see him until he needs that free gas money from you. Not a way to build up responsibility and an ability to manage money. The increased likelihood of having an accident with increased number of miles driven also comes to mind.
My own personal opinion is that I’d never buy a teenager anything that nice. Keep in mind that whatever you let him drive there’s probably a 50%-50% chance he’ll wreck it in the first year or two of driving, so don’t spend more than you can afford to write-off. Also, there’s a whole economics to a hybrid where you have to drive an exceptionally large number of city miles for the hybrid to actually pay for itself. A novice driver should not be driving that many urban miles. You will almost certainly wind up ahead if you get him a nice 10-15 year old mid-size sedan.
Spend the least amount of money possible for the safest/reliable best car. Realize your child may wreck this or get into an accident. Prius are terrible buys used as they hold their value too well. There are many high depreciation models out there that are safe and get decent MPG.
I doubt your child is going to drive more than 5000 miles in a year so you are only talking 200 gallons of fuel($600) if you get a 25MPG car or 100+($300) gallons if you get a prius. The fuel argument is not really strong in this case.
On the bright side, she wants to get him a Prius, and not a Mustang or something like that. Hell, I remember a post where the father wanted to give his 16y/o son their 2004(?) Honda s2000 for his first car, but the mother wanted to get him something a bit more sensible. Especially since the insurance rate for a 16 y/o in that car would be to the tune of over $350/month with the highest possible deductions.
I agree with NYBo, let your son earn the money to keep the car on the road if he wants a car so badly. If he gets a job then quits for no reason, take the car away from him and/or sell it.
I wouldn’t pay a premium for a prius for a 16 year old, will he drive enough miles to pay for the cost difference with fuel savings? If you want to get him an econo-box there are plenty of used (non-hybrids) available for less money. If the prius costs $5000 more than another economy car, he can buy 1500 gallons of gasoline (enough for about 40,000 miles).
from a long-time prius owner…
I am on my 2nd prius and my 6th year of owning and driving a prius. I would very much recommend the car. It is a great car for gas economy and low emissions. The one problem for a new driver is the many blind spots, and nighttime glare through the windows. This is a big concern for a new driver. I have become accustomed to it, but when my husband or 17 year old son drive it at night, it is difficult to get past!
But would you buy one for a 16-year old who probably does not drive many miles per year?
I have the same viability gripe about many new (last 15 years) cars due to the high trunk line.
I completely agree with you and Andrew. Why pay thousands more upfront to save a few hundred dollars throughout the year? Your son will be going to college in two years and hopefully paying for his own gas then…will you have saved more than the difference in purchase price in gas by then? Doubtful.
It’s my personal belief that he should be paying for his own gas and insurance, or at least a portion of it. It teaches responsibility, which he’ll appreciate later even if he complains now.
The blind spots on new cars are a pain to just about everyone. I like being able to see the front of my car, not look at the bottom of my windshield and see the road. I have a feeling that after trying to find a comfortable new car, I may just wind up buying an old car(read classic) for daily use instead. Sure, driving a 40 year old car daily might not be the best thing to do, but it’d atleast feel comfortable driving it.
A used Pruis this new is rare–most owners keep them longer. Make sure this vehicle was not in an accident or has some problem.
without getting all “preachy” about the merits either “giving” a car or teaching a teenager responsible actions:
i was looking at a used pickup truck recently.
i was considering a diesel. they get better mileage.
the salesman went over the figures with me, and i would only save $250 a year in fuel costs.
so i realized it was not worth it to get the higher mileage diesel truck, and got a regular gas engine instead.
as others have mentioned, you (or your son) will only realize a couple of hundred dollar a year savings in fuel cost.
but, the car payment will be thousands of dollars more than a regular vehicle.
i don’t think your son (or you) will benefit from this purchase. actually it seems if you are trying to instill a “green” attitude in your son concerning mileage it is going to cost you thousands to do it.
and i don’t know about you, but when i was a kid, if i didn’t have the money to put gas in the tank i walked!!! (ok, so i got a little preachy, sorry)
i almost forgot what i think is the most important thing regarding a new young driver. i believe that a new driver is best protected by driving a BIG TANK. like a crown vic, a chevy caprice, or other such car. i think the crash test ratings would be the biggest consideration. i admit i don’t know what a prius crash test rating is, but i would imagine it is not as good as a crown vic.
Just based on the number of airbags and the overall safety features of the Prius, I would highly recommend it for a new driver. There are blindspots in every car that you have to get used to. Teach your son how to use the rear view camera or get one installed (you can find cameras online). When I was 16, I drove all my friends around. Their parents were happy that I had a relatively safe car, although it was long before the Prius was here. Having a roomy, safe car like the Prius would make me feel more comfortable with them on the road.
How much more is a used Prius then say a a comparable Honda Civic?? Priuses are great if you do a lot of city driving. I can’t imagine a Teenager putting enough miles on the car to justify the extra cost. My middle son (18) only drives about 8k miles annually.
Have you actually driven a prius? Try driving one for a while and you may change your mind about wanting to buy one, just my opinion.
Unless your son is driving many miles in city traffic, buying a hybrids probably does not make sense. Look for a decent economy car for a good price for his first car. The total cost of a $5000 used economy car (including fuel, insurance, etc.) is likely to be much less than the total cost of a hybrid unless he is planning on driving it for many miles/years.
Are there State or Federal incentives for buying these types of vehicles. (tax relief,lower registration fees etc.)
Something tells me that the tax breaks you get from purchasing a hybrid only apply to new vehicles, and go right out the window when buying used.
I agree. Last I heard, there was a waiting period of some weeks for NEW Priuses.
WARNING!! Make sure the warranties for the hybrid system will transfer over. You don’t want to spend big $$ on replacing parts for a used hybrid system. They will eat you alive!!