Car for daughter

My daughter will become a new driver this next June. I hope a small part time job comes with it (but that’s another issue). I want to get her a used car that will be durable and reliable, plus not be a gas guzzler. 3 - 6 thousand in price range. What is your expert recommendation?

I’m no expert, but in my experience, Nissan and GM are the best value when it comes to cars.

“I want to get her a used car that will be durable and reliable…”

Don’t we all! Truthfully, any recent compact or midsize sedan will serve your purpose and will work out quite well. Worry less about make/model than about determining the mechanical condition of your potential buy. The recommended course of action is to bring the candidate to a mechanic who will inspect and recommend needed work, if any. And understand it is perfectly normal for a used car to need something, be it brake pads, tires, radio, or whatever. It may still be the ideal car for her.

your responses are greatly appreciated. Great info. Thanks

I agree, make/model is not that important for a kiddy car. It will get pretty beat up anyway, so just buy something relatively cheap and mechanically solid. You should be able to find something decent in the $3-6000 range.

Get her a good Volvo 240 or 740. They are too slow to race and will withstand a huge wallop without your daughter getting hurt.

The Volvo will likely cost more to maintain than something like a Ford Focus(after '01) or even a Crown Vic.

All cars can go fast, just some get there quicker than others.

Both my daughters drove the 1986 Nissan Sentra that I bought new when the older of them was 6 years old. So, it was a 10 year old inexpensive used car with a known history when it came time for her to start driving. I would look for the equivalent in today’s terms. Perhaps a 1998 Nissan Sentra, or Corolla, or Civic, or maybe a somewhat newer Ford Focus. I think small nimble cars are better for new drivers than big heavy cars. Just my opinion, of course.

1998 Buick Regal LS. That’s what my 19 and 16 year old daughters drive. It’s better than Mom’s van, they say. Expect about 25 MPG on average.

Look for private sales with single owner cars. Size up during the inspection if the owner actually maintained the vehicle. Anything bought off a used lot for this price range is a complete crap shoot.

all of you, terrific!!! thanks again

Even more important than durability, reliability, and economy is a car that is both safe and DULL. Get her something that she’ll be embarrassed to be seen in, which will reduce the temptation to pile in the friends and engage in dangerous behavior. An AM radio preset to news and easy-listening stations is great for new drivers. Best wishes!

Being 19 and having been on the opposite side of this kind of scenario two years ago I can say that the one thing I regret is not communicating more with my parents about the kind of car I want. I had a kind of impulse buy with the car I now own seeing as how I saw it on the side of the road for sale by private seller, called my dad and two-three weeks later brought it home; it’s a 2006 Honda Civic by the way. It’s been great for gas mileage (up to 38mpg combined rural city/highway driving in the summer) and it was decent in the one accident I was in. However the one thing I regret about it would have to be that it is a coupe. Once I got my full license and had the ability to drive friends around I found it to be somewhat lacking. More-so when I moved into my first apartment just two months ago. I know you probably want opinions from other adults about their experiences, but I thought you might find my opinion from a different point of view helpful. Hope everything goes over well and you find a good car :).

Good points, my first “car” was a motorcycle (fun, but not terribly practical).

Yeah, but a Volvo is a heckuva lot cooler in most circles than a Crown Vic. It’s safe but funky/chic, which means a lot to a teenager. And, the Crown Vic has a V-8 engine. Would you put a teen behind the wheel of a car with a V-8?

Good recommendations on the car. Now, what about the driver? BEFORE she gets the car, send her to an advanced drivers school (High performance, car control school, skid school, etc.) It will be the best investment you can ever make in her education, because it will help her survive! Buying her a “safe” car won’t help her avoid an accident, teaching her how to control a car just may. And incidentally, get her the car only on the condition that the cell phone stays in the glovebox while she’s driving.

I would have had no problem letting my 15 year old cousin behind the wheel of my chevelle had I not sold it a couple weeks ago. It was a slow v8 with a 2 speed automatic, it would have been a nice car to learn not to tailgate and leave room between your car and the one in front of you. My civic is quicker than the Chevelle, but it’s not as fun to drive.I also suggested a Focus for the girl.