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Cars for new Teen Drivers

My 18 year old son learned to drive on our 1999 manual Toyota Camry. He successfully passed his driving test on the first try. He does not have an “attitude” problem, and is not a daredevil kind of kid. His only issue, at present, is that he is an inexperienced driver.

My question is whether he will be just as safe gaining his driving experience in our Toyota Camry, or whether he would be safer if we put him into a Volvo station wagon?

For some reason, people still seem to think that Volvos are the safest cars on the road–but that is a fallacy.

If you go back…20 years or more…Volvo and Mercedes had a definite advantage in terms of passenger protection. However, almost all of the automakers have played catch-up very effectively and most newer cars are equal or superior to Volvos in terms of passenger protection.

If you go the the website for the NHTSA or the IIHS, you can see the safety ratings of everything sold in the US marketplace and you will be able to find many cars that are far cheaper than Volvos and which are just as safe.

That Camry’s good for him, he’s familliar with it. The only weakness in the Camry is that it lacks side airbags. What model and year Volvo?

The 1999 Camry gets a “good” rating for offset frontal crashes from HLDI. IIHS rates it average for injury in accidents. A similar years Volvo V70 wagon is way below average (better) in injury payouts. Note that the IIHS ratings are real work ratings and include the driver, not just the car. The Volvo is bigger, and therefore safer, if the cars are from the same generation. Don’t expect a 25 year old Volvo to compete with a 10 year old Camry, though.

The Camry is just fine.

And tell him he’s lucky: I got a minivan. A white one. With burgundy pinstripes.

My folks had a cruel sense of humor :wink:

If you “put him in a Volvo wagon” he is going to be driving the Camry most of the time anyway because the Volvo will be broken much of the time and in the shop for repairs. The cost of these repairs and their frequency will convince you to sell the Volvo and he’ll be back in the Camry full time. That is if you can still afford any car at all after the Volvo experience.

Older Volvo’s are nothing but expensive trouble, and a new Volvo wagon in the hands of a new driver just makes no sense at all. Stick with the Camry. It is as safe as the Volvo anyway, more reliable, and much less expensive to own and maintain.

Instilling a sense of invincibility is not a good thing for a new driver. Many teens do not get the luxury of driving in a “tank like” Volvo and they survive just fine.

Besides, it isn’t a good idea for an inexperienced driver to switch between different cars.

I would have the kid pays for maintenance and insurance. People paying for their own stuffs generally take better care of them.

Your kid is not a “Volvo” so, please, don’t ask him to drive one…

Driver safety is a matter of skill, not how many air-bags the vehicle has…

If you PLAN on having a wreck, you probably WILL have one…

Thanks for agreeing with me.

I am very sorry that your son’s first car is going to fall somewhere between a very boring car to drive, and an even more boring car that is constantly associated with the worst drivers on the planet, since they believe they won’t get hurt in a crash, and drive like tools in traffic with the rest of the people on the road.

You also haven’t mentioned what type of area you live in (NYC and North Dakota are completely different driving environments), and what type of encounters he will run into on the road (LA rioters, or moose on the road, which is more likely to occur?).

Why don’t you ask him what kind of car he wants, and negotiate with him from that point on?
Or just throw him the keys to the Camry, and let that be that? If he wants a different car, tell him to get a job, save up, and buy whatever he wants as soon as he can afford it.


The question remains, is the Camry up to THIS challenge?

What do either of your posts have to do with what I said? I assumed that they were in response to my post.

I’m surprised nobody has asked yet…what year is the Volvo?

Nomatter, he’ll be safe in the Camry. With the seatbelts, the door beams, the airbags, the crumple zones, and the fact that the Camry is stable and lacks the power to incite drag races, he’ll be very safe. There are countless other safety features designed into the Camry, but I’ll be brief.