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Cars for teens

I’m looking a car that I can afford to insure for my 17 year old boy. anyone have any ideas/experience with this?

Late model mid size 4 door sedan (Accord, Camry, Malibu, etc) with a 4cyl engine. Check out the State Farm web site, I think it has rate comparisons. But it’ll be expensive, regardless, for a 17 year old.

Thanks–my ins. company seems to want an older car, but they did like the same cars you suggested. Now, which one of them is best?

All are good, you’ll want to get the Consumer Reports car buying guide to compare. Here’s the link to the State Farm comparison page:

Thanks–my ins. company seems to want an older car

Of course they do…cheapest to repair…highest possible profit for them…

I would take a look at 8-10 year old Crown Victorias. They are reliable, cheap to insure and pretty safe as well. They even get good gas milage for their size.

I have a teen, a new driver as of August '08. He is driving a 2000 Camry, so far so good for driver and car. A Camry is a good choice and there are a lot of them for sale. I also like a Ford Taurus, the front wheel drive ones. They are reliable, relatively inexpensive to buy and repair, and big enough to give your teen a safety cushion in an accident.

ABS brakes are important for new drivers, along with an active training session to teach them how to get the most out of ABS brakes. New cars have all the safety goodies, but you have to pay a lot for a new car. Traction control, stability control, and a zillion airbags are nice but not as critical as ABS brakes.

Stick with any modest sedan or coupe with a good overall reliability record (pick up a Consumer Reports and the nearest bookstore). They’re far more tolerant of tyical new-driver errors than anything with lots of power or a high cenetr of gravity.

I’ll have to respectfully disagree with UncleTuro on the ABS. Not only do I think it’s unnecessary, I think it’s overrated and have personaly encountered it’s inherant weaknesses. It actually lengthens stopping length considerably on skittish surfaces. If a new driver were cruising down that choppy dirt road to the local parking spot and had to hit his brakes he’d discover that he’d just keep going.

You’ll want to have a chat with your insurance agent, combine that with what you find out from CR, etc. I made side airbags a high priority for our teen’s car, they substatially reduce injuries in side-on crashes. Ended up getting a Forester, used.

~10 year old Ford Taurus, Buick midsizes or older domestic sedans are pretty safe in that vintage and cheap to insure, purchase and repair. You only need to carry liability which really helps keep the bill low.

Forget Honda or Toyota as they are overpriced used and have more value so you may be tempted to carry collision and comprehensive insurance.

Whatever you consider check with your insurer first.

I would say the ABS is a must for a starting driver, and that stability control would be very good to have. Insurance companies rate stability control as a bigger safety factor than ABS. (If it has stability control, it will have ABS, as the stability control system uses the ABS system.)

Yes, but a Grand Marquis has the same characteristics and gets you a lower insurance rate. They are very high up on the least likely to be stolen list.

When purchasing a vehicle for a 17 year old to drive, you have to ask yourself a question. If they are in an accident, A, do want them to die, or B, for others to die? With these two options in mind your choices are simple. A. Crown Victoria, Caprice or full size truck or van. B. Toyota Tercel, Ford Aspire or Escort, Sentra etc.

Look at this and find a car with low payouts. Compare a few with your insurer and see what the rates work out to.

Click on ‘Latest Results’ in the upper right to see 2005-2007 info. Earlier results are available, too. The results are a mix of the car’s resilience and the group of drivers that own them. If your son drives a Buick, the rates will be lower than if he drives a Dodge Charger, for instance.

An option that I’ve recommended for some teens is to get a scooter - they cost almost nothing to insure. However, it is true that they would be much less protected than with a car - but with a scooter (instead of a motorcycle) they can’t go very fast, so they would probably be ok. I’m sure most teenage boys wouldn’t want one, but if they could use it to get around (like to a job) until they can pay for their own insurance, and if your climate is warmer, it might be an option.

I got mine a 6 year old Ford Ranger, 4 cylinder manual transmission. Inexpensive, easy to maintain and insurance was cheap too.

When it came time for me to drive I was put into the family cars, no one ever thought of buying a special car because I started driving. 62 T-Bird and 66 Dodge van.

The problem with a scooter is that they are very unsafe even in the unlikely event that the teen ager tries to drive it safely. At least 50% of the drivers on the road are incompetent, inattentive, incapacitated, or just plain crazy. Anyone on two wheels is taking their life in their hands unless they can manage to stay out of traffic. As a practical matter bicycles can be (legally) ridden on bike paths and (illegally) ridden on the sidewalk in most places without interference from the police. Scooters OTOH can’t.

Same car except badging (Ford/Mercury)

Generally speaking that is true, though the suspension varied on them somewhat in later years (ca. 2004 up). For some reason, the Mercs are cheaper to insure.