Perfect car for a 16 yo young man in a big city

My 16 yo son was driving our old 1989 240 Volvo in Portland OR until someone knocked off the front bumper while it was parked in the school parking lot. The repairs exceed the value of the car so now I need to find the perfect vehicle for him to drive to and from school in a big city. I prefer a car that is slow, ugly and very safe. The 1989 volvo did not have air bags which I would like to have. Gas mileage is important but not as important as the above features. If anyone has a good suggestion please let me know. Many thanks.

Crown Vic or it’s cousin, the Grand Marquis. Readily available at decent prices, safe, reliable, lots of room, and decent fuel economy.
I don’t consider them slow and ugly though! JMHO anyway. :slight_smile:

“slow, ugly and very safe”

…I remember when I was 16, I had a vehicle that met all those standards: The Metro Bus.

Hmmm, he would hate it, but a friend of ours got her son a four-cylinder Chrysler mini-van…slow, ugly, and pretty safe.

My own son has now totaled a Mustang and a Lincoln TownCar. Neither of which were slow or ugly, but both of which were fairly safe, except for the fact of being rwd’s in mud and snow country…He loved to throw both of them into wild uncontrolled spins…and you were wondering how he totalled them, right…

If your son is to be trusted at all I would say do not hesitate to buy him a car that has a good reliability rating and it does not have to be slow. A fast car can actually be safer than a slow car if the driver needs to accelerate out of harms way. Often times a car that is faster will also be a lighter car and consequently get better gas mileage than a heavy slow car. My first car(s) to drive were a 1981 Toyota SR5 two wheel drive truck and a 1974 Oldsmobile 98 4 door. The truck was really reliable and got ok mileage. It did not carry more than two additional passengers, but the Oldsmobile easily made up for that. The Oldsmobile had a big 455 cubic inch engine and also got no better than 14 miles per gallon on the highway. Even in 1996 I had trouble getting enough money for the gas I consumed with the Oldsmobile. So, make sure that the car is reliable with low miles or has had lots of good recent maintenance with documents to back it up. Good luck and have fun. We need to trust the kids! I really like my 1990 Toyota Corolla All-Trac wagon that I recently bought and it seems safe, but no airbags. My last car was a 1990 Toyota Celica GTS and it was sporty, but also had a drivers side air bag in the steering wheel. I luckily never needed it. The last thing to say about a big or heavy vehicle is that often times a smaller more nimble car will stop in a shorter distance than a big car. Thanks, Charlie

My suggestions: Any Hyundai (preferably one manufactured 1999 or newer)
Chevy/Geo Prism (a Toyota Corolla for a fraction of the price)
Any Buick, Crown Vic, or other ‘geezermobile’
An ex-school or transit mini-bus (slow, ugly and safe… not the greatest gas mileage, though)

“slow, ugly and very safe”

How about another (hopefully, pre-ford) volvo?

Get whatever you can afford, anything you like. The newer the better. You don’t want to hear this, but there really is no such thing as the “perfect” car for your situation. Nor even close. Any reasonable car will serve you nicely. Even “slow” cars can eventually exceed the speed limit. Even “safe” cars can drive off the bridge. And ugliness is never a virtue.

I am really trying to reassure you. If you have a chance at a great bargain, your neighbor’s creampuff for example, by all means buy it, whatever it may be. All modern cars have crash protection superior to what it wa a generation ago. And no matter what car your son drives, his safety depends almost entirely on his own driving responsibility. If you feel he lacks maturity for such a privilege, the cure is not in the car itself but in your own parenting skills.

It would help to know what your budget is.

And a driver can into trouble with ANY car with and engine not made by Briggs & Stratton!

Why do you need the front bumper?