Right used car for Maine teenage son?

I want to find a reasonably priced used car for my 17-year old son that is a) safe, b) good in the snow, and c) good on gas.

Any ideas?? (All his friends seem to have front wheel drive Volvos.)

All his friends seem to have smart parents.

Aside from the Volvos (which aren’t really that good on gas) I’d suggest looking at 2000 or newer model year Hyundais. Also, the Chevy Impala wouldn’t be a bad choice either.

How about a Subaru Impreza?

Even these cheapest of Subarus have an unmatched AWD system, and if you are looking for excellent traction, these cars will provide it. And, even if they do not have the safety reputation of Volvos, Subarus actually are among the highest rated vehicles in terms of driver and passenger protection in the event of a crash.

While Subarus will not yield the highest gas mileage (due to the AWD mechanism), neither will a Volvo, and the Impreza may be slightly more economical than a Volvo.

What is your price range? Do you want a new or used car? We can narrow down the choices if you help us with more information.

A 17 year old may (unintentionally) do things to a Subaru that will be very expensive to fix. A front drive econobox with good winter tires is the best and least risky way to go! A Hyundai Elantra is a very underrated, but excellent car.

A Subaru would be fine as long as you avoid the turbocharged models which are real rocket sleds. If he wants one of them, tell him to buy it for himself after he is grown up and on his own.

Hondas and Toyotas are very reliable. However, their excellent reputation makes them rather expensive as used cars.

I second this advice. Also, the Subaru’s AWD system will give him a sense of invincibility in the snow (in addition to the sense of invincibility that comes with being a teenage boy) and, though he can get going well enough, the AWD won’t help him stop or turn. Plus if he learns to drive in a Subaru, he won’t learn how to drive in the snow, which will be important if he wants to drive anything else in the future.

A front drive car with good snow tires will brake and handle well enough in the snow, but will give him an appreciation for slippery conditions.

Being a Mainic too, I can say that Subaru?s are an outstanding winter car, Our kids were well served by Chevy Prisms (2) which are Corolla clones, outfitted with studded snows on all 4 wheels. Our daughter graduated to my compact 2 wd PU with 350 lbs of tube sand in the back and studded snows. I would rather have winter tires and properly prepared 2wd than awd without. It?s a foolish trade off.
The only thing I would fear about awd even with snows, is that an inexperienced driver could outdrive (too fast for conditions) the tires and be in more jepardy than with 2 wd. That?s why I stayed with 2 wd for kids. It?s a judgement call.
Volvos are over priced status symbols for kids IMO.

If you want him to avoid buying a Corolla when he’s older, force him to drive one now. How can we act like parents if we give him something he wants? Sometimes you have to choose from what’s for sale. I see lots of 1995 stuff for less than $1600 but they are mostly pickup trucks. Anything Corolla sized or smaller as long as it’s not a Kia. Those Hyundais with higher mileage; 80,000 aren’t holding together as well as we thought they would either. Where is your copy of Consumer Reports Automotive Issue? Your Buying Guide? That is the first reference for thoughtful parents.

I think it is a mistake to assume there is a “right” car for your son. There a great many sedans that are quite suitable for your purpose. To lean toward a single make/model suggestion means you will be eliminating the others. Heed Docnick’s suggestion of a front drive econobox with good winter tires. You won’t go far wrong.