The age old question what car for the kid?

Looking for something used in the 4 door sedan range for our 18 year old to drive to work and in a year to college (at home). No more than say $5K-$8K at most. Looking for safety and maybe mileage.

What say you all? I was thinking maybe Honda Civic or maybe a Chevy Malibu or Impala? Or perhaps a little Fiat?

IMHO, your best bet in that price range–in terms of both safety and reliability–would be a Buick or a Ford Crown Victoria/Mercury Grand Marquis (mechanically identical) purchased from a senior citizen.

The gas mileage with these sedans will not be as good as that of a Civic or a Fiat, but they are built very sturdily and don’t require some of the maintenance that the smaller cars do. For instance, you don’t have to worry about a timing belt with a Buick or a Ford/Mercury.

Thank you very much for that advice.

In 2008 we bought a 2000 Camry for our son to drive in hs and college. It had 68,000 miles and was in excellent condition. Now the Camry is back home with 185,000 miles on it and it still looks decent. The son has a newer Corolla now and we keep the Camry as our 3rd car.

See if 2008 Camry or Civic are in your budget range.

One thing to keep in mind: The newer the car, the better the safety features. Tests have proven new, small cars will protect the passengers in a wreck better than old, big cars. Most cars after the mid-2000’s will be pretty safe. So while you’re looking, factor in vehicle age.

We have a 2009 Cobalt LT and a 2010 Cobalt LS, and both have been reliable. The cost will be under $8000 for even a 2010 LT sedan unless it is fully optioned. They were built from 2005 to 2010 and later replaced by the Cruze. By the end of the production run, any early model year problems were fixed. They are sensible, economical transportation.

Honda Civic, Chevy Malibu, Impala, I’ve give a thumbs up to those. The little Fiat not so much. Your 18 year old needs something super-reliable. He needs to focus on work and school and not trying to figure out why the car won’t start or the brakes don’t work or the doors won’t unlock.

To those above I’d add the Corolla, Yaris, Camry, Accord. There’s other possibilities too, so ask your son what he wants, and the experts here can offer-up their opinions. This is a good opportunity for your 18 year old to get a first course in compromise and common sense.

Aside from the aforementioned vehicle suggestions, there is one more item to consider.

The more the kid has to invest his/her own time and money in getting a car, the more he/she will take care of it.

My middle son has Mazda 3. Great little car.Four door. Extremely reliable. You can buy a new one for under $15,000. Used should be well in your price range. Excellent gas mileage.