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      01-13-2019, 12:51 PM   #1
HadesM3
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Good reliable first car for a 16 year old?

To the parents out there.

My son recently turned 16 and has a learners permit and will be looking to get his license in about a year.

What do you think are good choices that are safe, reliable and cheap to maintain and just quick enough to keep him out of trouble, but fun? He's not a car guy, but I'd like him to learn to drive a manual if possible. As of now, he is not a DIY, so reliability is a huge plus.

My budget is $25k and will be the car he will eventually takes to college.

My first thoughts are as follows:

2019 Honda Accord Sport
2019 Civic Si
Used 2018 GTi (concerns about reliability)
Used 2017 BRZ (concerned a little small)

My wife would like to pass down her 2017 IS350F, which is the car he is learning to drive in. This might be a good option, since the wife wants something a little larger.

To the parents out there with teenage kids, what are you putting your teens into? The dad side of me says the new Accord would be great, my enthusiast side thinks a BRZ would be a cool first car.

I appreciate any advice
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      01-13-2019, 01:08 PM   #2
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get a tank. 10yr old used suburban.
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      01-13-2019, 01:19 PM   #3
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I got my son an Elantra after he got his driving license. He was still a new driver driving down my street when a high school student blew past a stop sign on a side street and plowed into my son's car hitting it solidly on the side. It threw my son's car into the other lane where it hit a Jeep and flipped the jeep over on its roof.

The girl who blew through the stop sign broke her arm. My son was fine.

The point to my story is safety is a key concern for a new driver, much more so than a performance car. He will have plenty of time to develop a love for and ability to drive performance cars.

Your wife's Lexus might be a good choice IF it has all the safety features (blind spot warning, emergency braking, etc.). For a new driver I would not provide him with a car without all the new safety features.

Your other alternative is, of course, a 1980 Volvo station wagon!

My first car after college was a used Mercedes 190D. It had 250K miles on it when I got it. I used to joke that it was 0-60 in a week and a half. Recently, out of curiousity, I looked it up. It was actually rated at 0-60 in 26 seconds!! So my original estimate wasn't far off.
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      01-13-2019, 01:24 PM   #4
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relibilty is meh, if you car still has warranty; you get loaner and tow.. so thats kind of out of scope imo.

why buy new? Doesnt make sense to me anymore. Buy CPOs and get "free waranties" from idiots like me who buy new and decide to go to other paths.

damn pass down an is350; a 2017 to boot. shit where do i sign up LOL. also props to hooking your kid up with the car. My parents did the same for me; and I hope to do the same for my chidren
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      01-13-2019, 01:25 PM   #5
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My pops got me a 13 yr old Toyota Camry for $5k when I was in high school. Good reliable car but I was unhappy with it Lol. Dorkiness aside, it just didn't feel very safe like newer cars at the time. Paper thin doors, sloppy driving dynamics, FWD so slipped around in the consistently wet NW weather.

I'm not even close to being a parent, especially of a high schooler, but I think a lightly used Subaru or Toyota/Honda would be perfect. Why buy new btw? Total waste of money in my opinion as it's just a car for a kid.

I don't think a high schooler should be driving anything fancy or sporty; I saw how entitled/cocky my brother got when he weaseled out my dad's BMW once he came of age. That cockiness has persisted in him as he's always gotten what he wanted. Also, kids (especially boys) do a lot of stupid stuff as new drivers, best to get them something they'll be less tempted to act foolish in.
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      01-13-2019, 01:27 PM   #6
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Honda Civic. Can't go wrong.
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      01-13-2019, 01:30 PM   #7
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Toyota pickup, old one, manual. Make him learn to fix it. And they need to buy to themselves. You never take care of someone elses stuff so well as your own as social programs have taught us.
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      01-13-2019, 01:31 PM   #8
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I put my daughter in a used corolla. Low maintenance, great gas mileage, and great car for her to learn and beat on without concern.
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      01-13-2019, 01:49 PM   #9
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I agree with the comments of why buy new. I have a wife that is overly protective of her kids and thinks new is better.

Most likely whatever brand/model we choose it will be lightly used and probably two years old to save the brunt of early depreciation.

Please keep the ideas coming. Thanks again!
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      01-13-2019, 01:51 PM   #10
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I agree with the others above. A 25k car for a 16 year old that is most likely gonna bang it up is overkill. I would say a 5-10k car for a few years then move up to the 25k at around 19. When I was younger I certainly wouldn't want that for myself but now looking back it would have been the smart decision. First car got pretty beat up.
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      01-13-2019, 02:18 PM   #11
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Got my kid a Yaris for $8000 with 15K miles on it, like new. Slow, manageable, and bulletproof. He put 25K miles on it and sold it for $10,000, making a profit after driving it for two years.
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      01-13-2019, 02:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZombieM3 View Post
To the parents out there.

My son recently turned 16 and has a learners permit and will be looking to get his license in about a year.

What do you think are good choices that are safe, reliable and cheap to maintain and just quick enough to keep him out of trouble, but fun? He's not a car guy, but I'd like him to learn to drive a manual if possible. As of now, he is not a DIY, so reliability is a huge plus.

My budget is $25k and will be the car he will eventually takes to college.

My first thoughts are as follows:

2019 Honda Accord Sport
2019 Civic Si
Used 2018 GTi (concerns about reliability)
Used 2017 BRZ (concerned a little small)

My wife would like to pass down her 2017 IS350F, which is the car he is learning to drive in. This might be a good option, since the wife wants something a little larger.

To the parents out there with teenage kids, what are you putting your teens into? The dad side of me says the new Accord would be great, my enthusiast side thinks a BRZ would be a cool first car.

I appreciate any advice
2017 IS350F or used. There is no sense in giving a first time driver a new car. Give him something slightly used that has already had a lot of depreciation. Used Civic Si, FR-S, or Fiesta St.
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      01-13-2019, 03:34 PM   #13
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I was in your shoes a couple of years ago but ended up getting a used Mazda3. Great choice, and as others have said these cars get beat on pretty bad by new drivers and their friends. Just not worth it to buy anything remotely expensive as it’s a big waste of money. My biggest factors were safety, reliability, efficiency.
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      01-13-2019, 04:08 PM   #14
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I personally wouldn't give my son a vehicle with anything over 200hp in his teens. That's just too much temptation. I'd go with anything 4 door that fits all your criteria of safety. This is the first car we are talking about here. Priority should be safety, functionality and insurance rates.
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      01-13-2019, 04:09 PM   #15
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I put my son in an 09 328xi 2 years ago. He swims and had a 30 min commute to school and back every day, traversing 4 different interstates both ways. I've been very pleased with the car, and he's taking it on a 2 week journey out west from Atlanta after graduation. I'm very confident the car will perform.
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      01-13-2019, 04:10 PM   #16
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I’d get a used Honda Civic or Mazda 3, but not any performance trims like the Si. Anything performance oriented is asking for trouble.
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      01-13-2019, 04:25 PM   #17
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Lots of great advice! I'm glad I posted this thread. You guys make a lot of sense.

My hope was to get a somewhat sporty car and he would get into cars and want to work in the garage with me for some quality bonding time. Hasn't happened yet with my cars. He's a typical teen that wants to play video games and hangout with friends versus dad. Thankfully he's a great student at least.
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      01-13-2019, 04:31 PM   #18
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In 2000 I gave my son a 1994 Mazda Protege 4 dr sedan that had about 70KMs on it. It was the car he learned on, and it was a manual tranny (he drives a older Lexus SUV now which is auto, but he has always thanked me that I taught him to drive stick). The Protege lasted about 6 years with him, and he sold it to a friend who put a bunch more mileage on it.

That is the kind of car that a 16 year old should get as a first car, IMO. I won't worry too much about getting him something in the "enthusiast" catagory.
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      01-13-2019, 04:45 PM   #19
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Used, FWD or AWD, low HP.

No RWD or performance.

Put them in a class like TireRack Street Survival school. BMWCCA does these too. It's great perspective for new drivers and teaches actually driving skill (ABS activation, threshold braking, slalom, wet skidpad, understeer, oversteer, skid correction, etc)
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      01-13-2019, 05:25 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSmartyPants View Post
Used, FWD or AWD, low HP.

No RWD or performance.

Put them in a class like TireRack Street Survival school. BMWCCA does these too. It's great perspective for new drivers and teaches actually driving skill (ABS activation, threshold braking, slalom, wet skidpad, understeer, oversteer, skid correction, etc)
Yes, this. We did the class a few months after he started driving. Highly worth it!!
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      01-13-2019, 05:31 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a4nut View Post
Yes, this. We did the class a few months after he started driving. Highly worth it!!
Mine aren't there yet, but I fucked up more than my share of perfectly good cars as a kid. My kids will probably do 2 of these when the time comes. I didn't learn it for years until I autoxed and spent plenty of time in snowy parking lots.

Last edited by MrSmartyPants; 01-13-2019 at 08:22 PM..
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      01-13-2019, 07:57 PM   #22
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Subaru crosstrek in manual. Reliable, safe, and super practical.
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