Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Vic asks: Thank you for your latest interview on The David Knight Show and the useful info that you provided. My son will be turning 16 later this year and we want to buy him a car either at the end of 2021 or first part of 2022. I’m thinking of getting a 1 to 2 year old used car in very good condition, that is reliable and has good safety features. Are there any specific car brands and models that you would recommend for a teenager? Where would be the best place to buy? Should we buy a so-called “certified pre-owned vehicle” with warranty from a dealer? Also, car insurance for teens is expensive. How important is car model and age of the car when considering the cost of insurance?
My reply: A first car is kind of like a first horse; you want one that is predictable and easy to control, without any weird quirks.
You also want a car that encourages the paying of attention to driving.
I will therefore begin by suggesting – strongly – that you consider finding him a car with a manual transmission. These not only require more skill to drive, they are inherent distracted driving deterrents. They require the driver to . . . drive. To pay attention and so avoid the wrecks that come from the not-paying of it.
I’d also suggest a car that is easygoing, which handles and brakes in a forgiving manner; this will further reduce the chances of an accident occurring as a result of such things as loss of control caused by over-correcting (as when the car’s right-side wheel or wheels dip off the edge of the shoulder).
Lots of glass area and being able to see clearly, especially from the sides, is also very important.
Cost to insure is another important consideration. A teenage driver will pay through the nose regardless because teens are considered “high risk.” But the cost will be much higher if the car is considered higher risk. Anything “sporty” (and more so high performance) will fit this bill. Stay away from coupes and any car with a powerful engine, which a 16-year-old needs (as his first car) like most if us need Face Diapers.
Therefore, I recommend a car I often recommend – and not just teenagers: The Toyota Corolla sedan. This car is available with a manual. It is very easygoing, has perhaps the best reputation (deserved) for being a great value, for low depreciation and very long/reliable service life. This is a car he can learn to drive, get experience driving – which he will not outgrow by the time he turns 18. It’s a car he could drive for years, in fact – and will enjoy it.
With a manual, this car is more fun than you might expect. It also gets great gas mileage and ought to be about as affordable to insure as you’ll find for a teen driver.
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Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
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