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knightsbff posted 11/4/2013 13:16 PM

I'm shopping for a used car for dd14 to learn to drive in. She will get her permit soon and I don't want her learning in my enclave or her daddy's new, huge, dream truck (he worked hard to finally achieve his nice pick up truck ).

I've done a little research and I've read Mazda6, Toyota corolla and a few others are good bets. I also like the mazda3.

Safety is our top concern so we want updated safety features (traction or stability control?) and safety ratings. We got our oldest dd a used Volvo and she survived high school including a few wrecks 😁.

I'm looking online and have found a 2003 and 2007 Volvo s60 that look acceptable.

BH and I are not car smart at all and HATE car shopping.

I would love recommendations for a teenager car. I would also be eternally grateful for guidance on how to look a potential used car over to see if it is a good bet.


Lionne posted 11/4/2013 13:48 PM

I'm not an expert, but we had GREAT luck with Mazdas in terms of reliability, and they were substantially less money than the others you mentioned...ours were also fun to drive...

TrulyReconciled posted 11/4/2013 13:53 PM


knightsbff posted 11/4/2013 14:02 PM

I'd like to stay under $15,000. Closer to $10,000 is best.

2003 Volvo is asking $8950 with around 55k miles. 2007 is asking $11,995 with 58k miles.

[This message edited by knightsbff at 2:04 PM, November 4th (Monday)]

TrulyReconciled posted 11/4/2013 14:10 PM

For that you can probably get a 2006 or 2007 Subaru Outback. Especially good car if the teens are hauling stuff.

authenticnow posted 11/4/2013 14:14 PM

We have always loved Toyota Corollas for reliability.

Also, DD has a 2005 Honda Civic with 110,000 miles on it and it's a great car. H was driving it one time before we sold it to her and he fell asleep while driving it once (shudder!) and he spun and went off the road and it didn't flip. He said that was a miracle.

We've always had good experiences with Hondas and Toyotas.

somanyyears posted 11/4/2013 14:20 PM

..if i may ask???

..just where is it that a 14 y.o. can drive?

..i thought 16 was the minimum age for getting a permit. rates tend to be 'very' high for new, young drivers. that context, i would tend to be looking at an older, small, low maintainance car.. with heavy duty bumpers!!

..i also suggest that she register with a certified safe drivng school that qualifes her for a special low insurance rate based on the school's training record for safe drivers.

..driving a car is a HUGE responsibility, with lethal consequences and statistics show that the very young drivers are most at risk for accidents.. hence the high ins. rates imposed on them., reliability and modest cost for gas and upkeep would be high considerations, unless money is no object..

..if it isn't, then maybe a Hummer would provide maximum strength if she gets into a wreck.. hopefully not!!!!!

..both of our kids have taken public transit into their 30's, saved millions of dollars in the process.

..our oldest, now 38, has only begun to drive his gf's car last year..

..neither of our adult childen could afford to drive their own car.. driving is a privilege, not a right..

..owning and maintaining a car shouldn't be a free ride.

.. others may disagree, no doubt.


tushnurse posted 11/4/2013 14:52 PM

I had a Mazda B2000 pick up when I was in college and the first couple of years we were married. I loved it. It ran great, was an automatic, and when I sold it it had almost 200k on it.

That being said I would look at Nissan's too. An old Sentra would be a good car. But as a mom of teens I would prefer that they learn in something huge, that way they can drive anything. My son learned in my MB E430, and our Tahoe. you learn to parallel park either of those monsters you can do it in anything, then he took his drivers test in Grandmas Pontiac Vibe. Easy shmeezie.

I just like knowing that if/when he crashes he is in something big and better protected.

knightsbff posted 11/4/2013 14:55 PM

We are looking now because she will turn 15 soon and be able to drive us around with her permit. We don't want her to drive either of our vehicles.

We are kind of thinking of something easier to park than our enclave or big pickem up truck so the hummer is out.

If we had public transportation or walking or bike riding would work around here she wouldn't get a license at 16 but since we live in rural small town, USA she will be learning to drive.

She will not own a car until she works and buys one. She will be allowed to use our third vehicle when it's convenient for us and depending on her record of safety and reliability.

She will be enrolled in a driving school ASAP after her bday.

[This message edited by knightsbff at 2:57 PM, November 4th (Monday)]

wifehad5 posted 11/4/2013 15:05 PM

I'm looking online and have found a 2003 and 2007 Volvo s60 that look acceptable.

Look into the cost of replacing the transmission on one of these before making your choice. That one repair can eat up much of your budget

knightsbff posted 11/4/2013 15:10 PM

For that you can probably get a 2006 or 2007 Subaru Outback. Especially good car if the teens are hauling stuff.

None on auto trader for less than $15k.

Hondas and Nissans were also mentioned as good reliable cars for teenagers. Dd21 drives a Nissan Ultima now and she loves it. It has been very reliable. We bought it used when she graduated HS in 2010 and she is still very happy with it and it has given no problems.

knightsbff posted 11/4/2013 15:17 PM

you learn to parallel park either of those monsters you can do it in anything

No one parallel parks here.

My H never learned to do it. I learned to drive in San Francisco so I know how and curb the tires. He ALWAYS makes me drive in big cities, and I make him drive on long highway drives because I get he's a safer driver.

Dreamboat posted 11/4/2013 16:10 PM

My DD is 16 so I sort of just went thru this. However, I am letting her drive my old car (while still a nice car, but older) and I got a newer car. "Her" car is a 2033 Infinity G35 which we bought new way back when. It has ~120K miles and I have maintained it well. Never had any major issues with it, but regular maintenance is more expensive than most cars. I wanted her to have a car that I KNEW was reliable and not likely to brake down on the side of the road because the only person she can call is me.

She will likely need to paralleled park to pass her drivers test, even if you live somewhere where there is no parallel parking. As long as she learns in the same car that she will be taking the test then she will be fine. Most driving schools teach it but it is not the same as the classroom driving school that many states require so you may have to buy a couple hours of road driving instruction.

As far as insurance, it was not as much as I expected. We got a discount for multi car (did not have that before) and because she was a girl and because she had good grades. She will be covered by your insurance while she has a permit, but she will need it when she gets her license.

Before you go get her permit make sure that you look on the DMV website and bring everything they request. I had to bring: her birth certificate, SSN card, a letter from the school saying she was currently enrolled, my license/ID, and my electric bill to prove I lived there. For her license, I had to bring all of that PLUS a certificate from the driving school and a 40 page form specifying I taught her the 40 driving situations the state thinks is important.

Good luck! Teaching a teenager to drive is an adventure!

Catwoman posted 11/4/2013 16:24 PM

I would go for the Volvo. I had a 1994 Volvo 940 sedan for the kids--great car. The Volvo folks said it was a good kids' car--not a big engine, relatively inexpensive (as Volvos go) to repair.

We have a place here in MA that deals ONLY in used Volvos.


knight posted 11/4/2013 16:58 PM

Weirdly, I don't think you have to parallel park to pass the driving test in my state. At least my BH, DD or DD's roommate did not have to...

Oops...this is knightsbff on BH's iPad.

[This message edited by knight at 5:00 PM, November 4th (Monday)]

Rebreather posted 11/4/2013 17:20 PM

My dd has a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee with 140,000 miles. Her name is Goldilocks. *knock wood* Goldie is doing just fine and gets her from point A to point B. It has antilock breaks and air bags. Four wheel drive is critical where we live, though.

I loved my Volvo when I had it. My ONLY concern is some foreign cars can get pricey to work on when they get some miles on them. That's why we went with a scaled down Jeep - easy for dh to fix when needed and we don't need to take it to the dealer.

Have you heard of carfax? That might be an option for these cars you are looking at. You can always take them to a mechanic you trust for an overview as well.

knightsbff posted 11/4/2013 18:00 PM

Carfax is clean on the volvos. I'm looking on auto trader for some of the other recommended cars now.

We are probably going to have to travel a few hours to find a car we like so we aren't likely to be familiar with any mechanics near the cars we are looking at.

I found a used car inspecting check list on popular ...Do most people jack up a car and put it on stands during a test drive???

Want2help posted 11/4/2013 20:25 PM

I drive a 2001 Volvo V70. I'd rather have a Volvo XC, but we got a killer deal on this one. And I love it. I always joke that it's what our DD will drive when she turns 16 (in 12 years), but she has her heart set on a Jaguar sports car.

Dark Inertia posted 11/4/2013 22:03 PM

In the state I currently reside in (Buckeyeland) I have heard from the natives that the parallel parking test is particularly bad. Granted, the ones who have told me the story are all city dwellers, but apparently the parallel parking portion is notorious. I was living in the boonies when I got my license. My test was literally a short trip around the block, and that was it!

NotDefeatedYet posted 11/5/2013 02:39 AM

Just don't buy a first year model run, regardless of what vehicle you get. Those tend to have the most problems.

Most cars from 2000 and newer are going to be pretty safe. They all have to meet NHTSA crash standards. Traction control and stability control can help, but they can also get you into an accident too, so don't put a ton of faith into them. Proper driving habits will do more than the type of car will. Teach her what it's like to slam on the brakes, or swerve into another Lane. It's best to do that in a controlled situation, and not have the first emergency be the first experience.

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