Mid Week Match-Up: Car For A 16 Year Old Kid
Anyone who has kids has either encountered this issue or will sometime in the future — what do you let your kid drive for a first car? This week’s Mid Week Match-Up request comes from Dee who asks DT’s help in finding a first driver for her soon-to-be 16 year old son. His grandpa wants him to start with a 60s Beetle (like a man!) and his dad is also a car guy (had a really nice late model STI for years) but Dee isn’t quite sure she is willing to let her precious cargo drive something that was designed for 1930s life expectancy or is murderously fast. Budget is flexible, but nothing new or that would spoil the kid. What do you guys suggest?
I’m going to go WAY into left field and suggest this 2004 Ford F-250XL Diesel standard cab pickup here on eBay offered for $6000 buy-it-now in Stongsville, OH. Hear me out with this one — he can’t drive all of his friends around because it only has 3 seats, it has lots of crush the other guy safety weight, he can’t sneak out of the house late at night…BECAUSE GLACKITY GLAK DIESEL…it has a manual gearbox, and rear-drive to teach him the proper techniques of driving a vehicle.
What do you guys think? Preferred area is So Cal, but right now Dee is mostly looking for ideas, so location isn’t as important as the concept.
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Good choice, however, I'd opt for a very late model 6.0 as the early ones were pretty much ticking time bombs. However I'd opt for something that meets halfway between crush the other guy safety and traditional safety with something like this: Vovlo XC 90
While I could offer up our 200K mile Volvo XC90 as a uber-safety-wagon, I like the idea of a pickup truck for reasons that were shared with me, by the father of a young man who had demonstrated jocularity with his fellow testosterone riddled buddies.
A pickup truck offers additional seating for only one additional passenger, ergo the driver only needs to contend with the sage advice of one ill-informed, trouble-prone sidekick. The pickup also serves a dual purpose for the family if one is not already in the fleet. Its elevated ride height provides great outward visibility. In the event of an accident, they tend to fare pretty well (again due to their height and robust build quality). That said..anyone who has ever owned a pickup knows that they are the best training ground for drifting and laying monster patches! 🙂
There is a draw back depending upon how popular the kid is with the ladies. Pickup trucks can be a hotel on wheels when the weather permits.
He'll also quickly find out how many family/friends need help moving large heavy items.
From a seating standpoint? sandiego.craigslist.org/nsd/cto/d/mazda-miata-1997-edition/6499936274.html
Wait, the best of both worlds – the Mionco…er, um, the Bronata? Mionca? – sandiego.craigslist.org/csd/cto/d/lifted-4×4-mazda-miata-bronco/6521190913.html
And he won't be able to afford to fuel the thing – what's not to like? Giving younguns big ass vehicles seems to encourage them to do big ass dumb things.
I agree with you Zach. Don't give them anything that encourages their delusion of immortality.
I like the Miata idea. Or a manual transmission Volvo 240 / 740 / 940. Both are simple, easy to work on, and require the driver to freaking pay attention to the road and not a cell phone. The Volvo offers extra crash safety, while the Miata ensures that there can be a maximum of two irresponsible teens in the car at a time.
I have two boys that are two years apart. They are some years off from driving but they each are very specific on what they want
The more reserved son wants a 240 Volvo
The maniac one wants an r34 like the guy in Fast and furious
Here are my suggestions – I don't think that they are good choices, but if I was a teen I would want
LOL Sean! I am the subject teen's Mom and he would LOVE a 350Z! He wanted that STI so bad and was heartbroken when Dad sold it, but that was just too much car for a boy on the track team surrounded by scantily clad girls who are just fishing for a ride to the local Starbucks. Am I allowed to say Starbucks on this page? At any rate, thanks for the advice! Take care!
Something that they will survive a crash in, Dont all kids crash their first vehicles?
Toyota Tacoma xtra-cab.. not terribly big, but useful
The only car that I crashed, without someone else hitting me, was my parents' car, with them in it! Okay, so I wasn't a teen, and we hit a patch of ice coming down a steep hill going into a four wheel slide.
I guess it just depends on the kid. My son just started driving last month and I was thinking about selling my '07 Ford F250 6.0 Turbo Diesel 4×4 and getting a used Toyota Tacoma (don't want to not have a truck after all these years).
It's a bit on the big side, but he likes how it sits up higher and the vantage point it gives him while driving, plus he digs the visibility all the way around. Sure, gas mileage aint the best, but it's a tank/safe.
Just went through this last year. The NHTSA strongly recommended electronic stability control for new drivers. After searching for vehicles (mostly 2011+) that has this, we ended up with a Kia Sorento. Boring and high mileage (kids dubbed it the Blueberry), but we are rural with 30+ miles to school and a notorious highway for accidents. Done well so far and I think they are reasonably safe.
Went through this a few years ago with my boys – 18 mos apart in age. Grandpa's hand-me-down Camry was our solution. The car was a bit older than they were and closing in on 200k, with the anemic 4cyl. Taught them to drive a clutch in mom's Subaru.
The eldest has always been quite image conscious. For him, the novelty wore off quickly and he scrounged up for a less nerdy car of his own – and promptly blew out his transmission doing burnouts. Number two, the bookish and practical one, embraced the old Toyota and took good care of it. When he left for college, we sold it to another family with a new driver.
Shouldn't be driving at 16.. Driving age should be 18, and require a high school diploma to get a license.
And while you are at it – Get off my lawn!!!!!
My son's first car was a 2002 Ford Ranger single cab, manual transmission, for the reasons you mentioned above. Could only carry one friend, slow, and none of his friends would borrow it because most kids today can't drive a stick. Years later my son confessed my plan worked out good 🙂
If you really want to keep him safe, find a car that no one would ever want to be seen with him in!
Solution to your problems! With a couple of upgrades, you'll be all set with this Corvair. Just add the suspension bar that fixed the problem with the early 'Vairs.