Get him a crapbox and an AAA membership.
In this day and age, I would probably try to find my kid the cheapest/most reliable car that had ESP in addition to the normal assortment of airbags and ABS.
Consumer Reports has a good list of those cars that it recommends for teenagers from both a safety and reliability standpoint, and it includes cars like the Ford Focus (09 and newer), Honda Civic (2012 and newer), Hyundai Elantra (2014 and newer), Mazda 3 (2011 and newer), Subaru Impreza (2015 and newer), Toyota Corolla (2010 and newer), and VW Jetta (2015 and newer). That’s obviously just an excerpt of their list, but you should be able to find most if not all of those cars for less than or around $10k. That should help your son get started while also not feeling too stressed out over damaging a brand new car.
Last edited by BRealistic; 11-21-2019 at 07:27 PM.
This sounds similar to what my father did for me. I was in school, always told to focus on school, didn't have a job but did get one, wanted something I would appreciate but also safe (not powerful) and wouldn't break the bank. We wound up with a lightly used 2004 1.8t 6spd GLI with 17K miles for $16,500 in July of 2006.
My recommendation is to adopt a similar mindset. He doesn't need something brand new, looking 1-2 years old keeps you within a remaining warranty, while reducing cost and increasing available options. Make him do the searching, give him the parameters, see what he finds. For instance, my parameters were warranty, and maximum of $20K including all associated costs, other than that it was whatever I could come up with and then my father would say ok lets go look at it, or no.
Two, five, unlimited?
And yeah- it's the OP's money and kid.
He can and will do what he wants.
It's just.. this is a good learning opportunity for the kid.
Treat this car well and then maybe later..
A several year old used car from a reliable brand, toyota, should be sufficient and have a low risk of breakdown if taken care of properly. Good opportunity to teach car maintenance to the new driver.
My son had a propensity to run into curbs thus destroying wheels, tires and suspension components. First time the hub was pushed so far rearward even the donut spare wouldn't fit. It gets old having to repeatedly replace car suspension components, wheels and tires. Fortunately the curb events did not involve other vehicles. The idea of purchasing a brand new car for a 16yo driver doesn't make sense to me, but others may have a different opinion. A lot depends on the maturity level of the new 16yo driver, some are quite mature and responsible, while others may not be trustworthy enough be independent drivers, YMMV.
I'm in the camp of not getting a new car. I'm thinking $10-12K Camcordrolic of some flavor. The reliability should be there, as well as being a safe, solid car.
That said, my first car was a $1 67 Impala with not a straight body panel on it. My brother and I "split" it, so, technically, $0.50 apiece plus tax, title, license and registration fees.
Smooremin: "Dont worry. My corset really fills me out ."
Sold Over Sticker: "The only difference between innuendo and flirting is the desired result. "
KidL: "Dammit, Chippy! You're making bad choices!"
I think for many it's less a matter that the car is new, but rather that it's safer than something older (usually), and will be more reliable (again, assuming we're talking about a Corolla, Taco, Civic, etc.), which means less of a worry for the parent. Each kid and each set of parents are different, and it's hard to judge.
I know of a friend with multiple kids, and the cars he's bought for them helped them buy, or not helped at all vary based on the kid, their attitude, contributions, etc.
Thanks for all of the input, I REALLY appreciate it.
First, on the comments regarding what's 'right or wrong' to do based on your own experiences, that works sometimes, but not all of the time. Raising my son actually taught me that.
To the point on having a job and being a good student, my wife and I for the first time in years are seeing A's and B's in his report card. This took some time to dial in, but his grades are finally reflecting his smarts. We needed to prioritize that, and now he'll need to find some part time work. He's going to need gas money, right?
I'm now leaning towards finding a reliable type of car that has some years and miles on it. For a lot of reasons that really does make the most sense
It's interesting to me that almost everyone went with Japanese brands as their recommendations. Would it be a mistake to buy a 2015ish CPO Jetta? Those are in that price range and I'd get a 24mo bumper to bumper warranty. I have no problem buying a civic or accord or camry type of car, I just think the Jetta is cooler. But not if it will be a PITA.
Just curious, is your son interested and throwing hints at what he wants or is this a surprise?
CPO cars are good, but the warranty coverage has changed (shorter) since the market has grown for a pre-owned car. VW adds 2 years/24,000 miles of coverage to the original?
I'd throw in a Volvo S60 - their CPO warranties are pretty comprehensive and I don't think they have held their value too well. Actually, the sedan market you can find many good deals.
You know your own kid better than any of us do, but if you're doing a lease so it doesn't matter how he treats it, DO NOT tell him that!
In my experience the kids with nice cars tend to keep them nice and maybe that's a reflection of the parents expectations as well. When I was 16 one of the cars I had regular access to was 9 years older than me and one was 3 years younger. Equivalent today, a ~2006? But if you're going new I think Civic/Corolla is pretty easy choice, maybe involve the kid and they can learn a little about how the transaction is supposed to work? good luck!
This is only temporary, unless it works. - Red Green