Your Teen's First Car

First comes the driver's license, then comes the negotiations for a car of his/her own. Few events are as stressful in a parentâ€"teenage relationship as a teen's first auto. While Mom and Dad are thinking safety, the newly-minted driver is thinking style and speed. Is there a compromise?

“Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.”—Steven Wright

First comes the driver’s license, then comes the negotiations for a car of his/her own. Few events are as stressful in a parent—teenage relationship as a teen’s first auto. While Mom and Dad are thinking safety, the newly-minted driver is thinking style and speed. Is there a compromise? According to car mavens, there can be. First off, rule out SUVs. With today’s sky-high gas prices, they’re way too expensive, and they are often too much vehicle for your teenager to handle safely.

The safest car, say the experts, is a four-door sedan or station wagon equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS) and automatic transmission. A stick shift can give a novice driver too many things to think about besides keeping the car on the road. When you’re looking at costs, a certified used car is often the best way to go, although a new car may have more safety features and lower insurance rates as a result. When buying car insurance for your teen, adding him/her to your policy is often the cheapest option, although it’s not really going to be cheap. To save some money, look into perks your insurer may offer, like good-student discounts.

So are there any good compromise choices for your teen’s first car? Cars that both teens and parents might be happy with, say the experts, include the Honda Civic and Accord, the Toyota Scion, Corolla, and Camry, the Nissan Sentra, and the Ford Focus. If cost is not an issue, autos like the BMW 3-Series, the Acura TL, the Audi A4, and the Mercedes C-Class make the list.

$13,900Average price of a used car.(Edmunds.com, 2008)

Read More:

Young Drivers Guide

Best Cars For First-Time Drivers

Best Used Cars for 2008

Car Concerns: Buy or Lease?

Lower Car Insurance Costs