If you plan to buy your teen their own car when they start driving (or they plan to buy one themselves,) you want to get the safest, most reliable one that fits your budget. Here's what you should pay attention to when choosing which car to buy.
Consumer Reports put together a list of cars they recommend, based on the following criteria, which you can also use to narrow down your choices:
- What advanced safety features does the car have? This commonly includes electronic stability control (ESC), side and head curtain airbags, and anti-lock brakes. They specifically say you should absolutely rule out cars without anti-lock brakes.
- How did the car fare during crash tests? Cars with high ratings in crash test performance from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) are good bets, and important to research, especially for younger, more inexperienced drivers.
- What model year is the car? Some features are standard on cars after a certain year. For example ESC is almost always included on cars produced after 2012.
- How reliable is the car? You'll have to rely on reviews from other people or well-known review sites to determine how the car will perform in the coming years, but consider longevity, total cost-of-ownership, and cost-to-repair.
Beyond this criteria, Consumer Reports notes some cars (namely 4WDs) are more prone to rolling over, and others encourage dangerous driving (sportscars). The above video also goes into specific recommendations, not all of which are available in Australia. Nevertheless, there's plenty of general advice that applies Down Under.
Best Used Cars for Teens [Consumer Reports]