Safest cars for teens?

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Posted 11/14/2012 by scrappygirlnextdoor in NSBR Board
 

scrappygirlnextdoor
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Posted: 11/14/2012 2:12:59 PM
I'm about to a have a 16 yo and would love to know what other moms with teens think are good choices for cars. From online research, I know no SUVs and no trucks. We're surprised that Volvos don't make any of the lists I've found online for recommended cars for teens. I thought they were supposed to be really safe... Educate this Mama of an almost-driver!


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gar
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Posted: 11/14/2012 2:21:48 PM
I'm thinking that any car that does well in the safety tests is safe for anyone - teen or otherwise. Are you looking for any particular features aimed at teenagers?


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.emily.
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Posted: 11/14/2012 2:25:20 PM
I don't really think there's a "safe for teenagers" list. If it's a good car/truck/SUV (which many teens drive just fine, especially if they live in snowy areas) in general, it's probably good for a teen? I don't really know what else to tell you.

ETA - It also depends if you plan to buy used/new...obviously certain models of cars have advanced safety features that older ones do not.

3PSoup
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Posted: 11/14/2012 2:27:34 PM
I don't know if you would consider our Chevy HHR the safest car. DH always says you can't destroy a Volvo.

We bought the HHR a couple years ago or so with in mind it would be DD's first car. It is easy to handle, few blind spots, air bags in front, on the sides and also in the back seats. It also gets great fuel mileage.

The one bad thing about the car is it doesn't handle well in snow. For now this isn't an issue because DD isn't experienced enough to drive in the snow. Nor does she want to. So she takes the bus when it is snowy.



scrappygirlnextdoor
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Posted: 11/14/2012 2:28:45 PM
Just a safe, reliable car is what I'm looking for! From all my research it says SUVs and trucks are not suitable for teens due to higher roll-over rate. However, when I see all the students at school, tons of them drive SUVs. It's hard-- you naturally want the safest thing for your kids.


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identicaltriplets
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Posted: 11/14/2012 2:31:15 PM
We bought our girls a VW Jetta. Motortrend rates it as Front Impact Rating of 4 out of 5 and a Side Impact Rating of 5 out of 5. Two of our girls will take the Jetta to college so we are now looking for a car for our other daughter. We like the Jetta but will go with something different for her just so we don't have 2 of the same car.


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Posted: 11/14/2012 2:34:06 PM
When our son was 16 and just starting to drive, DH said he wished he could buy him a Sherman Tank. It's a stressful time for parents. Agree?

Calgaryscrapper
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Posted: 11/14/2012 2:36:48 PM
When you have narrowed your search down call your insurance company and ask what the costs will be on each vehicle. Our son didn't get his driver's license until he was 18 because of the cost of insurance. Our company gave discounts if you took driver's training and if you get good grades in University.

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Posted: 11/14/2012 2:47:09 PM
I would say the one that a parent is driving. I shutter to think about my children driving.

GenealoPea
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Posted: 11/14/2012 3:00:59 PM
My 18 yr old ds has a PT Cruiser. I tell myself it's a safer car for him because it doesn't tempt him to drive fast to feel "cool"... there's no cool in a PT Cruiser. LOL.


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Posted: 11/14/2012 3:22:04 PM
My kids both learned to drive on whatever the biggest car was that we owned at the time. Not because it was the safest, but because we figured it would be best for them to learn to drive the "hardest" one to drive. When they were driving on their own, they drove a Volvo.

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Posted: 11/14/2012 3:26:27 PM
Just wrap what ever car they drive in bubble wrap and you are good to go.



bizzymumma
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Posted: 11/14/2012 3:33:10 PM
I think any vehicle is only as safe as the driver. You can buy the safest rated vehicle on the road, and still get in an accident with poor driving skills. That being said, I would think a bigger vehicle with good quality tires would be the way to go.


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Posted: 11/14/2012 3:43:45 PM

I would say the one that a parent is driving. I shutter to think about my children driving.
Like a window or a lens, lol?

Shudder.

Anyway, the best thing to ever happen with a teen is one that drives! It is a DREAM!

We bought a Buick Park Avenue Ultra for our older son and an Explorer Sport Trac Limited for our younger son.

The safest car is the one they can drive well and handle and fits them well! Our 6' 10" son was not going to fold himself into a car to fit a budget, we went until we found what fit him perfectly. He initially had an Eddie Bauer Expedition but he prefers the MPG of the Park Avenue. And it is a CUSH ride! The little 5' 2" girl across the street would be swallowed up by that car, but it fits our son perfectly.



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BEF2008
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Posted: 11/14/2012 3:48:55 PM
A few years back Ford said it was going to produce the technology that limited speed, use of the stereo equipment and even didn't allow the car to start with back seat passengers -- based on which key fob was used to start the engine. I thought that was a brilliant idea but I don't know if it ever came to be. That's what I'd want for my new drivers -- limit the speed, the passengers and the stereo. Just don't even let that be an option.

Pridemom
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Posted: 11/14/2012 3:57:32 PM
You will be ok Mama. We went cheap on the teen car. It's a '97 Mazda with more miles than I thought possible on a car. My theory is that every teenager has to get that first wreck done and boys are usually sooner than girls. It's paid for itself in saved insurance premiums twice.

Oh, and it's not DS's car, it's our car. We just call it 'THe Mazda.' When DS is ready to leave for college, we may let him take my '03 Ford Focus and I will upgrade. Then DD will be almost 16 and ready to drive the Mazda.




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scraptrinkets
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Posted: 11/14/2012 4:02:35 PM
Don't quote me on this, but I'm pretty sure Ford does have a way to limit the speed on certain vehicles. I think it's called My Key.

SpongeMom
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Posted: 11/14/2012 4:06:07 PM

I would say the safest car for a teen is one that does not have any seating for his or her friends.

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.emily.
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Posted: 11/14/2012 4:41:09 PM

My 18 yr old ds has a PT Cruiser. I tell myself it's a safer car for him because it doesn't tempt him to drive fast to feel "cool"... there's no cool in a PT Cruiser. LOL.



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Posted: 11/14/2012 5:29:02 PM
My nephew had a Volvo. Got in a crash (black ice) and totaled the car. He walked away. The insurance company paid out $500 more than what they bought the car for. They bought the exact same car for him again. Kept him safe.
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scrappygirlnextdoor
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Posted: 11/14/2012 7:36:46 PM
Thanks for all the responses! GamGam, I'm with your DH -- I'd buy a Sherman Tank for my son if I could! I know it's a natural part of kids' growing up, but it's scary!

And I really like this:


"Oh, and it's not DS's car, it's our car. We just call it 'THe Mazda.' When DS is ready to leave for college, we may let him take my '03 Ford Focus and I will upgrade. Then DD will be almost 16 and ready to drive the Mazda."

Very good idea!



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Posted: 11/14/2012 7:59:55 PM
My older son has a Ford Taurus. He has been hit 3 times and has never suffered a serious injury. In fact, his passenger side was smashed in by an oncoming driver and his passenger walked away uninjured. It has been almost totalled twice but has been able to be repaired.

My second son has a Dodge Avenger. This is a very sturdy car but has a blind spot in the rear windows the driver has to adjust for. My son has not been hit nor hit anyone in this car; he's had it almost 3 years.

I prefer midsized cars for teen drivers so if they are in an accident the car doesn't crumple up with them in it.


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Posted: 11/15/2012 8:41:23 AM
Ours will be in a dodge Durango or jeep rubicon with a 5 inch lift, whichever they choose to drive that day.

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Posted: 11/15/2012 9:01:36 AM
Check the safety ratings on vehicles you are looking at. When our kids were buying their first cars I checked online to see what the safety ratings on certain ones were. It's been awhile since I did it, but sadly next one will be getting his license in 2013 so i'll have to research again.

Certainly it's been several years since i've done it, but Chevy Impala's consistently seemed to have good ratings (check though.) I did notice though that one particular model (I believe it was the Dodge Durango) had great ratings several years in a row, then the ratings were very different the next few years. So i'd get a general idea, but double check the specific years you are looking at.

It is nerve wracking having a new driver! I at least felt a little better knowing they were in a vehicle with good safety ratings.

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Posted: 11/15/2012 11:27:00 AM
When our kid was looking for a car, we looked at the safety ratings along with the safety features.

Air bags--not just for the front-seat occupants, but the back seat as well. We also looked at multistage air bags, side curtain, and roof airbags. I think the car he ended up buying has 8 air bags.

Anti-lock brakes and traction control

Good visibility

It may sound counter intuitive for a kid's car, but we also looked at having an engine that was powerful enough to make lane changes and merges safely. I drove a dog of a car as a kid, and there were times when the lack of speed compromised safety, often by pissing off other drivers when the car couldn't get up to the speed of traffic quickly enough.

Proper maintenance will also increase the safety of a car.


PeculiarP
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Posted: 11/15/2012 12:35:38 PM
DH says you can have a rev limiter on anything, keeping the car under a set speed. Currently we have 2 SUVs (must have 4WD where we live in winter) and DD is only 12. We are thinking of buying an older 4 cyl of some kind that we can drive in the summer to save gas$ and turn over to DD once she's of driving age. I'm not certain what make and model, but I'm pretty sure I'll have a GPS installed on it so DD won't be tempted to go places she shouldn't be, or when she shouldn't be . If I'm not mistaken, they have advanced version that you can see what speeds are being driven and other info as well.

ETA: Since an above poster mentioned an HHR, we had one and while it was a reasonable safe vehicle and handled well, I don't think it was super sturdy. Also, because the bumpers were so low, I was constantly getting them caught on things. I am pretty hard on vehicles, but it has been the worst I've owned as far holding up to general use. Seems like something was always falling off of it or breaking. For sake of comparison I've had a 2 door Saturn, Ford Explorer, Toyota Rav4, and now a Jeep Liberty. The HHR had some cool features, but its definitely my least favorite.


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Posted: 11/15/2012 12:48:04 PM
My DSs had to have something that handles well on ice and snow, and they are driving our old (2003) Ford Escape. It has front and side air bags and is a nice sized SUV, not too big, not too hard on gas, but with lots of room for hockey bags. It's been a pretty reliable vehicle.





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Posted: 11/15/2012 12:51:18 PM
I wouldn't put my kid in a Smart Car but I think it just depends on your needs. We let our kids drive the SUV with no problems. They both have taken drivers ed and driven 50 hours with us. So far they have proven they can handle it and plus we do have a lot of snow... Now I will say they do drive the older Civic the most since the SUV is almost brand new. But we don't not let them drive it because they need the experience.


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