related linksRead more advice-related articles
MORE ON MSN AUTOS
MORE ON MSN
MSN AUTOS VIDEO
I think a good idea for a younger driver is a compact pickup truck with a standard cab (short cab). This way the truck will only seat two or three people which means the kid can't drive all of their friends around. It also provides a useable work vehicle whenever the family needs to haul something that won't fit in their car. Not to mention it will make moving to college a little easier. Make it a manual transmission to help them develop better driving habits (if they want to buy an automatic later in life, that's fine, but they should learn to drive a manual first). Finally, make it a 4 cyl model so it gets decent mileage and isn't fast enough to get them into trouble.
If you find a used model with between 60k and 80k miles, you will have easily found a vehicle for less then $10k, yet still has most of its life ahead of it. Not bad for a first time ride.
Times have changed since I was a young man, I saved and bought my own car. (A well used 1952 Plymouth 2 door.)
Maybe mom or dad would like to have a better car, wouldn't it make more sense to pass down the family car and get a new or newer one for the parents? At least you know what shape it's in and you probably won't have any unpleasant surprises. If the kid is living at home maybe he could share a second vehicle with mom or dad, and if he or she is going away to college what's wrong with walking, riding a bike or using public transportation. (Some colleges even prohibit freshmen from having a car on campus.)
Remember the TV show, "Happy Days?" Richie had to use the family DeSoto with a roof rack when he went on his dates, beats walking!
When I was a senior in H.S. (1957) I caught a ride with a friend or borrowed our family's old '51 Ford to get around or go on dates. It was either that or use our ton & 1/2 '48 GMC farm truck!
Used car period if you're going to buy them a car. The cheaper the better. If the urchin doesn't like that, let the brat walk.