Decision Guide


Most extravagant cars of all timeMost extravagant cars of all time

A look at 20 one-of-a-kind automobiles meant only for the 1 percent.



Aug 19, 2014 8:02AM
The best car for a teen is any car where they can't cram ANY of their idiot friends into the car with them.  No distractions, no texting to the person in the back seat, no dopey boyfriends driving, nothing like that.  And oh, by the way...if you have daughters, their first car needs to be a stick shift.  Only 1 in 216 boys has the seeds to drive a stick shift, especially in front of a girl he likes.  So Dad:  Get out the sawzall and the welder, and make her car a 1-seater with a 5 speed.  With a cellular jammer.  big old thing that can take a hit from a loaded cement truck.
Aug 19, 2014 8:25AM
The best car for a teenager? The one they can afford.

Let mom & dad TEACH THEM on their car first.  Then let the child buy his/her own.  Like I did.  Like people USED to do.

Kids are dangerous in cars partly because they aren't taught to respect the power.  Take the kid into an empty parking lot and let him ruin some tires learning the limits of the vehicle in relative safety.  Get them into a class.

And the best lesson: EARNING the vehicle.  Not being handed a car that mom & dad bought them.
Aug 19, 2014 8:52AM

I was going to say "any old beater" so they can learn how to fix them, but cars now days are so complicated with all the electronics, that it's almost impossible to be a "shade tree" mechanic any more.

My first car was a 64' Dodge Dart.  It needed lots and lots of work just to keep it running.  Me and my buddies spent lots of time working on our old beaters.  At any given time half of our cars weren't running, and that meant we were under the hood instead of out running around getting into mischief.

Ah the good old days when you could pop a hood, identify everything, actually get to it, and with a minimum amount of hand tools and enough elbow grease, fix things.

Aug 19, 2014 8:29AM

This is an insane list!  What ever happened to teens driving "clunkers"?  Most of these cars are likely better than their parent's cars!

I'm in the 1% and I'm not going to get a teen the Volvo, the Ford Fusion, the Subaru, or the Lexus mentioned on this list!!  How many teens can afford to buy one of these cars on their own?  As a parent, I will put my own teen is a safe clunker!

If you really want the BEST used cars for teens, then put them exclusively in a late model used $50,000-plus survivable crash-rated Mercedes or Volvo four door sedan, (the ONLY cars that actually can survive a highway crash).  But, that is not going to happen in most households in America.

Aug 19, 2014 1:57AM
I would never buy a teenager a foreign car. Too expensive to repair. It's sad that there were only 2 American cars on this list. (okay, one was a truck)
Aug 19, 2014 1:28PM
The new generation certainly is pampered - according to this story - my parents never bought me a car.  My first car was a used VW Beetle for $700 - which I got when I was 20 and had my first job. 
Aug 19, 2014 8:26AM

Who the heck buys a first time driver a $10k + car?  There is one constant with teens, they WILL have an accident, and they WILL get the car dinged up.  So unless you can afford $400+ per month insurance you can kiss that $12,000 car goodbye.  The best teen cars are the cheapest ones with the least number of issues.  Old Hondas are great if you aren't worried about driving in snow or them getting hit by an SUV or truck, but they are also found for $4k+ with 250k miles just because they are fairly reliable and cheap to drive.  Most old American models require transmission changes after 100k miles, so even a $1500-2500 American car will likely cost you $4k anyway.  Your best bet is to find an old Honda, Kia, Hundai, Toyota, or maybe even compact Ford or Chevy that has a blown timing belt, which you can usually buy for about $500, then spend $1500-2k having the top end of the motor rebuilt.  Make sure it is a stick because usually all they need is a clutch, not an entire transmission.  And you will end up with a car with decent gas mileage that will start every day and run for another 100k miles with minimal money spent on maintenance. 

Save the $10k+ cars for college after they have experience driving (and spending their hard earned money on fixing dents) and need a car that can be on the highway safely for more than 15 miles at a time. 

Aug 18, 2014 6:00PM
None of the above.  The best used car for a teen is an early-eighties Mercedes-Benz 240D diesel with a four-speed stick.  Solid, safe, and slow.
Aug 19, 2014 9:56AM

The world is not the same place where I grew up, a world where you could hitch a ride if your car broke down. With consolidated school systems, teens travel further and further from home. You do not want your teen broken down on ANY road in America, esp. after dark.  Too many crazies out there. The whole point of teens having cars is convenience for the parent so that a teen can drive to the numerous school, church, community, social activities in their lives or to jobs which, YES, will keep them out after dark.  So often you read of missing teens whose old clunker broke down and was found on the side of the road, body found later.  Give your teen the most reliable car you can afford for safety's sake.  You can teach them lessons of pride and responsibility in ownership by requiring them to pay for maintenance, etc.

But don't send your child out in an old death trap.

Aug 19, 2014 3:56AM
This was my favorite statement about the Lexus ES from the highly qualified writers at Motor Trend, "One of the best ways to become an experienced driver is seat time in a comfortable sedan cruiser".  Really?  A Lexus known for a ride numbing experience, devoid of all driver feedback and fun?  That's how you become an experienced driver?
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