10 Rides for Teens
They are safe and reliable and won't cost you an arm and a leg.
It's a tough choice: Do you help your teenager get his first car and take the chance that he will be responsible, or do you continue to act as his personal chauffeur until he leaves the nest? Inevitably, it's not really up to you. Almost every teen desires the freedom that a car provides, and will do anything to get it. So you can either embrace the horror, or stick your head in the sand and hope for the best. The question really is: Do you let teens take a chance with a used car or assist them with financing to get the security and reliability of a new one? Here, we examine the latter option and identify 10 affordable yet practical first rides for teens.
Starting price: $16,275
Quiet, refined and engaging to drive, the Chevrolet Cruze is, in our opinion, the best compact car General Motors has ever built. While it handles well, power is modest at 138 horsepower, so fuel economy is good — 36 mpg highway — and speeding tickets won't be that easy to get. It's safe, too. The Cruze comes with 10 standard airbags, including rear side and front knee bags, which are rare in luxury cars, let alone compacts. The Cruze is also an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick.
Starting price: $13,320
A few years ago, America wouldn't have gone for a car as small as the Ford Fiesta. But times have changed, and the Fiesta is at the forefront of a new small-car trend. Its small, 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine makes only 120 horsepower while delivering fuel economy as high as 29 mpg city/38 mpg highway. While we prefer the similar Mazda Mazda2 for its slightly better interior and sharper driving dynamics, the Fiesta gets the nod here because it earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick and the Mazda2 did not.
Starting price: $15,100
The Honda Fit is thoughtfully designed and engineered, with plenty of room for passengers and cargo. In fact, with 57.3 cubic feet, it has as much cargo space as many compact SUVs, so there's plenty of room for toting stuff to and from college. Under the hood, you'll find a tiny, 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes just 117 horsepower, but the Fit delivers fuel economy as high as 28 mpg city/35 mpg highway. Like other Hondas, it should also maintain a high resale value, which will give either you or your teen a valuable trade-in when it's time for that next car.
Starting price: $19,195
The 2011 Hyundai Sonata has made a splash as a worthy family-sedan competitor to the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. But the reasonably priced base trim could also work as a teen's car. For $19,195, your teen gets tech features such as a USB port for iPod connectivity, satellite radio and Bluetooth hands-free cell phone connectivity, plus all the amenities, such as power windows and locks, cruise control and remote keyless entry. We like the Sonata for its refined and roomy interior, pleasant ride and, most importantly, value.
Starting price: $15,800
The Mazda Mazda3 has been our favorite compact car for years. For quite awhile it stood head and shoulders above the competition in terms of refinement and handling. New or redesigned competitors such as the Chevy Cruze, Hyundai Elantra and, hopefully, the forthcoming Ford Focus are just now catching up. The Mazda3 has other strengths: The hatchback body style adds cargo versatility, its base 2.0-liter engine is quick, and it's darn fun to drive.
Must-See on MSN
I'm tired of reading these MSN articles that are clearly out of touch with today's reality and the vast majority of american families.
Even in wealthy neighborhoods with kids in expensive private schools families are NOT buying many new cars, mostly they buy 3 to 8 year old used cars.
And they buy Teens sensible, SAFE, Reliable cars; mostly small & midsize sedans.
Cars such as Camry, Civic, Altima, Sentra, Corolla, Malibu, Regal, Taurus, etc.
Most of which are not in the article because the article isn't about the readers its about advertisers in MSN. Get with it or lose our "eyeballs"...
When stating that a new muscle car was 3,000 to 4,500 dollars in 1967, you must keep inflation in mind. A dollar in 1967 has the same value as $6.35 as of 2009 (could not find more recent data). Multiply everything you thought was cheap by 6.35. The average cost of gas in '67 nationwide appears to be 33 cents, not 25 according to (http://www.1960sflashback.com/1967/Economy.asp), though you might have been in one of the states that imposed less gas tax. 2.10 a gallon is what the cost was for a gallon of gas on average in '67 in 2009 dollars. Splitting the difference in your estimate of what you think those muscle cars cost in '67 results in around 24,000 dollars in today's money. Saving gas and money on spoiled teens seems like a good idea to me, but our consumption based economy pushes us in the opposite direction. Reap what you sow and earn every penny along the way. That's the honorable example we must set for teens. Buying them new cars to keep them 'safe' and help them feel good about themselves is rubbish.