The Right Car for Teens
Your teenage son wants a souped-up foreign sports car. You want him to have a sluggish American tank. Is there anything in the middle? Okay, for one arguable reason or another, the kid is getting his own car. Because you can't hold his hand (or his steering wheel) forever, and you are weary of being the household hauler, the best parental protection you can give him now is heavy-gauge metal and a lot of it. You've done enough in giving him the right to drive, you don't have to give him the right to have an early funeral. Here are some general car-selecting no-nos that might help keep the kid out of traffic court, jail, hospitals, and the mortuary:
Do not give him a super-charged, turbo-charged, "Super Zoom" anything. Drivers, every one of them, in hot, high-performance cars automatically catch "Fast Foot Fever;" an incurable ailment that often leads to premature loss of license at a minimum – life, at the ultimate.
Do not give him a "roller." High center of gravity vehicles like SUV’s, especially the small ones, are not an intelligent choice for new drivers who have little experience with the limits of vehicle stability. One bad over-correction because of too little judgment or too much machismo, can easily make the high vehicle topple and roll, leading to tragic consequences.
Don't get him a mini-car. New drivers should have a lot of metal around them. If he doesn't want, or you don't want to give him the family barge, today's mid- and full-size cars offer a lot of crash energy-absorbing metal for your money.
Don't buy him an older car. Give him the best chance to drive and survive with a car that's less than five years old. Most of these will have the newest built-in safety equipment including the two absolute mandatory items -- airbags and ABS brakes.