For many, a first car and driver’s license is a rite of passage. For the teen getting a driver’s license is a momentous occasion, but the license is only half the equation. Do we go to the local dealer and get a new vehicle or something more on the used side. As parents we are faced with a hard choice. We want the best for our kids, but we also understand that teenagers lack a certain amount of maturity, experience, and responsibility, so spending a ton might not be the best option.
Here are a few things to consider when looking to get your teen driver their first car.
The obvious advantages here are many. Modern safety features as well as modern amenities like GPS tracking and On Star. There are other safety features like Electronic Stability Control, Modern Airbags, and even Crash and crumple technology that don’t exists on older model cars. The only Con here might be in the pricing. For some buying a brand new car might seem like a waste of money. Car Crashes are among the highest with this particular age group. Also because you have to carry full coverage insurance the operational costs are much higher.
For most families the Used Car option is the clear choice for a first time teen driver, for obvious reasons. They cost less, they’re generally cheaper to insure, and if you buy the right make and model they can be every bit as safe as a new car for your teen to operate. For example any car made after 2012 is required by law to come with Stability Control so this is not a premium feature in 2012 or newer cars.
This is the third option, and lies somewhere in the middle when it comes to finding a balance between cost and safety. These cars are typically lease vehicles that have been returned in good condition, so they can be sold as new, but they still fall within the manufacturer’s warranty in most cases. You’ll pay a higher rate than for full used cars, but less than a model year new car while getting a car that has fewer miles overall and modern safety equipment.
However you chose to go about getting your teen their first car, your local dealer will have plenty of options for you. Make sure you do your research, set a budget, and remember this is a once in a lifetime experience for the both of you so enjoy it.