| Mar 21, 2011
The first time you hand over you keys to that young driver in your house is already stressful enough for any parent. According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 3,000 teenagers were killed in auto related accidents in 2009 and over 350,000 were injured. With all of the statistics adding to the anxiety of any parent, the car they drive shouldn't add more.
Many teens will take over the family car while others will be treated to a newer model. The great news for parents looking for a safe and well equipped used car, there are many options to choose from. While the economy continues to struggle, consumers are keeping cars longer so the used car inventories are not as abundant as they once were.
Below is a list of vehicles we came across that have a price point of $15,000 that have the pertinent safety features most parents expect when handing over the keys to their new driver such as multiple airbags, anti-lock brake systems, cruise control and other safety features that help bring peace of mind. Safety, fuel mileage and ongoing maintenance costs are other things parents should consider.
Here are a handful of vehicles that meet the requirements above that can help on your journey:
Volvo S40 - Volvo has always been synonymous with safety, often touting advances in areas such as frame integrity, air bag technology and blind-spot sensors far ahead of the competition. This particular model has the added benefit of bucking the Swedish company's homely-car tradition. Around 2004, the S40 got a make-over that rounded out its flanks and turned it into a genuinely stylish machine whose five-cylinder engine will deliver solid gas mileage at a leisurely pace.
Subaru Outback - Skiing families know all about the four-wheel-drive prowess of the Subaru line. So if your teen plans to hit the slopes solo, the Outback wagon is one of the most affordable-dependable rides around thanks to its battle-tested four-cylinder boxer engine and sure-footed foul weather manners. Large enough to fit friends and gear alike, the Outback also enjoys a dedicated fan base that will snap the car up when you're ready to sell it.
Mazda3 - Whatever you may think of Mazda's odd "Zoom Zoom" ad campaign, these Japanese imports do offer considerable zip and driver involvement best exemplified by the company's wildly successful MX-5 Miata. And that connection to the road will only help a new motorist settle into the art of driving. The Mazda3 is at its most practical in either sedan or Touring/hatchback configurations, with a four-cylinder engine that is as peppy as it is sting.
Ford Escape Hybrid - If you happen to be an SUV-loving family, this is one option that won't suck parental coffers dry at the pumps. With its hybrid engine, the four-cylinder Escape delivers around 30 mpg in the city and on the highway. Although this car got a sheet metal overhaul a few years ago, its mechanical underpinnings remain essentially unchanged from its 2005 debut. Buying used also means you can often find premium options such as navigation and premium stereo at essentially no extra cost.
Toyota Camry - The venerable - OK, some would say boring - Camry has been around since 1983, and it's just hard to find much fault with Toyota's four-door stalwart. With its nondescript looks and frugal workhouse of a four-cylinder engine, the Camry is a car that defines reliable while at the same time deflecting attention from everyone from car thieves to cops. If you're partial to other Japanese marques, Nissan's Altima and Honda's Accord fit very similar bills.
Volkswagen Jetta - If having your teen drive a Mercedes just screams too many of the wrong things, but you're eager for them to get a feel for that Teutonic engineering, VW's Jetta is a great intro to Euro autos. The Jetta has grown in larger over the decades and now accommodates rear passengers with ease, and, with its relatively docile 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine, doesn't pack the license-jeopardizing punch of the GTI.
Hyundai Sonata - Like a racehorse that starts at the back of the pack and slowly charges to the fore, Hyundai's tenacious battle for its share of the U.S. market is starting to pay off. The Sonata is a good example of what's right with the brand, a mid-size sedan that offers the standard complement of modern safety features, 30 mpg from its four-cylinder power plant and styling that borrows liberally from Mercedes' handsome C-class. What's more, Hyundai's well-known affordability means that fifteen large gets you an almost new car for used car money.
When it comes to financing for that used car, look online to get the best deal for car financing. Online lenders like OpenRoad Lending offer a wide variety of loan products to assist you. In most cases, you are able to complete a short online application and receive a car loan decision back in a matter of minutes. From there, you can download and execute all of your loan documents. With a few clicks of your mouse you could be on your way to big savings.