You’re only a first time driver once in your life. But the day you first get behind the wheel can be exciting, daunting and scary in equal measure, whether you’re young, old or somewhere in between. The same goes for the day you first sit beside your son or daughter in the used family car for a driving lesson. That’s why you should think about the kind of car they’ll be driving: what’s best? What’s safest? Here are five top picks.
Image credit: Indian drives
New cars for sale with loads of the safety features
You want a car with great crash performance and features like airbags and electronic stability control. First time drivers don’t always have the knowledge in order to sense and correct losses of control; ESC jumps in to do the hard yards for them. They’re fitted out in most cars anyway, but make sure they’re there. According to the American Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, midsize or full-size sedans are the safest; don’t buy a small car or SUV. And if you’re going for a used family car go for one decked out with the latest features, midsize or larger. So what car? The 2008 Subaru Impreza, or Hyundai cars like the i30 are stylish, affordable, with great steering and suspension.
Buy new cars that are affordable
It’s time to talk about value for money. You’ve got to take into accounts the cost of fuel, first time driver insurance, financing, repair and maintenance costs and depreciation. Subcompacts may seem the most affordable (they use less fuel), but they’re not necessarily the safest compared to larger cars with lower mileage, so do your research. The Honda Civic is the best: affordable, with low operating costs and resale value.
Image credit: The Motor Report
Fuel economy in cheap cars for first time drivers
The new family car is suddenly less affordable if it eats all the fuel without giving you great mileage. You want a car that’s both secure and large enough, plus the highest fuel economy for a car of its class. You don’t want an expensive SUV, pickup, or minivan. But you also don’t want to use a less-safe but cheap alternative like a subcompact. Strike a balance with a Toyota Prius or Chevrolet Impala.
How did you get over first-time driving jitters? What advice would you give your Learner kids? Share your wisdom here.