Things to consider when buying your child's first car

Teen drivers have a new online tool to help them become safer on the road. (MGN)
Teen drivers have a new online tool to help them become safer on the road. (MGN)(KOTA)
Published: Mar. 8, 2019 at 11:30 AM EST
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March 8, 2019

Do you think that your child getting a driver’s license is a scary prospect? What about buying his or her first car? Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens from 16 to 19 years old, so it’s no wonder. But don’t fret: The experts at Consumer Reports were once teenagers themselves, and they have some advice on how to go about buying your teen that first car.

Consumer Reports says to pick safety over style. You don’t want a car that’s really fast, because that’s just going to entice young drivers to get in trouble. So no sports cars.

Instead go for mid-sized sedans or smaller SUVs. Avoid minivans, large SUVs, and trucks. They’re harder to handle and they hold more passengers, which can be distracting to drivers.

Most parents are going to buy used, so buy as much safety as you can afford.

When buying cars for young drivers, look for airbags and stability control. Also opt for forward collision warning, which alerts drivers to obstacles or vehicles in front, and automatic emergency braking, which senses a collision and applies the brakes if the driver doesn’t.

Like it or not, teenagers will be tempted to use their phones in a car. But Bluetooth lets them use phones hands-free, so drivers keep their eyes on the road.

If you’re looking for cars that Consumer Reports recommends for teens, you can find a list of new and used ones at


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