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Good First Car???

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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone,
Does anyone think the 04 Prius is a good first car? I turn 16 in April and have a Millennium Silver, BC package, coming my way during that month. I was just wondering if it would be a nice car for a new driver. I like all the features it has and Im very excited for it to come. Havent had a chance to test drive one yet so Im wondering how it handles? Also wondering about the voice activation. What all can you do with that?
Thanks,
Brian
 

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First off, IMO, NO 16 y/o deserves a car this good....esp. one with a BC package (I'm just a jealous SOB who had to work for everything I ever got so will remain bitter toward anyone lucky like you--don't take it personally!)

Next, HELL YES this is a great first car. Let's see--safe, great gas milage, VSC--you won't spin out the first time you hit ice this winter, and it's good for the environment. It's not a hot rod so you won't die while trying to race your friend's Escalade. It'll last you for ever--if you don't run it out of gas and kill the multi-thousand dollar hybrid system. I can honestly hardly think of a better first car (other than one you worked for, paid for, earned, and insure and pay for gas yourself, of course).

Congratulations, you're a lucky kid--give your parents a hug and work hard in school.
--evan
 

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Does anyone think the 04 Prius is a good first car?

Seriously... If you get one, you'll be totally disappointed in all of your friend's vehicles. Be kind to them. Try to keep comments about the superior hardware you have to yourself. Those at that age are very observant, they'll figure it out on their own. (They are more open to accept change too.)

Also, get used to being volunteered to drive often.

You'll be very pleased with a Prius. And whether you like it or not, you'll learn a bunch about efficiency, car care (to maintain that efficiency), the automotive industry, and politics. The car we all adore definitely raises awareness.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys,
Knowing that it makes me feel that I made a right decision with going with a Prius.
 

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Good first car?

Technically, it would be a good first (2nd? 3rd?) car for anyone. But... having been a 16 yo many moons ago, (and having a 16 yo in my family about to learn to drive), I have to echo the words of Tom & Ray M. - the Car Talk guys. "teenagers drive like knuckleheads". I know. . . I did. I'd strongly recommend a good used Corolla or Camry, one that could be dinged up with no great loss of tears.
 
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Hi Brian:

___If only I could have owned an 04 Prius at 16 ;) I will follow along with Mabosas comments however. I have a 21 year old son that dinged up a Previa in his first year of driving. An acquaintance of mine let his 16 year old drive the family commuter and the 2 year young Dodge Neon (I think that is what he used to own?) was totaled when his son and friends were busy talking to each other and the young man slammed into the back of a parked Minivan. Not to say you wont be safe, and never have an accident but the odds are against you Then again, who knows, you may just win the next school science project (just like the new Civic Commercial) but for a 16 year old boy, how about a used Civic/Corolla/Focus/Neon until you gain some experience?

___If you do purchase another vehicle, just think of how happy you will make another new Prius buyer that is waiting owe so patiently for his or her own little Christmas present

___Good Luck

___Wayne R. Gerdes
___Hunt Club Farms Landscaping Ltd.
___[email:1sa2vsca][email protected][/email:1sa2vsca]
 

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Good First Car -NOT

Almost all of my friend's kids have had some sort of major or minor accident within their first 2 years. That seems to be the norm here in NJ. We also have the nations highest insurance rates. Coincidence?

Fortunately, in my case, my son had a used Maxima and my daughter loved her used VW Cabriolet, while it lasted.

I personally think the Prius has too many distractions (inside and out) for a new driver. My daughter and her husband both drove my BC the other day and loved the novelty of it but, prefer their Sequoia.

Cheers,
Gary

It rarely occurs to teenagers that the day will come when they'll know as little as their parents.
 

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Re: Good first car?

Mabosa said:
"teenagers drive like knuckleheads". I know. . . I did. I'd strongly recommend a good used Corolla or Camry, one that could be dinged up with no great loss of tears.
Well, if the expectation is that the new driver will ding up and possibly crash the car, perhaps a cheap old Volvo would do -- among cheap old cars, Volvos have good crash protection and non-dangerous handling.
 

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Brian,
Tight.. That's so cool that you are getting a new Prius. I thought that I was one of the only 17 year olds driving one. (Average age is 52). It's great that someone your age is interested in the car, and not just something like a WRX cuz its fast. Be humble at school, but let people drive the thing once you've broken it in (people love to accelerate fast in someone else's car). People think its a slow, ugly turd car, but once they drive it, they love it. They can't believe that you don't need a key, and how cool the voice activated nav system is, how well it drives, etc... Caution, I hate to sound like an old lady, but I thought I was the best thing to hit the roads when I started driving at 16. I had a 2000 Outback, and I scraped the car on the side of the garage, I backed it into a pole, and I dinged the sides twice, and then I was at a stoplight and got rear-ended by a Silverado extended cab going 35 mph--and it was destroyed--I got a clean slate :D .... Be careful though...Enjoy the car
Nmpriusman
 

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The problem is that the '04 Prius doesn't have the rear visibility that a new driver must have in order to keep from running over stuff. Not to mention the price tag. I firmly believe that any first car should be as inexpensive as possible so the driver can make a few boo-boos without creating lots of expense.
 

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Joel said:
The problem is that the '04 Prius doesn't have the rear visibility that a new driver must have in order to keep from running over stuff.
I disagree with that. I think the rear visibility is quite good compared to most cars. Granted it takes getting used to, but it has good low visibility. High vis isn't great, but that's rarely important unless you're being dive bombed from above and behind. All cars have blind spots that take time to learn.

Not to mention the price tag.I firmly believe that any first car should be as inexpensive as possible so the driver can make a few boo-boos without creating lots of expense.
There's a lot to be said there. If you run this thing out of gas, or bump something you shouldn't, or someone pours a coke on the monitor screen, you're talking about some big expense. A simple basic car that you can do your own work on, don't mind a few 'beauty marks' on and such is a good idea.

Still, I know Brian is helping pay the cost of this car, it's great environmentally sound and probably fiscally sound investment. If he IS able to avoid the usual adolescent driving perils it could serve him long and well.
--evan[/quote]
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Joel Said:
The problem is that the '04 Prius doesn't have the rear visibility that a new driver must have in order to keep from running over stuff.
Efusco Said:
I disagree with that. I think the rear visibility is quite good compared to most cars. Granted it takes getting used to, but it has good low visibility. High vis isn't great, but that's rarely important unless you're being dive bombed from above and behind. All cars have blind spots that take time to learn.
I agree with Efusco. When I sat in the car at the dealer, I had no problem at all with the rear visibility. It is nothing compared to my fathers GMC Denali with dark window tinting. Otherwise the overall visibility, to me, is great. There are fewer blind spot than I imagined before I ever sat in one.

-Brian
 

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Brian you don't mention whether you are paying for your first car or others are. As a 66 year old grandparent may I suggest it is an important distinction.

From your original and subsequent posts you appear to be a very responsible individual. If you personally are responsible for the purchase of a new Prius then I suggest go for it. It is fantastic new technology and if it is your own 25 grand you will hopefully respect your investment and take care of it.

If others, mom & dad, relatives, etc. are buying you your first car then I suggest you get a used "beater" as others have suggested. From my experience these past 66 years and from observation of my two middle aged children and now my grandkids my sad conclusion is that gifts are often neglected and abused.

IMHO the philosophical premise behind your question is unanswerable until much later in your life.

My $0.02 and good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Chuck,
I am infact paying for as much as I can. Which, right now, is a little over half. By April, I will have worked more, thus having more to pay for it.
 

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Go for it, Brian! It's great that you are paying for most of the car, since I think that shows that you will be more concerned with it's upkeep than a lot of 'gifted' kids. If you want a Prius, you should get one. They are great cars for any age. I suggest you get at least the AM package with the HID lights and all the safety stuff. Hopefully you'll never need it but good to know it is there if you do. Enjoy!
 

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One last contribution for your consideration Brian....
I think you should consider a used Classic Prius.
For your needs (I'm presuming it will be mostly to get you to work/school/debate class/dates and not hauling lumber) it should suit just fine. You can still get a NAV system--but you'd probably be better served learning to read a map. They can be had for pretty cheaply now--a loaded Classic for close to half of what a loaded '04 costs. They get nearly as good of gas milage, most have quite low milage on them since the oldest is only about 3 years old There are a lot coming on the market as folks 'trade up' for an '04. You won't be as worried about bumps and dings in the school parking lot.

Best of all, you can probably pay for most of it yourself. If, however, you're a really good negotiator, you may be able to convice whoever it is that was going to pay for 1/2 of the '04 to buy this one for you outright while you invest or put into savings your share of the cash toward college! Now THAT would be a truely wise economic choice that would still get you a fantastic car and leave you something to work for in the future.

anyway, that's my opinion, do what you think best and be careful.
--evan
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks Jerry P. I am getting the BC package. I figure that will have everything I need.

efusco:
I am going to look into what you said about getting a classic used Prius. I think that it would be a great investment. And then save some for college. Great idea. I will let you know how that goes along after I look at a few.
 

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04 cool, old Volvo wise

:) I think the look of the 04 is exciting and its technology the coming thing which must be learned now. If you were my child, though, you would be driving an older Volvo. Excellent proven safety record, lower payments and MUCH lower insurance premiums. My primary car is an 02 classic; my backup is an old '90 Volvo wagon...Old Faithful!
 

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You really should cut your teeth on a beater and put the extra cash into savings for school or whatever else you'll need. Cars are a poor investment - especially when you are a new driver.

Brian said:
Joel Said:
The problem is that the '04 Prius doesn't have the rear visibility that a new driver must have in order to keep from running over stuff.
Efusco Said:
[quote:ct1k5gac]I disagree with that. I think the rear visibility is quite good compared to most cars. Granted it takes getting used to, but it has good low visibility. High vis isn't great, but that's rarely important unless you're being dive bombed from above and behind. All cars have blind spots that take time to learn.
I agree with Efusco. When I sat in the car at the dealer, I had no problem at all with the rear visibility. It is nothing compared to my fathers GMC Denali with dark window tinting. Otherwise the overall visibility, to me, is great. There are fewer blind spot than I imagined before I ever sat in one.

-Brian[/quote:ct1k5gac]
 

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Brian said:
I am going to look into what you said about getting a classic used Prius. I think that it would be a great investment. And then save some for college. Great idea. I will let you know how that goes along after I look at a few.
One problem with the previous Prius is that it is a small sedan with a non-folding back seat. That can be a hassle to a college student who moves around a lot (i.e. moves his/her stuff between different dormitories, apartments, etc.).

In the realm of used cars, try to learn all about the makes and models in question, so that you can inspect them for problems. Especially learn about what important maintenance should be done on them, so you can find out whether a particular car has had the maintenance done. Once a car passes initial inspection, it may be a good idea to have it inspected by a mechanic who knows that kind of car.

If the used car you are considering is still available new (not redesigned), you may want to test drive a new one so that you can compare used ones that you test drive.

Some other used car hints:

* Does the car have the owner's manual, all keys, radio code (if needed), wheel lock key (if needed), spare tire, and tools?
* Does the car have maintenance records? (be especially careful if there are no records and the car is still under factory warranty, since if the dealer you take it to for warranty service determines that the failure was due to lack of maintenance, you won't have anything in your favor)
* Are the tires a matched set with even wear and no strange wear patterns? Are they the correct size and specification (load rating, pressure rating, speed rating) for the car?
* Under the hood, are all fluids at the correct level, and are the correct color? (many companies use special coolant rather than the generic green stuff; if the car you are considering needs special coolant, make sure that the correct color coolant is in it)
* Are there any signs of repaired crash damage? (one obvious indicator is a bent or damaged rear license plate)
* Do the check-engine and airbag lights light up when starting, then go out? (problems indicated by these lights tend to be expensive to fix)
 
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