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my daughter is looking at getting a hybrid for her first car and likes the looks of the prius. Is this a good first car for a 17 year old? How complicated is it to learn about braking and other things specific to hybrids? and she asks:

1) are there any maintenance issues?
2) how does it ride? handle? steer?
3) how many gallons of gas does it hold?

thanks!
 

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Braking shouldn't be an issue. It feels slightly different, but not much.

Holds 11.9 gallons, but some have found the car ran out of gas at 10 gallons. But that should be rare.

Maintenance requirements are better than most cars. Oil changes mostly. Coolant and spark plugs don't need changing until 100K. Air filters are to be changed at 30K, but you might find 15K more appropriate.

However, I don't think buying a $20K+ car is the best approach for a new driver. A used corolla might be a better option. It has good gas mileage, not very expensive, and also has good maintenance requirements and reliablility.

I had a 72 corona for 5 years from the last year in HS and through college. Learned alot about repairs. Got it dirt cheap. It was a simple car with lots of room around the engine to work around it. You won't find that in today's cars, but the Corolla would be simple enough.
 

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:?: Just a related question: Does the 17-year old *WANT* the Prius? So many at that age have DEFINITE ideas about their cars. If she doesn't really want the Prius, she would not likely be happy with it.

If she, indeed, does WANT the Prius, it has many benefits to offer. Fuel economy (more and more an issue these days), 5,000 mile service intervals, relatively theft proof, adequate room for 4 (5 "cozy"), generous luggage room with the hatchback (great for musical instruments, even a bike inside with the back seat backs down...etc.), distinctive styling (some would say "kooky"), road service included, and literally FUN to drive.
 

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I understand DanMan's position on getting a used car for a 17 year old. My daughter had an OLD Escort that lasted 4 years--2 more than we'd anticipated. She loved "Eddie". However, as a parent, I always was a bit leery if something should go wrong late at night--especially with a female driver. I trust a new car and have since advised my daughters to buy new, unless there's a really good warranty on a used one. We never fell into the pattern of buying our children cars. If they wanted one, it was all their responsibility.
 

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I wouldn’t buy a Prius for a 17 year old. The Prius has a lot of built in distractions that a teenage driver does not need. Look at the statistics when it comes to teenage drivers and accidents.

I recommend a good used car. There are a lot of reliable used cars on the market. Check Consumer Reports for recommendations of reliability.

Also check with your insurance company. Many offer recommendations and you can also see how your insurance will be impacted with the addition of a car for a teenage driver.

Just my humble thoughts…
 

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i got mine for graduation and i was 17. the gas milege is just awesome and it really pays off.

its a safe car, but make sure shes a safe driver too. i never get distracted-it just matters on the person i guess.
 

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I got my Prius for my 16th Birthday, I think its a great car for a new driver! I am now 17 and think its still great. I had an eye on the Prius since I was 14, so I knew everything there was to know, that I needed to know. My friend, down the street, who is 16, her dad has a Prius, and thats the only car she can actually drive. The Lexus is too hard for her to handle, she only comfertable driving the Prius.
 

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witchwriter said:
thanks for the input - she wants the prius and is paying for it herself ;)
Good for her! She'll certainly appreciate it taking on all the responsibility. Glad to read the above posts that the young drivers don't become distracted by the screen. We all need to watch for that.
 

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Best car for a 17 year old is a 1972 Dodge Dart.

- cheap
- not too much power
- likely to have AM-only or broken radio (less distraction)
- cheap
- reliable, easy to fix if it does break
- banged up by now
--- no friends want to be seen in it, so no peer pressure
--- low collision/comp coverage
- Tom and Ray swear by them
- did I say cheap?
 

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KTPhil said:
Best car for a 17 year old is a 1972 Dodge Dart.

- cheap
- not too much power
- likely to have AM-only or broken radio (less distraction)
- cheap
- reliable, easy to fix if it does break
- banged up by now
--- no friends want to be seen in it, so no peer pressure
--- low collision/comp coverage
- Tom and Ray swear by them
- did I say cheap?
I had a '73 plymouth Scamp (same as a Dodge Dart) with the slant-6 engine. That car was indestructible! I bought it used as a car to drive to work in 1982, think I paid about $500 bucks for it with less than 50,000 miles on it. I drove it for 20,000 miles and the only thing I ever did to it was rebuild the differential myself. Someone hit it in a parking lot and left a note with their insurance info. I drove it to alstate where they wrote me a check for about $700 for the dent in the rear quarter panel - that I never fixed. I sold it shortly after for $700. Only car I ever owned that I made money on!
 

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I can't really say wether or not it's a good car for her since i dont have one yet.. haha But i'm 18 and have already set everything up for my 2006 Prius delivery in January! I say let her get it.
 

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Right after college I bought a 1972 cute, little green Dodge Challenger. In those days, Dodge was at the bottom of the barrel as far as the big 3 U.S. car companies. My sister bought one a few weeks later, followed by my brother. Wasn't that a site in front of our house! (I did babysit for the dealer). I don't even remember why I eventually traded it, but I do remember that it never gave me any trouble whatsoever--the only car I can say that about. (Hopefully the Prius will be the second.)
 

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Get her what my dad got me: an old used Mercedes. The thing was built like a tank, and got about the same mileage!

Seriously, if you want to get her a new car,a Prius is a good choice. It will make her a patient better driver, and all the electronic nannies on it will keep her out of trouble. Every under-twenty year old that has seen or been in our car has pronounced it "cool."
 

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KTPhil said:
Best car for a 17 year old is a 1972 Dodge Dart.
oh, man, we had one of those. my dad bought it new, I think it was $3200. lime green with a dark green vinyl top. 225 ci six, automatic. fortunately for me, my older brother inherited that car for grad school, and my first car was a 72 celica 5 speed.

amazingly, that 72 dart did pretty well for length of service.

rpm
 

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KTPhil said:
Best car for a 17 year old is a 1972 Dodge Dart.

- cheap
- not too much power
- likely to have AM-only or broken radio (less distraction)
- cheap
- reliable, easy to fix if it does break
- banged up by now
--- no friends want to be seen in it, so no peer pressure
--- low collision/comp coverage
- Tom and Ray swear by them
- did I say cheap?
heh. My first driving experience (my parents sold it before it could become 'my' car,) was in a 1964 Dart. And a good friend in high school had a ~1970 Dart.

Yes, the thing you missed was:
- Nearly indestructible.
As in: Rear end a Geo Metro, and they'll need tweezers and a magnifying glass to find the pieces of the Metro, and the manifying glass to find the scratch on the Dart's front bumper. :-D

In high school, a friend backed into one of those large yellow posts in a parking lot. (You know, concrete post, about a foot across, four feet tall, intended to prevent cars from driving into areas they're not supposed to.) He backed into it at about 5 miles an hour. (It's tall and yellow, but he claims he didn't see it.) BIG 'KA-CHUNK!', sudden stop. We got out, and the post was snapped in half, lying on the ground.

There was a smear of yellow paint on his chrome bumper. A little rubbing, and good as new.
 

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one big thing... emissions of prius vs emissions of a dart

i hope you can look beyond the stereotypes of age and consider how more prius on the road means a cleaner future for us. not just because one person will drive it, but because that person can spread the word. If she does get a Prius, no doubt many of her friends will also see it and probably want to get one for themselves..maybe when they are 17, or maybe when they're older. The point is, that we are able to put more clean cars on the road.

I got my prius when I was 17, I haven't been in any accidents. I also have FOUR friends who are a year younger than I that each own a Prius. They also have not been in any accidents. Ironically, the only damage done to one of our prius was done by my friend's mother as she drove over a metal pipe.

In my opinion, a Prius would be ideal for anyone. Its one of the safetest cars out there. When my friends test drive the Prius, one of the first things they notice is how sensitive and RESPONSIVE the brakes are. And if you get VSC, its even better.

just food for thought

another thing, we all love our prius :) 3 of us have named our prius
 

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witchwriter said:
my daughter is looking at getting a hybrid for her first car and likes the looks of the prius. Is this a good first car for a 17 year old? How complicated is it to learn about braking and other things specific to hybrids? and she asks:

1) are there any maintenance issues?
2) how does it ride? handle? steer?
3) how many gallons of gas does it hold?

thanks!
No Way!
With a prius and a weeks worth of lunch money you'll be getting this phone call "Mommy, we're in vegas... at the chapel..."

Get her a hummer and she won't be able to afford to go anywhere.

:D
 

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From this week's L.A. Times "Highway 1" section:

http://www.latimes.com/news/printeditio ... -highway_1

YOUR WHEELS
With teen in driver's seat, the best kind of car is a safe one
By Jeanne Wright
Special to The Times

September 14, 2005

Sliding behind the wheel of a first vehicle has long been an exciting rite of passage for teens, especially in California, where car worship is part of the culture. Last year, 600,000 or 3.5% of all new vehicles sold nationwide were purchased for teen drivers, according to Art Spinella, president of CNW Marketing Research in Branden, Ore.

Of the 42.7 million used vehicles sold last year, 7.1% were bought for teens. Indeed, with both parents working and kids' busy schedules, many families find it increasingly necessary to provide their teens with their own vehicles.

For parents, buying the right vehicle for their young driver requires lots of research and stamina. They have to be ready to stand their ground when it comes to who makes the decisions, according to auto-safety experts.

While your high school or college student may crave a fast Corvette or lifted pickup truck with tinted windows, parents need to set the rules on safety, dependability and cost. Their teen's vehicle choice may not be what's best for a young driver.

How do you know if your teen is ready to have his or her own vehicle?

"They should be responsible, have good common sense and be open with their parents," says Candysse Miller, executive director of the Insurance Information Network of California.

How well they do in school can often be a good indicator of how seriously they will take the responsibility of having their own vehicle, she says. Some parents even offer vehicles as rewards for good grades or tie good behavior to the amount of time teens are allowed to drive.

Having your teen help pay for gas or insurance can provide a good reality check on how expensive it is to own and maintain a vehicle, as well as increase their level of responsibility, says Miller.

When Tory Rozzi, 17, of Redlands wanted a car last year, her mother required her to maintain a high GPA at school. Tory successfully met the requirement. Her first choice was a fast, sporty Audi TT. But her mother, Sonia, nixed the idea of a sports car for safety reasons: "I felt nervous about her driving on her own."

They ultimately compromised and Tory ended up with a 2005 Honda Civic, equipped with front and side air bags, a sunroof and a spoiler.

"That's as sporty as she'll get," Sonia says.

And when Tory was involved in a minor fender bender this summer, she did chores to work off some of the $1,200 it cost for repairs.

Elaine Beno of the Automobile Club of Southern California suggests that parents obtain information on insurance costs before purchasing a vehicle. When you add your teen driver on your insurance policies, insurance rates can increase 50% or more.

Also, don't let flashy automotive styling and speed dictate the kind of car your children drive, says Miller. Giving young drivers a high-performance vehicle sends the wrong message and could risk their safety.

Because the first two years of driving are the riskiest for teens, Kathy Downing, the Auto Club's Driving School manager, recommends that parents closely monitor their driving behaviors. To help kids improve their skills before getting a driver's license, the Auto Club offers teen driving evaluations for its members.

Masoud Khoshbakhtian, the owner of Kay-1 Driving School in Long Beach, agrees with many safety experts who warn parents not to buy a large SUV for their young drivers. "They are more difficult to handle, especially for new drivers," he says.

And though powerful cars like a Ford Mustang are attractive to teens, Khoshbakhtian says he advises parents not to purchase a high-performance vehicle or a new vehicle. He suggests staying between $4,000 to $5,000 for a first car.

Affordability is important, but parents should not give their teen an old hand-me-down vehicle or junker that could easily break down, says Miller. That doesn't mean you have to spring for a new car: A dependable used or certified vehicle can be a good first car for your teen. A survey by AutoExtra.com, an online automotive classified business, found that 82% of the vehicles purchased for teens were used and 54% of them had sticker prices under $10,000.

But it's important that parents and their teens spend time researching vehicles. To check the history of a used car, go to http://www.carfax.com .

For parents like Rozzi who want to put their teen in a vehicle that has the latest safety equipment, a new or late model vehicle may be the way to go. AutoExtra.com rated the 10 best used cars for teens; one featured model was the 2001 Honda Civic DX.

"Even though this car is small, it's safe; the more air bags installed the better," says Lauren Fix, an automotive expert who helped compile the list.
 

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Daughter

There are a lot of different issues to be dealt with when buying a car for our children, but my child is the #1 reason I chose the prius for my car. It's high crash test results for front and back passenger with the side curtain airbag option, its excellent fuel economy, and the fact that it is kind to the environment (a BIG issue with my 10 year old) were what made it the car of choice. My husband and I have sense decided that this car will be passed on to our daughter once she is old enough (and mature enough) to drive a car. We are not going to give her the car--we will agree on a fair price and she will either pay a lump sum (she has been saving from her allowance for a car or horse since she was 8) or she can make monthly payments. She will also have to pay her auto insurance. With the hybrid technology she will also need to budget a small amount for gas.

Even at 10, she is excited at the prospect :wink: of one day owning this car. I let her chose the color choices I had to give the dealer when I put down my deposit. We are on the waiting list for a 05 Salsa Red or Seaside Blue with option package 5. Anticipated delivery date is in late November or early December. Sigh...for now I will have to be content reading about how much other people enjoy their prius'.

I say, if you feel your 17 year old is ready, buy the prius and know they are in a vehicle with a Consumer Report safety rating as follows:

Crash and rollover tests:
Gov't front-crash test, driver: Excellent
Gov't front-crash test, front passenger: Very Good
Gov't side-crash test, driver Very Good
Gov't side-crash test, rear passenger Very Good
Gov't rollover test, 2WD Very Good

:wink:

zbeck59
 
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