Choosing a car for a student is a tricky task. After all, newbie drivers want to express themselves and feel confident behind the wheel, having a restrained family budget. US students have many car financing options available today, and if they buy a car independently, the choice is up to them. But if parents want to buy a car as a gift for a newly minted student, they should find a compromise, where safety and reliability will dominate. Here is the list of ideas to help understand the youth preferences and narrow down the search.
The Main Don’ts and Must-Haves of a Student Car
There are exceptions, but for the most part, young drivers are not careful. Therefore, a student’s car does not have to be new. Most likely, students themselves will protest against this thesis, but it is better to offer a used car with a full range of options than an empty budget sedan – even a new one. Experts from the Indy Auto Man dealership compiled a rating of the cars students most often buy in Indiana. It may help select the model and understand the price range. But whatever the car, it should meet the following criteria.
- Bright. The car design should appeal to young people. That is, it should be emotional, not conservative. The exterior must have at least one bold, unusual feature. The main thing is originality, non-triviality, and expression. An oldtimer of a well-respected model is a very possible car option for a young man. On the one hand, it’s original, on the other, it’s still practical.
- Multimedia on board. Gadgets are the meaning of life for many members of the younger generation, so the car should have at least Bluetooth, better yet Wi-Fi, and ideally something like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to boot. An acceptable solution is a multimedia system device with broad functionality.
- Spacious. A noisy and large company of students, group movements from place to place, or even city to city, require a spacious vehicle. Rest assured that the car of a real student will very rarely drive half empty. A cramped compartment will also do for a student, but he will quickly understand that something is wrong.
- Not necessarily technically perfect. So, for young people, external effects are most important. Therefore, it is unlikely worth overpaying for a preselective gearbox or a V8 engine with the option to turn off extra cylinders.
- Economical. The super-economical model will not have a student price, but you should not choose a gas guzzler either.
- Not necessarily powerful. Maybe a young man would argue that rapid acceleration when pressing the gas pedal is a must, but the terms of safety should not be neglected. With little experience, a high-power engine is rather a disadvantage than a blessing. Parents should face the challenge of persuading a student driver that it is much more interesting to sip on adrenaline due to masterful control of the steering wheel, precise braking, sense of size, and feeling of the moment. And for this, a 1.3-liter engine will be enough.
In case you are not good at cars and get puzzled looking under the hood, address an experienced friend when choosing and test-driving the vehicle. If you buy from a private party, it is better to prepare an additional sum of about $200 – 300. With this money, you must inspect the purchased car and eliminate issues, considering that a happy student will immediately jump behind the wheel, ignoring technical problems and exposing themself and passengers to danger.
Better yet, go to a trusted used car dealer who will provide a history report and a service book with all repairs and maintenance done. A student’s car (like any other) must be reliable and not break down, as far as possible on a modest budget. When buying a cheap car from a private owner, check it before the purchase at the service station, and be prepared that it may require additional investments and labor costs.