A New Car for our Son


We are thinking of getting a new/newer car for our 22 year old college student – What would you recommend? He has a good driving record.

– Kathy
Mesa, Az.


Having a solid driving record at any age saves on costly insurance. But it’s especially important for young drivers, and even more so for guys. Men under the age of 25 pay more for auto insurance than anyone else.

With his clean driving record, you can consider giving your son a sportier ride than a guy who has a ticket or accident on his dossier, and not have to pay significantly more. You can choose to buy a pre-owned vehicle, but sometimes, you get a better deal buying a low-priced new car with a complete warranty.

Guys seem to spark to the new Hyundai Veloster, a three-door coupe-looking car. Yes, three doors. It’s a coupe on the driver’s side, with only one door for the driver. And on the passenger side, it’s a sedan, with two doors – one for front and one for backseat passengers. Plus, it comes in a hatchback, which is practical for hauling gear, sports equipment, and boxes, should your son be moving around during and after college. The Veloster also comes with a myriad of techie stuff that young people like: audio visual hook ups, web-based browsers, and plenty of music links. The price is somewhat steep for a college student, at around $18,000. But if you’re looking for a car that will last, the Veloster is a good choice. It maintains around 32 mpg highway.

Toyota’s Yaris is new for 2012, getting a complete redo on its engine, style and performance. We love its handling, it’s interior roominess, it’s hatchback versatility and it’s price: about $15,000. There are nine standard airbags, and several cutting-edge safety features that reduce whiplash injuries and side impact damage. Also, the Yaris is zippy, getting more a more powerful engine this time around that is great when passing slow-moving vehicles.

The VW Golf is also a popular choice among young men who prefer a more spirited German ride. It, too, is a hatchback, and starts around $18,000. All Volkswagens, including the Golf, come with three years or 36,000 miles of free scheduled maintenance. This means your son won’t pay for tune-ups, oil changes, or any other recommended services during this time. It gets about 31 mpg highway, or 42/highway, if you opt for the more expensive diesel version.

Finally, the Chevrolet Sonic sedan, which sells for about $14,000, has 10 standard airbags and a 40 mpg highway EPA rating. It has optional things like mobile apps, bluetooth, and other techie gizmos that are important to the 20-somethings. It will debut early next year.

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