The DMV can be a place that produces pure joy. No, really. There are few experiences as memorable or exhilarating as passing a driving test, posing for your license photo, being handed the keys, and driving for the very first time. The automobile has long been an American symbol of freedom. Once a teenager receives his or her driver’s license and access to a set of wheels, he or she is no longer dependent on others for transportation. This year, millions of teenagers will begin commuting to work or school by driving themselves for the very first time. This begs the question, what must-have vehicle features top the list for first-time drivers?
The experience of driving is new to teen drivers, but the vehicles they drive are often not. As the average American household can no longer afford a new car, few teen drivers will be cruising around campus while enjoying that new car smell. When purchasing a vehicle, an affordable price tag is a must-have feature for many first-time drivers. Consumer Reports believes that “to right-size your costs, resist the temptation to target sporty, luxury, or large vehicles. They can be costly to maintain and insure, and tend not to get good fuel mileage.”
In previous years, it has been almost a rite of passage for a new motorist to drive around in a family car, otherwise known as a clunker, that has been handed down. Bank Rate, however, thinks that times have changed. “In the past, the conventional wisdom may have been to pass down your old clunker to your kid. But today, an even better choice is to find an affordable new car that takes advantage of the latest safety technology, which is important for inexperienced drivers. The vehicles you consider for your teen’s first car should have an antilock braking system, working air bags and strong reviews in crash tests.”
With teenagers, the “cool” factor of the vehicle also cannot be overlooked. According to Business Insider, “As for your children, the only thing that they will care about is not looking like a loser when they are on the road. In the past, many were just happy to have wheels. But now, times have changed, and a car is as much a fashion accessory and gadget as it is a mode of transportation.” Teenagers today desire a vehicle that is as unique as they are.
There are several events in life that will never be forgotten, one of which is, undoubtedly, driving for the first time. With car prices on the rise, the search for a new vehicle for first-time drivers is becoming more difficult. An ideal first vehicle is affordable, safe, and has unique styling. A vehicle that fits this criteria can further enhance that magical experience of driving for the first time and make that milestone even more memorable.