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Old 09-12-2011, 04:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Turtle An efficient first car....Insight?, Metro?, Civic?

I am looking for a first car for my son. He is graduating high school this year and I am looking to buy him a car which gets good fuel economy. He is very interested in this forum and would like to get the Honda Insight. He will be probably be driving long distances daily (50 miles a day on our car!) because we live some distance away from any stores or other places. I agree with him about the insight because it is the most fuel efficient and is a little bit nicer on the inside. However we have heard of so many battery failures with the insight and we would like to know how the car drives if you disable the battery and the efficiency. We have done some research about this car and we would be able to unplug some cables in the back to enable the 12V charging system. We were looking at the metro and those appear to be a little harder to get and all of the models before 95?? seem to have very poor safety ratings. On the other hand these cars seem to be much much cheaper to buy outright and also much easier to work on. Our last idea was a civic because they are so easy to find. The only problem is that they are extremely unsafe and I would like my sons first car to be safe. We were considering buying him an old Cadillac DeVille/Lincoln Towncar/Buick for safety, cheapness, and reliability but we have decided to try something more efficient. We are somewhat mechanically inclined so we can do some minor repairs. What car do you guys think is best for a new driver?

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Old 09-12-2011, 05:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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2000-2005 Toyota Echo if you can find a decent one for a decent price.

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Old 09-12-2011, 05:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Will he have to drive in snow? Can he drive manual transmission? What's your price range?
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Old 09-12-2011, 06:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Teenagers tend to crash their first car within the first 1 - 2 years of ownership and the chances that they crash it goes up greatly if the car is a gift instead of one that they bought, so I'm not sure of a good way around that but it's something to keep in mind.

Where are you finding crash tests that say that Civics are unsafe? the studies that I've seen put them near the top of fewest deaths per year, I'll try to dig up those studies.

For a first car I would head to a Geo Metro, because they are really easy to work on.
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Old 09-12-2011, 06:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Civics are very safe cars. The current-gen (06 to present) ones are as safe as any car out there.

I knocked down lots of 30 mpg tanks in my old Buick LeSabre. They can be efficient if not driven with a lead foot. That car was a tank, and easy to work on.
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Old 09-12-2011, 07:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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We've been thinking about cars and we thought that we would want the metro if we could get one with the 4 star rating. Unfortunetly in the Connecticut area there are none. If anybody know of a car around 4k that is more commonly found that is somewhat effecient it would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 09-12-2011, 08:44 PM   #7 (permalink)
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2002 Toyoto Echo

Something similar to this, but no odometer reading listed.

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Old 09-12-2011, 08:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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In terms of reliability, available knowledge, available parts, and safety....I would vote on the Honda Civic over a Geo Metro. At one point the metro part supply line will come to an end. A new-ish Civic is probably a viable option.

A Ford Focus hatchback isn't bad either, or even a 2.2L cobalt. Both of those will put him into the mid 30's.
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Old 09-12-2011, 11:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Focus, civic, yaris/echo. 1st gen insights are a little too rare to put a neophyte into. I too don't know where you are getting the idea of civics being unsafe. Perhaps the pre 92 ones with out any air bags. After 92 they all had drivers air bags, and 95 and after they had bags for both front occupants.
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Old 09-13-2011, 12:59 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I have an Echo and it is my first car. Maintenance costs are low, it's great on gas, and can be fun to drive with the 5-speed tranny.

Reliability for the Echo is quite good; very few issues with it.

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