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frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
3/5/22 4:53 a.m.

my Granddaughter is studying for her learners permit and  it's time to start thinking about her first car. 
      Good kid, good grades, wants me as her driving coach.  But following that she'll need a car.  Do not want new because teenager.  Do not want SUV because teenage girl.  Something small , safe, and fun.  Don't mind a little work but can't be a project. 
     I haven't given any thought to this until tonight's text. 
 Some guidance please 
     

RaabTheSaab
RaabTheSaab New Reader
3/5/22 5:50 a.m.

The cleanest, best value manual Honda Civic you can find. Even the early MacStrut cars (01-05) aren't bad and are crazy cheap. I have a hard time coming up with a modern Toyota that is "fun" or fun adjacent, but I love early oughts Avalon's, Camrys, and their stablemates for some reason. 

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
3/5/22 6:22 a.m.

In reply to RaabTheSaab :

An older Honda manual would be a great choice. I worry about the cost of replacing a clutch. Any idea of what it costs to replace?   I assume the dealership is twice what a local garage will charge?  I'd rather not be distracted from  race preparing the Jag. 
    You didn't mention the Miata?   Is there a reason for that? 

Anybody on this board who knows me can predict my answer to this question.

There is no better choice than a Honda Civic. They produced about 100:1 over a Miata. Parts are cheap and easy to find and every mechanic should be familiar with them. 

I personally started my girls out in Honda CRVs because they wanted SUV type vehicles but I get that's not everyone's choice. 

Duke
Duke MegaDork
3/5/22 7:08 a.m.

In reply to frenchyd :

He didn't mention Miata because in today's world, Miatas are intimidatingly tiny on the road.

She is already a new driver and therefore less confident.  She doesn't also need to feel like she is in a rowboat among barges.

 

EvanB
EvanB MegaDork
3/5/22 8:47 a.m.

Yaris? Mazda2? Fit?

Caprigrip
Caprigrip Reader
3/5/22 9:19 a.m.

I buy for a charity and we will pick up any Corolla we can find.  Every time i drive one, i tell myself that this is all the car any of us need.  Comfy, roomy and just runs and runs.  

JoeTR6
JoeTR6 Dork
3/5/22 9:22 a.m.

If a manual transmission is on the table, consider a Fiesta ST.  It's easy and fun to drive with the utility if a hatchback.  Relatively safe for what it is.  The cost of the early ones should be reasonable, but probably not down there with older Honda Civics.  Do not touch any Focus/Fiesta with the DSP6 transmission (dual clutch automatic).

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
3/5/22 9:30 a.m.

Pontiac Vibe is the less popular twin of the Toyota Matrix (both made in the same factory) and the Toyota Martix is generally just a Corolla wagon. 

The Vibe was sold from 2003—2010

Convenient 5 door wagon-ish hatch. Sort of SUV-ish but at a lower ride height. 

Pontiac badge, all Toyota parts. 

obsolete
obsolete HalfDork
3/5/22 10:10 a.m.

Being in Minnesota, I'd be looking for a Subaru Impreza. They are very safe cars.

BlueInGreen - Jon
BlueInGreen - Jon UltraDork
3/5/22 10:21 a.m.

Don't forget those little Korean cars.

Sister has an 08 Elantra that is excellent simple transportation. She's had it long enough that I've done a brake job twice, and I think in that time the only other things it's needed are oil changes and an alternator belt.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
3/5/22 10:24 a.m.

A civic is a great car.  Local mecahnics know these things inside and out.  I can turn you on to my guy in Carver, MN.. So cheap so good..  

 

From a safety standpoint.. as new as possible is the best philosphy.  Subaru's are on another level for 

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy MegaDork
3/5/22 10:41 a.m.

Shared the cost on a $4000 Civic with 16 year old daughter- 220,000 miles and runs like a champ.   Backed over a garbage can, hit something and trashed a hubcap, piled in 8 kids we found out later and it's sits while she's at college and starts when she is home on breaks.   Great car - get newest one you can afford. 
 

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
3/5/22 11:17 a.m.

+1 on Honda Civic, that's what I'll be getting for my daughter to drive when she gets around to getting a license.

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
3/5/22 12:25 p.m.

What's the budget?
I'm guessing $5k or less. I like the cheap Mazda 3 more than Civics. More fun to drive in my opinion. 

OHSCrifle
OHSCrifle UltraDork
3/5/22 12:36 p.m.

The answer in this case rhymes with Borolla

amg_rx7 (Forum Supporter)
amg_rx7 (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
3/5/22 12:52 p.m.

Mazda 3 or something from Hyundai or Kia. 

Mazda 3 will drive better than the others and can be found more inexpensively since you're not competing with the above 12 other people for one. 

Hyundai Kia for similar reasons but they don't drive as nice as the Mazda. 
 

similarly, Ford Fiesta or Focus 

OHSCrifle
OHSCrifle UltraDork
3/5/22 1:56 p.m.

Mazdas more than a few years old have likely melted up there in salty roadville 

Aspen
Aspen HalfDork
3/5/22 3:22 p.m.

Being more of a weird car guy, I got my daughter a 2017 MINI Cooper manual with the base 1.5l 3 cylinder.  It is a total hoot to drive and gets awesome fuel mileage.

The 3 pulls strong, the gearing is great and it has lots of style.  I borrow it from her whenever I can.  No troubles so far.

A Corolla is a sensible choice.  A beater Kia may be a good choice if you think they are the kind to have fender benders.

 

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy MegaDork
3/5/22 3:47 p.m.
Aspen said:

A beater Kia may be a good choice if you think they are the kind to have fender benders or tend to not look and back over garbage cans like Datsun310Guy's knucklehead teenage daughter. 

 

FIFY

1kris06
1kris06 HalfDork
3/5/22 4:21 p.m.
frenchyd said:

In reply to RaabTheSaab :

An older Honda manual would be a great choice. I worry about the cost of replacing a clutch. Any idea of what it costs to replace?   I assume the dealership is twice what a local garage will charge?  I'd rather not be distracted from  race preparing the Jag. 
    You didn't mention the Miata?   Is there a reason for that? 

I looked up clutch/fly wheel/pressure plates (for an 05 civic) at my dealer (MPLS/stp), about $1700 with current pricing. Around $720 if you provided parts.

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
3/5/22 6:35 p.m.
John Welsh said:

Pontiac Vibe is the less popular twin of the Toyota Matrix (both made in the same factory) and the Toyota Martix is generally just a Corolla wagon. 

The Vibe was sold from 2003—2010

Convenient 5 door wagon-ish hatch. Sort of SUV-ish but at a lower ride height. 

Pontiac badge, all Toyota parts. 

I like the Vibe. Toyota reliability with Pontiac pricing. "What's a Pontiac, Grandpa?  

I'm tempted to do a fly and drive to San Diego. Pick up a rust free one. Bring her with me and let her drive across country. 

ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter)
ShinnyGroove (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
3/6/22 12:41 a.m.

As the father of teenage drivers, I wonder if "small" and "safe" are not contradictory requirements.  My 16yo daughter is in a Buick Enclave. YMMV

spacecadet (Forum Supporter)
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
3/6/22 1:00 a.m.
EvanB said:

Yaris? Mazda2? Fit?

Yaris or Fit would be my Vote.. the 2 is a bit tippy and it's cramped inside.

The Fit has loads of space and will happily serve her as a new driver and as she moves on to the next phase of life.

The 8th gen civic's have lots of little issues to get around, they're workable.. but they're not perfect.

The 2nd gen fit is the best bet here IMHO. They are very strong right now on the secondhand market.. but that's because they absolutely refuse to die. They're sewing machines that don't die.

Find her one with an aux input, sport model of any year fit will have an Aux input, 2012+ base models have it as well. Plug a bluetooth reciever from ROAV into the outlet and run the aux cable from it to the input and you're done, the car now has bluetooth and she can listen to all her music.

They're modern cars, not perfect, but nothing is.

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
3/6/22 1:31 a.m.

Scion TC?

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