Buying a First Car for Teens – Why You Shouldn’t Give them Your Hand-me-down

As if the realization that your toddler has morphed into a teen isn’t bad enough, now you have to start thinking about buying a first car. Yeah, your little baby is going out into the world alone, in a moving ball of metal, fueled by angst and freedom. You know what that smells like? Terror. Terror as you start to dismantle every horrible driver on the road. Terror as you realize your baby isn’t much of a baby anymore. And terror when you start pricing their first car. And I won’t even get into all the distractions teens have on the road these days (okay maybe I will). This is why I’m saving for a new car now, while my son is just reaching nine-years-old. But still, the question remains, should you buy a new car for a first-time driver?

 

Kia Rio, First Car

I drive the Kia Rio in the rain which isn’t a bad thing. I was able to discover how it handled in wet conditions. A really important consideration for my precious cargo behind the wheel.

 

Buying a New First Car for Teens – Yay or Nay

 

Well, you can’t change the lack of another driver’s skills on the highway, and you can’t stop your little precious from growing up, but you can at least save a few bucks by handing the old minivan over to them. I mean, that’s how our parents did it. Right? We got the paid off 7-10-year-old ride with crayon stains and stickers as a standard feature, while mom and dad got the new shiny car. So why shouldn’t history repeat itself?

 

Kia Rio, First Car, 5-Door

It’s the pull up to school and grab your friend car.

 

I spent a few days with Kia in Baltimore at the Kia Rio National Press Conference so I could get a closer look at the 2018 Rio. In my opinion, the Kia Rio is a perfect choice for a teen’s first car. I spent a day driving the Kia Rio 5-Door EX. I asked all the questions and compared all the facts. I came to the conclusion that giving your young driver an older car is like telling Batman to drive your 2010 sedan to save Gotham. It’s just not equipped for the task.

 

Why You Shouldn’t Give Your Teen Your 7 – 10-Year-Old Car

 

First let me say, I’m no expert. I’m just a normal mom with a growing boy who thinks ahead and likes to be on top of my game. I’m also really into cars and as many of you might know, am a proud owner of a Kia Sorento. Thus, I work closely with Kia which gives me the opportunity to get an insider look into the automotive world. I read articles I normally wouldn’t have, do research that expands my common auto knowledge, and I attend press junkets where I get to speak to designers, product planners, and top auto journalists. That said, I think anyone in this age of technology who decides to do the hand-me-down thing rather than buying a new first car for their teen is taking a risk.

 

Hear me out.

 

Kia Rio, First Car, 5-Door

It’s the pull over anywhere and take that awesome pic car.

 

According to Digital Trends,

 

“Ten years ago, cars with built-in Bluetooth, navigation, and parking sensors were the domain of top luxury vehicles. Now even the most affordable econo-box has these things, as options at the very least.”

 

Technology and safety features are advancing at a faster rate than ever before. And while the average age of a car on the highway has been reported at 11.5 years old, this does not mean a first time driver should drive a car that old. If I drive an 11-year-old car with 21 years of driving experience, muscle memory, highway reflexes and better decision making, I’m not feeling so bad about it. But when my first-time teen gets behind the wheel of an 11-year-old car with hundreds of other drivers on the road, I’m feeling a little sketched out.  And did I mention, the distractions?

 

Now our kids have smart phones that are blowing up from a myriad of social channels, they are able to use their phone for directions and of course dig through it for music. All distractions, all fine and dandy until someone gets hurt. So what does the 2018 Kia Rio 5-Door EX have that’s making me feel better about letting my only child get behind the wheel?

 

Kia Rio, First Car, 5-Door

It’s the urban fits everywhere car.

 

Why Did the Kia Rio 5-Door EX Win Me Over?

 

Let’s look at the fancy press facts on safety features:

  • The all-new Rio is targeting the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick designation and a 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
  • Standard safety features include six airbags, side-impact door beams, Electronic Stability Control, a four-wheel Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and Vehicle Stability Management (VSM)4
  • The EX has Autonomous Emergency Braking System (AEB) (City / Urban)

 

Kia Rio, First Car, 5-Door

It’s the country drive car.

 

But let’s talk about the technology that’s making the Kia Rio 5-door EX safe:

  • Bluetooth® hands-free functionality
  • Rear-view camera system
  • Available only on the top-tier EX trim is a seven-inch floating touch screen interface
  • UVO3 voice recognition infotainment system and smartphone integration through Android AutoTM and Apple CarPlayTM

 

Let me just give you that in “mom words”. With voice activated commands like “Okay Google take me to…” and “Okay Google play…” or “Okay Google what time does Starbucks close?” the Kia Rio 5-door EX is going to keep your kid operating their car hands-free.

 

And, I haven’t even told you about the UVO3 “Curfew Alert” yet.

 

As if it wasn’t glorious enough to have all this in your kid’s first car, now you can set the parameters on when they are supposed to be home and where they are supposed to be. You get notifications to your phone when they go out of bounds or are late. WOW!

 

Reduced shenanigans.

 

Kia Rio, First Car, 5-Door

It’s the afternoon run car.

 

Kia Rio 5-Door EX Pricing

 

While the pricing for the EX level has not been released yet, the starting MSRP on the Sedan is $13,990 (M) / $14,990 (A) and $14,290 (M) / $15,290 (A) on the 5-Door. Those are some numbers I can get real with!

 

Simply put, since spending the day in the Kia Rio 5-Door, I’ve reconsidered putting my most important cargo into a hand-me-down. I don’t want him to have dated safety features, little to no smart technology and lower gas mileage. I want him to have the safest car I can afford. And with the price points that I’m seeing here, this is making me feel pretty good about that decision.

 

It’s the get silly with your best friend car.


About Christa Thompson

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Christa Thompson is the Founder and Senior Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. Christa has been traveling the world since 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day.

“It’s never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams.” -Christa Thompson

18 Comments on this post

  1. That looks like one sweet ride! I’m a fan of magical cars like this that appear small on the outside but are somehow nice and roomy on the inside.

    Vera Sweeney / Reply
  2. That is a gorgeous ride! Over the past several years, I’ve really come to love Kia. Their vehicles are so high quality and beautiful.

    Colleen Lanin / Reply
  3. I totally agree! I want my kids to be safe behind the wheel! That’s not going to happen in a car that’s already on its way to the grave and doesn’t have the latest in safety features. I’d much rather give my kids a nice Kia that will keep them safe now and further on up the road.

    Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle / Reply
  4. CUTE car. Seriously. And with all the safety features we need these days! I worry about others driving distracted never mind my own kid driving!

    Brett Martin (@brettbmartin) / Reply
  5. Wow, the curfew alert is Advanced!! Tech in cars has come so far.

    Pam Wattenbarger / Reply
  6. We are a Kia family and have two of their vehicles. I do think this would make a good first car for a responsible driver.

    Amy Desrosiers / Reply
  7. I am trying to decide what to do about a car for my teen, next April she can drive but our family rig is not in good enough shape I feel for her to be driving in. I hope to get something good. I Keep hearing great things about Kia, hoping to try their brand out soon.

    Brandy (@brandyellen) / Reply
  8. That’s a very good choice for your teen, to be honest. I think it’s really important that we don’t give them an old car. New cars have better safety features and you won’t have to worry about the car dying on them especially when they’re driving alone.

    AnnMarie John / Reply
  9. Great point and lot’s of things to think about, we have just three years to decide what we will do here for our daughter. Dreading that.

    Kristi / Reply
  10. This is a really great car! My niece really likes the Kia Rio, and she has been trying to talk her parents into buying one for her sixteenth birthday. It has so many great safety features, and it sounds like it handles really well. Perfect for new drivers.

    Travel Blogger / Reply
  11. Honestly, if I had a child, I wouldn’t mind getting him a new car. Cars these days are safer to drive and have all the features to keep you from getting into an accident.

    Carol Cassara / Reply
  12. This is so great, I totally want to buy a new car!

    kristin / Reply
  13. We have 6 kids and I wish we could give each of them a newish car, but it just isn’t possible. These are some interesting points you make though.

    Shannon Gurnee / Reply
  14. When it’s time for my kids to get their own car, I’ll definitely consider getting whatever car is new in the market. That way I’m sure that everything’s updated from the brand new features to the features for the safety.

    Jocelyn @ Hip Mama's Place / Reply
  15. These are such excellent tips! I so remember buying my first car when I was a teen!

    brianne / Reply
  16. I don’t think kids need the newest or latest, but I don’t want them using outdated technology. That especially goes for safety!

    Crystal Bowley Reagan / Reply
  17. We are in the market for a new car, so thank you for your honest review of the Kia Rio. We want a small car for city driving and this one sure looks like it will win us over.

    Our Family World / Reply
  18. We will be getting our youngest son his first car in January and we have been looking at so many makes and models, deciding whether to get him a used or brand new car. Thanks for your review of the Kia. We will be seriously considering this.

    Annemarie LeBlanc / Reply

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