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Picking the perfect hand-me-down vehicle for your teen


When you’re the youngest child in the family, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll receive at least a few hand-me-down items before you graduate high school. For most, this typically means getting your older sibling or cousin’s clothes, toys or furniture.

If you’re lucky, though, you might get a used car – the one hand-me-down that you’ll actually want –assuming your parents don’t have the money to buy you a brand-new vehicle.

But while this is usually how most teens inherit their first set of wheels, it doesn’t come without careful planning and preparation by mom and dad.

Before their teen even gets behind the wheel for the first time, it’s common for parents to purchase a new or used vehicle for themselves that, after a few years of use, will be given to their child as a hand-me-down car.

Although there are plenty of safe, reliable and long-lasting makes and models that make great vehicles to inherit, the following list outlines some of the best hand-me-down cars that don’t cost a fortune.

Subaru Outback or Forester

When you think of the features that make a suitable car for a new driver, safety, visibility and low cost of ownership are likely to come to mind. And perhaps no vehicle meets these qualifications better than the late model Subaru wagons.

Subaru cars have a reputation of receiving excellent crash-safety ratings and the availability of parts means that they aren’t expensive to fix.

Plus, the standard four-cylinder engine (excluding the turbocharged version) has enough power for your teen to safely merge onto a highway, but not enough to tempt him or her to drag race and potentially damage the motor.

If you pass this car down to your children, they may have some resentment toward you in the moment. However, in the long run, they’ll be thankful you did.

Single Cab Compact Pickup

A small, single cab pickup truck – like the Ford Ranger, Chevrolet S10 or Dodge Dakota – might not be the ideal first vehicle for a teenager because of its inability to seat more than three passengers. But that’s exactly why it fits the bill.

When your son or daughter is inexperienced behind the wheel, limiting the amount of potential distractions that may take his or her attention off the road is key.

However, since older single cab trucks typically lack power options, a CD player or MP3 hookup, and a backseat, in-vehicle distractions shouldn’t be a problem. So, if you buy your teen a compact pickup, you won’t have to worry about him or her being known as the friend group’s “taxi cab.”

And besides, a six-foot bed can really come in handy when college move-in day rolls around in a few short years.

Toyota Corolla or Honda Accord

When you’re a parent, the fundamental purpose of a hand-me-down car is to purchase something that you wouldn’t mind driving for a few years before handing off the keys.

As a result, the Toyota Corolla and Honda Accord have become popular hand-me-down vehicles simply because they’re an affordable option for mom and dad.

These two models make great cars for teens because they’re reliable, fuel efficient and cheap to insure.

While the base price for a new Corolla and Accord are $18,500 and $23,000, respectively, used models that are ten years old can usually be picked up for less than $8,000.

And these compacts, which retain their value more than their American counterparts, can regularly log over 200,000 miles if properly maintained.

If you have a hand-me-down car that needs a tune-up before you pass it down to your teen, give Andy’s Auto Service a call at 412-478-9304 to schedule an appointment.


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