What do you recommend for a 16 year old witih $3k to spend?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Oct 01, 1999

Dear Tom and Ray:

I'm 16 years old and have about $3,000 to purchase a used car. I am looking for
something that will be safe and reliable. I have been looking at '83 to '86
Volvos and small trucks. What do you think? -- Trevor

TOM: "Safe," "reliable" AND "$3,000," huh? That's a tough combination, Trevor.

RAY: But I think you're on the right track with the Volvo. An older Volvo will
certainly be safe. And one can be had for 3,000 bucks.

TOM: But it won't be all that reliable. Nor will it be cheap to fix. So if I were
you, I'd look for a $2,000 Volvo, and put a thousand bucks aside for the
inevitable repairs. You'll end up with an older, more beat-up Volvo. But
truthfully -- how would you even know?

RAY: Another option is to see if your folks -- in the interests of getting you
into a safe car -- are willing to let you spend all $3,000 on the car, and then
help you out with a repair fund.

TOM: Now, if you happen to live where it snows, you should immediately forget
everything we just said. Old Volvos happen to be among the world's worst cars in
snow. So if you live in the Snow Belt, you're going to have to look for a front-
wheel-drive car. And in that case, we'd suggest something like a late-'80s or
early-'90s Ford Taurus.

RAY: It's not quite as hefty and safe as a Volvo, but it's a substantial car. And
starting around 1990, all Tauruses came equipped with driver's-side air bags
(they were among the first models to come equipped with a standard air bag),
which will provide you with some additional crash protection. They're also fairly
reliable -- as 10-year-old cars go -- and relatively cheap, especially if you
find one of those blue or silver ones with the paint that's peeled off!

TOM: Now, we should issue you one final warning, Trevor: You won't get any dates
with either of these cars. But what do we look like, miracle workers? You want
"safe," "reliable," "$3,000" and "babe magnet"?! C'mon, Trevor!

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