Forgive me for extending this off-road jaunt, but the previous post generated a lot of energy—this morning it broke the all-time record for comments to a single TOP post. The previous record was 217.
Several readers have noted that people seem to be more interested in cars than in cameras, but, in fairness, we talk about cameras a lot more often. I'm sure this site has received many thousands of comments about what camera to buy.
I have to say I wrote that car post for purely selfish reasons. I really did want peoples' advice. And I've read every single comment, even if no one else has.
The comment that has changed my thinking came from my good friend Steve Rosenblum, a cardiologist and fly-fishing maven from Ann Arbor, Michigan (he has a condo on a river in Colorado, where the trout run). His comment, in part:
I hate to say this, but the odds are overwhelming that your new driver son will get into an accident during his first year or so of driving, even if he is a careful kid. Both of my sons got into serious potentially life-threatening accidents while still in high school, and neither one was a wild driver. Teenagers just don't have very good judgement and they certainly don't have any experience. You combine those things and they get into accidents at an alarming rate. Given that, you need to get a car that is big enough and safe enough to allow them to walk away unscathed when the inevitable accident happens. So , IMHO, I think that you need to give the teenaged driver part of this equation priority over your own desires here [emphasis mine —MJ]. ...Hyper-reliable, relatively large, multi-air bag and ABS equipped cars...are likely to get Z out his teens alive until he gets the experience he needs and his frontal lobes finally mature.
Steve is right. I'd been approaching this problem purely from the perspective of trying to find the most driving enjoyment for myself from among the relatively few cars that I can comfortably afford, while satisfying our practical needs at the same time. Not an easy task, since I'm both cheap and also picky.
In fact, I'd been thinking of buying a new car for myself and giving the old ZX2 to Zander, my just-17-year-old son—who, by the way, is uninterested in cars and hasn't bothered to get his license yet. (He has a chauffeur.)
That might not be the right idea at all. The best approach might be to consider this problem with my responsibilities as a parent foremost in mind. What's best for Zander to learn to drive in? The old ZX2 has no traction control, no ABS brakes, is relatively light and flimsy, and has only front air bags. And it's actually pretty fast—only 150 HP (probably down a few since it was new), but it's light.
Definitely not the safest car for a green teen.
I might need to go back to Square One, as the saying goes, and start over. The fact is, I can wait five years to get a sporty car that's fun to drive. That presumes I'll still be around then; but, on the plus side, it gives me longer to save, so I can get a better car when I finally do get something just for myself.
Anyway, thanks for all the good comments. I honestly did appreciate all the advice. I'll keep you posted.
Send this post to a friend
Note: Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site. More...
Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.