Buying a car for your teen? - FOX 13 News

Buying a car for your teen?

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CLEARWATER (FOX 13) -

If buying a car for a teenager is on your summer shopping list, experts advise their suggestions have changed a bit. Some remain the same, though, such as sports cars -- don't do it.

"They're more likely to go fast if it feels fast, if they know it'll go fast," said 19-year old Krystal Cusack, a salesperson-in-training at Fitzgerald Hyundai. "They're more reckless than adults, plus they're more likely to be in social situations to impress they're friends so they're going at high speeds."

Krystal's father, Mike Cusack, works at the same dealership and has put wheels under three teenaged drivers. He agrees older, large sedans have one advantage: "They're large, so on an impact they'll absorb more just because of the sheer size of them," Cusack offered.

But that advantage can be offset if it is a rear-wheel drive vehicle.

"My suggestion generally would always be an all-wheel drive or a front-wheel drive vehicle because you have much better control."

He showed several smaller but late-model cars that look sporty but offer recommended safety features. He and sources such as Consumer Reports favor electronic stability control, antilock brakes and multi-stage advanced front air bags, side air bags and head-protection curtains.

The electronic features counteract over-steering and over-braking by inexperienced drivers. Many cars built after 2009 come with those amenities.

Pickups and large SUV's are not advised because they can be top-heavy or harder to control. Limited passenger seating is another plus.

"A nice five-passenger sedan," Cusack agreed, "so you don't cram too many people in there, that's just safer."

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