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Practicality verses style: car shopping woes

“But that’s not the kind of car I want!” Sound familiar? Teens hoping to own a high-speed sports car often are forced to drive a mini-van or a Toyota Camry instead, highlighting safety over style.

Frustrated, the teen argues how everyone drives a high-speed sports car and the debate continues.

Around seven million cars are sold to teens each year. When the time comes to buy, most have already made up their minds on which car they want.

“What I want in a car is good gas mileage so I won’t have to pay as much for gas,” Joshua Palmer, ’08, said. “But I also want it to be a sports car for the coolness and speed.

Most teens, however, make many common mistakes when they try to find that right car. Often, students do not think about the practical part of the car equation.

“Probably the most common mistake teens make in choosing a car is that they want a high speed car with good looks,” Tom McEntee, Bible teacher, said. “They do not know that the higher the speed, the more it costs for insurance.’

Government figures show that every year around 5,000 Americans, ages 16-19, are killed in crashes and 300,000 are injured. Experts suggest a midsize or larger car with smaller horsepower, dual front and side-impact airbags, and anti-lock breaks for teen drivers (Parade Oct. 3, 2004, p. 10).

So which car provides all these features and focuses on safety?

The 2005 Honda Accord received a 5-star safety and 4-star rollover rating from the National Highway Traffic Administration. It uses 24 miles per gallon of gas on city streets and 34 on highways. The 160 horsepower for the Dx, Lx, and Ex trims of the Sedan version of the Accord lowers the cost for insurance.

“Insurance for a 2005 Honda Accord for a 17-year-old male is around $1519.95 for every six months,” Natalie Gonzales, All State agent, said. “However, there are many factors in determining cost for insurance like age, gender, zip code, marital status and deductions.”

The Honda Accord also offers variety with the Sedan and Coupe version each with different levels of trims. The price tend to range from $16,195- $28,800 depending on the version and trim of the car.

“I would be pretty lenient on which car my son wanted to buy,” McEntee said. “But if I had to choose a car for him, I probably would want him to have a Honda because they last forever.”

For more information on finding which car is the best for teens, go to or for ratings on safety. For insurance quotes or more information call All State at (559) 432-7200.

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    Chantelle BrownAug 26, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Ryan, you look so funny. I have known you since forever and I always thought you were a guy.