As a new driver—someone with six hours of forgettable Driver’s-Ed instruction or limited time in the driver’s seat—getting into a driving scenario, or even thinking about what car to buy, can be extremely stressful. Not only is driving a serious responsibility, but it can also be scary for the inexperienced.
One of the things you can do to lower the stress of this momentous occasion is to pick a car that is right for you. Choosing the right car at first can be hard since there are almost infinite possibilities. However, there are definitive cars you should avoid. Some cars just aren’t right for the first time road warrior. Whether they’re too big, too small, inefficient, have poor reliability records, or are good from far but far from good, you should avoid certain cars like avoiding a pothole. Here are some cars, trucks, and SUVs to avoid when you’re finally in the market for that four-wheeled freedom machine.
First off, if you have any semblance of pity for the environment, you shouldn’t try and get a Hummer H2 for your first car. At about 12mpg on average if you’re lucky, a Hummer will require a fat wallet to keep it on the road. And if it’s your first time driving, you’ll want as much practice as possible without stopping. Second, big trucks and SUVs (some almost seven-feet wide) require precision driving so you’re not smacking into things on the side of the road. And with some being the height of a professional basketball player, the blind spots can often be atrocious. Sure, you’ll feel big and mighty on the inside, but for a first time driver, SUVs aren’t a confidence-inspiring commuter on the outside.
Unless you’re not concerned about spending money on fixing things here and there, high-end German vehicles can become incredibly pricey if you need to repair something. And not that you’ll try and hit things (it happens every now and then), but if you do end up in a fender bender by accident, the cost of getting parts is going to sadden the driving experience. Even mechanical issues can burn a hole in your pocket. We suggest waiting until you have a few years of experience behind the wheel so you’re more cautious, pro-active about maintenance, and know you can handle a high-performing German sled.
It’s amazing what years of driving experience will do to improve the finesse you have while driving a car. You’ll know how much throttle to give; what sort of brake pressure to apply without making stops jerky and abrupt; and steering the car will become second nature. With a high horsepower sports car, however, everything is amplified and things happen quickly. Take some time to learn how a car functions first before you go all Mario Andretti on the road. Once you get the basics down and learn how to modulate power, handling, and braking responsibly, you’ll be in a better position to get something that’s more powerful and more fun for those open roads.
If the thought of driving a car scares you, and getting a license is because you’re of legal age or it’s based out of necessity, a car that is equipped with a manual transmission might be a bit overwhelming for you at first. It does become like riding a bike with hours, days, weeks, months, and years of practice, but initially it’s a lot to process when you also have traffic, highway speeds, and rules of the road to contend with. Instead, get yourself something with an automatic transmission and get yourself acquainted with everything else first so when the time comes to explore the manual-transmission lifestyle, you’ll just have to worry about not stalling and looking like a newb.
Modern cars are marvels of engineering, technology, and safety. However, all this can come at a cost of keeping you more occupied with what’s going on in the car, rather than outside of it. Forget about just your phone, if you have a car with all the bells and whistles, driving can become more of an exercise in keeping up with social media than it is with traffic flow. Yes, it’s easy to just glance at the infotainment system for just a few seconds, but in that time—especially traveling at highway speeds—you can be in a world of trouble if you’re not looking at the road.
If it’s your first time driving, make sure to get something that has excellent crash safety ratings testing by agencies such as the Insurance for Highway Safety. Crash statistics are scary stuff, especially when you look at the numbers that include teen driver deaths are some of the highest in the country—even surpassing homicide. Driving a two-ton automobile has its inherent dangers, and some are glaringly obvious, but if you can avoid getting into a death trap for your first car, you’ll be way more likely to survive should something happen unexpectedly. Some of the highest rated cars are Volvos, Buicks, Acuras, Toyotas, and Audis among others. While Buicks and Volvos might make you think of older people gingerly driving to work, these cars are some of the reasons they got to that age!
In the same vein as a high performance sports car, a rear-wheel-drive sports car can come around—literally—to bite you. In rain or other adverse conditions, a RWD car can become quite a bit to handle and could result in oversteer, which is the act of the rear of the car going outwards toward the turn. However, a front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive car usually produces understeer when too much throttle is applied. Understeer is usually less dangerous because it’s easier to control, especially when your mind and body is getting used to how a car reacts at certain times while driving.
Not your typical used car salesman. Our team is here to provide honest and transparent advice about car buying and selling.