My first car was not a Honda Civic

June 15, 2007 at 3:30 pm | Posted in Cars, Fuel consumption, Students | Leave a comment

When I was still at school, I became the chauffeur for my family after my dad died. A converted white police mini with red roof (and zip in the ceiling where the blue flashing light used to be inserted) was my first car. I tried to find a photo to show you, kids, but can only see red minis with white roofs, so you’ll just have to imagine what a fun sight my tiny car was. It was humble and charming, and nowhere near as spectacular as this:

Mini Cabriolet Versace 2005

All through college and first few years of work, just like my friends, I used my trusty bicycle and public transport more than my car. It was reserved for special occasions!

Now my kids talk about hopes for VW beetles or bugs when they are older. Our street is populated with several Mini Coopers and a SmartCar, and we just traded in our X5 for a VW Golf GTI, with half the fuel consumption. We no longer need a vehicle that can take three car seats, so we can have a smaller car now that the kids are older.

It was with interest that I read the results of this survey:

Jun 07, 2007 06:00 ET
Study Shows Honda Civic Tops Lists of Cars Driven by Teenagers
Compact Sedans and Mid-Sized SUVS Are Popular Parental Choices for High-School Kids

SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwire – June 7, 2007) – This week, millions of teenagers are graduating from high school. With the long summer and possibly college lying ahead, parents are contemplating which vehicle makes most sense for their kids to drive. New or used? Large or small? Car or SUV? Before making this critical decision, parents might want to know what other parents are choosing for their kids.

With this in mind, Quality Planning Corporation (QPC), the company that helps auto insurers verify the integrity of their policyholder records, looked at thousands of households to understand what cars, both used and new, are being driven by teenagers aged 16-18 years old.

“We examined households where teenagers are the principal driver of the car that’s being insured. In other words, we focused on cars that are being bought for, or ‘handed down’ to, teenagers,” said Ted Harris, manager of research and development at Quality Planning Corp.

“We found that the time-honored battle between teenage desires and parental practicality is alive and well. The Honda Civic appears to strike an acceptable balance for both parties.”

“Top Ten” lists of vehicles actually driven by teenagers this year

Used vehicles (average age)

1 Honda Civic (7)

2 Honda Accord (10)

3 Toyota Camry (9)

4 Chevrolet Cavalier (7)

5 Ford Explorer (7)

6 Toyota Corolla (7)

7 Ford Ranger (8)

8 Pontiac Grand Am (7)

9 Jeep Grand Cherokee (8)

10 Ford Taurus (8)

New vehicles

1 Honda Civic

2 Ford Focus

3 Toyota Corolla

4 Chevrolet Cavalier

5 Ford Ranger

6 Honda Accord

7 Ford F150

8 Ford Explorer

9 Pontiac Grand Am

10 Pontiac Sunfire

Principal findings of the survey

— The Honda Civic, a car that Honda actively markets to younger drivers, is the favorite in both used and new categories.
— While the Toyota Camry is ranked third in the used vehicles category, it is not even in the list for Top Ten new vehicles. The Honda Accord, ranked higher than the Camry as a used vehicle preference, is the sixth-most popular new car for teenagers.
— Sports cars are not among the Top Ten new or used vehicles. Parents are likely aware of the risks associated with faster and more aggressive vehicles, and also know that sports cars have much higher insurance rates, especially for teenagers.
— Larger SUVs, once considered a ‘safe choice’ by parents because of their size and weight, are no longer popular. This is likely due to their gas consumption, as well as an increased awareness that these vehicles are not a good option for inexperienced drivers.
— Average age of used vehicles assigned to teenagers: 9 years.
— Average price of used vehicles assigned to teenagers: $7,410.
— Average mileage of used vehicles, based on survey odometer readings: 9,307.

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