By G. Chambers Williams III, San Antonio Express-NewsGraduation time is approaching, and with that, it's time to think about buying a car for the teen who's about to head off to college or that first job.
Cars are popular graduation gifts, but choosing the best vehicle for a teen is often an agonizing decision for parents.
Safety is the biggest concern for most parents. But other key factors include price, economy of operation and reliability.
And for the teens, styling often is the most important factor. Some yearn for high-performance vehicles, too — particularly the boys.
With spiking gasoline prices, though, performance probably should take a back seat to practicality this year.
High-performance cars, which are often too dangerous for inexperienced young drivers anyway, also tend to use a lot of gasoline.
Now that we have record-high average gasoline prices, cars that offer good fuel economy are very much in vogue.
Along with safety and good mileage, parents also are looking for affordable prices and reliability when car-shopping for teens.
I always recommend giving a teen as safe a vehicle as you can afford, which sometimes means giving up some fuel economy for the benefits of a larger, more substantial vehicle. Safety experts all agree that larger vehicles give occupants better protection in a crash, but the larger (and heavier) a vehicle is, the more fuel it burns.
Consumer Reports publishes a list of new and used vehicles deemed by its editors as appropriate for teen drivers.
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