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The best used cars for new college students

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On: Wed, Jun 29, 2016 at 4:05PM | By: Gary P Garry

The best used cars for new college students

We have recently passed through the high school graduation season, and, if you are a parent of a recent graduate, college is probably going to be the next step for your child. You may be in the market for a used car for your new college student, and there are some things to take into consideration when you make car buying decisions. Though it may not be on the top of the list for your son or daughter, safety will probably be your primary concern. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) has done a great deal of very useful research into the subject. According to their website, there are four primary things to think about when you are trying to identify the right used car for a young driver.

The first consideration is the horsepower equation. You don't want to tempt a young driver with a very powerful engine; youth and excessive power can add up to negative results.

Second, bigger, more hefty vehicles are safer. Your first thought will be that a heavy vehicle will hold up better in an accident, and this is true. In addition, research has shown that teenage drivers are less likely to get into a crash when they are driving a larger vehicle. When it comes to large cars, the post-2006 Volvo S80, the Ford Taurus (2010 and newer), and the post-2010 Buick Regal get high marks.

The third safety factor that is emphasized by the IIHS HLDI is the presence of an electronic stability control (ESC) system. This feature helps a driver keep the vehicle under control when unusual circumstances exist—like severe curves or inclement weather—that involve unstable condtions or slippery roads.

The last thing that parents should consider is the overall safety rating of vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration uses a star rating system; you should look for a minimum of four stars.

If you keep all of the above factors in mind, you have a good general framework to apply to your search for the used car that is right for your new college student. Fortunately, the IIHS HLDI has done a lot of the legwork for you. There will be some concerns when you are sending your children off to college, but if you do your homework and make a wise purchase, the safety of his or her motor vehicle will not be one of them.


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