Originally Posted by Ronnieboy
This doesn't help, but I have read that new and late model used are very close in price. I'd think about springing for new especially with the end of model year coming. I thought the tsunami decreased stock effect had eased up a little....maybe not?
I will be looking at CR-V, Toyo Rav-4, and maybe the Highlander as a car to add when my (just turned) 15 y.o. gets closer to the driving age.
Tsunami effect: The new CR-Vs are trickling in, but there's still a lot of pent-up demand. Even cars manufactured in the US are affected due to a lack of a few select parts (I think I heard the sensors which trigger the airbags are among the parts primarily mfgr'ed in Japan and affected by the disaster there.)
Car for your young 'un: One of the new styling trends is small windows in the back of the car and large C-pillars. I thought the visibility to the 5 and 7 o'clock position in the RAV-4 (and the Matrix) was not very good. In addition, the rear tire on the tailgate of the RAV-4 does block the view a little bit. More importantly, that spare tire on the RAV-4 (and on the previous edition CR-V) sticks out beyond the bumper. That means a tiny misjudgement by a new driver (or a person pulling up behind him) can turn what would have been a little bumper bruise into a crumpled hatch ($$). Something to think about.
Young drivers have accidents. For the cost conscious, a mid-size American car that is a few years old (heavy depreciation) but which has the front and side (head) airbags and possibly stability control are a good bet. Ford Taurus, Chevy Malibu/Impala, etc.