Auto Bits: How to find a safe car for your teen

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Tip of the Week

As you weigh used cars and new cars, price tags and the cool factor, use this guide to balance your teen's wish list with the kind of car you want to look for.

- Check out best-of lists. USAA's top 10 cars for teens on its Best Value vehicles list highlights cars for teens based on factors like reliability, safety and affordability. 

- Get the Carfax Vehicle History Report if you're buying a used car. This report, found through a car's VIN or license tag number, can alert you if a car's been totaled in a previous accident or damaged in a flood.

- Have an Automotive Service Association-certified mechanic check the car inside, outside and underneath.

- Use online resources to compare the sticker price, which the dealer wants you to pay; the invoice price, which is what the dealer paid; and the true market price. USAA Car Buying Service offers research tools and a network of dealers to help you find the right car at the right price for you.

- Investigate insurance costs. Good grades and driving records can bring down overall costs for your family, as can some of the safety features available in today's vehicles.


The List

According to the Wall Street Journal, here are 10 of the fastest supercars:

Bugatti Veyron Super Sport

Hennessey Venom GT

Koenigsegg Agera R

SSC Ultimate Aero

Saleen S7 Twin Turbo

Koenigsegg CCX

McLaren F1

Zenvo ST1

Noble M600

Gumpert Apollo

Did You Know

Brammo recently unveiled an electric motorcycle – the Empulse – that can go 100 mph and travel 100 miles on a charge.

Car Q&A

Q: I know you drive different vehicles every week. Unlike the car magazines that give information that I do not need, you give the quick facts that I find useful and interesting. Can you comment on a few vehicles when possible?

A: Here’s one of my latest test drives: the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu ECO. This is eighth generation and not an entry-level car. The Malibu seats five and is high-quality both in and out. The four-cylinder gas engine with the help of the electric boost motor propel this Malibu like a performance V-6. Our test car also had heated front seats, and I liked everything about the car. Gas mileage with range 20s to high 30s on the highway. Base price $26,000, and it’s a bargain for the price. The old little Malibu has grown up to a great midsize car.

- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist

GateHouse News Service