As enthusiasts, I thought folks might be interested in the thought process's and the actual process of deciding on a first car. My son's situation is different from many first time car buyers, as he is buying a nice car that he wants to keep for some time. Corey is 17, and learned to drive in our 2013 Explorer Sport, so dealing with hp is not an issue............... he is a good driver. Consideration is given to there being room for his guitar stuff as he will start gigging when he is 18 (he has been playing electric guitar since 6). He started out being all about big horsepower, or the ability to get big hp.
Background: Corey has been working since he was 14 to save money for a car. He told me, "Mama, I want to earn the money to buy my own car." He is an excellent worker and a valued employee. His maturity, as he has gotten older has really shown in his work ethic.............. even if it was fairly absent in other areas (yes, I want to kill him daily). He does have good morals though, and surprisingly, is looking at potential relationships from a very healthy place, as in "all of the HS girls are very immature and just want to have sex (he wants to wait for real love) and get pregnant. I think I will stay single." Surprised the daylights out of me, especially how the girls today act. It is like upside down world. Anyway, his first 2 jobs treated him terribly, and he has been at Culver's now for almost 3 months and they love him and treat him great. He is working almost full time, and is completing his Senior Year online.
Thought process: Corey wants a nice car. At the start of this process, he put together a list of used cars that he is interested in. He will be paying cash with no help from us. They include, but are not limited to (after all he is 17): Audi A4, A5, A6, A7, S4, BMW 3-series Msport, 5 series, Mini Countryman S All4, Mustang, Taurus SHO, Fusion, Fiesta ST, Focus ST, Jaguar XF. I'm sure there are others that are passing thoughts, but not serious. In his price range he will be looking at as new as he can, but it will be a fairly high mileage car. He is not put off by rebuilt titles as long as we get them inspected and water damage was NOT an issue.
We started by test driving a couple of cars locally. Our local Ford dealer with throw us the keys to anything, as does a high end used lot (they will give you an hour).
2012 Mini Countryman S: It is like driving a go cart. He grinned the entire time. It feels much faster than it is and was surprisingly roomy for such a small car. Rode great for such a small car. We took it to a ranch road that is twisty central and it is a blast. Well screwed together, even at 70,000 miles. Both of us were very surprised by it, and there is a huge modification market, which was appealing to him.
2015 Mustang V6 auto: Good looking car. Was fast for the V6 and handled well. Visibility is not terrible. Rode surprisingly well for what it is. While he had fun with it, not nearly as much as the Mini, so he rated it below the Mini.
2019 Mustang Ecoboost 6-speed. I drove this car as he hasn't learned yet. HATED the clutch. It had very long travel and engaged very close to the bottom. Mind you, I know I would get used to it, it just didn't make a good first impression. The trans was fine, and loved the engine. We went to an out of the way place and I let Corey try it. He had a hard time figuring out the clutch, and dumped it a bunch (to be expected). Note to self: Teenagers have little patience and try to make it happen too fast. Know he will figure out a stick, but would take a lot of patience on MY part. His last launch went better and he actually did drive it.......... until he tried to go into 5th instead of 3rd. End of lesson.
These are what we were able to drive locally. Payson is a small town, with limited possibilities. Made plans to head to Prescott, as they are bigger and have more. A smaller dealership had a 2013 Audi A6 2.0T and let us go on our own with no limitations. The BMW 535i we had a babysitter, and Corey was very uncomfortable.
2013 Audi A6 2.0T Quattro: Surprisingly quick for the hp. Gorgeous interior and very comfortable, yet handled well. Corey liked pretty much everything about the car. Drove smaller than it is, and the auto trans was excellent and very responsive. Cabin is very airy, seats were very comfortable, and it was very easy to just jump into and figure everything out. Even at 81K miles, was well screwed together with no rattles. Didn't know where there was a real drivers road there, so didn't really get to flog it in the twisties, but he liked it enough that it was in second place behind the Mini.
2015 BMW 535i: This car was a surprise because we did not like it as much as we thought we would. The biggest disappointment was the handling. Just going through roundabouts it felt ponderous. There was a lot more lean than expected. The car rode well, but has a very "sports car" feel in the way you sit way down inside, more like in the Mustang. The interior was nice, but not nearly as nice as the Audi. The cowl was high due to the integrated nav screen, and there are a lot of buttons that look exactly the same. He expected to be very impressed with the engine, and even that didn't do much for him. Yes, it would get up and go, but I think the culprit here was the trans. It was not nearly as responsive. Was well screwed together, but it should be as it only had 48K miles on it. Corey really didn't like it at all, except for how it looks. Felt very old person car to him (and me, and I'm old). Wants to try an MSport to see if this livens it up.
We are now renting cars from Turo. This gives him a better feel than even a 1 hour test drive can. We rent them for 4 days so he can have some fun, but yet use them in the day to day stuff. The first one I will report on here, and will add new posts as we drive others.
2014 Audi A4 S-line Prestige Quattro: LOVED THIS CAR. Black on black. Great looking and sporty. Has plenty of straight line power, and again, the trans is excellent. Loves the paddle shifters. The real world handling is excellent. Flogged it down Doll Baby road (tight twisty road) giggling the whole way. Very easy car to live with. Does all of the day to day stuff great, got really good mileage. Has plenty of room for what he needs. He was proud to be driving it. Even at 96K miles, it has aged well. The interior still looks and feels new, and has very high quality materials. It looks much better in person than in pictures. The sport seats are very comfortable and supportive and the car road very well. Car had warped rotors which we told the owner about (the Explorer does also, as the 6-7% grades in the summer are hard on heat. Plan on getting upgraded rotors and pads as it is getting closer to needing front pads anyway), but still stopped very well. This is his number one right now.
Next car to be rented is an Audi A7. This has the Supercharged 3.0, which he is anxious to try. He will also be renting a 328i Xdrive Msport, and a 335 or 535 also, in Msport. He is paying for all of this. Will update with impressions. Ask any questions you wish. I just thought this would be a fun and informative post from a different perspective.