Rites of passage cause more arguments between teens and their parents than the decision about which car should be their first. Teens want style – and yes, probably speed – while parents are usually mostly concerned with safety and cost. Usually, families end up compromising on something with a reputation for reliability and low maintenance costs, but, quite frankly, tends to be on the boring side.
Enter the FIAT. No, this isn’t the FIAT some parents might remember from their younger days, the car that was most often seen broken down on the side of the road or up on the lifts in the repair shop. After partnering with Chrysler, FIAT was re-introduced to the American market in 2011, and the sporty little minicars have gotten the attention of the younger generation.
Let’s get the number one question out of the way: yes, despite their small size, FIATs are safe. The FIAT comes with a standard seven airbags, including a driver’s knee airbag, and was rated “good” in most areas in NHSTA crash tests. The FIAT 500’s seats are treated with flame retardant, and in the event of a crash, the FIAT includes a fuel shutoff switch that cuts off the fuel supply to prevent fire. The FIAT is also constructed to provide better visibility than other cars in the same class, making it easier for new drivers to avoid hazards.
One of the FIAT’s most appealing features to young drivers is the cost, both to purchase and maintain. The 2012 FIAT 500 starts at around $15,000 for a manual transmission and up to around $20,000 for a fully loaded version. The cars also come with a four year, 100,000 mile warranty, as well as free maintenance for the first 36 months of ownership – a huge savings for a young person who might not have the extra cash for oil changes.
In addition, the cars get excellent gas mileage. The 500 averages around 30 miles per gallon in the city, and 38 miles per gallon on the highway – and the tank was designed to hold more gas than the original Italian models, meaning your teen will spend less money on fill-ups each week. And the FIAT is less expensive to insure than comparable models, like the MINI.
The FIAT is more than just safety and low costs – it’s also fun to drive, and offers plenty of features that teens will love. The base model comes with a powerful sound system, and you can install an optional wireless sync system. The car can seat four – but you won’t have to worry about your teen driving huge groups of friends around, since the backseat is small.
Choosing a car for your teen driver is a huge decision, and really the only way to see if the car is right for you is to visit a dealership. Take a trip to one of the FIAT Studios, like Holt FIAT, and check out these sporty, fun cars. You might just find the perfect compromise for your teen.
This guest post was written by Jerry Lasley. Jerry is an automotive specialist and enjoys sharing his knowledge of the automotive industry.