Your Guide to Buying Your Teen a Mazda

Like if this guide is helpful
Your Guide to Buying Your Teen a Mazda

A teenager's first car marks a turning point in the life of both the teen and his or her parents. Not surprisingly, many parents want to ease this transition by offering either guidance or money or both. Some even take on the entire financial burden or the entire responsibility for choosing the car. Others guide their kids through making the choice themselves. But whether offering guidance or making an outright choice, parents need some idea of what to look for in a first car. This is not easy.

Teens do not necessarily know enough about cars, or themselves, to make a sound choice unaided, and parents do not necessarily know what teenagers need. Fortunately, there are cars generally recognised as being very good for teenagers; they are safe, easy to drive, affordable, and attractive. Many of these teen-friendly cars are Mazdas. Parents can begin the process of advising their offspring by looking at the available models and also by learning a bit about what kind of Mazda makes a good car for teenagers.

Buying a Car for a Teenager

Helping a teenager to buy a first car is difficult, both because teens have specific needs as drivers and because parents are understandably anxious about their kids driving. One way to minimise confusion is to focus on why exactly this particular teen needs a car and how most teens differ from adults as drivers. And remember, there is no rule that says parents have to buy their teens cars at all.

Why Buy a Car for a Teenager?

Part of buying a car is always deciding what the car is to be used for. For example, a teen who wants a car for a little more independence around town does not really need a particularly reliable vehicle. As long as the car can keep the teen safe, dealing with a few mechanical problems might be part of the learning experience.

Financial Help

The price might then be low enough that the teen can take primary financial responsibility from the beginning. On the other hand, a teen who needs a car for driving long distances to work or school does need a reliable vehicle, and parents can offer greater financial assistance in order to help their child get established professionally. Teens who work in construction, landscaping, or something similar may needs a specialty vehicle, such as a pickup truck, for professional reasons. Again, financial help from parents can be an important leg up to adulthood.

Who Should Choose the Car?

But there is another way to ask the question, why buy a car for a teenager; why not let the teenager buy it? While most teens do need significant financial assistance to pay for a car, that is not the same thing as the parents actually choosing a car for the teen. Many parents buy for their teenagers out of a belief that the teen is not mature enough to choose a car. It is true that many teens care more about their reputation than their safety, and might well want to drive something completely inappropriate. Other teens may be comparatively ignorant about money or might not know enough about cars to recognise which car they need. Parental guidance can be a big help, as the teen learns how to buy and own a car. However, if a teen is not yet ready, even with adult help, to choose a car, then he or she might not be ready to own one. Not all teens have to own a car, after all. An alternative is for the parents to buy an extra car for themselves, but with the teenager's driving needs in mind.

Special Considerations for a Teenager's Car

Buying a car for a teen is a little different than buying one for an adult, because teens are different than adults. They are not only inexperienced drivers, but most also lack mature judgement and so may drive more aggressively than their skill permits. On the other hand, their reflexes are often quicker than those of older drivers. For these reasons, a teen's car should be relatively simple and easy to handle.

Raw power is not necessary, and might even be best avoided; nobody needs to be able to reach 97 kilometres per hour in less than ten seconds, and a teen arguably should not be tempted to try by being given a high-performance vehicle. A less powerful motor gets better fuel efficiency anyway. More important is how quickly the car can stop and turn. A small, lightweight car with good handling and an excellent brake system is probably the ideal, so the teen can quickly get out of potentially dangerous situations. While large cars have a reputation for holding up better in accidents, their extra weight might also make accidents harder to avoid, since they have longer stopping distances. Do check for safety ratings and number of airbags.

Buying a Mazda for Your Teen

Some of the best cars for teens are Mazdas, yet not all Mazdas are right for typical teens and not all teens are typical. Deciding on a specific car involves choosing a model and deciding whether to buy new or used. The final choice may depend on which car becomes available at the best price when, but it is good to have an idea of what to look for ahead of time.

Choosing a Mazda

As a group, Mazdas are affordable and easy to handle. Some, especially the smaller of the more recent models, get excellent gas mileage, and the company has experimented with using renewable materials for some car materials. While the company's offerings change slightly every year, there are generally a few models available that are nearly ideal for most teenagers.

This table shows recently available Mazda models, together with their model years and a brief description. Note that not all of these cars are good first cars for most teenagers. This list is intended as a starting point for later research, so the buyer can focus on the likely candidates.

Mazda Model

Model Year

Brief Description

Mazda 2

1999–present

Fast, efficient super-mini

Mazda 3

2003–present

Compact car, excellent handling

Mazda Premacy

1999–present

Compact MPV

Mazda BT-50

2006–present

Large pickup truck

Mazda 6

2002–present

Large family car

Mazda Tribute

2001–2011

Compact SUV

Mazda CX-5

2012–present

Compact SUV

Mazda CX-7

2007–2012

Midsize crossover SUV

Mazda CX-9

2007–present

Full-size crossover SUV

MX-5

1989–present

Two-seater sports car

Mazdaspeed 3

2007–present

Compact sports car

Mazdaspeed 6

2007–present

Fast luxury sports car

This list is not exhaustive. Models that have not been in production recently, those that were pulled from production over emissions concerns, those sold only in Japan, and concept cars have been omitted. Some of these are known by different names in other countries.

Buy a New or Buy Used Mazda?

Buying new and buying used each have their advantages. New Mazdas are more reliable, since they can go longer before starting to have mechanical problems. Used Mazdas cost less to purchase, sometimes much less than new ones. If buying a used car, though, remember to figure maintenance costs into the budget. If a used car is already in poor condition, or if it belongs to a high-end model that is expensive to fix, the initial savings may be eaten up in maintenance costs. Parents should be particularly wary of this possibility if they have offered to pay for repairs as long as the teen pays the purchase price. Sometimes an entry-level new Mazda is the better option overall. A used car in excellent condition at a good price can be an opportunity for a teen to ease into financial responsibility, though. And an old, beat-up vehicle might be perfect for a teen who wants a challenge or enjoys working on cars.

Special Considerations for Buying Used Cars

When buying used through a private party, as opposed to through a dealer, it is important to inspect the car thoroughly before buying. Many mechanics are happy to perform a pre-sale inspection, though since there is no standard checklist for such inspections, it is important for the seller to be clear about what should be checked. The seller drops off the car and the prospective buyer pays for the inspection. It is also important to get a history of the car and to check the car personally and take it for a test drive. The seller should not object to any of this if the buyer is friendly and polite in tone.

Long, detailed checklists for buying used cars are available online, but it is worth knowing some examples of things to look for. Look for exterior damage or signs of repair. A recent paint job could hide rust. Hidden rust or evidence of unexplained work is a bad sign. See if the tyres are in good condition and make sure any wear is even. Unevenly worn tyres can signal alignment or suspension problems. The engine should be clean and leak-free, and the exhaust should not be blue or black. Strange sounds or odours are a bad sign. Make sure the transmission fluid is clean, the brakes work smoothly, and the car does not try to drift to one side while driving.

Buying a Mazda for Your Teen on eBay

Once you have decided to buy a Mazda for your teen, you can head to eBay. The website is a great place to look for and find almost all Mazda versions. Moreover, eBay offers convenient, secure, access to hundreds of listings.

Finding a Mazda on eBay

Finding a Mazda on eBay is simple. Just type 'Mazda' into the search box, then use the menu options to narrow down the results by fuel type, model, year, and other characteristics. Or, to go right to something very specific, use the Advanced Search feature.

Buying a Mazda on eBay with Confidence

If the seller is too far away for personal inspection of the car to be practical, ask the seller detailed questions to get the same information and inspect the car upon receipt. If necessary, ask for more pictures. If it is not as described, return it. The seller's contact information, feedback score, and return policy are all listed on his or her profile page.

Conclusion

Learning a bit about what teenagers need in a car is only the beginning of the process. From there, parents must decide how much control they wish to have in the process, and what the ground rules must be. Is the teen limited to a certain price range? To the Mazda brand? To a certain body type? The parent also has to learn enough about individual models to decide which to recommend to the teen. For example, the Mazda 2 and 3 are both small, fuel-efficient cars that are easy to drive. But does one have a better safety record than the other? Does the Mazda 3's emphasis on speed suggest problems for teenage drivers? Further research on these two models is easy, once the confusion of dozens of other models has been cleared away. Then one can make further decisions about fuel type and condition and so forth. With all these decisions made ahead of time, parents can be ready to respond in a knowledgeable way to teenagers' questions.

Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides