New wheels

Which vehicle type is best for you?

Story by Nathan Morriss, staff writer

You’re finally 16! You took the course, passed the test and are ready to be independent on the road. But what about the vehicle itself? Many teens face the issue of finding a vehicle that both suits their needs and is a reasonable price.

Multiple factors need to be considered when buying a vehicle, but the main three are safety, miles per gallon and usage of the vehicle. Each one of these factors may be more important than the other two depending on the person buying.

Safety is a big aspect to consider when looking at vehicles. While most newer vehicles come with all necessary standard features, many older ones lack the bells and whistles. For example, you generally want some form of anti-lock brakes to prevent the brakes from seizing up in case of a sudden stop. Another good safety feature to consider is airbags in both the front of the vehicle as well as the sides.

Miles per gallon is another important element when choosing a vehicle. A larger vehicle may be nice in terms of cargo room and seats, but if you are driving 30 minutes or more to school, a smaller vehicle may be best. Gas can get very expensive, especially if your vehicle requires a higher octane rating.

The last factor, and generally regarded as the most important, is the usage of a vehicle. A compact car may be great for gas mileage and price, but if one needs a trailer hitch there is no use in a small vehicle. If you plan on driving in a very urban city regularly, a bulky truck may make the ride more stressful.

There are endless styles and makes of vehicles, but for the sake of this article we’ll go over the five most prominent types. Each vehicle type has its own distinctive features and characteristics.

Coupes and sedans are the two most prominent choice of small cars. Both offer great gas mileage, generally good safety ratings and generally have five seats. Most of these vehicles can be found used with relatively low miles for a cheap price. Drawbacks to these vehicles include limited seating and cargo space.

Sports Utility Vehicles, or SUVs, are another good option. Built on a truck chassis, most SUVs boast roomy interiors and many allow for pulling a trailer. Sizes range from compact SUVs to large ones like the Chevy Suburban. The main drawbacks to these vehicles is the price; the spacious ones can get expensive for a teenager.

If one is stuck between a Coupe/Sedan and an SUV, crossover vehicles are great vehicles to consider. Imagine the gas mileage and handling of a smaller car but the general looks and features of an SUV. Crossovers are built on a car chassis and usually have All Wheel Drive. The main disadvantage to these vehicles is while it combines positive aspects of multiple vehicle types, it combines mediocre disadvantages of all the vehicles. This includes lack of sufficient cargo space for its size, yet still carries a more expensive price tag than a smaller car.

Pickup trucks are a great option if you want a heavy-duty vehicle that can be used for both hauling and off-road. Most have an eight foot bed and about half of them are equipped with 4 Wheel Drive in the event the terrain is strenuous. The greatest pro to this vehicle is the saturation of them in the market; if one is willing to take a chance on the mileage, many can be found pretty cheap. One of the main cons with this truck, however, is the gas mileage. Driving inside a city can also be challenging.

Perhaps none of these have stood out to you or you simply can’t find vehicles that you can afford; a great bang for its buck is the dog sled. The dog sled requires no gas money, and its  only drawback is having to provide shelter and food for multiple canines.

On a more serious note, it’s no big deal if you can’t drive your dream vehicle style in high school ‒ you have the rest of your life to enjoy those luxuries. However, if you are intent on finding a car you like for a lesser price, there are plenty of owner-sold vehicles online to choose from. Specifically, sites like Facebook marketplace provide cheaper vehicle options.

All in all, the vehicles you like fall in your hands. Hopefully this helped you on your search to find your dream car. Good luck and remember to drive safe.