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Face It, Your Kid Needs New Car Tech More Than You Do

Nissan comparison

If you’re anything like me, you can’t wait for your eldest kid to get their driver’s license. No more carpool! In-house Uber Eats! Outsourcing any/all terrible errands to the eager young fool who will drive anywhere, including out to fetch emergency ice cream, at the drop of a hat. But the real prize was: TO GET MYSELF A NEW CAR!

My plan was masterful. First, I’d convince my daughter to love my husband’s truck, and because no man can say no to his firstborn baby girl, it’d become her regular ride in no time. Then, in an act of apparent selflessness, I’d bestow my upscale family vehicle upon him because “he needs it more than me.” Then, before anyone could question it, I’d run out and buy myself a cheap, sporty ride more fitting to my awesomeness.

Ava learning to love her Dad’s truck.

But my friends, I’m here to rip this terrible band-aid off for both of us. After two years of playing musical vehicles, shopping the wild world of used cars, and reviewing so many impressive crossovers, the mother in me has finally woken up to the cold hard truth–THE SMARTEST THING TO DO IS TO BUY A NEW CAR FOR MY TEEN. It’s a bit like sex ed, here’s why:

Forward Automatic Braking Is Like Great Sex

You can watch every explicit video on the planet, your friends can rant and rave about their experience, but until you avoid plowing into the back of a Bentley on Sunset doing 65mph (give or take ten mph), you can’t truly appreciate the beauty of automatic braking. It’s like great sex. It’s one of the few things in life that’s entirely worth the hype, and once you have it, living without it is somewhat unbearable.

Blind Spot Monitoring Is Like A Good Bra

The Hyundai Tucson takes Blind Spot monitoring to a new level with side cameras.

(photo credit: Hyundai USA)

“In my day, we used good, old-fashioned mirrors, and my kid will too!” I get it. I thought this way once also. But if you’ve ever been in the TJ Max dressing room, you know as well as I do that mirrors aren’t always perfect. The blind spot sensors that light up on the side mirrors are fantastic, and they work like a good bra. They’re always here to support you, especially in the unlikely event that you need to make a run for it.

Apple CarPlay Is Like A Pack Of Condoms

Apple CarPlay (photo credit: Hyundai USA)

Let’s not pretend they’re not gonna do it. And if and when they do, the chances that you’ll be there to ensure they do it safely are slim to none. Of course, I’m talking about texting while driving. Apple CarPlay is great because it can stream audio through the car’s system, plus it can also read and dictate texts fully hands-free. Making sure your teen driver has a vehicle with CarPlay (or Android Auto) is like handing them a box of condoms. You’re not encouraging bad behavior. You’re just giving them the tools to do it safely.

Teen Car Buying Is Like Teen Pregnancy

Like a teen pregnancy, buying a car for your teen is something everyone should avoid. My reason is simple: the technology is changing so quickly that the vehicles you buy today will be worthless in a few years. The exception is anything with over-the-air updates (to keep the technology fresh) and/or a vehicle with inherent collectability (Toyota Supra, Porsche 911, even a Bronco). Either way, you’ll want to avoid a long-term responsibility like a car or a baby. So if a new car is in the cards for you, great! Now make sure you lease it.

Reverse Automatic Braking Is Like Falling In Love

Go to a car dealership and ask, “Does this car have automatic braking?” The sales dude will more than likely give you a quick answer. Then ask, “Does it have automatic braking in reverse,” and you’ll more than likely get an “Oh, I’m gonna have to check on that.” Which is shorthand for ‘Nope.’ But backing into stuff happens. Reverse automatic braking is like its cousin forward automatic braking, incredibly life-altering. But unlike the forward version, reverse braking is rare. This is how it’s like falling in love. It can be the most fantastic feeling in the world, but finding it can be tricky, and letting it go will just about break your heart.

Using Driver Assistance Technology Isn’t Like Losing Your Virginity

Google integration? Yup. Your kids won’t think twice. (photo credit: Volvo Cars)

The other harsh reality is that very few parents are as comfortable with technology as our teens are. We didn’t grow up with it (because Atari doesn’t count). So while driver assistance technology may sound like a far-fetched, unreliable irritation to you, most teens use it with ease and welcome the support. Unlike sex, they’ll handle it well from the first time. 

Of course, unlike sex ed, buying a car for a teen is a ridiculous first-world luxury. Let’s be clear about that. But like sex, if your teen is going to do it at all, let’s be sure they don’t get hurt in the process.

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