The Perfect First Car

Sean Magee, Staff Writer

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High school is the time when many students are able to purchase their first car, and this can be very exciting for many. If you aren’t a car person, this can be a very confusing time, and you may have no idea what to look for. Or, even if you do know the ins and outs of every Lamborghini in production, you may not have much clue as to what to look for when wading through Craigslist and Autotrader with a couple grand.

The general price that most people spend on a first car is two to five thousand dollars, some may have less or others more, but this will be a guide for the general shopper in that range.

The most important thing to look for in a first car is reliability; there are certain makes and models that simply are not worth the trouble when buying used. Also necessary in consideration of your car is practicality, safety, and cost.

After much reasoning, the perfect first car for a high school aged kid is the Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ, but only the models equipped with the 4.0 Liter, six cylinder engine. The WJ was produced from 1999-2004, and it is a mid size four wheel drive SUV. The 4 liter, straight six engine is famed for its reliability which is essential in a first car, and is known to regularly carry the jeep long over 300,000 miles on the odometer.

The Grand Cherokee is also very practical. It can comfortably seat five, and its MPG rating of nineteen even compares to many SUVs made today. Whether it is sports, other activities or just storage, the Jeep has a very large rear cargo bay. The Grand Cherokee also has high and low range four wheel drive, which is perfect for adding some confidence in the snowy conditions that come with northeastern winters.

Parents always want their child in a safe vehicle, and the IIHS says that the Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ would maintain “a low risk of injuries” in a moderately severe crash. Also, on the later WJ models, side airbags became an addition to the safety measures. Many new drivers often praise the added visibility from the height of SUVs, which would also of course include the Grand Cherokee.

Most teens are short on money, which makes the cost of owning a vehicle something very important. The Jeep’s respectable gas mileage as mentioned before, along with a twenty gallon fuel tank, means that you won’t be spending your entire paycheck on gas like you would on some other SUVs that size. Another point to emphasize is the cost of repairs and replacement parts. New drivers will inevitably acquire their share of dings and dents, and may very well end of needing to replace some parts. Replacement parts for the WJ Grand Cherokee are incredibly cheap, and there is massive market for them meaning they’re very easy to find. On a side note, there is also an abundance of modification and upgrade parts due to the number of Jeep enthusiasts.

All things considered, you still may want to go a completely different route in your first car purchase. The 1999-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ, however, is a perfect mix of everything a teen would want in a car, and will never let you down as long as you treat it right.

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