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CARZ4GIRLZ: SUV 101-How To Talk Your Parents into a Sport Utility Vehicle


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By Ilsye Gordon and Friends

Let's get right to the point: This article is totally about how you are not – I repeat not – going to be stuck with one of those beaten-down economy cars your parents most certainly have their eyes on for that big day when you pull out of the driveway to college or maybe even high school.

Sound like an embarrassing moment you'd rather not have? Read on.

That Second-Hand Vehicle Has Your Name Written All Over It

If your parents are involved in buying you a vehicle, they are going to have the upper hand in a lot of ways (like they've had with everything else, sigh). They will be attracted to ANY drivable tin can with a faded paint job, smelly interior, and ripped-out tape deck (did I just say tape deck?) because it means the car will not cost you and them a lot on the green bucks front (meaning purchase price, insurance dues, gas, maybe even mechanical costs). Maybe they plan on even giving you THEIR sorry excuse for a car while they conveniently upgrade!

How To Get Around It – And Into an SUV

Want to avoid this situation altogether? Want your first car to have some decent style in an SUV kind of way? Your parents might hold most the deck, but we'll give you a few trump cards of your own.

Card #1: Start Planning Now

Have you had the family car suspiciously too long? Is a parent complaining about it? Get on it NOW! Find out as much as you can on your own about the vehicle year, maker and model information, plus info on your vehicle's trim or upgrades (like if it has power windows, a sunroof, four-wheel drive, or leather seats) and search right here on The Auto Channel to calculate how much it is worth. Next involve your parents by asking if they have a car fund started, what you'll be expected to pay come purchase time, or their current car's future. I'd even start washing the car or asking Dad how to change oil. Basically, open up the communication lines and show interest!

Card #2: Play the Safety Card Until the Cows Come Home

I'm going to arm you with some fool-proof facts: Licensed drivers in the 16-20 year old age group account for 12.6 percent of driving fatalities (that's death, people) and 281,000 kids within this age bracket were injured in car accidents in 2005. Young drivers are just not experienced drivers and are more likely to make a mistake – showing your humble side to your parents will cause them to think twice about economy cars, or what you proved to be death traps. Snap!

Card #3: If #2 Went Over Well, Slip in Some SUV Info

General Motors is one of the only makers offering OnStar safety system, which has in-vehicle security, remote diagnostics, GPS location, and a crash-notification system where a call can be placed to 24-hour emergency services even if you are knocked unconscious. Push for the following models: Saturn Vue, Green Line, or Outlook; Chevy Equinox, Trailblazer, Tahoe, Denali, Yukon, or Suburban; Pontiac Torrent; GMC Envoy or Acadia; and the Buick Enclave. GM has been using the system on its lineup (which also includes Cadillac, Saab and Hummer) since 1997 – make sure the vehicle has the factor-installed OnStar hardware.

Card #4: Can't Argue With the Experts (You're Not One of Them)

A heavy vehicle will generally protect you in a crash, but don't take our word for it – that's a direct quote from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Also, the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety says, "Small, light vehicles generally offer less protection than larger, heavier ones … pass up very small, light vehicles." Also, read our expert reviews on The Auto Channel – no one knows vehicles better than these experts!

We're always talking about the most important stuff here on, aren't we? If we didn't have a message about how to properly manipulate your parents into getting what you wanted, what kind of an advice column would we be, hmm?

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More to come, I promise.