Car help please!

I need to buy my daughter a car, it should be nice, reliable and be not more than around BD10k. She’s seen the Chevy Lumina and seems to like it. The alternative (for her at least) is a Mustang GT 2008 or Chevy Camaro 2008 (bumble bee from transformers, says she) but you know I love her too much to give her either of the latter, so she has to wait a bit to get either.

Anyway, what do you think she should consider?


  1. ammaro

    what are you looking for in a car? for 10k, you have a wide range of cars to get. Look for how long you’re planning to keep the car (in general; for short term (1-2 years) american is fine, long term, japanese or german is good).

    again, american cars will break down sooner or later, german cars will break the bank for spare parts, and japanese are reliable all over, but dont really have the soul that the other two give you.

    if she does manage to break you and you get her a bumblebee, i can test drive the car for her the first few months, you know, just to make sure it works fine.

  2. ehsan

    “it should be nice, reliable and be not more than around BD10k”

    The cars you mention are nice and under 10k, but not reliable (not matter what they tell you, American cars are not designed for the Middle East climate and never will be).

    I’m sure you’re familiar with this: Nice, Reliable, or (relatively) Cheap… you can only pick two of those.

  3. mako

    A reliable car = Toyota
    and btw, Lexus is a Toyota as well. so maybe you can choose something from their line of cars? The Toyota Avalon is pretty nice. and if that is not “nice” enough, you can go a notch higher to the Lexus.
    But… everyone and the guy next to them have a Toyota (Avalon or anything else) so many people might not consider it so nice.

    My other option which I prefer: German cars.
    ehm.. that might not be around your price range though. But there is a solution that not everyone might like (but I do) and that is: Certified used cars. With the latter option you get an almost new car with very low mileage for a very very nice price. Did I mention that it will be a very nice car? πŸ˜€

    I’m sure she’ll be pleased with whatever you choose to give her. I had to work hard in two of my summer vacations back in highschool to be able to buy myself a car.

    GoodLuck πŸ˜‰

  4. Tanya Degano

    The Lumina is a very safe and comfortable car. Its very spacious withing and a perfect fit for a new driver. I think it is the right choice. Although the A/C is either freezing or hot, there doesn’t seem to be an in between with American cars…

  5. Eyad

    car nut to rescue πŸ˜€

    the lumina is quite a nice car actually, built nicely for a Chevy, decent performance, but, its not a car that will last, fuel guzzler (both V6 and V8), might have a few electrical problems.

    Mustang, the V8 model is a tad over your budget, nice looking car for a girl or girly man, I would recommend the V6 for the daughter, not fast at all but still looks the same, and better in the MPG department.

    the Camaro, well, it wont be released until the end of the year and thats in the states, expect it to be in Bahrain in the first quarter of 2009, the BD10k will buy the V6 fully loaded one, I’ve owned many camaro’s and I have to tell you, nothing goes wrong with the car if u take care of it, not that they are built very nicely but they are built with as little luxury as possible for some reason, I still own a Camaro and nothing went wrong with it until i fiddled with every part in the car, not something your daughter would do.

    I would recommend the Skoda Superb for that budget, one of the best cars (if not the best) BD10000 can buy, decent V6 engine, very nice interior, 8 airbags, alloy’s, xenon, sat nav, the works, but it look like your daughter wants a Sports car which unfortunately isn’t something our dealers here like to Import, specially not the ones that are below BD13K.

    other cars that I would recommend if you would want to buy a pre-owned sports car:
    Nissan 350Z: reliable, comes in Auto and would suit a girl.
    Infinity G35: 350Z in a tux.

    and please don’t look anywhere near Chrysler or Dodge, I wouldn’t recommend them even as rental.

    Good luck for both of you.

  6. Barry

    Since she’s not getting a sport car or luxury car yet, go with a Japanese model if you can. I had a ’95 Chevy Lumina, and that POS died spectacularly one day on my way to work a year or so after having major “health” issues. I will never buy an American car again (and everyone else I know won’t either due to similar problems). Japanese all the way. I have a Toyota Corolla which is from ’95 also and is still in good condition.

    I’d love to have a BMW or a Benz, but I simply can’t afford the cost.

  7. Post
  8. mako

    For me, the Mini is just another BMW. A very nice British car with German BMW engineering all the way. Excellent car if you ask me and it looks and feels just right.

    And VW’s Golf? we’re still talking German engineering here. The car is pretty nice and solid. Reliable and economical. Excellent car and the latest model looks very nice. My only take on VW is its dealer.. a perfect stealer example. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about Mahmood, since you had two Porsches and that’s the same dealer.

    I’m sure you’re familiar with the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). That’s why I always count dealers in the deal.

    Now.. if you don’t care about dealers then check out the french cars like Citroen: Excellent car, very reliable and very cheap and it looks pretty nice in and out. I’d recommend Citroen to everyone if it had another dealer. I’d say almost the same thing about Peugeot, although not everyone likes how they look.

  9. Ali

    You are mad!!

    All she needs is a Hyundai Getz, anything more and it is a poser machine which depreciates faster than a hire car.

    Do the maths – and stop trying to elevate her if she wants a flashy expensive car let her earn it!!

  10. Capt. Arab

    You should consider a safe and reliable car above price and other fancy factors. Remember that she is probably a first time driver, so expect dents and curb swipes, and little things here and there which is never their fault. I’d go for a Toyota with a small engine like 1.4 maximum. Happy shopping, and raise the economy πŸ˜›

  11. Post

    I saw a Citroen C3 the other day and the Renault Cleo, both looked pretty cool. I’m not sure if my daughter would describe them as such, but French engineering is just as good as German, no? They did win the F1 a few times much to my chagrin!

  12. AkaRoundPeg

    In the Middle East where every one else (more or less) has big cars and tend to zoom, I’d hesitate to buy a ‘small’ car. For that reason I’d rule out a Mini Cooper or a Beetle.. cute and iconic as they are.

    I remember the Civic would sort of shudder every time a big vehicle whizzed past.

  13. Redbelt


    Saloon, New model look, Reliable, easy to maintain:
    The V6 Nissan Altima
    has xenon headlights, bluetooth, push button start and lots more. Around 8-9K

    Same as above, more lux:
    The Infiniti G35. Very very solid.

    2 Doors Hatch back, New Model look, Safe, European, slightly above range:
    The Volvo C30, for 13K. Really cute, nothing safer

    Other notable mentions:
    American looks: Dodge’s Charger or Avenger. German Quality on the cheap: Opel. Overpriced quality: Toyota (do you believe that Rav 4s are 10 K and corollas are 7?)

    She’s thinking speed so I don’t think 4x4s are her thing but if so, Ford Escape has a new look and is cute, The Jeep Cherokee sport is a great option. But steer clear off the Jeep Compass and Patriot. Finally, The Nissan Qashqai is really good.
    We are thinking about one for the misses.

  14. yousifcom

    Your top main item in your checklist when buying a new car would be: Safety , Safety, and Safety.

    Mahmood, Don’t you read the local news man. Everyday a new crazy car accident take place in Bahrain and young drivers are killed.

    Don’t buy her a small car. Buy her a top rated safe and secure car. I would go with Volvo Jeeb for example.

    Which is more important to you at this point, saving money or insuring that your kid is safe and sound?

    You make the call ..

    All the best ….

  15. mako

    Mahmood, Take her around dealerships and show her the cars.
    I’d have to disagree with AkaRoundPeg. I think small cars like the Mini, Renault Cleo or Citroen C3 are superb and suitable for girls. They’re safe on the road and they’re easier to park. You wouldn’t have to worry about your daughter scratching her or someone else’s car. πŸ˜‰

    BTW, anyone knows if BMW’s dealer is offering the 1 series for sale now? I know that they’ve been using the 1 series as replacement cars since 2005 or 2006 but I don’t remember seeing it on sale. If they’re offering the 1 series now, I’d recommend one πŸ˜€
    actually I’d get one myself.

    So let’s see.. Examples of cars in this class: BMW 1 series, VW Golf, Mini, Citroen C3, Renault Cleo (or Megane), Volvo C30, Mercedes B-Class ( πŸ™„ ), Audi A3, Opel Astra (I didn’t like this one), Peugeot 307 (I think it looks good, but I have a weird taste so don’t mind it)

    Some non-euro cars from the same class that are worth mentioning: Ford Focus, Mazda 3, and her highness the Subaru Impreza. (I don’t think I have to mention the Civic or the Corolla)

  16. mako

    Safety is important. but if that’s all you want think about, get a thick rollcage installed in the car.
    Ok ok.. get something that doesn’t need a rollcage: A pre-1980 American car. with a 1973 Buick Riviera (boat on wheels) you can literally destroy all the cars I talked about above without having a scratch on you, and you’ll still be able to go back home in the same car without problems. Then I’ll lead an army of old cars lovers and beat the driver who destroyed a beautiful car πŸ˜‰

  17. Eyad

    the mini and the Golf are very nice reliable Hatchbacks, the only Bad thing both cars share is the High running cost, other than that they are very good and worth the buck.

    if you want to consider the hatch back route you might also want to take a look at the Seat models, a VW in Spanish cloths, they look good too.

  18. Post

    Thanks Eyad.

    The Altima 2.5 seem to be a solid car too and worth considering don’t you think?

    Though personally I would go for the Renault. (I’m buying a Renault Kangoo for the office, so maybe they can give me extra discount!)

  19. Eyad

    I personally never liked the Altima, for the wrong reasons maybe but never liked it, I always feel its missing something, and for the money you can get a better equipped car, and a better looking one as well, I would go with a Golf anyday over the Altima.

    the Clio is surprisingly a solid car, drives nicely, pretty stable, fairly equipped for the price, but the Coupe Sports Clio (Clio 182) only comes with manual transmission, I don’t think that’s an option, is it?

  20. Post

    I don’t think that’s an option Eyad.

    It’s time to invest a few days in getting her to test drive these suggestions and then come to an agreement of what she would like to have, and what she will get!

  21. Lee Ann

    hmmm….I bought a Daihatsu Jeep last year and love it…nice and zippy…way easy on gas…a cinch to park(up on curbs and the odd embankment in packed areas)…and its flashy red so sporty enough to keep my kids feeling “cool”.

    Would like to buy something a little more upperclass…but for its price Im not complaining. Havent had a problem yet other than a need for breaks thanks to my newly licensed daughter….sigh!

  22. ammaro

    the mini is a very nice car, dealership is pretty good. golf is a really good car, but the dealership will give you a headache.

    altima is a nice car, some people like it, some people dont.

    she might as well get a test drive. pass by the nissan/toyota showrooms, pass by euro motors, let her take a look. ignore volkswagen (purely due to the fact that the dealer is a @#!%)

  23. Redbelt

    Daihatsu is owned by Toyota actually, the Terios (the Jeepy one) is rather cute.
    I’d recommend giving the Volvo C30 another look. Amzing that I said that concidering that I loath Volvo.

    Finally, the Altima is always Solid. The 2.5 4cyl is zippy enough. If you need to change how it looks (ie: making it more bad ass) I can help you with that.

    And Eyad, you are welcome to drive my Altima and rethink what you just said.

  24. I

    Whatever you buy her it’s likely to be dented or crashed a little bit in the first year or so. The statistics say that the first few years of a novice (young) driver are the most dangerous.

    I would recommend something safe.
    I’ve been driving a 2 litre VW Golf, purchased second hand from Bahrain Auto Services. It’s a good solid car and it drives fast enough for the current Bahrain traffic. I wouldn’t advise getting a sports car since it only crashes faster. A second hand Jeep or any used 4×4 would give the advantage of not being ultra fast (but fast enough when you’re stuck in traffic) and the height to see over other cars. Plus, parking with a 4×4 is easy. Just use the pavement. AND she can drive into the desert without worrying about ripping out the sump.

    What your daughter needs is something safe, solid and reliable. Anything else would be superfluous. What she ‘wants’ is another matter altogether. When she can afford to get the car of her dreams with her own money, be supportive.

    Personally, I like the idea of author Keith Wells in a very little known booklet called “Wizr” released about 20 years ago from Kuwait. His main character drove a Trans Am Chieftain, built by GM and Krupps.

    Good luck. Personally I think you’re being very generous. Ten grand on a first car. . . Luxury ! ! !


  25. I

    Post script on the last item. I don’t use the dealer for servicing. Bahrain Auto Services have done all the servicing for me for the last ten plus years and I don’t have a problem. This was with an Altima, a Discovery and now the Golf. Not to mention the girlfriend’s Honda CRX and a BMW Z3.

    In my opinion the dealers just tend to rip you off. The spares can often be obtained cheaper elsewhere and the labour is much cheaper.

  26. Abu Arron

    My 2 fils worth. Having owned many cars/4WDs/vans over the years, do not go for an american car. Handle badly, bits fall off and the transmission tends to get a trifle emotional at times. German cars are very good, but too expensive to buy and maintain. Seat was mentioned above, not a bad alternative at all. However, Japanese cars are excellent value for money and low maintenance. Toyotas are v good, but I’ve also had Hondas and not one has ever given me a problem. I’m assuming a ‘cute’ hatchback would be a parent/child acceptable option. I would recommend a Honda Civic, but I don’t like the lack of rear side visibility on the new model. The Toyota Yaris is an excellent vehicle and I can’t recommend it highly enough. The A/C also copes with the worst of Gulf summers. However, it may not be individual enough. Try getting one in pink?! πŸ™‚

    Good luck.

    P.S. On the subject of A/C, Nissan has the best reputation in the Gulf for strength, but their cars may not be funky enough for your daughter.

  27. American Cars

    I’ve seen all of the negative comments pertaining to American cars, and I have to tell you that the negative feeling towards American workmanship is very common in the States, too. The American car makers are aware of this perception, and are working very hard to fix it.
    Motor Trend’s Car of the Year for 2008 wasn’t a Japanese or German car, it was a Chevy! The other two competitors were a Cadillac and a Honda Civic. Despite the bad rap, American cars’ quality is definitely improving.
    Consumer Reports recently downgraded its overall rating for Toyotas and Hondas, but has been steadily upgrading its ratings for American vehicles.
    I’m not sure what I’d buy with a 10k BD limit for a younger, inexperienced, driver. Probably something with some ground clearance and less power, like a crossover SUV such as the Escape or CRV, perhaps a Hyundai or Infinity to class it up.

  28. Leonard Jones

    The last thing you want to do is give a young girl (or boy for that matter,) a small high performance car.

    If you lover her, you should consider a 1972 Mercury Marquis, or a late sixties Chrysler Imperial. These HUGE and sturdy vehicles would be an ideal first car.

    I was sitting at a stop light near LAX when some idiot who took his eyes off the road plowed into the rear bumper of my 1976 Olds Cutlass. The front end of the econo-box looked like a crushed beer can.

    He drove me 6 feet into the rear end of a Toyota pick-up truck, ripping his bumper off.
    The only damage was a small gash my rear bumper.

    So if you can’t get a surplus Abraham’s tank for your little girl, I suggest you go with big and heavy!

  29. Mavis

    I don’t think her first car should be a Mustang or a Camaro. They will be in the shop all the time.

    You might want to get her a Toyota Corolla or something with a hatchback.

  30. madmilker

    mahmood…..from a safety standpoint check out … Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 2008. They have over 34 cars that earned the institutes’s top rating.
    You are very lucky to have a daughter….I had three snotty-nose little boys and wish at times at the age of sixteen they had been driving a M4 Sherman tank.

  31. Mike

    Promise her if she don’t bang into anything for 1 more year she gets the new Camaro! That is one sweet ride………..and made in USA.
    A Skoda? We all make mistakes sometimes πŸ™‚

  32. billT

    You still have your Porsche? You can give it to her and buy yourself a new one. My daughter drives a Toyota Tundra 4×4 and its been very reliable so far.

  33. Steve the American

    Only knuckleheads buy American cars. The last American car I bought I had to replace the alternator three times and it never was really fixed. I switched to Toyota and never looked back. My Toyotas ran.

    About the last thing any teenaged driver needs is a fast, sporty car like a Mustang or Camaro. Driving is the most dangerous thing a teenager does. I wouldn’t give her anything that encourages her to drive like a damned fool.

    My recommendation is a Honda Civic or a Toyota Corolla. Used. She’s likely to be running into stuff and tearing that car up, so you don’t want it to be something too nice. Besides, you don’t want the first car she gets to be the best car she ever drove. It’s better if the car she buys with her own money after college is a step up.

    I’d go for the reliability of a Civic or Corolla and something that just seems ridiculous to race around.

  34. Post

    She enjoyed driving it when she first got her license billT, I’m not sure whether to give it up just yet. I still enjoy it too much and it’s a luxury that I have “gifted” myself.

    She’s NOT happy by getting a small car, that’s for sure. She’s got her heart set on the Chevy so far, but the Renault (or similar) seems to be more appropriate for her.

    Let’s see what happens over the next few days.

  35. Ali M.

    There are alot of things to consider. One thing no one has talked about is free service. Most dealerships give you a deal on that. My dealership is one of the worst in bahrain and the car i have could cost me thousands in cash if i didnt have a 4 year warranty and free service. all i do is drop it and pick it up. it feels nice and i will sell it once the 4 years are up. Please keep that on your list because it changes your choice dramatically. The cost of my car was alot more than a camry but on the long run a camry would cost the same.

    Good luck and let us know wat you decide

  36. Michael

    The Renault Megane is a great car – good looking, fast, and it has more airbags than God! It got six stars for safety in a review I saw.

  37. spameater

    got a 8 year old wrangler bought it brand new only thing ever to break was a dead battery after 4 years, if you perform routine maintenance on any vehicle it will last the problem is people are lazy, relying on some kumar from india who has never touched a vehicle until he picked up his free visa at the airport and know repairs vehicles in riffa which many times catch on fire do to shaddy maintenance and non-exsistent electrical skills, and do nothing but fill it with gas and drive it until it breaks. A straight six jeep engine is bullet proof and will run for ever.

  38. I

    Cheese Cake,
    I shudder to think what the bill would be when a V12 goes wrong. . . Or where you would get the parts. Would Euromotors still stock them? I doubt it. Nice idea if you want s second car that goes like stink. . . until it stops going. I certainly wouldn’t want to rely on one for my main transport.

    Use the KISS principle. Keep It Simple Stupid. A straight six in a Jeep, as previously noted is virtually indestructible.

    As far as good value for money, a used Corolla would be an excellent choice as far as I’m concerned. They hold their value, are easy and cheap to fix and just keep on going virtually maintenance free. They also are not the slowest cars on the road. Also anyone can service them and the panels are not too expensive when they get dented. And as a first car it is definitely going to get dented at one time or another. Ok, it may not be the most glamorous, but its wheels. The Honda Civic is also a good choice, but my friends in the used car business say that the parts are more expensive than Toyota. The dealer apparently is a bit of a wide boy (aren’t all car dealers . . . )

    I agree with Steve. If she wants anything better, let her buy it with her own cash when she gets a good job. More incentive for her.
    Even despite the improvements in production, the Skodas still have an image that is hard to shake. Like the Lada. A good idea if you want a ‘stealth’ racer, but the jokes like ‘How do you double the value of a Skoda?’ “Fill it up with petrol” would still prevail.

    I’ll put my vote for a Toyota Corolla or a Honda Civic (the new ones are very pretty). Still, you pays your money and you takes your choice. I wouldn’t recommend getting a new car though as they depreciate soooo much the moment you drive them out of the dealer. And you know it is going to get bent as a first car.


  39. Jon

    My 2 fils worth now. I don’t know how old your daughter is, but if daddy’s paying then she must be kinda young. This means that she needs to be taught that if she wants a flash car, she’ll have to wait till she’s old (and successful) enough to have earned it and paid for it herself. I would go for something safe but modest: the VW Golf fits the bill, and is stylish enough. The other German badges make young girls look spoilt “Britney style”!

  40. Post

    And you know it is going to get bent as a first car.

    Ain’t that the truth… I wrapped my dad’s around a lamp post soon after I got my license. I’m glad that I survived to tell the tale; hence, I completely do identify with this sentiment.

    After reading your comments – thanks all for sharing – I had a little chat with her last night and suggested to her that the budget got halved and that she’ll have to re-adjust her expectations.

    That didn’t go down too well. I’ll let her sleep on that thought for a couple of days for her to acclimatise to the new reality and then the test drives of “reasonable” cars should start soon thereafter.

  41. Eyad

    that is a very wise decision mahmood, when i first got my license the old man was kind enough to give me a car, and what a car it was, a 1985 Honda accord that made me learn everything about engines and transmissions, when i got the car it needed so much work that I couldn’t drive it, but i loved it because it was his old car. until today I spent anything between 300 and 4000 dinars on cars only, never got a brand new car and wouldn’t do that for quite some time, I think a got addicted to the stench of oil in my hands haha.

  42. Redbelt

    Budget halved?
    then cohcider the base Nissan Qashqai – 6500- decent crossover.
    Civics won Motor Trend’s Car of the year once, so check them out..
    the KIA’s are under rated and are great value, so are the hyundais.

  43. Grace

    I would suggest a camry. Strong, reliable and they come in lovely options to make it look “cool”.

  44. Yasser

    I think a Nissan Altima would be her best bet. It’s a good strong car.
    Solid shape and exterior
    Good build.
    Not plastickey or tin-like in any sense.

    But personally I’d go for the full option 3.5 V6 … now thats a goood car. It comes in nice colors too πŸ™‚ !

  45. Wingspan

    The short of it: Toyota Corolla

    I bought each of my 2 daughters one when they graduated High school 3 & 4 years ago.

    After a lot of research, the best car for the money. Here in California they cost about $14,000.

    Good Luck

  46. ASKAD

    Try the Cadillac, i own a Cadillac STS and its great to have a very safe & free service (Parts & Labour) for 4 years.

    I saw the new Cadillac CTS on the road that day and it’s something i can call Techno-sexy

  47. Huda

    I think the best car for Bahrain is a 4wd. The best dealership without a doubt is Toyota. Look at the Rav 4 (they have a 2 door version) and the price is quite reasonable or if you want a more deluxe model go for the Lexus.

  48. I


    Why on earth would anyone buy a Lexus for their kid as a first car? Unless they wanted the kid to grow up with no sense of values.

    That first car is going to get dinged, damaged, bent out of shape and generally trashed as the driver learns the hard way the ins and outs of driving in Bahrain. This is not me being harsh, it’s a fact of life.
    Driving in Bahrain is bad. It can be very intimidating for someone who is new to the roads and to driving. Hell, even seasoned drivers are reported to be scared driving in Bahrain.

    What good would it do to give anyone a ‘posh’ car as a first vehicle?
    How often do you read in the papers of 18 year-old kids (or those just a few years older) wrapping an expensive Mercedes/BMW/Lexus/Camaro etc. round a lamp post, or crashing out of control and killing themselves? Regrettably, too many times. What is the ususal reason? Speed and inexperience. And before you mention it, it’s not just the lads.

    These sort of cars are very capable of travelling at speeds in excess of the driver’s ability. Add to that a culture that spurns the use of seatbelts ‘cos it ain’t cool’ and you have young deaths on the roads.

    Learning to drive in something that is rock solid and safe (though not that ‘cool’) is probably a better way to go. IMHO. Either that or send junior on a couse to learn to drive properly at BIC before getting the test.

    I’ll get off my soapbox for now. . .

  49. Ali

    I will try to print more offers for you to choose from.
    The New Lancer is nice and the base price is around 5500.

  50. vivek jadon

    I want to learn the driving in bahrain, is there any reliable diving school who can help me to learn the car diving.

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