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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 10 xterra Off Road wth 110k and a 6 speed manual transmission. My daughter is starting drivers ed and will need a car to learn in and eventually drive on her own. Do you think the manual Xterra is to much vehicle for a new driver? It is in excellent condition and everything works properly. Yes, no, maybe? She doesn't seem intimidated, but I don't want to put her in a bad spot. Thoughts?....
 

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I have a 2011 6spd manual p4x......honestly if it were me (its not) id go buy a total pile of shit with a manual transmission, teach her on that, then sell it. worst case you loose a few hundred bucks in the purchase/sale of the beater

i only say this because i watched my roommate fry the clutch on an old accord, and as such would never let anyone learn to drive stick on my truck.
 

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For a brand new driver I'd stay away from something like the Xterra only because of the rollover possibilities in a sudden maneuver. Like the guy above me said, get a beater manual trans car if you want her to learn to drive a manual and get a sedan that's not likely to rollover. My own daughter was driving an Acura RSX when she first started. That thing is stuck to the ground like it's on rails which is why I bought it. One night when she was driving back from college she came up on some construction stuff in her lane (probably distracted driving). She made a panic move and the car spun around a couple times on her ending up facing the wrong way in hte median. She was very lucky. An SUV likely would have flipped in that situation.
 

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You'll get the full gamut on this.

My opinion is to go for it. Learning on stick is commendable and this is a car with an easy clutch and plenty of power to avoid stalling out. It has sufficiently modern safety features and even though it is a high center of gravity vehicle VDC strongly mitigates the risk from emergency maneuvers.

I do agree that a car will be slightly safer to learn in, however, if you buy a total POS it will be less reliable and potentially have less safety features.

If you go the car route advice would be to spend enough to get something equally reliable and a safety upgrade over the Xterra.

FWIW I bought my Xterra from a college girl who couldn't afford to replace the clutch (I gave her a fair price for it). It was a hand me down from her mother and she said she had learned to drive in it & loved the car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
For a brand new driver I'd stay away from something like the Xterra only because of the rollover possibilities in a sudden maneuver. Like the guy above me said, get a beater manual trans car if you want her to learn to drive a manual and get a sedan that's not likely to rollover. My own daughter was driving an Acura RSX when she first started. That thing is stuck to the ground like it's on rails which is why I bought it. One night when she was driving back from college she came up on some construction stuff in her lane (probably distracted driving). She made a panic move and the car spun around a couple times on her ending up facing the wrong way in hte median. She was very lucky. An SUV likely would have flipped in that situation.
That's kind what I was thinking. I guess I needed to hear it from someone else. Thanks for your thoughts.
 

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A 2nd generation (2013-2019) Kia Soul with a GDI engine would be inexpensive. The visibility is excellent. Lots of storage space if the back seats are folded down. The back seats can accommodate big dudes (e.g., me at 196cm) so if she has some big male friends, no problem.

The clearance is super low and it hugs the road like nobody's business. Tried and tested in the winding mountain roads of British Columbia.

Does manual or automatic really make a difference? Unless she is INTO cars, an automatic should be fine.

GDI engines require a little bit of pro-active maintenance but I am assuming that you Fish are sufficiently competent to take care of things.
 

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Best car ever for a new driver is a Hyundai Elantra (it is highly rated by insurance companies and you may receive a lower premium). It even comes in a "GT" version if cool factor is an issue.
 

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Let her learn on it. If she wants to learn on it and doesn't seem intimidated, then that's your answer.
 

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My older daughter started driving my old 2011 Xterra as her first car and loves it. Outward visibility is great, it's narrow enough to park easily and it bounces off curbs without damage. It's also easy to spot in the high school parking lot. It has good winter tires on dedicated wheels, so she isn't intimidated by winter driving. She never drives on the highway or at high speeds, which would probably be my only concern. It's also stock ride height with stock tire size. I installed an aftermarket head unit with rear view camera and wireless CarPlay to address a couple of its safety shortcomings. I didn't want her looking at her phone while driving, and CarPlay navigation works well with voice commands.

My younger daughter can't wait until her sister leaves for college so she can drive the Xterra which she prefers to an XC90 that she would otherwise drive. The XC90 is safer, but it's a wide vehicle with poor sightlines so low speed maneuvering and parking are more difficult. Good outward visibility and ride height are confidence boosters for teenagers.
 

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Send it. It’s dad car, you love it don’t you? Thinking in the long term it will mean more to her to take it from you than any other vehicle. The Xterra is a proven platform in terms of reliability and function.

I’m not sure why people on an Xterra forum are somehow implying that it is unsafe as a first car or that you should buy something cheap to conserve the clutch. I think it is a macho thing, but guess what guys there are many many X’s all over the United States, 95% are driven by women. Women are fully capable of driving a manual transmission, get over yourselves.
 

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I considered giving my daughter the Xterrra I currently own.
She learned to drive in the X so it wouldnt be an odd transition to owning it.

However, purchasing something similar and newer would have been rather costly.
In the end I decided to keep the X and buy her a smaller car.
 
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I think it would be a great first vehicle for a teen as long as they are taught the handling limits well. I have started teaching my 13 yo daughter how to drive mine. She has told me she wants it for her first car. Oh and I am teaching her how to drive out on trails in the desert before she learns to drive on pavement.
 

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Hell yes. My Xterra was / is the first car for both of my daughters. Safe, great in the snow, holds all their friends, killer stereo. We had a reverse camera that shows the picture in the mirror installed, was a bit pricey but worth it in the high school parking lot.

Only issue is the front passenger fender. Daughter 1 had a pole at the bank drive through jump right out in front of her. I made her drive with "dent of shame" until she went to college and it passed to Daughter 2. Daughter 2 pulled a bit wide into a parking spot at Target, and of course tagged the sliders on a lifted "expedition ready" Silverado. To be fair, he was parked on the line, but the rule in my house is "you're driving = your fault".

Same fender, same dent, just bigger. Was a good life lesson, she called, we talked her through leaving a note - the guy couldn't have been nicer, but he did have damage, so insurance is involved. The dent of shame gets fixed next week.

Plus it worked out good for me. My 2010 SE was the realization of a dream I've had since the Xterra first came out, it just took me over a decade to get to a point where I could afford a used one. That car took the whole family everywhere - Park City, Telluride, Grand Canyon, as far south as Tucson. Obviously I wouldn't be here if I didn't love Xterras.

We went through the same analysis when Daughter 1 was about to get her license. I work from home even pre-Covid and travel 50%, which means the Xterra was spending a lot of time just parked at the airport, so we went the other way and I bought myself a beater Titan.

I did love the Titan, but after nearly 2 years the "beaterness" was showing itself more and more, and I realized it was going to be a long time before I got my Xterra back, so I got the Pro-4x, which I might love even more. Worked out for me.

So put me firmly in the "great first car" camp. I needed the kids to have a good snow car, and it had to be reliable, and I wanted big enough so when a texting idiot rear ends them at a stop light they'll be safe, and I also wanted it to be a little bit cool. Plus, if she learns how to drive in a manual transmission Xterra, she's never going to be intimidated.

And FWIW, there are many old Xterras in their high school parking lot.
 

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It has nothing to do with "macho". a cheap old car is great for teaching people to drive. I learned to drive stick on my mothers 1979 mazda glc (i was born in 84....) my first car that i was regularly allowed to drive was an 85 civic (also stick).....again i was born in 84. my wife had stick shift matrix when i met her, and is fully 'allowed' to drive my manual X

everyone should be able to drive a stick.......some parts of the world...its all you can get your hands on

you can quite simply buy a cheap old car for what it would cost to replace the clutch on an xterra.....not to mention any other damage a new driver may do........when they get it down....sell it and you've lost nothing

I’m not sure why people on an Xterra forum are somehow implying that it is unsafe as a first car or that you should buy something cheap to conserve the clutch. I think it is a macho thing, but guess what guys there are many many X’s all over the United States, 95% are driven by women. Women are fully capable of driving a manual transmission, get over yourselves.
 

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It has nothing to do with "macho". a cheap old car is great for teaching people to drive. I learned to drive stick on my mothers 1979 mazda glc (i was born in 84....) my first car that i was regularly allowed to drive was an 85 civic (also stick).....again i was born in 84. my wife had stick shift matrix when i met her, and is fully 'allowed' to drive my manual X

everyone should be able to drive a stick.......some parts of the world...its all you can get your hands on

you can quite simply buy a cheap old car for what it would cost to replace the clutch on an xterra.....not to mention any other damage a new driver may do........when they get it down....sell it and you've lost nothing
LOL rereading my post now, maybe I had a little too much salt this morning. :D
 

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LOL rereading my post now, maybe I had a little too much salt this morning. :D
I tend to be less judgmental about posts made late in the day. As far as posts made on Friday and Saturday night, you get a complete absolution from me!
 

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So my daughter is a fairly new driver. A couple years actually, but since she lives at college now she only drives a bit on weekends. She can drive the X no problem - but she says its intimidating since you can't really see where your at in your lane. I realize experienced drivers don't notice this, but she does. I presume it would go away after driving it for a couple months, so I guess it depends on how traffic is where you live.

People drive crazy around here so we went the other way - she drives my wife's brand new Toyota. The boss and I have already discussed and if she needs to have a car for whatever reason - she will take that one and we will get another. It has lane steering assist, blind spot monitoring, and brake assist if someone slams on their brakes in front of you - the computer will stop before you can think. I figured if it keeps her out of an accident the $30K was cheap - she and her sister are my biggest ever investments.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for all the thoughts. I guess I really need to think about this. I want her to be safe as possible, but I don't want to swing a third car right now. Especially with the insurance increases that will come with a new driver. I would be bummed if I needed to sell the X. Guess I could just deal with it. The x is paid for and we'll maintained. It will last for ever if I keep it as my excursion vehicle.
 

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Thanks for all the thoughts. I guess I really need to think about this. I want her to be safe as possible, but I don't want to swing a third car right now. Especially with the insurance increases that will come with a new driver. I would be bummed if I needed to sell the X. Guess I could just deal with it. The x is paid for and we'll maintained. It will last for ever if I keep it as my excursion vehicle.
I think BRATCAT had the best response (other than mine ;)).

"Let her learn on it. If she wants to learn on it and doesn't seem intimidated, then that's your answer."
 
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