I agree. If you go with something 2006 or newer, most of what you see in that category will have at least four airbags, anti-lock brakes and maybe even traction control. There should be lots to choose from. Such cars will be adult-driven and likely well-maintained. Your kid might not be super-excited. Mine wasn't. I told him he could buy any car he wanted to pay for, or he could have his mother's old one as long as he stayed on the honor roll and out of trouble and could pay for insurance and gas. That's worked pretty well for him.