Teens Say They'd Most Like to Drive a Mustang


When you’re young, fun takes priority over function. Once age sets in, function gets the nod.

That's the finding of a nationwide survey by TRU, a Northbrook, Ill.-based subsidiary of Research International USA, which specializes in the buying behavior and trends of two of the nation's most sought-after age groups by those with products to sell: teens and 20-somethings.

In its latest survey, TRU asked youth what new vehicle they most want to buy — with one stipulation: To keep the kids from simply inking “Lamborghini” on the dotted line and returning to their iPods, their desired car had to be one they could buy if they’d socked away enough money on their own or if their parents opened the checkbook.

Teens picked the sporty Ford Mustang first, while the 20-somethings went with the practical Honda Civic.

"Mustang pops up as No. 1 among teens because it's a lot of fun and the parents usually pay the insurance and hand the kids their gasoline credit card," said TRU spokesman Rob Callender. “Civic pops up among the older 20-somethings because they pay for their own insurance and gas, so function takes priority.”

Among teens, the most desired cars in order of preference were the Mustang, Civic (to customize), Honda Accord, Volkswagen Beetle, Toyota Camry, Toyota Corolla, Chevy Impala, Ford Focus, Ford F-150 pickup, Jeep Wrangler, Chevy Silverado pickup, VW Jetta and Nissan Maxima.

Among 20-somethings, the Beetle, Wrangler and Focus were missing.

"Beetle is only popular among teen girls, not teen guys or any 20-something, regardless of gender," Callender said.

Also noticeable in their absence were any full-size SUVs, such as the Cadillac Escalade, which only two years ago was the most sought-after SUV by youth who wanted to make a statement.

"Escalade lost its cachet when gas prices rose," Callender said, noting that only one SUV was listed be either age group, and that was the compact Wrangler.

Though teens aspire to own a Mustang, that doesn't mean one will end up in their driveway.

"Teens may aspire to the Mustang, but the parents often buy the Civic,” Callender said. “With 20-somethings, the budget holds the veto power over what they buy, but with teens, parents hold the veto power."

By Jim Mateja | February 28, 2008 | Comments (37)



guess a smooth ride and reliability in Camry's and Accords count quite a bit, even for many teens. see, they are quite sensible, probably deserve more credit than many adults may give


I think that this whole teens picking the mustang is a propaganda for people to start buying the unsafe, recalled Ford Mustang. Who did you question in this survey? If the Mustang is such a popular car, then why isn't it out there on the road. What people admire the most, including teens, is what is seen most on the road. There are more teens that admire Honda Accords, Preludes, Civics than there are those who love the Mustang. Many teens probably didn't know about the survey. I think the survey only included the teens of parents who worked at Ford, either factory or dealership.


Also I don't believe that the Toyota Camry and Corolla was on that list because it is an old people's car. This was a bogus survey, because how come the Toyota Celica didn't make it on the list.


Hollywood - most teens these days probably don't even know what a celica is.

It's just the difference in generation. Mustang is the easy reference to a fun sporty car. So is the Civic because ever since the Fast and the Furious movies they've been viewed as the "hot" car. Teens and even a lot of 20 somethings have no real reference or history with any vehicle so they pick vehicles based on other peoples opinions (friends, parents, celebrities, etc).

Hollywood, you are way off base. I think this list is pretty spot on except for the midsizers- nothing against any of them, but they are probably the cars that these kids' parents are driving. I've been out of HS for 7 years now, but when I was there, this list was pretty much the lineup of what was in our parking lot. The Mustang, Civic, Jetta, 3-series, and F-150 ruled my school. Further more, the 'stang is very safe and just as reliable as a civic coupe.



I hate to say it, but the mustang is not as reliable as the Civic. Friend of mine had a brand new '05 Mustang V6, and when he took it to the dealership (fairly often for repairs), he generally had a four of five item list of what was wrong with the car (suspension, decals falling off, electrical problems, etc...). In '06 he traded in that Mustang (and actually got pretty much what he owed on it even though he financed 100% of the mustangs invoice price) for a '06 Civic Si. 18 months and 25k miles later, that Civic has only been in the shop for preventive maintenance. I hate to say it, but at least in my experience, Ford is still not as reliable as Honda. It's a sad fact, but it is true.

Forgot to mention-

The Civic does have a hard time shifting into 3rd gear sometimes. And of course the dealership cannot duplicate the problem when they have it in their hands. It's a small problem, but it is still a defect, and needs to be fixed. So no car I guess is perfect....

"Escalade lost its cache when gas prices rose."

That's "cachet."

And I wouldn't have believed this list myself if I hadn't recently been to an event on the University of Maryland campus and seen dozens of Corollas and Camrys in the student parking area, including many that looked too new to have been hand-me-downs. "Youth-oriented" Scions or sporty cars were largely absent, and I had expected to see more VWs. But nope, I would honestly estimate that the Corolla and Camry alone made up at least 15-20% of the cars in that lot.

I can't really say anything, except, I'm on my 3rd ford out of 7 cars since I've been driving and I've never had issues like your friend. If he was having all those issues, sounds like he had a lemon. I have friends that still have their mustangs from high school all those years ago, they don't have any reason to get rid of them- thats what I'm basing my argument on. Either way, I'd rather not use friends experiences as an argument for anything, as you never know the whole story.

Anyway, to stay on topic- I think the list is pretty spot on- though I don't really know what the point of the list is.



Hollywood seems to be a Honda/import tuner fanatic and is biased toward American cars such as the Mustang. This survey seems very fair and the choices aren't too much of a surpirse, except for the mid-size family cars, which are a tad dull for teens. As a 20-something myself, a lot of these cars match my friends choices. I'm sad to see the Focus off the list, as it was "the car" back in high school, but it no longer offers the youthful hatchbacks and has gotten stale.

The Mustang is a very safe car and the latest recall is for females who don't wear seat belts. Not Ford's fault and doesn't prove anything with the cars reliability. As far as the Civic, they are reliable, but have astronomical insurance rates because parts are expensive and they are targeted by theives. Personally working for an insurance company this is common with our rates on Hondas

Ford has produced some of the worst cars ever (list reliable).
Some of them were even popular:
Escort/Tracer (some variations)
Mercury Cougar (last model)

These were and are BIG LEMONS.
So current Mustang is nor surprise.

But some of the newer models of Ford, like Fusion/Milan are more reliable.

You can't just say something like that with nothing to back it up. The word "historically" is not a back up. From what I have read in consumer reports, the only cars on your list that should be there are the Tempo/Topaz and Contour.

The Windstar minivan was total junk. I sold cars at a Dodge dealership for a few years, and many, many times customers would pull up in brand new Ford Windstars from the Ford dealership across town (they let the customer test drive the cars alone). Almost everytime the customer drove a new Windstar onto our lot, they would end up leaving in a brand new Grand Caravan they had just purchased after driving it back to back with the Windstar. It was a lot of fun to take that Windstar that the customer drove onto our lot back to the Ford Dealership down the street.....

Now the Grand Caravan wasn't the best minivan, but it wasnt the worst either. The Windstar was among the worst of all minivans. Also, we got lots of Windstars traded in for Grand Caravans after people realized what junk Windstars were.

One time I even had a customer who WORKED for Ford purchase a new Grand Caravan from me even though he could get a much bigger discount on the Windstar. He said Ford had burned him in the past, and he didn't want to purchase another Ford ever again......

I don't see your name but my answer will be clear.
I CAN backup every word about every model listed in the Ford junk line up. And it is not just Consumer Report info. This would be real life info.
For example, Taurus was a such lemon through its production and had chronic problems for which Ford was taken to court and ordered to pay each Taurus owner ~$2500.
Typical list of Ford problems under 100K miles would include and practically guarantee to happen:

-Water pump
-Fuel pump
-Heating lines
-head gasket
-Shocks and struts
-Outter tie rod ends

You would be lucky to get away with these only
But these alone are enough to drain your pocket badly.
Tipical Honda Accord during same period would need fuel, oil.


I wonder if part of the reason Civic & Accords made the list is because of the Coupes. Which look pretty damn good to me (but I'm an old guy)

Also the Civic Si.

Though to say that "Civics are more economical, practical and reliable than the Mustang, then in the next breath admit that many teens would love to add a Turbo, Intake, Mugen parts etc. to the Civic kinda defeats the point. I see a lot of modded Civic running around that would be a lot scarier to own than a warranteed used Mustang.

BTW there were VERY few Hondas in the Fast and Furious series. Only the four black Si Coupes and a pink S2000. RX-7's, Supra's and Mitusu's had much bigger rolls.

Above unnamed,
The $2500 you speak of is bs. Since its introduction, my dad has driven ONLY the taurus (but not the current one), and driven them all well above 100k. The current one, an 02 has 168K- I just called him to ask and he never got a check for any of them, or heard about that suit, or had all those issues- he's a cheap man, he wouldn't have bought another one.

People on this site should really only type what they know.


Above unnamed,
I've seen these checks.
But I don't think they applied to 2002 models. I think, it is something like 89-97 models.

And I didn't say that Taurus wouldn't go beyond 100K.
I personally drove one with 187K (not mine), which I knew from day 1. And I know Tauruses well in many ways.

Actually, I didn't mention tranny problems because that I saw blow only one time. See, my approach is simple. If something breaks on one or few cars and doesn't break on 90% of them - I call it a driver error or factory defect. But if 90% of the same model have same problem, I call it a LEMON.

So, what did your father said about issues?
If he said, he didn't have any - I don't believe. Nobody will.

The old Taurus was one bad car, the michanic's dream.

See, the subject was about Fords. But if it was Honda, I can find many issues there as well.



They should conduct the survey with me. The Mustang will never be anywhere around my list!
That POS can't be driven in snow, which translates: I have to walk or get another means of transportation for six months every year.


Just to add more to the previous comment, I would take the WRX anyday over the ugly looking Mustang with the ancient suspension setup.


All of you-
The plural of anecdote is not data.

I can give an example of a piece of junk car for every car brand and model out there. I can also find an example for every model and brand of a car that ran forever. I've known Topazes that have gone over 300k with nothing but regular maintenance, and Accords that have been in the shop dozens of times in the first 50k. None of this makes one a good car and one bad.

Some BS (like Ford being ordered to give $2500 to all Taurus owners) that some guy that you met in a bar told you is not a fact. (try googling this, you'll get 0 hits)

If you want to state something believable try using a reference like http://blogs.cars.com/kickingtires/2007/08/surprises-top-j.html or http://autos.msn.com/research/vip/Reliability.aspx?year=2005&make=Ford&model=Mustang&trimid=-1 so you don't look like some fanboy/idiot who bashes or praises brands to explain their own poor decisions. You'll be surprised how much real data is out there for just this purpose.


Listen folks:

1. Fast and the Furious movies - they all look like Civics to me. All those ugly sticker jobs, sounding like a weed eater, with a spoiler from a 747 slapped on the back. They are the cars younger kids like. I'm only 29 but I grew up with a father who loved old muscle cars and developed a love and appreciation for a time when cars were actually made out of metal and had a good rumbling sound to them!

2. The Windstar did suck, but not because of mechanical problems. In the world of minivans with zillions of new features and gadgets, the Ford and GM models just couldn't keep up with Chrysler and the imports - so they didn't sell, so they stopped making them.

3. If you are going to argue that Ford is a piece of crap brand the last car you want to use for your proof is a Taurus. Those things were number one for YEARS!

Dan, I did what you suggested... just a second.
The Taurus was best seller for years but it was JUNK with all capital latters

"I just put "1999 Ford Taurus and head gasket" in an internet search engine and found out that leaking head gaskets causing coolant loss and finally a blown head gasket is a very common problem on the Taurus of any model year...

!!! Attention - ANY MODEL YEAR. This means that in over 10 years Ford didn't master production of reliable head gasket.

"In case you have had HEAD GASKET trouble like we did, we learned that Ford Recently (Feb 2000) announced a refund for Head Gasket repairs - this applies only to some '94 and '95 model year Taurus/Sables with the 3.8L engine ..."

Another good one!!

And I never read this before. I just knoe all these for FACT:
Taurus was one of the worst cars ever. Yes, it was revolutionary, it was best seller (mostly thanks to fleet sales) but at the same time it was hole in the valet.
And sinse most Fords shared components, all derived models generally was as bad.

The above mentioned Windstar had Huge Electrical problems, which even dealers couldn't fix.

And please, don't make me go search internet anymore for something that I know from firsat hands.


so back on topic. we all put a lot of stock into what we think are valuable data from our friends, family, etc. as much as i don't like all these cars, it's hard to argue against the smooth ride and reliability of the Camry and Accord.

for all my guy friends, short of a BMW or Lexus, the cars they most want are reliable cars that won't start smoking or rattling when they have a hot date in the passenger seat. a smooth, quiet highway ride also helps. most teens are smart enough to know a good thing when they see one.


and i LOVE the Fast and Furious movies with all its cheeziness.

the drifting on the third one is all real, mostly performed by Rhys Millen himself.

so there


Thanks to that retard movie named Fast and Furious. Which had made us Civic drivers labeled as ricers as a stereotype.
Yet, I've seen all those Grand Am with a GT-R badge on the back and "Altezza" tail lights.


I'm surprised no Mazda models are in the list.


What's also surprising to me is that Saab and Volvo didn't make this list of most popular models among teens. When I was 16 years old (I'm now in my late 20s), I coveted a Volvo 850 sedan. Still drive one today, actually- my second. I'm a little disappointed that today's teens haven't discovered the virtues of these strong Swedish cars.


Unnamed responder-
Your copy and paste didn't work for some reason. The sources you listed were blank.

However, I don't dispute any of what you said. A quick search will reveal that the 3.8L V6 Taurus' (Tauri?) did have a systemic problem with the head gaskets. Infact, this wasn't just limited to the Taurus, but indeed to all Ford 3.8L V6's of that era. Ford placed a 100,000 mile warranty on the head gaskets as a result, but most of them went bad at just over 100,000 miles. A similar rash of head gasket problems have also been reported for the 4.0L V6's, but to my knowledge Ford has not yet placed a warranty on those.

I never disputed that one brand was better or worse than any other, I just take objection to people thinking that the rest of us should automatically believe an extreme claim without any evidence whatsoever to back it up.

And I'm sorry, but if you want to be accepted as a reliable source you'll have to spend alot of time searching for references of information (whether on the internet or elsewhere). I'm sure Dave T., or any of the other cars.com guys will tell you that's true in this business, as it is true in all fields. If you notice, Dave T. always includes links to sources at the bottom of his blog entries. Simply stating that you know something first hand isn't sufficient. There's alot of knowledge out there that is known first hand that is simply untrue. If you want to be believed, you're going to have to spend some time proving it.

I still have links. I don't know why they didn't show. I'll place it again tonight.
And I don't know how to prove it and if there is a resource on internet, and if there is, I am not going to look for it. BUT.
But I held im my hands 2 checks from Ford Motor company. Each for $2,4## as reimbursement to a head gasket problem. All you needed is to go to Ford dealer and feel up a form and they would give you the money. 2 of my close relatives did so and got the money.

Here is a link for Taurus issues/recalls and campains. Is it enough?


My father worked for Ford, and one of the perks he got as an employee was the chance to lease a different new car at a steeply discounted rate every year. Every year, Dad would announce that today was the day he was trading in the car, and my brother and I would beg him to please, just this once, just one year... get the Mustang. And every year, he'd come back with a Taurus. In navy blue.

Now, I'm not a huge Ford fan and I've never owned a gas-guzzler in my life. But if by some strange chance I ever end up in a similar situation, damn it, just one year, I'm going to make my kids ecstatic and get the Mustang.

Love ya Dad!


Your claim that Ford reimbursed people for head gasket work on the 3.8L V6 Taurus is much less extreme and more believable, especially since they later retroactively warrantied this part.

This is vastly different, however, than your original claim that "Taurus was a such lemon through its production and had chronic problems for which Ford was taken to court and ordered to pay each Taurus owner ~$2500."

I will not debate you that this happened, since I both find it relatively believable, and honestly I don't care enough. But if someone does wish to debate you, it can't be expected that they'll accept your assertion without some piece of evidence. Your link, while useful (I have actually now bookmarked that site and will refer to it in the future. Thanks!), unfortunately does not appear to say anything about a head gasket other than an update to the instructions on how to properly replace one. Therefore it probably won't suffice as evidence for most.

I see what you're saying and you're right. I love these discussions but I don't have time to look for hardcore evidence, especially that it was from 15 years back.
Yes, you never know who might give wrong info here.

The reason I said about "...every owner..." becasue people I know never actually did the job but got the money. I think, It was enough just to verify with the dealer that there was a problem.

Also, Honda Passport had similar issues. My cousin was going to dealer time after time and then went to www.lemonlaw.com. Appearantly, so many Passports/Rodeos had same issue that manufacturer were ordered to pay ~$22## in reimbursement, even that issue was under warranty. Just like a car reimbursement: here is $2200 for all your troubles, monthly trips to the dealer, etc. On the lemon law website it even said back then, "...if you have Honda Passport.... we can get you the money..."

The trick about www.alldatadiy.com is that you can look how many recalls, campains etc. so, if the issue with head gasket is under campain, it means many-many(most) cars were involved.


And I stick by my words: The Taurus was a LEMON.
So many recalls, so many issues...


I wish someone told me all of this crap b4 I bought this car. My first car is and was a Ford Taurus. Something flew off of it while I was driving one day and I still don't know what it was.


I'm 16 and just bought my new '08 Ford Focus SE. I added the ABS, and I love my car. My mom has a Civic, and I will admit that it is a solid car, but the Focus is that and it adds the 'fun-to-drive' factor. I always but function before fun, and I get all the function I want, the safety I want, the reliability and economy I want, with a little fun added. If you're looking for a great car for a teenager, or a compact car in general, the Focus deserves a place on your shopping list. Don't forget the ABS, though...


I'm 18. The mustang is not that popular... in fact, no one my age likes Ford or American cars unless they are a truck person. The most popular cars would probably be the 350z, supra, celica, civic, integra, and more of those kind of cars. Mustang? I dont think so.


I know this is an old article, but there are so many biased idiots posting here so I felt the need to chime in. I got a 2000 3.8L v6 mustang when I was 16, now, 2 years later at 150,000 miles it still runs great and has not had one serious problem. It's a very reliable car, and most people I know with the 4.6l gt have not had problems either. I'm sure the civic is dependable as well, but 99% of them around here are douchebags that put on extremely loud fart can exhausts and go around trash talking anything American (much like the comments you see from the Honda nutswingers in this comment section). This is why I have little respect for the Honda crowd, because most of them are disrespectful young punk guys who think their car is the fastest thing out there. The funny thing is, my Stang gets more looks and the civic owners typically get laughed at around here, with their Fast and Furious mindsets. It's funny when people say "that movie ruined the image of civic enthusiasts." Really? I never saw any modified civics or other modified econoboxes for that matter, until those movies came to be.

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