5. Discuss the fact that the car has a low True Cost to Own: This is a natural follow-up to offering to help pay for the car. A vehicle with a low True Cost to Own (TCO)® means that it is affordable to maintain and to own. That's a desirable trait for any student on a budget. The Edmunds True Cost to Own page lets you type in the name of any car and see its ownership costs, including depreciation, interest on the car loan, taxes and fees, insurance, fuel costs, maintenance and repairs.
6. Talk about insurance discounts: If you're a good student, you may find that a lot of auto insurance companies offer discounts for you. Research any other possible insurance discounts such as for economy cars, resident students and safety features.
7. Put your car to work: Emphasize that you and your new car will help out with the household chores — and mean it. Let Mom and Dad know that the car's cargo space will be used to hold groceries and the passenger seat will serve to shuttle both of them to their various appointments.
8. Promise to abide by a driving agreement: Sign a contract with your parents agreeing to a curfew and other laws that apply to teen drivers in your state, such as limits on the number and age of passengers that you can carry. The typical teen driving agreement also covers such items as mobile phone restrictions, seatbelt use and other safety measures, many of which are dictated by the laws in your state. As much as you may hate it, volunteering to draw up and abide by a driving agreement may make the difference between getting your own car and having to ride the bus for several more years. A mature attitude toward these rules shows your parents that you mean business.
9. Bring up safety again: You're just starting out and your parents want to make sure that their baby will be OK, so repeat that the car is safe and promise (and keep your word) to not drive fast, to never drive impaired and to always wear a seatbelt.
10. Show your work: Remind them that if you're responsible enough to do all this research, you're responsible enough to have your own car.
To get you started on the road to your own car, here are some suggestions from Edmunds.com. First is a list of one new and three used cars that will definitely appeal to parents, thanks to a combination of their value and safety features. You can read more about these cars — and others that your parents might pick for you — in The Best Cars for Teen Drivers:
2014 Chevrolet Malibu
2012 Honda Accord
2011 Hyundai Sonata
2009 Toyota Camry
The following new cars are ones whose styling, flair and features might particularly appeal to you as a young driver. They also fit with the arguments you're going to make to your parents. Each is a midsize sedan (which will appeal to your parents' safety concerns) with a sticker price that's under $25,000 (which will appeal to their pocketbooks) and top safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (safety again — you can't stress it too much):
2014 Ford Fusion (gorgeous sheet metal calls to mind an Aston Martin)
2014 Kia Optima (bold, assertive styling)
2014 Mazda 6 (sleek design)
Rehearse your talk a few times, find a quiet evening when everyone is relaxed and make your presentation with care and conviction. Soon you'll be shopping for, driving and enjoying your very own car. And you'll really have earned it.