You’ve driven around the high school parking lot to drop off your teen before school. You know how they drive, and that’s why buying a car for your teen can be challenging. It can be tempting to buy them a total clunker, knowing that in a few months’ time, it will have multiple unexplained dings and dents. However, there are other factors to consider outside your insurance premiums when buying a car for the eager young driver, including safety and reliability. Used cars can offer a great balance of being reasonably priced, while not conceding safety features.
Small to mid-sized sedans are optimal options, as these cars are cheaper and have less room for friends. Studies show that the more friends there are in a vehicle, the higher risk of a crash. Safety features such as front and side airbags, anti-lock brakes, and electronic stability control (ESC) are good to look for in a car for your teen. The cars listed below can be found for under $15,000.
The Ford Focus is the standard for practicality and affordability. The 2009 and newer models have stability control for safety and consistently good reliability. While they are not the coolest cars on the block, they are ideal for teenagers on the go.
The 4-cylinder Mazda 6 is a great option that doesn’t give too much horsepower to an inexperienced driver. This car also boasts higher-than-average reliability. Check out models 2009 and newer.
If it’s great mileage per tank you’re after, the Honda Civic is a great option. Any model after 2004 is perfect for driving around town—these cars get an average of 30 mpg. Civics also have a history of long-term reliability.
The Volkswagen Passat models 2006 or newer are a great safety option. These versions feature side airbags and very high safety ratings.
This Korean car, models 2008 or newer, is a great mid-size option for a little more room with high marks on safety features. A relatively inexpensive car compared to competitors, it features curtain airbags and stability control.
If you want more steel around your teen, consider the Chevy Malibu. In 2008, Chevy redesigned this mid-sized car and improved some of its safety features. Any model 2008 and newer would be a solid option for a teenage driver.