Buyer Tips

The 12 Best Cars to Buy for Teens and New Drivers in 2018

By Mike Richards Updated: 04/25/2019 Posted: 10/01/2018

As a teenager, getting your first car can be very exciting. Many teens and new drivers who have just got a driver’s license are already planning to rush out and buy their first car. Parents, however, want safe and dependable cars for their teens, not just the first one that catches their eye. Parents know it is important to choose the right cars to buy for teens.

There are some general requirements that most young drivers and their parents share, especially price and insurance and maintenance costs. Parents, however, tend to agree that a car should have advanced safety features, while the teens themselves may be more interested in cost, style, and performance.

What Cars to Buy for Teens Should You Choose?

Teen drivers and new drivers need all the help they can get to stay safe. So there is a list of priority safety features parents will be interested in. These include crash test scores, active safety features, and reliability. It can’t be all about style, connectivity, and performance. Some compromise is necessary.

A used car is generally going to be cheaper than a new model. But older cars will generally be less reliable. A brand new car can be more expensive. However, it will have the latest electronic features and safety equipment.

If you have more money to spend on a vehicle, or the parents can help out the teen with a deposit, then it’s highly recommended to go for a car that has more safety features. This will bring ease of mind for parents worried about the safety of their child, who is an inexperienced driver.

The first car for a teen or new driver should be the best in price, in quality, safety, and handling. Parents making the right decision now can make their children happy and can ensure their road safety.

We’ll help narrow the list of potential vehicles to buy by looking at some of the new and used cars to buy for teens that offer the best specs for new drivers.

New Cars

2019 Honda Fit

The Honda Fit subcompact hatchback is an attractive model from a manufacturer that has been producing automobiles in the United States for more than 35 years. Even though it is a subcompact car, the Honda Fit has multi-configurable seating. This gives it a versatility similar to a small SUV. It is also fuel efficient, doing 33 mpg combined. More importantly for teen drivers, the Honda Fit is very reliable. It is also equipped with advanced safety features. So this is definitely a car worth considering.

2018 Hyundai Ioniq

The 2018 Hyundai Ioniq is a four-door, five-seat hatchback with an impressive performance and high safety scores. It is also very fuel efficient, doing 52 mpg combined in the hybrid mode for a total gas and electric driving range of 630 miles. This car also comes with optional leather seats, adding an element of luxury. It also comes with a user-friendly infotainment system that is very quick and easy to master. But perhaps the most attractive feature of the 2018 Hyundai Ioniq is that it gives parents updates about their teen’s driving. This car can send notifications to your phone about your teen’s driving time, speed limit and location. This will give you peace of mind. So overall this is a safe and affordable choice as one of the cars to buy for teens.

2018 Toyota Camry

The 2018 Toyota Camry’s great design and features will certainly attract your teen. This is a very stylish car, with high-quality details and a great variety of colors and materials. This car is available in several engine options. These include a base 2.5-liter I-4, a 3.5-liter V-6 with Toyota’s direct and port-injection system that will ensure you a power-packed performance. Both options come with an eight-speed automatic transmission. In addition to its high-quality standard equipment, the 2018 Toyota Camry includes safety features such as 360-degree view camera system, blind spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert. Other features include a navigation system and Bluetooth. Crucially for parents, this vehicle earned a 2018 Top Safety Pick Plus designation so it will keep your teen safe.

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan

The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan is another great vehicle for your teenager, even though it’s on the bigger side of the scale. The new model is longer, wider, and more dynamic than its predecessors. It is popular for its sharply modern and bold style and its powerful look. It comes with great standard safety features at the basic trim. However, if you’re willing to step up to the SEL Premium trim for just over $36,000, you’ll also get a 360-degree camera system, front and rear parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert, pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring. This vehicle is a smooth and comfortable ride and is very responsive on the road. It also comes with 12.3″ high-resolution display.

Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V has features that make it a truly versatile choice. This is one of the best options for a teenage driver because it is both safe and stylish. Its hassle-free 5-speed automatic transmission delivers the perfect balance of driving performance and fuel economy. It comes with some great safety features that will give any parent some welcome peace of mind. These include forward collision alert, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, and automatic braking. You will also be charmed by the stunning combination of comfort, space, and style of Honda CR-V.

Mazda 3

The first thing you will notice in the Mazda 3 is that it looks gorgeous. But, besides its impressive style and design, when you are looking at overall quality and advanced safety features, the Mazda 3 is a good choice for your teen. It comes available with heated leather seats, a heated steering wheel, a heads-up display, radar cruise control, and blind-spot monitoring. It’s a great commuter car, too. It has the perfect balance between backroad fun and interstate cruising. And since every parent is concerned with their child’s safety, you’ll be happy to learn that the Mazda 3 includes some very advanced safety features as well as technological features that perfectly fit your needs.

Used Cars

2014 Kia Optima

The 2014 Kia Optima makes an ideal choice for the teenagers. Teens want a smooth ride and power packed cars, while parents are mostly concerned with safety. This vehicle combines both elements. On top of that, the Kia Optima is powerful, efficient and very comfortable. The 2014 Kia Optima comes with lots of standard and optional features. These include a six-speaker sound system, standard Bluetooth connectivity, and built-in satellite radio. This car boasts impressive safety scores. It also comes with some new safety features, including rear parking sensors and a new display screen. It also comes with a blind-spot monitoring system.

2014 Honda Accord

If your teen is looking for a midsize sedan with excellent fuel economy, consider the 2014 Honda Accord. It has some great standard features that will please you and your teen. These include Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calling, an eight-inch video display, and a rearview camera. Also, it has a responsive handling and a comfortable ride. This is one of the best value-for-money used vehicles on the market. It offers some breakthrough safety that you might not expect to see in such an affordable model. You will also be happy with the elegant design and high-tech powerful equipment of this car. All of this makes this car a perfect choice for the teen drivers.

2014 Ford Fusion

If your teen is looking for a midsize sedan with excellent fuel economy, the 2014 Ford Fusion will be the right choice. The 2014 Ford Fusion provides a smooth and responsive driving experience. Crucially for concerned parents, this is a very safe vehicle. It has earned a earned a five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The 2014 Ford Fusion comes with a four-cylinder engine that delivers an estimated 30 mpg combined. This vehicle has some great standard features that will attract both teens and their parents. It also comes with standard 60/40 folding rear seats. So this car is a great choice for teens.

2014 Nissan Altima

The Nissan Altima midsize sedan is a budget-friendly car that comes with a choice of either four-cylinder or V-6 power engine. Even though it is only average in performance and handling, this is an attractive car that comes with some great standard features. Teen drivers will experience an upscale feel in the interior with a 60/40-split folding back seat with armrest. You can also get the NissanConnect with Pandora and iPod connectivity, which is an interesting feature for teen drivers. It is also available with automatic headlights and low-rolling-resistance tires.

2015 Buick LaCrosse

The 2015 Buick LaCrosse is available with two engines. For its excellent safety and reliability scores, the 2015 Buick LaCrosse is an ideal used car for teens. It is available in two engines. One is a 3.6-liter V-6 with 304 hp and 264 lb-ft of torque. The other is a 2.4-liter I-4 with 182 hp and 172 lb-ft, with standard engine stop-start. The LaCrosse also offers a comprehensive list of safety technologies. These include blind spot monitoring rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, following Distance Indicator. Its interior space is well designed and luxurious. The 2015 Buick LaCrosse is definitely a good choice for your teen.

2014 GMC Terrain

The 2014 GMC Terrain has a premium look both inside and out. It comes with front- or all-wheel drive and a four-cylinder or V-6 engine. It offers a lot of space in the back row. Not to mention some very user-friendly features such as standard keyless entry. There is also power height adjustment for the driver’s seat and a stereo with a USB port for MP3 players. The Terrain comes with an array of features designed to keep your teen safe and prevent accidents. These include forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning. So you can put this car in your choice list for your teen driver.