It’s that time of year. Throngs of kids are going back to school, and many of them would love to drive there in a new ride. Let’s take a look at U.S. News & World Report’s list of the best new and used cars for teenagers.
First, let’s talk about safety. The CDC reports that six teenagers aged 16 to 19 die every day from injuries sustained in motor vehicle crashes. According to a recent study conducted by Liberty Mutual, a whopping 90% of teens admit to talking on the phone while driving, and 78% say they’ve sent a text while operating a vehicle. That’s pretty scary.
It’s no wonder parents aren’t just looking for an affordable car for their teen; they’re looking for the peace of mind that a safe vehicle offers.
At under $20,000, U.S. News names the Hyundai Accent (pictured above) the most affordable new car for your new driver. The Accent Limited comes with a bunch of safety features, including automatic emergency braking and forward-collision warning. The Accent also comes with Hyundai’s Blue Link system, which alerts parents if their son or daughter is out past curfew or breaking speed limits.
And (knock on wood) if your teen driver gets into an accident, the Accent is not a bad car for them to be in. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named the Accent a Top Safety Pick.
If safety is your top concern and you’re willing to spend more, check out the Volkswagen Jetta. The SE trim version comes standard with automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. The SEL trim comes with lane departure warning and lane keep assist.
What’s more, the Jetta will save your teen some dough – it gets great gas mileage.
How about SUVs? U.S. News names the Honda HR-V as their top pick for SUVs between $20,000 and $25,000. The HR-V earned perfect scores on all six IIHS crash tests. Plus, it has tons of room. If your teen needs a lot of space for his band equipment, sports gear, or just a bunch of junk, he’ll be happy with the 24.3 cubic feet of space behind the second row, and 58.8 cubic feet of space when the second row is folded down.
Maybe you don’t want to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a new car. U.S. News recommends a number of used cars that will go easier on your wallet, and still come with plenty of great safety features.
The 2016 Toyota Prius is the U.S. News pick for best used small car. It gets great gas mileage at 52mpg, and it’s an IIHS Top Safety Pick. It comes standard with a rearview camera, and available safety features include lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic braking, and parking sensors.
And talk about space! The Prius has 27.1 cubic feet behind its rear seats, and an amazing 65.5 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.
If you’re looking for a used compact SUV, U.S. News recommends the 2016 Hyundai Tucson. It also comes standard with a rearview camera, with safety options like collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, and much more. Not only is the Tucson an IIHS Top Safety Pick, it’s super reliable. J.D. Power gives it a perfect five out of five rating.
Other used cars recommended by U.S. News are the Toyota Camry, the Buick LaCrosse, the Chevrolet Equinox, and the Chevrolet Traverse. More affordable options are the Toyota Avalon and the Chevrolet Impala.
All of the cars on the U.S. News Best Cars for Teens list have “top-notch safety ratings” from the IIHS and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They’re also reliable and can come with a whole spectrum of advanced accident avoidance features.
“They may not be the flashiest picks,” says U.S. News, “but the Best New and Used Cars for Teens will help keep your teenager safe and happy.”