Top 8 Used Cars for Teenage Drivers

Getting a driver’s license is a significant milestone for most teenagers. The prospect of showing up in school with a new whip is the stuff of teenage dreams. However, not all parents may share the same excitement. For many parents, a newly acquired license means worrying about having a teenager on the road, paying for gas, and the small matter of buying and insuring a car for the family’s newest driver. When looking for a car to buy for your teen child.. 

Newly licensed teens are the riskiest group of drivers on US roads. As the parent of a new teenage driver, you want your child to drive a vehicle that strikes a balance between safety, durability, fuel efficiency, and cost. Here is our pick of the top 8 used vehicles to help you give your teenager an unforgettable first car experience.


1. Hyundai Elantra (2011 – 2018)

If you’re looking for the best used cars for your teen, consider Used Hyundai Cars such as the Hyundai Elantra. The Hyundai Elantra is an elegantly compact sedan with great fuel economy. Hyundai Elantra models come with standard safety features that make them a great choice for inexperienced drivers. Newer models come with automatic collision notification and emergency assistance. 

The Hyundai Elantra models typically score 5-stars on NHTSA safety ratings. You can get your teen an earlier model of a used Hyundai Elantra for less than $10,000. Newer models may command a higher price. 

2. Toyota Camry (2011 – 2014)

The Camry is almost always at the top of lists for the best-used car for teens and other first-time drivers. This car is one of the best-selling cars in America for a reason. Camry owners are often unwilling to let go of their cars, so finding a Camry without heavy mileage can often prove difficult. 

Top US safety institutes rate the 2012 to 2014 Camry models as one of the safest models on US roads. The 2011 model is a highly-rated automatic transmission vehicle with a 36,000-mile warranty. Camrys are durable, fuel-efficient, and will make an excellent first car if you can find a willing seller. 


3. Volkswagen Jetta (2016 – 2017) 

Most teenagers would rather have small vehicles. The Volkswagen Jetta is a small sedan designed with safety as a priority. Its 2016 and 2017 models come with a front crash prevention feature ideal for inexperienced drivers. The Jetta trades speed for incredible fuel efficiency.  

You can get a used Jetta for less than $10,000 with an assurance of safety, fuel economy, and reliability. You will have to pay a little extra for a Jetta with more features. 


4. Nissan Altima (2014 or Newer)

The Nissan Altima models use smart tech to ensure safety and style. These vehicles come with Key remote start and Bluetooth connectivity. Newer models come with a rearview camera to enhance safety. The Nissan Altima cars have consistently earned a 5-star NHTSA rating. 

Nissan Altima cars are fuel-efficient, spacious, and come with durable four-cylinder engines. Altima cars for around $10,000 can serve your teen for many years. 


5. Mazda 3 (2011 or Newer)

The Mazda 3 comes as a reliable, safe, and fuel-efficient sedan or hatchback. Mazda 3 models make driving fun with their sharp handling and sporty control features. These models have a spacious, stylish interior design. 

The Mazda 3 series are among the most affordable vehicles we found for new drivers. You can get a 2011 to 2013 model for as low as $5,000. Newer models cost a little more, but they provide increased safety and more room. 


6. Subaru Legacy (2013 or Newer)

Subaru cars are famed for their safety and reliability. The Subaru Legacy is a four-cylinder engine workhorse. This ride has traversed the US landscape for the past decade and continues to thrive. A new generation of cars was released from 2015 to 2019. A used Subaru legacy costs around $7,500, while newer models will set you back a couple more thousands. 


7. Honda Accord (2012 or Newer)

The Honda Accord is one of America’s most favorite vehicles for good reason. This car offers safety, reliability, and fun driving dynamics. The cars in this series are available as sedans or two-door coupes. Recent models Honda Accords are durable, spacious, and fuel-efficient. They come with high-performance four or six-cylinder engines, making them a top choice for people who want preowned vehicles.

The Honda Accord retains its value, meaning that an 8-year-old car may still be pricey. However, your teen is likely to use this vehicle for years. You can get a pre-owned Honda Accord for around $9,000. Newer models may cost a little more. 


8. Ford Focus (2015 – 2017) 

The 2015 Ford Focus from 2015 upwards offers sleek safety design features like a backup camera built with lane departure warnings and a blind spot detection system. The models also come with a programmable key feature that limits the speed and mutes the radio if the seat belt is unfastened. 

The Ford Focus also holds a 5-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA. This vehicle is also fuel-efficient, and you can get a used one for your teenager for around $10,000. 


In Summary

You’ll want to be informed before getting your teen their first car. It would help if you also instilled common sense driving behavior in them. A young driver should know to limit the number of passengers, and not play too loud music. The most important factors to consider before deciding on a choice of vehicle for your teen are: 

  • Safety

Kids will be kids and will always need looking after. The safety of your teenager behind the wheels must be the priority. So you must look out for a car with safety features and a low probability of rolling over. Models with a 5-star NHTSA rating are your best bet.

  • Fuel Efficiency

Your teen will most probably expect you to pay for the gas, so you want to get a car that maximizes fuel use. You also want to get a car that’s reliable and cheap to maintain. 

  • Cost

The cost is usually the deal-breaker. No matter how great a car is, it won’t do you and your teen much good if it’s out of your budget range. 

Lastly, if you have an old car sitting in your garage, then you might want to sell it to junk car buyers so that you can add some more money to your budget.




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