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Buying a car for a teen driver takes strategy. It might be easier to buy the cheap model down the road or give a hand-me-down from an older sibling or grandparent, but that might not be the best option for a new driver.
Safety first! It sounds corny, but seriously - safety.
Buying used is a great option, but don't get anything without anti-lock brakes and front airbags. You may wish to steer clear of pickup trucks, which have a tendency to roll over and cause more injuries. Large pickups and SUVs can be more difficult to handle for young drivers. And sports cars may be tempting but usually result in speeding tickets, have a higher accident rate and come with higher insurance premiums.
When buying a car for a new driver, the most important factors to consider are safety and reliability. But we know cost is also a factor, so here are the 7 best cars (under $10,000) for teen drivers, based on safety, fuel efficiency and durability as ranked by bankrate.com:
One of the best-selling small cars in the U.S., the Honda Civic gets top ranking for its "winning combination of price, features, safety, reliability and resell value."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has given every style of Ford Focus from 2012 to 2018 a 5-star overall safety rating. That and Ford's MyKey program, which allows parents to set seatbelt alerts and limit speed and radio volume, earned the Focus Bankrate's #2 listing.
With every model of the Nissan Altima since 2014 earning a NHTSA 5-star safety rating - and an estimated fuel economy of up to 38 MPG on the highway - this car takes third place on Bankrate's list.
Since 2011, gas-powered Sonatas have earned a 5-star NHTSA safety rating and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) Top Safety Pick (every year except 2014).
One of the best-selling cars in the nation, the Camry is highly rated in crash safety tests and has great longevity, reliability and fuel economy, but Bankrate says it can be difficult to find one without excessive miles for under $10,000.
Due to their "reliability and low cost of ownership" Toyotas are great for new drivers. 2012 Rav4s and newer all have 4-star or higher NHTSA safety ratings.
In all types of weather, Bankrate says a Subaru is "one of the best cars for new drivers," calling them "legendary for their capability, utility and longevity." 2011-2013 models have 4-star NHTSA safety ratings, and 2014 and newer models have 5-star ratings.
Since teen drivers statistically cause more accidents than more experienced, older drivers, insuring teen drivers often costs more. But there are ways to lower your rates. Buying a safer, used car is one of them. Getting good grades is another. Most companies give discounts for teens who earn at least a "B" grade-point average. Completing drivers' training courses can also help. And it's generally cheaper to add your teenager to your insurance policy than for them to purchase their own.
If you have questions about other makes or models, please call our office at 800-369-2501 ,or you can request a quote online.