Young man excited to drive his first car

5 Best Cars for New Drivers

You were probably pretty anxious the first time your mom or dad took you out in their car to have your first driving lesson, but that worry doesn’t even come close to the anxiety you feel when your own child starts driving.

You can’t control everything that comes their way, but you can choose a car for them that has the best chance of keeping them safe, no matter what they may run into down the road. Below are the five best vehicles for new drivers.

Toyota Corolla

Starting at around $17,000 for the basic model, the Corolla is an affordable and reliable choice for your teen. This car earned a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and it features eight standard airbags strategically placed around the car to protect all passengers from injury in the event of a crash. Newer models also have features like the whiplash-injury-lessening seats, a tire pressure monitoring system, and more. Toyotas are also some of the most reliable cars on the road, so you won’t have to worry about your teen being stranded in the middle of nowhere. 

Ford Focus

This small, stylish car earned the honor of being an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety "Top Safety Pick" in 2015. The Focus starts at about $17,000, and in addition to its sleek design, it also packs quite a few safety features. It has seven airbags in the car, boron steel beams in the doors to help protect in side-impact accidents, and a rear-view camera to assist the driver when backing up. 

Hyundai Elantra

Your teen will probably have no complaints if you choose this elegant car, and you won’t either because the Elantra has also earned a spot as IIHS "Top Safety Pick" for 2015. For a little over $17,000, you can score features like built-in blind spot mirrors, a Vehicle Stability Management System to give more control in inclement weather conditions, a Traction Control System to give a more stable acceleration, and six large airbags in the cabin. 

Volkswagen Jetta

The Jetta may not be the most attractive of vehicles, but this $16,000 sedan will keep your child as safe as possible. It earned five stars overall from the NHTSA due to its Electronic Stability Control System (said to decrease accidents by up to a whopping 33%), six standard airbags, and traction control. The Jetta also earned five stars in reliability from J.D. Power and Associates. 

Honda Civic

Another IIHS Top Safety Pick, the Civic is a good bet for drivers of all ages, especially new ones. The price of this compact car starts at $18,000, and it has a rearview camera that offers three camera angle options for maximum view. It also has an Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure that has been shown to protect passengers more effectively than older body structures, and daytime-running lights to increase the car’s visibility to other drivers. 

Last Updated: April 06, 2017