The Four Best Used Cars for Teens




Parents are generally neurotic about a lot of their children’s activities, but nothing brings more panic than when that child finally gets their license. The new driver will be itching to get a vehicle right away, and you’ll presumably want to go with a used model. You’ll also want to set them up with a safe and reliable vehicle. So where do you start?

We’ve got you covered. Unfortunately, you can’t keep your child off the road forever, so we’ve compiled several used vehicles that will keep your child secure and protected. This way, when your teen finally drags you out to go look for cars for sale in Albany, you’ll know exactly what you should be targeting. Before we take a look at those vehicles, let’s take a look at the features we should be eyeing…


Features/Attributes to Look For




Eric Evarts of Consumer Reports gave his main attributes of an ideal car for teenagers. He values the electronic stability control, which will allow the vehicle to stay on its intended path, even in the worst weather conditions. This technological feature has been included in the majority of vehicles over the past five to ten years (it became mandatory in 2012), and Evarts declares it “the most effective safety advancement in cars since seat belts.” Another reason to appreciate ESC is the presumed additional inclusion of antilock brakes and traction control, which will also play a big role in keeping your teen driver safe.

The writer also points to side and curtain airbags, which will protect the vehicle’s occupants in the case of a side collision. The curtain airbags will prevent the passengers from exiting the vehicle, and the side airbags will keep them protected.

Evarts valued a vehicle’s ability to “maneuver” in emergency situations, the vehicle’s stopping distances, and a powerful (but not ridiculous) engine. The writer generally sided with midsized (or larger) sedans, valuing them over SUVs because of the low center of gravity and vicarious stability.


Chevy Malibu




The midsized sedan provides excellent handling for your young driver, and the steering is easy to manipulate. Teens won’t have any issues over adjusting to avoid an obstacle, and the vehicle will be able to stay on its intended path on the snowiest of days. Evarts also points out the “straightforward controls,” meaning your young driver will be able to quickly understand and comprehend what each feature provides.

With a 25 mile per gallon fuel efficiency, the young driver won’t have to spend too much of their hard-earned money on gas. Plus, your teen with be satisfied with the technological features and comfort, and their passengers will enjoy the adequate interior dimensions.

Of course, the Malibu has consistently proved to be one of the safety vehicles in the class. The 2010 model earned five stars across the board from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, including in the driver’s safety test. The vehicle also earned the best possible score in 13 of the 14 tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The writer suggests pursuing a 2009 through 2012 model, which typically start around $8,000.


Ford Focus




Listen, we all understand that using a phone while driving can be extremely dangerous. We all seem to recognize it, yet teen drivers will try to defy the law and send out that one urgent text message. You can preach to your children about the various dangers of using a phone while driving, but there’s a good chance they’re going to continue using their gadgets.

You can help prevent them from taking their eyes off the road by opting for the Ford Focus, which includes the Sync system, allowing for phone integration. This means your teen can call their friend without having to take their hands off the wheel.

Furthermore, the vehicle is fun to drive, and the “upfront seating position” will give your teen an ideal view of the road. With a 29 mile-per-gallon efficiency, we’re sure your new driver will be happy with the choice.

The writer points to the 2009 through 2011 models, which typically start around $6,000.


Kia Soul




The Soul will make both the driver and the driver’s parents happy. The teen will appreciate the UVO connection system, allowing them to access many of their phone’s basic capabilities (like phone calling and playing music). Plus, with the boxy, recognizable styling, the young driver will enjoy being a driver who stands out.

Meanwhile, the parents will enjoy the plethora of safety features, and they’ll also welcome the “tall, upright driving position,” providing the young driver will a good vantage point of the road. Of course, the parents will also love the favorable safety ratings. The Soul earned at least four stars on 11 of the NHTSA’s 12 crash tests, and it earned perfect scores on many of the IIHS’s tests.

Looking for a Soul? Evarts’ range for this vehicle is a bit limited, as the writer only suggests the 2010 or 2011 model years. However, that means you can secure a great price, with used models starting just south of $9,000.


Volkswagen Jetta




There’s a lot to like about the compact car. The vehicle delivers excellent handling and drivability, two key features as your child gets used to the road. There’s plenty of visibility from the wide-window design, assuring that the young driver won’t get blindsided, and the controls are easy to learn, meaning your child won’t be unfocused as they’re finagling with the options.

Both engine options offer plenty of power, but if you happen to come across a diesel version, you can expect an incredible 50 mile per gallon fuel efficiency on the highway! Your child will certainly appreciate this as they look to go on a quick day trip to the beach.

Best of all were the safety scores. The Jetta earned four of five stars on the NHTSA frontal crash tests, and it earned perfect scores in 13 of the IIHS’s 14 safety ratings.

The writer suggests the 2009 or 2010 model year Jettas, which start around $7,250.


There you have it. There are plenty of safe options for your new teen driver, and you won’t have to fret as your child pilots one of the previously-mentioned vehicles.