As a parent, you may feel apprehensive about your teen finally learning to drive. But once teenagers have their driver's license, a whole new world opens up. There's less chauffeuring that kiddo to practices, friends' houses, the mall, and extracurriculars. In fact, if you play your cards right, you can get the teenagers living under your roof to pick up last-minute groceries and take out items.
But what's the best first car for teen drivers? It depends on who you ask. Parents will want a vehicle that is affordable, safe, and easy to find used at their local dealership. Your teen, on the other hand, is sure to covet the latest cool technology features.
Here's a look at some vehicles on the market today that combine the best of both worlds.
The RAV4 is an affordable small SUV that earns high safety marks from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS). The 2021 RAV4 is an IIHS Top Safety Pick, but you don't have to get a new RAV4; recent used models score in the same category. You'll also get a full array of audio multimedia features, including hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth technology. New cars come with a free three-month All Access trial subscription to the audio features.
The CR-V, another IIHS Top Safety Pick, is the larger of Honda's compact SUVs. It's a good choice for students who carpool or have a lot of gear to stow, and because dealerships use this model as loaners, there are often certified pre-owned CR-4s for sale. An attractive seven-inch touchscreen display on the dash gives you easy access to technology features, including streaming services.
The Mazda CX-5 is an attractive small four-door SUV that comes in various classes. The Sport edition is the most affordable new option, starting at a little over $25,000. It is an IIHS Top Safety Pick + for 2021. All the new models come equipped with Apple CarPlay Integration and other technological features, with intuitively positioned buttons and gauges that are designed to create as few driver distractions as possible.
The four-door Corolla sedan is yet another IIHS Top Safety Pick that comes loaded with standard features that will make both teens and their parents happy, like a seven-inch touchscreen dash display with Android, Apple CarPlay, and Alexa compatibility. Although many teens will prefer to drive a sportier car, the Corolla is a more affordable option — new models start at just $20,000.
Like all Subarus, the CrossTrek performs well in safety tests across the board. The CrossTrek sport option is most likely what your teen will like the most because of its sleek appearance and range of cool colors. But the CrossTrek comes in a variety of options, including a limited hybrid model. All CrossTreks come with symmetrical all-wheel drive and a STARLINK 6.5-inch Multimedia Plus display panel for accessing audio options.
Before You Get the Car, Let Aceable Help You Get the License
Learning to drive is the first step to independence for teenagers and adults alike. Aceable offers state-approved and certified online driving courses for aspiring drivers of all ages. Whether you need teen driver's ed, adult driver's ed, or defensive driving courses — or you just need help prepping for your learner's permit test — Aceable has you covered with some of the most affordable and comprehensive online driving courses on the market. '