Getting a drivers license and a car is possibly the most important milestone in a young persons life. It means freedom, having, a place to call your own, and, most importantly, it has a back seat.
If you’re a parent of a teen, odds are you’ll be buying their first car, or at least funding a large portion of it and insuring it as well. No doubt you want your kid driving a safe, reliable car that has predictable handling characteristics and a small enough engine that the driver won’t be caught running drunk from the cops at 150. Consumer Reports has just released their top recommendations for teens, and surprising to no one, rear-drive cars are completely absent from the list. As is anything with a Turbocharger, Supercharger, or more than 4 Cylinders.
But alas, not all hope is lost. There are some great starter cars in this list. First-generation Acura TSX’s are fun to drive, well-built, and reliable. So is the Mazda3. But the Kia Optima? Come on…. 16 year-old me wouldn’t be caught dead in that.
Parents, take our advice. Allow your child some leeway to buy a fun car, provided it’s affordable and safe, but spend a few hundred bucks on real driver training, such as the Skip Barber Car Control course. Far too few parents take advantage of these opportunities to teach teens how to really handle a car in an emergency, and those few hundred dollars spent on driver training could mean your child’s life.
See the whole list after the jump:
Small cars Hyundai Elantra SE (2008-present) $11,775-$18,695 Mazda 3 (2007-) $13,025-$19,070 Scion xB (2008-) $14,075-$18,630 Scion xD (2008-) $13,675-$16,620 Subaru Impreza (2008-) non-turbo, $13,700-$19,106 Suzuki SX4 Crossover (2007-) $10,150-$17,519
Family cars Acura TSX (2004-) $13,725-$29,675 Honda Accord (2008-) 4-cyl., $17,725-$22,795 Kia Optima (2007-) 4-cyl., $9,900-$20,365 Toyota Prius (2004-) $11,750-$22,950 Volkswagen Jetta 2.5 (2006-) $12,825-$22,965
Small SUVs Honda CR-V (2005- ) $13,300-$25,805 Nissan Rogue (2008- ) $16,550-$25,850 *Toyota RAV4 (2006- ) 4-cyl., $13,625-$25,405