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Finding The Best Cars For Teen Drivers

What's in this article?
  1. What To Look For In A Teen’s Car
  2. Safety
  3. Price Range And Size
  4. Visibility And Distractions
  5. Insurance
  6. The Top Car Picks For Teens
  7. How Do You Know You Got The Right Car?
Finding The Best Cars For Teen Drivers

You blink, and your baby is now a teenager. You have gone from imaginary tea parties and video games to learning how to drive on the open road. There is nothing more terrifying (except maybe dating) for the parents of teenagers.

As a parent, you do what you can to get your driver ready for the road; you pay for classes, take them out to practice, and even make them watch all the docu-specials about the consequences of bad decisions. But, unfortunately, once they have obtained their license, you have to believe that they will make the best choices – which is why choosing the best car for your teen driver comes in handy.



What to Look For in a Teen’s Car

Picking out a car for your teen will more than likely be different than if you were shopping for yourself. While you keep things like safety, size, and visibility in your mind for yourself, it becomes one of the top things to look for in your child’s car. Teens are more likely than adults to end up in an accident, so making every effort to keep your child safe on the road becomes important.


Safety features are always the first thing to be considered. As a parent, you want to know that your child is surrounded by the best and highest levels of safety while they are behind the wheel. The most important features to look for here include:

  • Electronic Stability Control (ECS) – When a vehicle begins to skid on a curvy or slippery road, this technology will kick in, applying the brakes and help the driver regain control of the steering. ECS has been required in most vehicles manufactured from 2012 and on.
  • Automatic Braking – The system uses lasers, radar, and even video to gauge if the driver is going at a rate of speed that will make it impossible to stop before reaching the things in front of it. The risk of an accident will signal the brakes to engage, slowing down the vehicle.
  • Blind Spot Threat Detection – More of a newer technology, detecting blind spots can help make lane changing safer by alerting the driver of someone entering the area beside the car when they still can’t see them.
  • Airbags – Ensuring ample airbags is important when you are putting your teenager in their first car. Even the existence of the side-curtain airbags is preferable for maximum safety.
  • Bluetooth – Consider a car with Bluetooth capabilities. This feature will allow for your child to have hands-free ability, keeping their phone away. Many of these cars also use a built-in GPS feature with Bluetooth technology, reducing the need for taking their eyes off the road.
Visibility And Distractions

Price Range and Size

The next factor that parents should be looking at is the price of the car that they buy their teenager. We understand the desire to go out and buy your teen the newest model on the showroom floor – but don’t. You can still get a later model car without breaking the bank and ensuring that it has the safety features needed. 

The size of the vehicle is important – the larger the vehicle, the larger it is to maneuver. The smaller the car, the more likely it will be to slide or drift. You have to find that sweet spot in the middle. For a first car (not their forever car), you may want to consider a sedan. Steer clear of trucks, SUVs, and sports cars for the time being.

Visibility and Distractions

You want your teen’s car to have an optimal line of sight while reducing as many distractions as possible. As much as we all like to surprise our kids on their birthday, it might be worth having them there when you pick out their new car. Of course, some vehicles have a better line of sight than others, and if you are taller than your teen, your view from the driver’s seat will be different than theirs.

Distractions in the car can vary, but one common denominator with teens seems to be the cell phone use in the car. While we want to believe that our teen wouldn’t talk and text and drive, we can’t be sure of it all the time. So a vehicle that offers hands-free or Bluetooth capabilities is the smartest choice.

Car Insurance


Car insurance or some form of financial liability statement is required in all of the 50 states. One thing that is a guarantee when your teen becomes a driver – your car insurance is going to go up. This premium increase isn’t because your teen is a bad driver; it is because they are considered an inexperienced driver. As they gain experience as they drive and get older, which is why most car insurance premiums reduce the longer they drive. Providing proof that your teen was a part of a driver’s education class and that the car has specific safety mechanisms in place may also help reduce the insurance.

The Top Car Picks for Teens

These are the best car brand/models for new teen drivers:

  1. Honda Civic – this is one of the best-selling cars of all time. It has the winning combo of price, features, safety, and reliability. This model was the IIHS Top Safety Pick from 2009 to 2017, with every generation since 2012 gaining the five-star safety rating from the NHTSA.
  2. Toyota Camry – this car also ranks high on the list and is one of the best-selling cars across the nation. Many Camry owners will hold onto this gem, meaning that if you do find one for under $10K, it will have a lot of miles on it. In addition, the Camry ranks high in crash safety tests, longevity, reliability, and fuel economy – a winning combo for a teen driver.
  3. Hyundai Sonata – the Sonata received a five-star safety rating from the NHSTA every model year and was the Top IIHS choice every year but 2014. The best part is that even the base models come with great safety features, including the side curtain airbags and stability control.
  4. Ford Focus – the Focus, as a sedan or a hatchback, has received five-star ratings from the NHTSA up until it was discontinued (2019). In addition, the 2015 Focus was the first to offer standard back-up cameras, blind-spot detection, and lane departure warnings. Ford also offered parents the ability to set up the “My Key” feature that sets speed limits and radio volume in their teen’s car.
Look For In A Teen’s Car

How Do You Know You Got The Right Car?

It is hard to say no to your teen. Still, with some great used vehicle models available, you may be able to talk them into the safer versus, the flashier selection. The best way to get your teen to like their new car (even if it isn’t a Ferrari or Porsche) is to let them participate in the selection process.

Start by listening to them and finding out what they think is important; more than likely, the color will come up. Then start browsing selections online and at local car lots to see what the inventory is. Set up test drives, driving it before you let your teen behind the wheel.

Before you sign on the dotted line, we recommend ensuring that the car has everything you and your teen want. Of course, it also doesn’t hurt to get a used car checked out by your favorite mechanic. Keeping your teen safe on the road is what matters the most.

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Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Due to the nature of my work, I must relocate every couple of years to where my company needs me. Because of this, I’ve tested several moving and auto transport companies over the years.

And my choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.

The only time my shipment was delayed was during winter when a snowstorm closed down all the major roads. And they still found an alternative and got my car delivered before roads got unstuck.

When I moved to West Virginia, they picked up my car the very day I called them. I like to think they take special care of me considering all the business I’ve sent them. I’ll continue to support A1 Auto Transport. It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

I considered selling my car when I moved to Washington. It was old and rusty, but I grew attached to it. So, I called a couple companies to transport it to my new home, but they both fell through.

The first one couldn’t decide on a schedule. He would constantly change the pickup date till I got frustrated and canceled. The second was insufferable, very rude on the phone, even worse in person.

They started picking a part my car asking me why I still have it. If that’s their opinion of my vehicle, how can I trust they’ll take care of it? If something happened midway, why wouldn’t they just blame it on the car instead of paying up?

So, I cancelled this company as well and turned to A1 Auto Transport. From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!

If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought they were lacking customers, but the email spoke for itself. In just one email, everything I needed to know was there, including a contact number I could use to get more information or confirm the transport.

I called and got things rolling. I was very pleased with the driver. He followed standard procedure and represented his company well. Can’t remember his name, but props to him!

The car arrived in Washington 6 days later in excellent condition. From what I understand, the transport was delayed a bit by a storm, but since the time window was 4-6 days from the beginning, I don’t really care. You have my full support and recommendation!

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Cristine Benoit
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There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them.

After doing some research, I got even more worried reading about all the scams and accidents that can happen. But, I have work to do and couldn’t afford to drive my newly purchased Mini Cooper all the way to Virginia.

Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport. They are very good at their jobs. I spent more than an hour drilling Joe with various questions, and he never once lost his patience. He saw I was interested, so he bore with me until I was satisfied. The driver was also very courteous and my car was intact on arrival. I couldn’t have asked for more.

By the way, the price we first agreed on stayed the same. There were no delays or unexpected “surprises.” I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

David Osallo
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We were abroad during the transport, so the transport was a bit tricky. The driver had to pick it up from storage on short notice and get it to its destination within at most 10 days. I was happy to note it arrived sooner. We got it 3 days early, right when we got home to pick it up. It made getting around way easier. Awesome service!

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