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Safe Car Choices for New Drivers

by Amy Walters

It can be a tricky thing picking out the best car for the new driver in your life, especially in light of auto insurance quotes. You don’t want to give them too much car to handle before they’ve had much experience, but getting them something tiny seems like you’re exposing them to safety issues (and they are more susceptible to accidents in that first shaky year). If your new driver is a teenager, as most are, what they want and what you – their parent – want in a vehicle tends not to align. They want something that will make them look ultra-cool as they cruise into the high school parking lot, something with a bunch of built-in gadgets to play their iPods and charge their phones, maybe a five-seater so they can pile all their friends in and head to the mall or the beach. You would rather focus on something in a reasonable price range, with excellent safety features, good fuel economy and maybe an extra, like GPS navigation to minimize the chances they get lost.

Fortunately for you, there is a variety of reasonably-priced, well-equipped and safe vehicles on the market today (and if you have a bigger budget your options only open further), so you can make both parties happy. And how often does that happen when you have a teenager?

But First…A Few Things to Consider

Most new drivers get a used car for their very first, for the simple fact that it’s a cheaper investment. While this has its benefits, newer cars tend to have the latest in fuel efficiency, safety features and standard accessories. Also, a lot of teenagers will like the sportiness, roomy interiors and versatility of SUVs, but they simply aren’t as safe or stable as sedans and coupes. Thus, they should probably be avoided in favor of less top-heavy models.

Honda Civic – $14,500

What’s great about the Honda Civic is that what parents love about them, teens tend to love also. It’s a popular first car, high-quality and with all kinds of fun features, like an auxiliary jack for iPods and bright, modern dashboard displays that can give them information, such as an approximation of how many miles they have left with the gas in their tank. Even better, the well-priced Civics comfortably seat passenger; they tend to perform well on the road and in safety tests and have a universally appealing look that is both mature and stylish. And Civics boasts some of the highest resale values of any car out there.

Volkswagen Jetta – $16,340

Like the Civic, Volkswagen’s timeless Jetta is beloved of teens and adults alike. They’re always good-looking and have been designed with heavy frames that can take a lot of force in the event of a collision.

BMW 3-Series – $35,255

If cost isn’t an issue (lucky teen!), the BMW 3-Series will please both parent and new driver. It’s safe, fuel-efficient, a blast to drive and, let’s face it, will make your teen look pretty cool.

Toyota Corolla and Camry – $16,130; $22,055

Toyota, like Honda, has become one of the most popular and respected auto brands out there, and for good reason. They are among the most reliable and safe vehicles on the market; newer models just seem to get more and more stylish. The Corolla is a great smaller car, but if you want something a little bit bigger, Camry is the next step (while upholding Corolla’s excellent safety features). Toyota Camry parts, as well as Corolla’s, are among some of the best. The interiors might not be the most exciting domains; however, the simple features are recommendable for a new driver who isn’t used to keeping his or her eyes on the road while flipping through radio stations. Consider it good practice.

Ford Focus – $22,700

Ford recently revamped its Focus and reviewer-response has been positive. The interior and exterior both have been updated, with more tech features on the inside and a sportier look outside. Focus now comes with torque vectoring control, which helps stabilize the vehicle during turns – a great feature for any driver, new or old.

Acura TL – $35,705

Another pricier option, the Acura TL nonetheless offers buyers reliability and safety within the confines of its bigger, heavier frame. It’s more car than a Civic or a Focus, but this Acura handles very well and provides luxurious comfort.

About the Author:  Lisa Williams is a contributing writer and mother of three teenage boys – who all learned how to drive from her. She often seeks things for their cars, like new Toyota Camry parts, online.

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