Best first car for teenager

When it comes to selecting the best car for a new teen driver, you can’t go wrong checking out these options. From gas-sipping midsize sedans to larger crossovers, parents and teens have plenty of choices. Whether you’re focused on fuel economy, handling, comfort, or standard features, whether you are looking for  best used cars for teenage drivers under 10k, best used cars for teenagers, safest cars for teenage drivers 2019, or best used cars for new drivers, this list will help you reach the right decision for you.

Best first car for teenager


2016 Ford Fusion

Best Cars for Teens: 2016 Ford Fusion | CarMax

The Ford Fusion has been a hot seller since it first debuted several years ago, but its recent redesign has made it an especially popular choice among parents of new teen drivers. This model year features three different trim levels, as well as a hybrid and electric plug-in option. Teens will enjoy the stylish interior cabin design, as well as the optional MyFord Touch® touchscreen that makes it easy to access navigation, music, and other features for tech lovers.

Teen drivers will also enjoy the sleek exterior design of the 2016 Fusion, with its base trim’s standard 16-inch wheels and sporty appearance. Parents, on the other hand, are more likely to enjoy the Ford Fusion for its size and performance. This midsized sedan comes standard with a simple yet efficient 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that gets an estimated 26 mpg combined.* The engine provides just the right amount of power for new teen drivers to navigate everything from side streets to busy freeways. At the same time, the Fusion affords a comfortable and quiet driving experience with excellent handling and steering.


2014 Chevrolet Malibu

Best Cars for Teens: 2014 Chevrolet Malibu | CarMax

For many new drivers, smooth handling and a driver-focused cabin are two must-haves when behind-the-wheel. Fortunately, the 2014 Chevrolet Malibu delivers on both these fronts. Available in four trim levels, this Malibu comes standard with many features that both parents and teen drivers alike will enjoy.

The base LS trim comes with large 16-inch alloy wheels, as well as automatic headlights and power accessories. OnStar® is also available with a monthly or annual fee, allowing teen drivers to call for assistance directly with an OnStar representative. Teen drivers can listen to their favorite tunes in style. The 2014 Malibu LS comes with standard Bluetooth® connectivity and six-speaker sound system. Finally, whoever is paying for gas will be grateful for the estimated 29 mpg combined found in the standard LS trim with its 2.5-liter engine.*

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2015 Chevrolet Equinox

Best Cars for Teens: 2015 Chevrolet Equinox | CarMax

If you’re shopping for yourself or on the market for an SUV for a new teen driver, don’t overlook the 2015 Chevrolet Equinox. This crossover offers the maneuverability and handling of a mid- to full-sized sedan with the added storage and weight of a smaller SUV. Teens who are involved in sports or other extracurriculars will enjoy the ample cargo space offered by this crossover; with seats folded down, teens can enjoy as much as 64 cubic feet — perfect for hauling athletic gear to and from the big game.

Meanwhile, parents will enjoy the standard 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine in the base L trim, which gets an estimated 26 mpg combined.* This puts it in line with the fuel economy of many midsized sedans on the market, making this an excellent vehicle choice for those wanting a gas-sipper. Also included standard in the 2015 Equinox are optional, larger 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, and an AUX input jack for easy streaming of music from an MP3 player or other device.


2014 Chevrolet Equinox

Best Cars for Teens: 2014 Chevrolet Equinox | CarMax
For those looking to spend a little less but still enjoy many of the features that come along with the 2015 Chevy Equinox, the 2014 model year may be a more practical choice. There are just a few notable differences between the 2014 and 2015 Equinox, starting with the fact that this model year does not come with the available built-in WiFi hotspot that the 2015 does. For many parents, however, this may be a welcomed difference, to avoid distractions on the road. The 2014 Equinox still comes with ample cargo space, fold-down seats, and its fuel economy is the same as the 2015 (at an estimated 26 mpg combined*) when you select the standard, 2.4-cylinder engine found in the entry-level LS.

2014 Kia Optima

Best Cars for Teens: 2014 Kia Optima | CarMax

Heading back to the midsized sedans, the 2014 Kia Optima is a superb choice for new teen drivers. Available in four different trim levels, even the standard trim has several compelling standard features to offer. Teens seeking an easy-to-handle and smooth ride will enjoy 16-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, and full power accessories as well as a six-speaker sound system.

Drivers will also like the standard Bluetooth connectivity and built-in satellite radio (available with a subscription) for those exciting road trips. Still, parents will appreciate the standard foglights and moderate 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers a comfortable ride with responsive shifting and steering. Fuel economy for this base LX engine clocks in at an estimated 26 mpg combined, which is not bad for a used sedan of its size.*

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2014 Honda Accord

Best Cars for Teens: 2014 Honda Accord | CarMax

The 2014 Honda Accord will really speak to parents and teens looking for a midsize sedan with excellent fuel economy and a smooth, responsive driving experience. Even in the base LX trim, the four-cylinder engine delivers an estimated 30 mpg combined, making this an affordable option to drive on a day-to-day basis.*

The 2014 Honda Accord LX boasts some great standard features that will attract both teens and their parents, including Bluetooth® connectivity for hands-free calling, an eight-inch video display, and even a rearview camera. When it comes to standard features offered, the 2014 Accord is one of the most generous used vehicles on the market that gives you a lot of bang for your buck.


2015 Ford Fusion

Best Cars for Teens: 2014 Ford Fusion | CarMax

The 2014 Fusion comes with a smaller price tag at CarMax than the 2016 model, yet boasts many of the same features for teen drivers. Parents will enjoy the base 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine and standard automatic headlights, blind-spot monitor (a highly-sought after feature for new drivers), and full-power accessories.

This Fusion also comes standard with 60/40 folding rear seats to increase storage capacity, making this a great vehicle choice for teens who may need a little extra storage for sporting equipment or other cargo. Fuel economy is in-line with the newer 2015 model year at an estimated 26 mpg combined (2.5L, V6 engine) in the base trim.*


2015 Nissan Altima

Best Cars for Teens: 2015 Nissan Altima | CarMax
As one of the most agile, comfortable, and affordable sedans on the market, the 2015 Altima is one of the best-sellers on our list of cars for teens. Available in with a choice of two trims (the 2.5-cylinder and 3.5-cylinder), even the base trim offers full power accessories, an LCD information screen, and 16-inch wheels for added comfort and handling ability. Teens may also be attracted to the integrated Bluetooth connectivity and AUX input jack for easily streaming music from an MP3 player or other mobile device. And with an estimated fuel economy of 31 mpg combined on the 2.5-liter engine, this is one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles on our list for teen drivers as well.*

2014 Toyota Camry

Best Cars for Teens: 2014 Toyota Camry | CarMax

Available in five different trims, the 2014 Camry is one of the most customizable vehicle options for teen drivers. The base LE comes with power controls and rear folding seats for added cargo storage. Standard Bluetooth® connectivity for phone and audio combined with a 6.1-inch touchscreen display are also appealing for teens.

Meanwhile, parents will have the peace of mind that comes with standard 16-inch wheels, stability/traction control, and a smooth 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine. Fuel economy in this 2014 Toyota Camry LE is very respectable for a car of its model year at an estimated 28 mpg combined.*


2014 Nissan Altima

Best Cars for Teens: 2014 Nissan Altima | CarMax

The 2014 Nissan Altima gives you lots of options at an affordable price. The budget-friendly price tag and robust trim options available, as well as seemingly never-ending standard features, make this a great pick. The standard trim comes with a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that gets an estimated 31 mpg combined.*

Teen drivers will experience an upscale feel in the interior, as well as the comfortable and “zero gravity” front seats. Parents will enjoy the above-average performance and capable handling that new drivers need for everyday commutes and those inevitable spring break road trips.

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