Buying your teenager their first car is an exciting yet daunting process. Most teens look forward to the freedom that comes with car ownership, but parents mostly want peace of mind. With safety features being a top requirement for cars made in the last 10 years, it’s much easier to find the best cars for a teenage driver. Among the top features parents look for in a car are safety, fuel economy, and price. Let’s take a look at three top-rated cars for teenagers, which all have an MSRP under $25,000.
The Chevrolet Sonic is a subcompact car that proves big things come in small packages. It’s the first in its class to offer 10 standard airbags along with superior test crash ratings. Other safety features available include lane departure warning and forward collision alert. The Sonic was classified by IIHS as one of 2016’s top safety picks.
If fuel economy is a top concern, the Chevrolet Sonic is a smart choice to save on gas costs. The EPA-estimated miles per gallon is 24 in the city and 40 on the highway. The fuel efficiency offered makes the Sonic a great option for students heading off to college. Not to mention, with 138 horsepower and electronic stability control (ESC), your young driver will have better control of the wheel on the highways and byways. MSRP for the Sonic starts at $15,145.
Fun comes standard with the Honda Fit, but so does safety. The Fit features Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) technology that automatically adjusts engine power and brake pressure if the teenage driver oversteers or understeers. VSA is an excellent safety feature for young drivers who may be anxious behind the wheel when first learning to drive.
Thanks to a four-cylinder engine with only 130 horsepower, your young driver will be less likely to test their speeding limits on the roadway. Other standard safety features include a multi-angle rearview camera and Honda LaneWatch, which displaces live video on a seven-inch monitor when switching lanes. The EPA-estimated fuel economy is an impressive 33 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. MSRP for the Honda Fit starts at $15,990.
Don’t let the sporty design fool you. The Kia Optima is a mid-sized car packed with standard and optional safety features. The Optima is also rated as a top safety pick by the IIHS for 2011 models and later. Available features include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and parking sensors.
Parents who prefer to closely monitor their teenager’s whereabouts can also opt for UVO eServices, which send alerts to your phone if the driver stays out past curfew or drives outside of a set geographic location. Steer clear of turbocharged models with high horsepower to keep insurance costs down and save your teenager from the temptation to speed. Opt for the non-turbo four-cylinder engine with 185 horsepower. The fuel economy is 28 mpg in the city and 39 on the highway. MSRP for the latest 2016 Optima is only $22,140.
Bottom line, affordable and safe cars are the best option for teenage drivers. Which car will you choose?