Best Cars for Teenagers to Buy Right Now [2023 Edition]

Best Cars for TeenagersThere's lots to consider when evaluating cars for new drivers. Whether you're a teen yourself or shopping for a new vehicle for your teenager we're here to help.

We've chosen our top car picks for teenagers based on cost, safety ratings, fuel efficiency, and other maintenance costs.

Also Read: Best Cars for College Students

So if you're a parent looking for a new vehicle with high safety and reliability ratings for your child, check out this list of the top ten cars for teenagers.

Best Cars for Teenagers

What Features Should Parents Look for When Buying a New Car for a Teen?


One of the most important considerations when buying a new car is the initial cost. Take the time to read our guide, how to buy a new car at the best possible price.  You can always negotiate below the MSRP by requesting prices from multiple dealerships and asking dealers to beat the best price.

It's also important to take into account the long-term costs of car ownership when budgeting for a new vehicle. Some additional monthly costs to consider are fuel costs, maintenance, and car insurance. You should also consider who is going to keep the vehicle after the teenager grows up, will they keep it? Or will someone else in the family get the car?

Recommended: Buying a car without a license

Vehicle Size

Car types are usually categorized as subcompact, compact, mid-size, or large. Subcompact and compact cars tend to be the cheapest models available, while mid-size sedans, large sedans, and compact SUVs are usually between $20,000 - $30,000.

Some factors that can influence the decision on car size are lifestyle and budget. If the teen has many friends or siblings or needs extra cargo space for sports equipment, it would make more sense to find a larger vehicle. If the vehicle is strictly for personal transportation, it might be more beneficial to find a compact vehicle for less passengers or distractions.

Fuel EfficiencyFuel Efficiency

Since the price of gas is always fluctuating, it is always recommended to look at the vehicle's EPA mileage ratings. The average MPG for a vehicle right now is around 25 MPG combined.

If you can afford it for your teenager, hybrid and all-electric options are becoming more efficient and may come with some electric vehicle tax incentives. Most popular models have a hybrid option as well and they greatly increase the fuel efficiency.

Safety Features and Rating

Crash testing and rating is administered by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety). The NHS gives out ratings of up to five stars, while the highest rating for IIHS is Good in six different crash tests.

Safety is a crucial consideration, especially if it's your teen's first vehicle, so it's important to note what technology and features come standard on a vehicle. Rearview cameras, emergency braking, and lane assist are becoming more of a norm across new vehicles.

Insurance Costs

There are many factors that go into determining the cost of car insurance. Some of these include the value of the vehicle, personal driving record, residence, state laws, and even the car's safety features. Adding a teenager to your auto insurance coverage can greatly increase your rates, so it's important to shop around. You should get insurance quotes from an online source before you buy a vehicle to know what you're getting yourself into (Esurance offers quotes in minutes).


Most manufacturers offer a 36-month or 36,000-mile limited warranty coverage (which covers all components other than normal wear and maintenance items). The powertrain coverage is usually for 60 months or 60,000 miles.

Hyundai still offers one of the best new car warranty programs. A limited warranty for 60 months or 60,000 miles and a powertrain warranty for 10-years or 100,000 miles.

Discounts for Teenagers

While a majority of manufacturers offer current college students discounts on new vehicles, Ford is the only manufacturer that extends these offers to graduating high school seniors.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best cars for teenagers?

Here are some of the best cars for college students:

  • 2022 Honda Civic
  • 2022 Toyota Camry
  • 2022 Mazda3

What are the safest car brands for teen drivers?

Car brands like Subaru, Mazda, and Hyundai have some of the best overall safety scores without breaking the bank. We take the IIHS and NHTSA crash test ratings into account when selecting our picks for the best cars for teenagers.

What car companies offer student discounts?

A majority of manufacturers offer some type of discount to current college students. Ford is the only manufacturer to extend discounts to graduating high school seniors. Here are all the current student discounts.

What should you consider when choosing a car for a teenager?

There are plenty of factors to consider in general when choosing a new vehicle. But parents should pay more attention to the price, safety ratings, insurance costs, and warranty.

Is it better to lease or buy a car for a teenager?

Leasing a car does result in lower monthly car payments. But there may be lease contract restrictions that would prevent teenagers from driving the new car. It also makes more financial sense to buy a car outright than to lease.  Learn more about the reasons to buy or lease a car.

Should a teenager get a new car?

Used cars are a budget-friendly option, but there are many advantages to getting a new car for a teenager. Some include advanced safety and technology features, which can help lower insurance rates, better fuel economy, and new car warranties.