According to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, teens are – surprisingly – becoming less interested in driving. In fact, it’s estimated that only six out of ten teen drivers are currently behind the wheel, which is in stark contrast to 30 years ago when eight out of ten American teens (age 17-19) had a valid driver’s license.
Teens driving verses teens not driving is kind of a catch-22 for their respective parents/guardians. On one hand, there’s much less worry about your inexperienced driver getting into accidents, etc AND you don’t have to deal with (potentially) sky-high insurance premiums. However, it also means that mom and dad are still stuck in the role of “permanent chauffeur”, which can be a bit problematic once you factor in the activity, school, and work schedules of other family members.
One thing that remains a constant throughout all the other unknowns is the challenge of finding a safe, reliable, and economic vehicle that won’t drive you to tears once you see the insurance premium. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of late model (2009 or newer) used cars that fit the bill in terms of being “safe, reliable, and economic”.
For this particular list, we’re just going to stick with actual cars – pickups and SUV’s have been excluded simply because of their proneness to tip and/or roll, which is directly related to their higher center of gravity. Is this to say that you shouldn’t buy your youngster the Rav-4 they’ve had their eye on? Absolutely not – you are the parent, after all! But, for simplicity’s sake, we’re going to focus on cars for the time being.
So, without further adieu, here’s part one of our “Top 14” cars for new drivers!
We know, we know, we know – there’s nary a teen out there who would place a “Ford Taurus” at the top of their “dream car” wish list. However, the Taurus is a full-sized car that’s affordable, gets at least 20mpg (or more) for combined highway/city driving, and won’t cost an arm and a leg to repair, maintain, or insure. Plus, it’s roomy and handles well for its size which is a bonus for mom and dad because it adds another full-sized vehicle to the family repertoire.
The midsized Honda Accord has a long-standing reputation for reliability, which makes it another great “first car” choice. With a roomy interior, spacious trunk/cargo area, and affinity to run well past the 100,000 mile mark, the Accord is a fantastic choice for a young driver – especially if they’ll be hauling around siblings, lots of sports gear – or both!
The Ford Fusion is a midsized sedan that comes with a spacious interior. It also provides for a nice ride and handles quite well. The base model – which houses a four-cylinder engine – provides for good fuel economy, too. One bonus that the Fusion offers is an all-wheel-drive option, which can add an additional layer of safety when it comes to navigating wet or snowy roadways.
If you’re at all familiar with the xB, then you know that it looks (like a box) as unique as its name, and is probably the most “out there” vehicle on this list. However, pre-owned versions can often be found with a whole host of accessories and amenities that the original owners had the vehicle customized with. The Scion xB’s four cylinder engine provides surprisingly quick acceleration, and the back seat is roomy enough to fit two six-foot individuals…with legroom to spare. Plus, it has an impressive cargo area which – when the seats are folded flat – rivals that of many of the larger SUV’s on the road today.
The Subaru Legacy comes from a world where all-wheel-drive comes standard, which is a boon when it comes to added safety – especially when it comes to driving in less than perfect conditions. The Outback model looks somewhat like a crossover SUV, making it a “cooler” choice for some. The Legacy comes with a four-cylinder engine (although a six-cylinder, turbo-charged version is available), looks great, has plenty of room, and is an all-around solid performer.
The newer generation of Jetta’s provide for a more precise, European-style when it comes to handling. In fact, VW’s Jetta has occasionally been referred to as a “bargain-priced” BMW 3 series. The Jetta is compact yet surprisingly roomy, and is a solid choice for a young driver.
Audi A3 2.0T
The A3 is a compact hatchback that manages to combine sportiness, practicality, and bits of luxury all in one…well, hatchback. The A3 comes with a standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine as well as front wheel drive. There are some versions out there that boast Audi’s “quattro” all-wheel-drive system, as well as a V6 engine; however, the quattro/V6 version can be quite pricy, even on the resale market.
Well, that’s it for part one of our “Top Used Cars for Young Drivers” list. Make sure to check back next week, to get the lowdown on the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Honda Fit, Ford Focus, Volkswagon Rabbit, Subaru Impreza, and Mitsubishi’s Lancer.
If you’re looking for a new vehicle for your family – be it one on this list, or any others you have your eye on – stop on by to check out what we have to offer. Here at Anderson Credit Connection, we’ll help you find the perfect car for you!