Most teens consider getting their driver’s license a major accomplishment. Other teenage rites are not as exciting, but the feeling of pride, freedom, and excitement that comes with owning a car is unmatched. Parents may not find the excitement of a teenage driver as exciting. Parents must deal with the financial burden of purchasing and insuring a vehicle for their teen driver, along with the anxiety of having a teenager on the road.
For full coverage, the average cost of car insurance is $1674, but it may be more expensive for teens. The average cost to add a 16 year old driver to a parent’s insurance policy is $2,531, a rise of more than 150%. This is due to the high risk that a teen driver poses to insurance companies. According to the IIHS Top Safety Choice. Nearly every model of the sedan since 2012 has received a 5-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration.
The Civic’s fuel economy is excellent, at an EPA-estimated average of 31 MPG. Although it is possible to find a used Civic under $10,000, they are likely to have 50,000-100,000+ miles. These include the three-year, 36,000 mile factory warranty. Civics of lower mileage and newer models typically cost more than $10,000.
The Toyota Camry is often ranked near the top for being a great car for teens and a popular choice for all cars. Camry owners are known to keep their Camry for the long-term, making it difficult to find a Camry with less than $10,000 in mileage.
The 2011 model is estimated to get an EPA 22 MPG within the city, and 32 MPG on the highway. The 2012-2014 Camrys were included on the Top Safety List. The NHTSA also gave them five star overall safety ratings. The Camry 2011 features an automatic or six-speed standard transmission and a 3-year, 36,000-mile warranty. The Toyota Camry is highly rated in crash safety testing and has great reliability, fuel economy, and longevity. If you can find one used, it’s a great choice for your first car.
3. Hyundai Sonata (2011 and newer)
Hyundai Sonata 2011 has a five year, 60,000 mile warranty. It also gets an estimated 34 MPG on the highway. A hybrid version of the Sonata is also available. It has a higher fuel efficiency. All gas-powered Sonatas have been awarded a 5-star NHTSA safety rating since 2011 and the IIHS Top Safety Pick distinction each year except 2014. This makes them great first cars for teens.
Sonatas used in this price range typically have 60,000 mile more than 2011 models, while 2016 models have just short of the warranty limit. Standard safety features include stability control and front and side curtain airbags.
Since 2014, every model of the Nissan Altima has been awarded a NHTSA five star safety rating. Bluetooth connectivity and Intelligent Key remote engine starting are standard features in all models except the base model. Models from 2016 and higher have a rearview cam.
The engine’s four-cylinder powerplant with continuously variable transmission has an EPA estimated fuel efficiency 38 MPG while driving on the highway. It peaks at 39MPG for the 2016 model. This price range allows you to find 2014 model with approximately 60,000 to 80,000 mi. It is ideal for teenagers who want to drive it well into college.
5. Volkswagen Jetta (2016-2017)
The Volkswagen Jetta is the smallest Volkswagen sedan. It’s a great choice for teens who are afraid of larger cars. Both the 2016 and 2017 models were IIHS Top Security Picks. Both years include optional safety features such as vehicle-to-vehicle forward crash prevention. A used Jetta equipped with front crash prevention is an option for teens who are still learning.
Parents won’t have to spend much gas money on their teenagers either. The 2016 and 2017 Volkswagen Jettas are able to get between 27 and 33 combined highway/city MPG depending on which trim package they choose. The Jetta hybrid model 2016 gets an amazing 44 combined city/highway MPG. The majority of used Jettas are sold below $10,000. However, the more features the car comes with, the more it will cost.
6. Ford Focus (2015-2017).
The 2015 Ford Focus earns the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick distinction. It has an EPA combined estimate 31 MPG. Every Ford Focus model has received a five star overall safety rating from NHTSA. This includes sedans, hatchbacks, and SUVs. There are many Focus models available in the $10,000 price range.
2015 Focus was the first car to have a standard backup camera with blind-spot detection, lane departure warnings and lane departure warnings. Ford also offers MyKey which allows parents to program a key that sets limits on car speed, radio volume, and seatbelt alerts. Although young drivers may not be as excited about safety features, they make the Ford Focus one of the most popular cars for teens.
7. Ford Escape (2018-2019)
Ford Escape is a fantastic choice if you want your teenager to feel more at ease driving a larger vehicle. Although the Escape is a bit more expensive than our $10,000 budget, the features it has may be worth it.
The 2018 and 2019 Escape model scored well in side impacts and roof strength. Both years received 5-star safety ratings by the NHTSA. Both models offer forward collision warning and/or lane departure warning. Parents may feel more comfortable allowing their teens to use a Ford Escape that has either one or both of these features.
Teens need car insurance
The premiums can rise dramatically if you add a teen driver on to your auto insurance policy. Young drivers are often considered more risky by insurance companies so premiums for them will be higher if they are younger than 25. The cost of insurance should not discourage you from providing adequate coverage for your teen driver.
You could consider adding optional collision or comprehensive coverage to the driver who is new. They may not have the experience necessary to cover property damage and liability. No matter what car you drive or what coverage you select, it is worth getting quotes from several insurers to find the best price.
Questions frequently asked
Why is teenager car insurance so expensive?
Statistics show that teens are more likely to cause accidents than adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at a cost $13.1 billion, more than 2,400 teens were killed in road accidents in 2019. Insurance companies base rate on financial risk incurred when insuring a driver. For young drivers with good driving records, car insurance rates decrease when they reach their late teens or early 20s .
How can I tell if my teenage driver is safe in a car?
Safety ratings are provided by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for most popular vehicles. You can search for the best and safest cars for teens by visiting both organizations’ websites.
Is it possible for teenagers to not drive at night?
The majority of states have restrictions for teenage drivers. Each state has its own nighttime driving restrictions. Nevada, for example, restricts teens from driving after 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. Vermont, however is the only state not to impose nighttime driving restrictions.
Are there any restrictions on the number of teens in a vehicle being driven by teenagers?
Many states limit the number of teenagers who can drive a car. A Texas teenager driver cannot have more than one adult passenger. The only states that have no restrictions are North Dakota, Iowa, Mississippi, and Mississippi. This table from the IIHS provides more information about driving restrictions for teenagers.