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Fun and Safe Cars for Teens to Drive

There's no better feeling for parents and teens than the independence that comes with getting a driver's license. For teens, showing off to their not-so-flattering license photo or pulling up to their friends' house is a rite of passage. For parents, it's a terrifyingly exciting time. You no longer have to drive your kid around, but now you have a new driver on the road. Trusting a teenager with the family car comes with time. If you don't want to have to share, we've compiled a list of the best cars for teens. Although there are lots of options out there, we've narrowed down our top three choices for sedans and hatchbacks. Our criteria will look at vehicles that are safe, affordable, and more.

Best Cars for Teens: Sedans

Whether new or used, a good starter car should be safe but still look cool and include the amenities that teens want. When you're shopping around, the more standard features the better.

We recommend a sedan for a few reasons. They're affordable and have plenty of safety features. Plus, as your teen gets more comfortable driving they'll have ample space for friends.

    Subaru Impreza

    A great pick on our list of cars for teens is the Subaru Impreza. This sedan has a starting MSRP under $20,000 and still goes toe-to-toe with the competition in terms of standard features. The Impreza Sedan model starts at $18,795 and an EPA-estimated 28/36 (city/highway) MPG rating. The Impreza is a great choice for those who live in snowier states since it comes with standard Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. You also get EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology which is available on the base model and standard on the Impreza Premium Sedan. Your teen will also be happy to know that they can connect to their favorite music. Get standard Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto™ and Bluetooth® integration with the Impreza.

    Toyota Corolla

    The Toyota Corolla starts at $20,025 and is another reliable sedan option for your teen. You'll get a whole suite of active safety features standard with Toyota Safety Sense 2.0. Plus, if you choose the Corolla LE, Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA) is another available safety feature. For teens that want to pump up the jams, the Corolla also comes standard with Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay®, and Amazon Alexa compatibility. The Audio Plus package also includes 9 speakers for surround sound listening. The biggest highlight of the Corolla, however, is that it has an available hybrid engine. Save on gas with an incredible EPA-estimated 53/52/52 (city/highway/combined) MPG rating with the Corolla Hybrid LE.

    Honda Civic

    With a starting MSRP of $21,250, the Honda Civic is a popular choice for a teenager's first car. Not only does it have a reasonable price, it also comes with a lot of standard features. For standard safety, the Civic has Honda Sensing® Safety & Driver-Assistive Technologies that help keep an "eye" out to help prevent accidents. It also received an IIHS Top Safety Pick designation when equipped with specific headlights. In order to receive this award, the car must get a "score of good — on a scale of good, acceptable, marginal, or poor — in six crash safety tests: driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints." Aside from advanced safety, the Civic also has good fuel economy ratings and loads of connectivity options on the Civic Sport and higher. It doesn't hurt that it has a sleek and sporty look either.

Best Cars for Teens: Hatchbacks

For the adventurous teen, a hatchback provides a combination of ample cargo space and the driving feel of a sedan. Whether they want to hit the slopes in the winter or just want more of a sporty look, hatchbacks are fun cars for teens.

    Volkswagen Golf

    The Volkswagen Golf is a cool option for any teen looking for a modern car to drive around in. The interior features leatherette seats that give you a luxury look without the added cost. Plus, you can open up the panoramic sunroof on those perfect sunny days. Additionally, it comes with a turbocharged engine for an extra boost but still has a good EPA-estimated 29/39 (city/highway) MPG rating. Although it is a little more expensive than the sedans previously mentioned, the starting MSRP of $23,195 comes with all that your teen needs. Not only does the Golf have multimedia connectivity, it also has Volkswagen Car-Net® which includes a Family Guardian Alerts feature. This allows you as a parent to set speed and boundary alerts to receive notifications when your teen has gone beyond the set limit.

    Toyota Corolla Hatchback

    Another stylish hatchback option is the Toyota Corolla Hatchback which starts at $21,815 with an automatic transmission. Teens will love the fun exterior color options like Blue Flame, Supersonic Red and even two-tone combos. Your teen will be protected by the driver-assistance technology features of Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 (TSS 2.0) which is standard. This includes features like a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD) and Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA). With a little safety help on the road your teen can focus on enjoying the smooth handling of the Corolla Hatchback. The standard paddle shifters and Sport Mode will have them feeling like they're in a video game. They can add their favorite background music, too. The Corolla Hatchback has standard Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay®, Amazon Alexa, hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth® wireless technology and SiriusXM®.

    Mazda3 Hatchback

    For the more sophisticated teen, the Mazda3 Hatchback is sure to make their peers jealous. Starting at $22,650, this hatchback has an 8-speaker audio system, Bluetooth® hands-free phone and audio streaming capability, Apple CarPlay™ integration and Android Auto™ integration standard. Plus, you can view all of these apps from an 8.8-inch full-color center display. The Mazda3 Hatchback also has a spacious interior with the cargo and passenger volume measuring 20.1 cu. ft. and 92.7 cu. ft., respectively. Your teen will also be well covered in the event that something goes wrong. The Mazda3 Hatchback has standard advanced dual front air bags, front seat-mounted side-impact air bags and side-impact air curtains, knee airbags and whiplash-reducing front seat headrests. Plus, the 2021 Mazda3 4-door Hatchback received an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ which is the highest safety rating a vehicle can be awarded.