With the help of Daniel Neukom, history teacher and car enthusiast, I compiled this list of cars that are best for teen drivers.
“I’m a great advocate of sensible vehicles, especially for new-ish drivers,” Neukom said.
He does not recommend high performance, very large or small vehicles for teen drivers.
After my interview, I collected information about the cars he recommended from the Kelley Blue Book.
Insurance prices are dependent on the driver’s place of residence and their family’s insurance plan.
2015 Ford Focus
A perfect match of fuel efficiency and exterior styling starting at $19,785, the Focus is a bargain car that’s more than acceptable in driving dynamics, Neukom said.
The most spacious car on the list, the Focus has five-person seating and a large trunk.
The Focus also has the economical feature of good mileage. It gets 26 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway.
Also available is a six-speed automatic transition (for an additional $1,095, according to Kelley Blue Book).
Parents can be happy with the safety since the car has traction control and six different airbags.
If you want a comfortable ride with ample space and fuel efficiency paired with a modern design, the Focus is a bargain choice.
In fact, Neukom’s daughter Francie, ‘04, drives a fairly recent Ford Focus.
“Obviously I stand by this car, since my daughter drives it,” Neukom said.
2015 Volkswagen Golf and Jetta
These cars have a starting price of $17,035 and $18,815 (the Jetta being the cheaper vehicle).
The Golf is a two-door, hatchback that, along with the Volkswagen Jetta, gets 25 mpg in the city.
The Golf gets 37 mpg on the highway and the Jetta 34 mpg.
Parents will be happy to hear that the Jetta’s safety features were upgraded for the 2015 models. Now the car has optional forward-collision warning and blind-spot detection features.
One of the most attractive features of the Golf is its trunk space – a full 52.7 cubic feet with the rear seats down.
In addition to enormous trunk space, the Golf is a PZEV (Partial Zero Emission Vehicle), making it a great buy for environmentally aware teens.
According to Neukom, not only do PZEV cars create little pollution, they also include long powertrain warranties that can last 10-15 years (this feature saves you money if your car has mechanical problems).
The Golf has the most up-to-date technology of all the cars on the list. It may not look like it’s a sophisticated car on the outside, but it is on the inside, Neukom said.
The Jetta is the sedan equivalent of the Golf, Neukom said.
2015 Honda Civic and Honda Accord
The 2015 Honda Civic sedan comes in two options: an automatic CVT (continuously variable transmission) ($20,125) or a manual six-speed transmission ($19,325).
The four-cylinder CVT has better gas mileage, with 30 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway, while the four-cylinder manual gets 28 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway.
Not only are the Civics highly reliable and economical cars, they also maintain strong resale value, according to Kelley Blue Book editor Keith Buglewicz.
Both Civics come with pre-installed Pandora Internet radio, Bluetooth, five-inch screen and rearview camera.
Like the Civic, the Accord sedan comes in two options: a six-speed manual or automatic CVT.
The Accord is a larger car for those who need more space, a full size bigger than the Civic. Consequently, the Accord is the priciest option on the list, starting at $23,740.
The spacious, four-door, four-cylinder sedan gets 27 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway.
The 2015 Accord received a 9.5/10 Kelley Blue Book Expert Rating, due to its sleek design, high resale value, impressive interior and exterior equipment, and engine.
The sedan comes with Pandora, Bluetooth ,USB input, and an eight-inch screen with a rearview camera.
—By Katia Dahmani