10 Best Cars For Teenagers
There's an old joke that the best cars for teenagers are those that get terrible gas mileage (so they can't afford to drive too far from home), are built like tanks (for safety reasons), and seat just one person (to keep distractions to a minimum). In reality, there are plenty of thrifty vehicles out there that are good starter cars for teenagers and perfect for first-time car buyers - especially those who are lucky enough to be able to afford a brand new automobile instead of the family's older clunker.
Let's take a look at 10 of the best cars for teenagers and examine what exactly makes them a strong choice for the younger set.
10 Best Cars For Teenagers: #1 2012 Volkswagen Golf
The 2012 Volkswagen Golf is so popular amongst first-time drivers that in some parts of the country it's almost like a uniform. The Volkswagen Golf is an affordable compact hatchback that can be had in two-door and four-door editions, and despite its small size it offers good practicality due to its 46 cubic feet of total cargo space - perfect for hauling hockey gear to the rink, for example. The Golf is also relatively easy on gas in base form, providing 31-mpg highway when ordered with its 2.5-liter, 170 horsepower five-cylinder engine. Stepping up to the TDI gives teens even more savings at the pump thanks to 41-mpg highway from a 2.0-liter, 140 horsepower four-cylinder turbodiesel engine making it one of the best first cars for teenagers.
10 Best Cars For Teenagers: #2 2012 Dodge Caliber
The 2012 Dodge Caliber provides beefy hatchback styling in a crossover package that appeals to younger buyers looking for a pleasing mix of look-at-me design and attractive pricing. The Dodge Caliber seats up to five passengers, can haul just under 50 cubic feet of cargo, and offers features such as speakers that can swing down from the rear liftgate in order to power a party in the campus parking lot making it one of the best cars for teenagers. All versions of the Caliber are motivated by a 158 horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers fuel mileage of 32-mpg during highway cruising.
10 Best Cars For Teenagers: #3 2012 Mazda MAZDA2
The 2012 Mazda Mazda2 is the prototype for modern teen transportation: small, efficient, and featuring an MSRP that is easy on the pocketbook. The Mazda MAZDA2 is a subcompact hatchback that delivers better than average handling, in keeping with the brand's sporty design philosophy, and from behind the wheel its light curb weight plasters a smile on the face of drivers despite the relatively modest 100 horsepower produced by its 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine. Teens won't be drag racing from stoplight to stoplight in the MAZDA2, but they will be able to squeeze an impressive number of miles from a tank of gas thanks to its 35-mpg highway rating making the tiny 2 one of the best first cars for teenagers.
10 Best Cars For Teenagers: #4 2012 Honda Fit
The 2012 Honda Fit is subcompact hatchback answer to the question of how, exactly, to squeeze all of a teenager's possessions in the back of a vehicle on his or her way to college. The Honda Fit's Magic Seat feature makes it a snap to re-arrange the passenger compartment and unleash the vehicle's 57.3 cubic feet of storage space, made even more usable by its flat load floor. The Fit is also one of the best cars for teenagers because it will also keep the fuel bill low during the journey thanks to the 35-mpg offered by its 1.5-liter, 117 horsepower four-cylinder engine.
10 Best Cars For Teenagers: #5 2012 Subaru Impreza
The 2012 Subaru Impreza is one of the best cars for teenagers learning the low-friction lessons taught by those first few encounters with snowy roads in a winter climate. Ice and low temperatures don't have to be scary for new drivers when piloting the Subaru Impreza thanks to its standard all-wheel drive, which provides class-leading levels of grip. Available in both sedan and wagon editions, the Impreza comes with a revamped, 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder engine that delivers 148 horsepower and 36-mpg on the highway - proving that one no longer has to give up efficiency in order to benefit from the added security of all-wheel drive making the Impreza one of the safest and best first cars for teenagers out there.
10 Best Cars For Teenagers: #6 2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata
The 2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata might seem like an unusual addition on a list of the best cars for teenagers, but hear us out. The Mazda MX-5 Miata only offers two seats, which means that teens won't be carting around a huge number of friends or being asked to give someone a ride every five minutes. Yes, the Miata is a sports car, but one that prizes excellent cornering and a 50/50 weight balance over high horsepower - with just 167 horsepower on tap from a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine, no one is going to be racing for pink slips. Throw in 28-mpg on the highway and the fact that the top goes down, and this is one affordable roadster that provides a compelling argument as one of the best first cars for teenagers.
10 Best Cars For Teenagers: #7 2011 Dodge Dakota
The 2011 Dodge Dakota might be the vehicle that best meets the original premise of the joke found at the start of this list. The Dodge Dakota is big, a chunky mid-size pickup that is offered in both extended and crew cab body styles. The Dakota is also not all that fuel efficient, with both its 210 horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6 and its available 302 horsepower, 4.7-liter V-8 guzzling down fuel at a rate of 20-mpg or less on the highway (keeping the kids within a certain radius of their part-time jobs). More importantly, however, the truck is something of a deal right now given that 2011 was the final year of production. Savvy parents should be able to head over to their local Dodge dealership and snag a great price on leftover Dakota inventory.
10 Best Cars For Teenagers: #8 2012 Honda Insight
The 2012 Honda Insight is another choice for teenage drivers who are looking to keep their monthly gas bills at a minimum. Essentially the antithesis of the Dakota, the Honda Insight is a compact hybrid that can be had for an MSRP that starts at under $20,000. The Insight features a 1.3-liter, four-cylinder engine that teams up with a battery-powered electric motor in order to deliver 98 horsepower and an astonishing 44-mpg in highway driving (in addition to 41-mpg in the city). The hatchback's base level of equipment is fairly barebones, but higher trim levels add the Bluetooth connectivity and iPod interface that teens will be looking for in an automobile.
10 Best Cars For Teenagers: #9 2012 Volkswagen Beetle
The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is aimed squarely at style mavens on a budget. The Volkswagen Beetle's retro looks have been thoroughly modernized in its latest incarnation, and the hatchback's sub-$20k price means that it just might squeeze into the financial plans of a teenage driver. Based on the same general platform as the VW Golf, the Beetle offers the same base motor (170 horsepower, 2.5-liter five-cylinder) but adds the twist of an available 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder unit that delivers 200 horses. The latter also provides near-equivalent highway fuel mileage (30-mpg vs. 31-mpg), while increasing the Beetle's performance substantially.
10 Best Cars For Teenagers: #10 2012 Chevrolet Sonic
The 2012 Chevrolet Sonic is another good-looking affordable car. Found in either sedan or hatchback body styles, the Chevrolet Sonic provides subcompact shoppers with an inexpensive entry-point into new vehicle ownership. The Sonic's attractive lines are backed up by available features such as Bluetooth connectivity, the OnStar telematics system, and imitation leather upholstery, and hatch buyers additionally benefit from up to 30 cubic feet of cargo room with the rear row stowed. Standard on the Sonic is a 1.8-liter, 138 horsepower four-cylinder engine, with the option of a turbocharged, 1.4-liter four-cylinder motor that produces the same number of ponies but boosts torque and fuel economy (40-mpg on the highway)