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.
1) 2015 Volkswagen Golf
The Volkswagen Golf is so popular amongst first-time drivers that in some parts of the country it's almost like a uniform. The 2015 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 37 mpg highway when ordered with its 1.8-liter, 170-horsepower four-cylinder turbo engine. Stepping up to the TDI gives teens even more savings at the pump thanks to 45 mpg highway from a 2.0-liter, 150-horsepower four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, making it one of the best first cars for teenagers.
2) 2014 Mazda Mazda2
The 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 Mazda2 one of the best first cars for teenagers. There’s a gap in the model years (with the 2016 version due in late 2015) but in the meantime, the excellent 2014 edition is still available and worth snatching up.
3) 2015 Honda Fit
The 2015 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 rearrange the passenger compartment and unleash the vehicle's 52.7 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 32 combined mpg offered by its 1.5-liter, 130-horsepower four-cylinder engine.
4) 2015 Subaru Impreza
The Subaru Impreza, revamped for 2015, 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 2.0-liter boxer four-cylinder engine that delivers 148 horsepower and 34 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.
5) 2015 Mazda MX-5 Miata
The 2015 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.
6) 2015 Honda Civic
The Honda Civic has been a popular teenager’s car, whether used or new, for decades, and the 2015 version is no exception. Let’s look at the benefits: sub-$20k MSRP, both coupe and sedan body style, reasonably thrifty, good crash test scores, decent looks, and a reputation for steadfast reliability. Both two-door and four-door versions of the base trim 2015 Civic are powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 143 horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque. This can be paired to a five-speed manual gearbox, which earns 36 mpg on the highway, or a continuously variable transmission, which boosts highway mileage to 39. It’s basic, sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good.
7) 2015 Ford Focus
The 2015 Ford Focus features sophisticated styling in both its sedan and hatchback guises, helping it stand out amongst other compacts in the field. The Focus delivers great handling for its sub-$20k price point, along with the availability of features like the Ford SYNC vehicle interface. It also offers a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that develops 160 horses and 140 lb-ft of twist on its way to posting fuel mileage numbers of 26 mpg in stop-and-go driving and 38 mpg on the highway. For 2015, Ford treated both hatchback and sedan versions of the Focus to a mild exterior and interior refresh.
8) 2015 Volkswagen Beetle
The 2015 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-$21k 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, 1.8-liter four-cylinder) but adds the twist of an available 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder unit that delivers 210 horses. The latter also provides near-equivalent highway fuel mileage (33 mpg vs. 31 mpg), while increasing the Beetle's performance substantially.
9) 2015 Chevrolet Sonic
The 2015 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 it features 10 standard airbags. 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).
10) 2015 Dodge Dart
The 2015 Dodge Dart provides aggressive and athletic styling in a compact sedan 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 13 cubic feet of cargo, and offers plenty of standard features. The base model Dart is motivated by a 160-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers fuel mileage of 36 mpg during highway cruising.