When you were a teenager, what were your priorities in a car? In many cases, the winning car for teenagers combined cool styling, a big engine, and room for all your friends? Looking back, was that really what made the best car for a teen? Or should a teenager’s first car be affordable, dependable, safe, and fuel-efficient?
For today’s list, we’ve focused on those criteria to develop a varied list of vehicles that will provide capable service in the high school parking lot and — barring a smashup or too many neglected oil changes — into adulthood. A $10,000 budget won’t buy a brand-new car like it once did, but these 10 used cheap used cars for teenagers are a worthy alternative. We’ve listed them in approximate order of size, from smallest to largest.