The hunt for the perfect set of wheels is a rite of passage for teen drivers. While they may want style and speed, you know it’s better to choose safety and value. How do you find the perfect car that will win them over and fulfill your wish list? Here’s what you need to look for when determining the best cars for teens in 2024. (Scroll down for a list of recommended vehicles by price.)

There are certain safety features that are helpful for new, young drivers. When you look for cars for your teen driver, look for these:

  • Blind spot monitoring to alert drivers of nearby vehicles
  • Automatic emergency braking systems to avoid collisions
  • Lane-keeping assist and lane departure warning systems to keep the car in its lane
  • Pedestrian detection systems
  • Speed warnings and audio muting while driving

Several automakers help parents monitor teen driving habits with technology that can set limitations, like maximum speed. Ford has MyKey and Chevy has General Motors’ Teen Driver Technology.

Some vehicles could be dangerous for teen drivers. Knowing what to avoid is also important. 

  • Sports cars have excessive horsepower which might encourage teens to drive recklessly. These cars also are more expensive to insure.
  • Compact cars weighing less than 2,750 pounds may lack adequate crumple zones—important in a collision.
  • Large vehicles have prolonged braking distances. They are also harder to maneuver and park.
  • Vehicles that seat numerous passengers could raise the risk of distractions.

New Cars vs. Used Cars

New cars will automatically come with many safety features. However, they will also come with a higher price tag. Used cars are a better value. If you can’t get every safety feature, at minimum, you will want the following: anti-lock brakes, traction control, and stability control. Also, most cars from model year 2017 and later have rearview cameras.

Recommended Vehicles

The following vehicles offer top safety ratings from the IIHS and NHTSA. IIHS is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. NHTSA is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The ones we’ve selected also consider reliability and fuel economy and are recommended by the Kelley Blue Book. Prices listed are based on the Kelly Blue Book Fair Purchase Price national average and could vary due to purchase location, mileage, condition, and trim package.

Cars under $30,000

2023 Toyota Prius $27,450
2024 Honda Civic $23,950
2024 Toyota Corolla $21,900
2024 Kia Seltos $24,390
2024 Subaru Crosstrek $24,995
2023 Hyundai Kona $22,140
2024 Chevrolet Trailblazer $23,100
2024 Nissan Sentra $20,630

 Cars under $20,000 

2017 Toyota RAV4 $16,665
2018 Mazda CX-5 $15,176
2017 Honda CR-V $18,272
2020 Toyota Corolla $15,872
2019 Mazda3 $13,983
2017 Honda Accord $16,021
2017 Toyota Prius $17,157
2018 Kia Sportage $12,989
2018 Honda Civic $16,049
2019 Chevrolet Equinox $13,594

 Cars under $15,000 

2018 Kia Soul $10,807
2017 Toyota Corolla $11,959
2018 Mazda3 $12,299
2015 Honda CR-V $14,141
2016 Mazda CX-5 $11,969
2015 Toyota Prius $12,442

 Cars under $10,000 

2013 Honda Accord $9,626
2013 Toyota Camry $9,344
2014 Mazda3 $7,773
2013 Toyota Corolla $8,441
2015 Honda Civic $9,463
2009 Toyota RAV4 $7,926
2010 Honda Element $9,760
2011 Toyota Avalon $9,873


Final Thoughts

 There are ways to save when adding a teen driver to your auto policy. Check with your insurer to find out more.

Safe travels to you and your new driver.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or


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