10 Great Cars for Teens Learning to Drive

Choosing a car for a teen driver requires making tough financial decisions just as college bills loom on the horizon. The temptation, and often the necessity, is to buy an inexpensive older model. But going too cheap has trade-​offs that could jeopardize the safety of your child. Consumer Reports recommends some reliable, safe wheels that won‰Ûªt crush the college fund in "10 great used cars for teens under $10,000."

"Automobile crashes are the leading cause of death for 14- to 18-​year-​olds," according to Consumer Reports. "And the fatal crash rate for teen drivers is three times as high, per mile driven, as for the rest of the population. That means you shouldn‰Ûªt skimp on safety when choosing a used car for your young driver."

Consumer Reports identified a few critical features for your teen‰Ûªs first car that will help keep him or her safe without depleting the college piggy bank. "One must: Be sure your kid‰Ûªs car comes with electronic stability control‰ÛÓthe most effective safety advance in cars since the seat belt‰ÛÓas well as side and curtain airbags."

"Other important considerations: Cars should handle well in our emergency maneuver test and have good stopping distances (measured on factory tires). There‰Ûªs also the tricky middle ground of finding a car quick enough to get out of the way of trouble but not so fast as to get into it. All of the cars here meet those requirements."

Consumer Reports says weight and size play a crucial role in safety. "But we believe teens should drive sedans and not SUVs because SUVs‰Ûª higher center of gravity tends to make them less stable and because they encourage bringing a gaggle of distracting friends along for the ride."

"Phoning while driving‰ÛÓeven hands-free‰ÛÓis something we strongly discourage among teens. However, emergencies arise. So this list calls out cars that feature Bluetooth connectivity to reduce distraction."

Check out the top 10 affordable suggestions for a teen's first car:

  1. Chevy Malibu
  2. Ford Focus
  3. Ford Fusion
  4. Hyundai Sonata
  5. Kia Soul
  6. Mazda3 i
  7. Mazda6 i
  8. Toyota RAV4
  9. Volkswagen Jetta
  10. Volkswagen Rabbit/​Golf

While parents are on the hunt for their teen's first car, your advertisers should be promoting drivers ed programs and instruction services. It only makes sense to connect this audience with auto dealers, and AudienceSCAN can help you do it. 46% of Driving Instruction Buyers live in city, urban or metropolitan areas. 40% primarily use iPhones. These parents are 57% more likely than average to be on Instagram, so try ads there. 21.5% used mobile devices to watch videos from local television websites or apps, so advertising there can be promising too. Instruction shoppers are 65% more likely than average to take action based on ads they get in their sponsored search results.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports inåÊAdMall.

Courtney Huckabay
Courtney is the Editor for SalesFuel Today. She analyzes secondary customer research and our primary AudienceSCAN research. Courtney is a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University.