Many parents dread the day when their child turns 16 and get his or her driver’s license for the first time. Still, some parents do rejoice in that day, as it gives their child increased responsibility and frees parents from chauffeur duty.
Regardless of how you feel, when your teen begins driving alone for the first time there are many concerns that all parents feel. Will they be safe? Are they confident enough to handle driving in bad weather? Do they know what to do in an emergency?
Those questions can only be answered within a specific situation, but one thing that most parents can agree on is this: they want their teen to drive a car that is safe and reliable.
Of course, opinions vary wildly between parents and teens about which car is the best choice. Parents want reliability and good gas mileage; teens want something that looks cool and comes with all their favorite gadgets.
If you’re preparing to purchase a new car for your new driver, here are five of the best and safest vehicles available, and your teen will be thrilled to drive them.
1. Honda Civic
All of Honda’s makes and models are immensely popular due to their great safety rating, good gas mileage, and mid-range price. One of the most popular is the Honda Civic sedan. It receives a 5-star crash rating, is available with loads of extras, and its sleek profile will make your teen happy.
Hondas also hold their resale value very well, replacement parts are easy to come by, and some owners get hundreds of thousands of miles out of their vehicles. Your teen will likely be ready to trade up before then, but this speaks volumes about reliability.
2. Jeep Wrangler
If your teen has his or her heart set on a car that sets the standard for turning heads, the Jeep Wrangler is your best choice. This iconic car has been popular with drivers of all kinds for decades, and the Wrangler just keeps getting better with each model year.
The Wrangler comes with front and side airbags, stability control, and anti-lock braking. If you live in an area where snow and ice become factors during the winter, you can trust the Wrangler’s four-wheel drive to get your teen to and from safely, in all kinds of weather.
Heralded by car experts as one of the best cars new drivers, the Mazda3 gets great gas mileage and top safety ratings. This compact sedan comes with a reasonable price tag and is quick and sporty with a 155-horsepower engine.
It’s also a stylish car that is fun to drive, and it comes with all the tech extras that your teen will love, like Mazda Connect that lets you keep up with Twitter and Facebook, and a Bose sound system. Sporty and fun, the Mazda3 is a car your teen will love to drive.
4. Dodge Dart
A far cry from the Dart of the 1970s, Dodge’s newest version offers hip styling with a roomy interior and great gas mileage. While not the fanciest of the bunch in terms of optional features, the new Dart still seats five people and offers a standard sound system and ample auxiliary inputs.
The price is in line with other sedans in its class, and the Dart also receives high safety rankings. Most models do feature a manual transmission so you’d need to take that into consideration.
5. Toyota Highlander
A great mid-range SUV option is the Toyota Highlander. While an SUV is usually in a higher price range and is less fuel efficient, the safety ratings for SUVs often outrank those of sedans or other smaller cars, so you’ll be able to have more peace of mind when your teen gets behind the wheel.
The extra room that the Highlander offers not only means that your teen can haul around their own sports equipment and other gear, but you’ll also be able to know they can easily pick up groceries or run other errands for you to show their appreciation.
Choosing your teen’s first car is a big decision and it’s one that requires a great deal of compromise. Parents want safety and reliability; kids want to feel independent and cool. Thankfully, with any of these choices both parents and kids can drive away happy.
Mazda3 image by Axela Media from Flickr.com