Buying a first car can be tough for teens and parents. Not every teen knows what to look for and some parents have forgotten what it’s like to get that first car and slip in behind the wheel.
During National Teen Driver Safety Week, Oct. 19-25, the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center (ARC) reminds teens who drive and their parents to review what it means to be a safe and responsible driver. The learning isn’t over just because a teen-ager passes a driver’s license test – they’re actually just beginning to get driving experience.
“While teens seek freedom and mobility with a first car, what new drivers with limited driving experience really need is safe, reliable and affordable transportation,” said ARC Manager of Automotive Engineering Megan McKernan. “A brand new car may be the most desirable option, but in most cases, a previously owned model is a good solution.”
The ARC recently released its 2014 list of Best Cars for Teens. The list can help guide parents during the decision-making process when buying or leasing a vehicle for their teen driver or determining which existing family car to let their novice driver use.
In general, the ARC recommends a midsize car that has a four-cylinder engine, an automatic transmission, and high crash-test scores from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). A midsize car is big enough to protect occupants in a crash but small enough for a novice driver to handle easily, according to McKernan.
A four-cylinder engine limits a car’s ability to accelerate, and, it’s hoped, a teen’s desire to show off. Automatic transmissions are easier to driver and allow a novice to focus on steering, proper speed and braking. The crash-test scores were taken from NHTSA’s web site, safercar.gov; The ARC selected only vehicles that scored a maximum 5 stars overall. Cars not tested by NHTSA were not included in the list. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) listed is for base-model vehicles with automatic transmissions.
|Volkswagen||Passat (5 cyldr)||$23,065|