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Teen Graduating? Best New and Used Cars for a Teen Driver

April 19, 2019
4 mins
Mom pours herself a coffee while daughter packs her school bag in the morning

Is your teen driving? Are you thinking about getting them a car? National Teen Driver Safety Week isn't until October 2019 but, with graduation season approaching, now's the time to shop for a car for them. If your teen is ready to get behind the wheel soon, congratulations! But what's the best first car for teenagers? A new car that could be safer or an older model so they can get used to driving?

Let’s explore safety features in new and used cars, recommended cars for teens and safety tips for new teen drivers.

New vs. Used Cars and Vehicle Size

Picking out a car for your teen can be fun, but it might take a bit of compromise. You want a car that’s safe. They want a car to impress their friends. You might want them to have a bigger or heavier vehicle, but these can be hard for younger drivers to navigate.

When selecting the year of the vehicle, pick a vehicle sold after 2008. All vehicles sold since 2008 include airbags and anti-lock brakes (ABS) and newer vehicles have more recent safety features. Consumer Reports suggests shopping for vehicles with a forward-collision warning and automatic emergency brakes.

With the vehicle's size, teen drivers need fewer distractions, not more, so choose a vehicle that is easy to drive and sensible for your teen's needs. A sports car may not be the right option for an inexperienced driver, while a large SUV or truck may see your teen playing taxi driver for all their friends.

Tips for Teen Drivers

In a study, 90 percent of teens admitted to talking on the phone while driving. Another 78 percent admitted to texting and driving. Additionally, 58 percent of teen driving accidents were due to distractions. That’s why it’s imperative to stress that when your teen is behind the wheel, safety and reducing distractions are important.

Teens should:

  • Be alert, slow down and always wear a seatbelt.
  • Leave the phone and other mobile devices off. Keep radio volumes down.
  • Observe the speed limit and watch for other drivers.
  • Never drink or take drugs and drive.
  • Know that a clean driving record will keep their insurance rate low.

Shopping for a Good Deal

When looking for a car for your teen, pick a vehicle that has excellent safety records.

Some top performers from the last couple of years include:

  • The 2019 Honda Fit: Priced under $20,000, it received the best rating in crash tests and J.D. Powers gave it above average ratings.
  • The 2018 Hyundai Ioniq: Priced up to $25,000, it includes a rearview camera, automatic brakes and blind-spot monitoring. Other features include lane departure warning and a rear cross traffic alert. The hybrid also gets 57 mpg (that's less allowance money for gas!).
  • The 2018 Hyundai Tucson: Prices range from $30-$35,000. It includes similar safety features like the Hyundai Ioniq but an added bonus is the blue link system. It alerts parents if kids stay out after curfew, exceed the speed limit or travel beyond a specific geographical location (busted!).

Ready to Find the Best Car Insurance Rate?

Buying a car for your teen is an exciting time. Ensure the vehicle you pick out has safety features to protect them on the road. And, when you’re ready to shop for insurance, check with

With, you can compare quotes from over 30 insurance providers. You can save hundreds on your teen’s insurance. On a budget? You might be able to find insurers that look favourably on young drivers (under age 25) that are in school full-time or working full-time. Compare quotes today!


The RATESDOTCA editorial team are experienced writers focused on sharing stories and bringing you the latest news in insurance and personal finance. Our goal is to provide Canadians with the information and resources they need to make better insurance and financial decisions.

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