The 6 Best Used Cars for Teen Drivers

A dad teaches a teen driver in her first car

Safety is a priority when it comes to finding a car for your teenager, but cost comes close behind. A brand new car loaded with extra features might seem like the best option, but a used car can be even more safe, efficient and cost-effective.

Take safety features, for example. Dealerships might tell you the new model has built-in safety features, but you know you'll be charged extra for each one. And all those buttons and screens can be distracting for a new driver. In a used car, you can install your own safety features tailored to your teen's specific needs. Nonda offers tools like a wireless rearview camera, a GPS car charger and a car monitoring system that can help your teen drive safely and maintain their vehicle.

When you're ready to start shopping, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has put together a list of the best used cars for teen drivers — as determined by favorable crash ratings — that start under $20,000. Here's a look at 10 of them:

A Teen Driver in a Used Car

The Safest Cars for Teen Drivers

1. Volvo S80

If your teen is looking for a car they can fit their friends and family in, the Volvo S80 is a proven safe choice. Models created in 2007 and later have excellent safety ratings and cost about $4,000. Additional safety features include side airbags, front and rear head curtain airbags, front seat-mounted torso airbags, electronic stability control, optional built-in child restraints, antilock brakes and daytime running lights.


2. Honda Odyssey

If you're looking for a family car that your teen can use to help out by picking up siblings, the Honda Odyssey is a good sized minivan with a great safety rating. Models made in 2014 or later are best, and start around $16,000. Additional safety features include side airbags, front and rear head curtain airbags, front seat-mounted torso airbags, electronic stability control, a rollover sensor that deploys the side curtain airbags in the event of an impending rollover, antilock brakes and daytime running lights.


3. Volkswagen Passat

For about $9,000, you can find a 2013 or newer Volkswagen Passat suitable for any young driver. All models come with the following safety features: side airbags, front and rear head curtain airbags, front seat-mounted torso airbags, electronic stability control, optional built-in child restraints, antilock brakes and daytime running lights.


4. Subaru Outback

Subaru Outback made in 2013 and later were given one of the highest safety ratings by the IHSS, and are great options for people who live in mountainous or snowy regions. Prices start at $13,000. With side airbags, front and rear head curtain airbags, front seat-mounted torso airbags, electronic stability control, a rollover sensor that deploys the side curtain airbags in the event of an impending rollover, antilock brakes and daytime running lights, you and your teen will feel safe driving it.


5. Chevrolet Malibu

For a little less than $11,000 you can find a favorably rated, 2014 or newer Chevrolet Malibu for your teen to drive. All models come with the following safety features: side airbags, front and rear head curtain airbags, front seat-mounted torso airbags, electronic stability control, optional built-in child restraints, antilock brakes, daytime running lights and separate airbags in the lower instrument panel on the driver and passenger sides designed to minimize knee injuries in frontal crashes.


6. Audi A3

For a teen who wants a bit of style in their new, used car, and for parents who might be willing to help pay for it, the Audi A3 is a great choice. For about $18,000, you can find a 2015 or newer model. It has the highest safety ratings for crashworthiness and an “advanced” rating for front crash prevention. Additional safety features include side airbags, front and rear head curtain airbags, front seat-mounted torso airbags, electronic stability control, a rollover sensor that deploys the side curtain airbags in the event of an impending rollover, antilock brakes, daytime running lights and separate airbags in the lower instrument panel on the driver and passenger sides designed to minimize knee injuries in frontal crashes.

 

How to make your teen's used car even safer 

Make your teen's used car safer and help them avoid breakdowns and crashes by installing a few simple "upgrades." 

Wireless rearview camera: Even if your teen's older car doesn't come equipped with a backup camera, you can install one to help your teen's visibility when backing up. 

GPS car charger: Nonda's smart charger will not only keep their phone charged, but can be tracked via GPS through the Zus Connected Car app — so you can rest easy knowing your teen's location. 

Car monitoring system: A car health monitor empowers your teen to know more about their vehicle's health, helping to prevent breakdowns, flat tires, and the like.