October 3, 2022


A Class Of Its Own

Best cars for teens: $20,000 or less

The internet is whole of lists, some good and some undesirable. Those seeking for information and facts on the finest autos to buy for their teenage motorists have any variety of reliable sources that offer stable recommendations. In its place of parroting all those properly-imagined-out lists, we determined to rely on the guidance of the Insurance plan Institute for Freeway Protection, an business that specializes in crash-tests vehicles and reporting the results to American customers.

The IIHS partnered up with Purchaser Stories to publish a checklist of autos that are anticipated to be both equally trustworthy and safe, earning very good scores in its individual moderate overlap entrance, side, roof toughness and head restraint tests, and a very good or satisfactory ranking in the driver-facet tiny overlap front test. They also cross-referenced their picks with crash-check data from the National Freeway Targeted visitors Protection Administration to ensure any advised vehicles gained possibly four- or 5-star success from the federal basic safety agency.

Armed with that information, we break down some of our own ideas based mostly on what’s essential to dad and mom and/or their young children. Immediately after all, with 45 cars in every dimension and shape earning the list from the IIHS, we figure some parents may perhaps want to slim down the discipline a little bit. Devoid of additional ado, here are our recommendations for the most effective cars and trucks for teens obtainable for a fair $20,000 price range.


2017-2018 Mazda3

Plenty of lists for the very best automobiles for teenagers will aim in on the Toyota Corolla, and for great rationale. It’s been a single of the most trusted vehicles at any time marketed in America for a long time, it’s fairly economical, and there’s sure to be dozens of them on utilized car tons in just a couple miles of anyone’s residence. But let’s say you’re an automotive fanatic who thinks the apple does not land considerably from the tree. If you like to generate and feel your kid will abide by in your footsteps, think about a Mazda3 alternatively. It’s a ton extra entertaining to push than a Corolla or even most Honda Civics, with communicative steering and a experience/managing equilibrium that leans to the sporty facet.

In get to get the most security tools and greatest styling, we’d counsel aiming for a 2017 or 2018 model if you can discover one in your price array. 

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2017-2019 Toyota Prius Primary

We’re going to level with you. The Prius is hideous. And unless your model of pleasure suggests driving so as to limit gas use, it’s not extremely enjoyable, possibly. We’d somewhat travel a Chevy Volt. But the Toyota Prius is indeed productive. So if your teen’s model of joy does certainly necessarily mean driving so as to minimize fuel use — and there is completely practically nothing improper with that — then take into account the Prius as exciting as it receives.

You will recognize that there are not any pure electric cars to be found on this list. But the 2017-2019 Toyota Prius Prime does have a plug, which implies it has a battery pack enough to electric power the motor vehicle for at the very least some pure electric powered driving count on somewhere near 25 miles for every complete recharge right before the gasoline motor is forced to ignite.

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2018-2019 Subaru Crosstrek

If you stay in the snowbelt or some other space that regularly discounts with inclement climate or muddy situations, the Subaru Crosstrek may possibly be a fantastic wager for your teen driver. It comes conventional with Subaru’s effectively-regarded Symmetrical All-Wheel Generate know-how, it boasts excellent ground clearance and presents great visibility. It is not as economical as some of its competition, nonetheless, which means its dirty-obligation abilities really don’t come devoid of some sacrifice.

The Crosstrek was redesigned for the 2018 model calendar year with an all-new chassis, much more safety tech and a nicer interior. We’d purpose for that 12 months or more recent, but the 2013-2017 types are also sound possibilities.

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2014-2019 Subaru Outback

If every little thing we said about the Subaru Crosstrek applies to your teenager driver, but they want or want some thing 1 dimensions greater, consider the Outback. Subaru’s long-working and significantly-loved lifted all-wheel-generate wagon received a important update and an all-new stiffer chassis for the 2014 design calendar year, and that’s wherever we’d begin our research. 

Unlike the scaled-down autos on this checklist, the Subaru Outback is offered with a vary of motor solutions. The base 2.5-liter 4-cylinder is probable loads highly effective ample for new motorists, although its repeatedly variable automated transmission does drone less than continual acceleration. A 3.6-liter six-cylinder motor is also readily available.

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2017-2019 Volkswagen Passat

The Volkswagen Passat gives one particular of the roomiest interiors of any sedan in America. In fact, the Passat straddles the line among midsize and fullsize, with a rear seat that compares favorably with a good deal of cars and trucks that have much much more sizable exterior proportions.

If you choose the Passat is the appropriate choice for your teenager driver, we’d advise on the lookout for a 2018 or 2019 design with the 2.-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and six-velocity automatic transmission. Older variations of the motor, shared among VW and Audi, experienced issues that have been resolved in the third technology of the engine uncovered in these Passat products.

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2016-2017 Honda Accord

It seems no advised motor vehicle record is full with out a Honda Accord. It’s effortless to comprehend why. It’s 1 of America’s ideal-selling sedans for very good motive trustworthiness, resale worth, protection, technologies and driving dynamics are all points in the Accord’s favor.

It’s almost challenging to go erroneous with an Accord, but we’re exclusively recommending the 2016 and 2017 product years. The ninth era of Honda’s midsize sedan got a slight restyling for 2016 ahead of its substitution arrived in 2018, and obtained Apple CarPlay and Android Automobile for its in-motor vehicle infotainment system. It is also readily available in equally coupe and sedan body variations, producing it the only two-door product to make the list.

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2018-2020 Hyundai Kona

Sedans and hatchbacks make excellent vehicles for teenagers owing to their simple maneuverability, economical powertrains and reasonably priced rates. But in America, the crossover is king, and if that is what you’re in the market place for, your teen driver may delight in the Hyundai Kona.

The Kona is supplied with two engine choices, the much better of which is turbocharged and lots effective. All-wheel push is an selection and may well be fascinating to some owners who live in locations with inclement climate. Contrary to several other vehicles offered in America, the Kona offers a great deal of special type and fun colors, both issues that could enchantment to a teenager.

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2017-2018 Kia Sorento

The Kia Sorento provides far more utility than some more compact common crossovers thanks to its accessible third row seat and generous cargo ability. But it’s not so large that it is as unwieldy like a truck-primarily based SUV may perhaps be, notably in limited town parking spaces. As an in-betweener, the Kia Sorento may possibly make a ton of sense for teen motorists.

The Kia Sorento we’re recommending is from the 2016-2020 product years. The IIHS points towards the 2017 and 2018 editions, which are fairly wonderful. A refresh in 2019 will make all those even more fascinating if you can obtain a good one in your cost vary.

Discover a Kia Sorento for sale around you


2018 Ford Edge

We have manufactured fairly a couple tips up to this level, but you could have noticed they all occur from international automakers. That’s probably not a trouble for most potential buyers — incidentally, a lot of of the proposed cars with foreign nameplates are in reality create in America — but if you’re tied to American automakers, take into consideration the Ford Edge. It is stylishly sporty, moderately roomy and plentiful on the utilised sector.

The Edge began its second technology for the 2015 design yr before getting a refresh for 2019. It is not possible you will uncover just one very that new in the beneath-$20,000 funds, but the 2018 edition is well worth a seem. The two the turbocharged four-cylinder and normally aspirated V6 choices are highly effective adequate, and all-wheel push is optional. 

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