The Best Cars for New Drivers

a new teen driver behind the wheel of a car

Driving for the first time can be nerve-wracking. Sure, we’re excited, and our hands are jittering, but there’s also a lot of nervousness. Then, there comes the first car purchase. It’s a lot to take in, and there’s a lot of aspects to keep in mind. Is the vehicle safe? Does it have all the features necessary for a comfortable ride? What about crash test ratings?

That’s a lot of stuff to ask yourself before you purchase a vehicle for the first time. Thankfully, we’re going to take all the guesswork out of the process. We made a list of the most reliable and safe vehicles on the market. Most are sedans because sedans are merely one of the safest vehicles you can buy, although there are a few other surprises on the list.

These 20 vehicles are sure to last a while, protect passengers in the event of an accident, and provide an enjoyable ride!

All MSRPs and feature information are taken from the manufacturer’s website. Here they are in no particular order.

1. Honda Civic

 a red honda civic

(image via Facebook)

The Honda Civic has a lot to offer. The first thing we want to mention is that the Honda Civic is inexpensive. Even if you purchased a new model, it would only set you back around $19,750. Naturally, older models would be even cheaper. The 2020 Civic comes with Honda Sensing, which has road departure mitigation, lane keep assist, forward collision warnings, and lane departure warnings.

2. Toyota Corolla

a blue toyota corolla

(image via Facebook)

The Toyota Corolla has long been one of the most reliable vehicles you can buy. It’s well known for lasting a decade or more as long as it’s taken care of properly. On top of that, it’s also super cheap. You can get a 2020 Corolla for as low as $19,600. Naturally, older models are just as good and cheaper, although they may come with different features.

3. Honda HR-V

a gray honda hr-v

The Honda HR-V is a small SUV, chosen for those that need a little extra space. SUVs are often a concern for new drivers due to rollover risk. The Honda HR-V has a risk of 13.5%, which is lower than the average SUV. Crash-test ratings for the 2020 HR-V are five stars, and it comes with Honda Sensing as well as a multi-angle rearview camera with guidelines.

(image via Facebook)

4. Subaru Impreza

a white subaru impreza

(image via Facebook)

The Subaru Impreza has a few options that make it unique compared to others on the list. Most notably, it comes with a hatchback trim, although this one is a bit more expensive than the sedan version. The starting MSRP for the basic trim Subaru Impreza is $18,695.

5. Mazda6

a gray mazda6

(image via Facebook)

The Mazda 6 has a bit more power than the average car. The newest Mazda 6 trims have around 180-250 horsepower, while most sedans range from 120-170 horsepower. Even though it’s got more oomph, it still gets a combined 35 mpg to the gallon, meaning it won’t cost as much at the pump as some other vehicles on this list.

6. Toyota Camry

1 white and 1 red toyota camry

(image via Facebook)

Few vehicles are more reliable and safer as the Toyota Camry, not to mention it’s often one of the top mid-size sedans you can buy. The MSRP of the Camry starts at $24,295 for the L trim. The price of the Camry is a little higher, but it’s a larger sedan than many on the list. One reason people choose the Camry is because it gets excellent gas mileage (29/41 city/highway).

7. Hyundai Santa Fe

a reddish orange hyundai santa fe

(image via Facebook)

The Hyundai Santa Fe is one of the larger vehicles on the list. It’s a mid-size SUV that has an MSRP starting at $25,400. There are a few reasons people choose the Santa Fe. First of all, it gets great gas mileage for an SUV – 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. The Santa Fe also has no problem going off the road for emergency situations or just for a little fun.

8. Kia Optima

a white kia optima

(image via Facebook)

The Kia Optima is a well-known mid-size sedan that’s pretty reliable. In fact, Kia has appeared on dependability lists from a variety of different sources. As far as price, the Kia Optima has a starting MSRP of $23,190 for the base trim, the LX. Along with providing space, the Optima gets decent gas mileage, 25 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.

9. Ford Fusion

a white ford fusion

(image via Facebook)

The Ford Fusion is another stronger, yet fuel-efficient sedan. The cabin is spacious enough to fit five people comfortably, plus it has a pretty decent-sized trunk to carry whatever you may need. The starting MSRP is $23,170 for the basic 2020 Ford Fusion S. One thing to note about the Fusion is that there is a Hybrid version that gets 43 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway – talk about savings!

10. Subaru Outback

a subaru outback driving through the dust

(image via Facebook)

The Subaru Outback is one of the best off-roading vehicles you’ll find on the market. It’s designed to do so while maintaining control, so this would be great for new drivers that plan on going off the path. It’s a larger SUV, so it has a higher price than others on the list. The starting MSRP is $26,645 for the basic trim.

11. Toyota RAV4

a white and blue toyota rav4

(image via Facebook)

The Toyota RAV4 is one of the most popular SUVs on the market for good reasons. One huge reason is the value. The starting MSRP for the RAV4 is $25,950, and it comes with a lot of features from Bluetooth connectivity to an extensive list of safety features. Even the base trim comes with Toyota Safety Sense, which has pre-collision alerts with pedestrian detection, lane alerts, steering assist, lane tracing assistance, and tons more.

12. Honda Accord

a red honda accord

(image via Facebook)

The Honda Accord has been a long-trusted vehicle for a while. If you purchase a new model, it’s also much more reliable than the older versions. The Honda Accord is larger than the Civic, which means it’s ideal for those that need a little extra space or anyone that will carry more passengers. Despite being larger, the starting MSRP is a low $23,870.

13. Ford Taurus

a black ford taurus

(image via Facebook)

The Ford Taurus is an ideal first car, albeit an older vehicle to get. It was in production for 34 years, so chances are, you know someone that had a Taurus as their first vehicle. Older models will be cheaper, but you may be sacrificing some safety features you could want. The 2018 and 2019 models come with safety features like Forward Collision Warnings, Lane Departure Warnings, and others, but always check the manual before buying.

14. Chevrolet Impala

a silver chevrolet impala

(image via Facebook)

The Chevy Impala has been around since the ’50s, so you know it’s a good car. Over the years, it’s been updated, but one thing’s remained the same: it’s a fantastic first car for a new driver. This sedan seats five people and gets 18 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. It also has quite a bit of power, 350 horsepower, which accounts for the lower gas mileage.

15. Toyota Avalon

a red toyota avalon

(image via Facebook)

Toyota just makes a good car, and the Avalon is no different. The Avalon is a luxury sedan, which is great for those that want a little more pizazz in their vehicle. Since it’s a luxury sedan, it comes with better features than your average car. Some of those include heated outside mirrors, blind spot warning indicators, solar energy-absorbing glass, and a rearview camera with dynamic guidelines.

16. Buick LaCrosse

a red buick lacrosse

(image via Facebook)

You can’t get more reliable and safer than the Buick LaCrosse. This vehicle often feels like a luxury car without having the luxury price. The LaCrosse is often ranked as one of the best vehicles you can buy from a variety of different sources. This car’s biggest advantage is its size. It comfortably fits five people while still providing plenty of space for each passenger.

17. Hyundai Accent

a red hyundai accent

(image via Facebook)

The Hyundai Accent is one of the best-ranked cars on the market, and it’s especially great for those on a tight budget. The MSRP for the 2020 Accent is $15,195, although the Limited (MSRP $18,300) is the best value as it comes with features like Hyundai’s Blue Link system. This system is especially good for teenagers as it can send alerts to their phone if they’re out past curfew, breaking speed restrictions, or if they’re crossing geographic boundaries.

18. Volkswagen Jetta

a blue volkswagen jetta

(image via Facebook)

The Jetta is definitely a bit more expensive than some others on the list, but it’s still a lower-priced option compared to the larger sedans. The reason many people choose the Jetta (other than for the brand) is because it gets good gas mileage and has decent safety features like a crash-optimized front end. Front-end accidents are one of the most common types of accidents, so this may be valuable to some.

19. Kia Forte

a blue kia forte

(image via Facebook)

The 2019 model of the Kia Forte was completely redesigned and became one of the best compact cars out there. Since it’s also so cheap, $17,790, the 2019 Kia Forte was a finalist with U.S. News for Best Compact Car for the Money. Even though it’s small, we want to mention that it still has plenty of space for you and three of your friends.

20. Hyundai Elantra

a white hyundai elantra

(image via Facebook)

The Hyundai Elantra is one of the more fuel-efficient vehicles on the list. It gets 31 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. Not to mention, it also has a low starting MSRP of $18,950 for the base SE trim. There’s an Eco version that comes with more features, but it only has slightly better fuel economy while being much more expensive. Because of this, we’d suggest the SE trim for those just starting out.