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Best Used Cars for Teens

by recycler on March 15, 2011

Best Used Cars for Teens

Keeping your progeny safe for less

Perhaps scarier than your young son or daughter joining the world of dating is that very same son or daughter joining the world of driving. That’s why when shopping for the best used cars for teens you want to consider safety above all else. Of course economy will heavily weigh in the decision (and to some extent “coolness” – ‘cuz your kid don’t wanna drive no squaresville car), but you still want to buy the safest used car within your budget. Read on for tips and suggestions for the best used cars for teens.

Safety and Stability

The trick with finding good used cars for teens is finding used cars with all the safety features you will want protecting the apple of your eye. You are probably buying used because it fits you or your teen’s budget, but keep in mind newer models will generally offer more advanced safety features. If you can, we highly recommend you buy a used car with Electronic Stability Control (ESC). Stability control helps with sliding and skidding and will ultimately prevent accidents. It was designed to help drivers keep control of their vehicles, which makes it especially important for inexperienced drivers.

We also recommend you look for a used car in your budget that has side curtain airbags. Cars with side airbags score much higher in crash tests than cars without, for at least a little piece of mind. Likewise, larger vehicles might seem like a better choice for teens (and you probably won’t hear much sass from your teen about getting a big SUV or truck), but this is not always the case. Larger vehicles might be safer for certain types of collisions, but they are at a much higher risk of rolling. Also, larger vehicles usually require a more skilled driver, since control can easily be lost. Finally, not safety related, big cars are not known for their fuel economy.

Much older cars might come cheaper but at the cost of safety. Safety technology has improved drastically over the last several years and there is a beneficial side-effect to this. Though the initial cost of a newer model used car might be higher, the insurance, because of all the improved safety compared to older models, is often times much lower than older models. Just something to consider.


This is where the compromise comes in. The best and safest cars are often times the newest and most expensive. As much as you’d love to keep your little boy or girl locked up safely in their bedroom, there comes a time where you have to trust your kid (and we can’t stress enough taking the time to go over safe driving procedures with your teen).

When determining a budget, you will want to consider (because your teen sure as heck won’t) all facets of the purchase: insurance, registration, fuel economy, etc. There also things you can do when buying a used car from your teen—which will not come with the same warranties as a new car—that can prevent possible unforeseen costs. First of all, be sure to test-drive the used car (with your teen) before buying it. Also, if the test-drive goes well, it’s a good idea to have the car inspected by a professional mechanic. This inspection does come out of your (or your teen’s) pocket, but it can likely save you thousands of dollars of repairs after buying the car.

Cool Factor

Image is a big deal to teens, but not to parents (we all know this too well). Looking cool should not be a huge concern when shopping for a used car, but you do want to find a car that is safe, affordable, and nice looking. And it can be done. There are plenty of sleek looking cars that will keep your teen safe, won’t break your bank, and won’t embarrass your son or daughter.


Used Honda Civics have a nice design that kids will like, while also sporting very good safety features and durability ratings. Civics are also known for their excellent fuel economy, getting up to 40 mpg.

If you are buying an older vehicle to save some money, we recommend a used Ford Crown Victoria. They are larger cars and are built very well (police cars are often Crown Vics). The design is not as slick as your kid might want, but the safety and cost might be too good to pass up.

There is a reason that the Toyota Camry is the best-selling sedan in America. The car is safe, fun to drive, and is known for its incredible durability.



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