Getting your teenager their first car is an exciting milestone! However, choosing a safe, practical and affordable car for a new driver requires some thought. Here are important things to consider when picking the ideal set of wheels for your teen.

Key Factors to Consider


This should be the top priority. Young drivers are at highest risk of motor vehicle accidents due to lack of experience. Choose a car with key active and passive safety features like airbags, ABS brakes, traction control, rearview cameras etc. Avoid older cars lacking modern protections.


Look at reliability ratings and opt for used cars with solid crash test results. Vehicles like Hondas and Toyotas have proven reputations for dependability and longevity over hundreds of thousands of miles. Reliable transportation gives peace of mind.


Get insurance quotes as teen policies are expensive. Aim for an affordable car to buy and maintain. Include your teen in the buying process to teach budgeting. Set expectations on who pays for gas, maintenance and repairs.


Look for good cargo room, seating space and visibility to transport friends or gear. Fuel efficiency is also key with new drivers. An SUV or crossover offers flexibility. Test drive models together to assess comfort and ease of driving.

Technology Features

In-car technology like backup cameras, parking sensors, and lane keeping assist promote safe driving habits. Leading safety tech was unavailable even 5-10 years ago, so newer models are ideal. Connected features also allow monitoring driving behavior.

Establish Ground Rules

Set clear guidelines on things like maintenance, limiting passengers, restrictions on time of day or road conditions, and consequences for traffic violations. Strong rules and having an open dialogue builds accountability.

Buying New vs Used

New Cars are the safest option with latest tech but buying new may not fit all budgets. Pros are advanced safety designs, warranties, and instilling the responsibility of caring for a vehicle.

Used Cars allow getting more cars for your money. Look for certified pre-owned models under 5 years old with full service history. Get a mechanic’s inspection before purchasing any used car.