How to choose the right car for your teen driver

Teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 are the riskiest drivers on the road.

Driving a car safely can be challenging when you’re inexperienced, since it often requires the ability to recognize danger and make split-second decisions. But the right vehicle can help reduce the number of critical decisions your teen has to make and cut down on the likelihood of accidents and injuries.


The best safety measure is ensuring your teen has a good driver’s education. But safety features can help compensate for what any educated teen driver may lack in experience and maturity.

Car size

Common knowledge used to hold that a teenager was best off driving a clunker, but the truth is that teens should avoid driving larger vehicles. A car that seats seven or more passengers can be difficult for an inexperienced driver to handle and is more likely to roll over.

Leasing vs. buying

Leasing can mean getting a car without a down payment or a loan and having lower monthly payments, so it may be the most affordable way to get your teen into a car with up-to-date safety features. But you’ll likely end up paying more down the line.

New vs. used

If new isn’t in your budget, you can still find essential safety features in a model that’s a few years old. As a rule of thumb, look for the safest and most reliable car that fits in your budget.

Financing and insurance

Increase your teen’s chance of approval for a loan by cosigning or asking another trusted person to cosign. Make sure all parties understand that cosigning is a serious commitment that involves taking legal responsibility for the loan if the other signer fails to pay.