Best Cars for Teens for 2024

Safety is a leading concern for the parents of young drivers, which makes finding a good first car for teenage drivers a primary goal during the car-buying process. iSeeCars has identified the best cars for teen drivers and listed them below. These cars are organized by vehicle category, then ranked according to their safety score. The safety score takes both NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) ratings into account, and must result in a 9 or better iSeeCars Safety Score (out of 10). Most of these models have either a four- or five-star rating from NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ rating from IIHS.

While safety is the primary ranking factor for these vehicles, iSeeCars added several requirements before a vehicle was eligible for consideration for new drivers. First, only new and used cars with a base MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) below $50,000 were considered. There was also a horsepower limit (no more than 500 hp), which removed many high-performance sports cars. Cars more than 5 model years old weren’t eligible, ensuring relatively modern safety equipment, such as automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and lane departure warning, is either standard or optional.

Finally, no large trucks, large SUVs, minivans, or vehicles with three rows of seating are included. Studies show an increased accident rate when a large number of teens are riding in a vehicle. These larger vehicles also tend to have poor fuel economy ratings, making them more expensive to own and operate. Finally, iSeeCars didn’t consider convertibles or subcompact cars due to their inherent disadvantages in an accident.


Many of the vehicles on this list are smaller cars and SUVs, but some sedans, wagons, and coupe-versions of cars like the Honda Civic also make the list. Compact SUVs, like the Chevy Trailblazer, Mazda CX-5, and Toyota RAV4, offer an excellent balance of safety, functionality, and fuel efficiency. They can also be ordered with all-wheel drive for increased traction in foul-weather driving conditions.

Built-in WiFi hotspots are another advanced technology that is either standard or optional on modern cars. This level of connectivity allows parents to track a vehicle’s location, and after an accident these systems can even call emergency services if the driver is incapacitated.

You can use the lists below to see how vehicles are ranked in each category, as well as quickly assess their safety scores, new and used pricing, fuel efficiency ratings, and cargo capacity. We also calculate an iSeeCars Score for each vehicle that is based on not just how safe it is but how reliable and how well it holds its value, two additional factors to keep in mind whenever you’re planning to buy a car. The iSeeCars score is located next to each car, as well as a breakout of the individual ratings for reliability, resale value and safety.

Identifying the right car for a teen driver can help them transition to the world of driving in a safer and more secure environment.

Best Subcompact SUVs for Teens

Safety Score

  • Subaru Crosstrek: 10 / 10

  • Honda HR-V: 10 / 10

  • Mazda CX-30: 10 / 10

Best Small SUVs for Teens

Safety Score

  • Honda CR-V: 10 / 10

  • Toyota RAV4: 10 / 10

  • Subaru Forester: 10 / 10

Best Small Cars for Teens

Safety Score

  • Honda Civic: 10 / 10

  • Honda Civic (hatchback): 10 / 10

  • Mazda Mazda3 Sedan: 10 / 10

Best Midsize Cars for Teens

Safety Score

  • Honda Accord: 10 / 10

  • Toyota Camry: 10 / 10

  • Subaru Legacy: 10 / 10

For the complete list of the Best Cars for Teens across all segments, check out our complete list of the Best Cars for Teens.

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