Consumer Reports: Best New Cars for Teens

Ford Escape
Ford Escape

Many parents would probably agree that the most important factor in buying a car for their teen is safety. Finding the car that fits your teen can be difficult but ultimately you want a car that will be reliable while having as many of the safety features as possible. For your inexperienced teen, you want a car that is suited to their unique needs as a driver.

While larger vehicles will typically perform better in crash tests, they have extremely poor gas mileage and often are much more difficult to handle and navigate. Further, the larger that the vehicle is, the higher the capacity of passengers which often distract a teen driver.

Sport cars have their own unique quirks, but may encourage a driver to drive faster. Sports cars also tend to have higher insurance premiums.

If it’s financially feasible, buying a newer model from the last few years is the way to go as many come with safety and driver assistance features; some of these features are even geared for teen drivers such as Ford’s MyKey feature which limits teen’s speed, gives notification chimes at certain speed thresholds you set, and reduces audio volume overall while not allowing any when your teenager hasn’t buckled up. Further, the newer models also have automatic breaking features, collision warnings, rearview camera, lane assist, and many other driver helps.

When it comes to safety features and reliability that are teen appropriate, Consumer Reports has made a list that points to some of the most reliable makes and models to consider. From the list, five specific manufacturers have several models that are great for your teen driver.


Ford Escape
Ford Escape

From their full size sedan to their mid-sized SUV, Consumer Reports recommends three of Ford’s models – the Edge, Escape and Fusion. Their Edge is a relatively new addition to their lineup in the last four years, filling Ford’s need for a midsize crossover, while the Escape and Fusion have been a part of the lineup for over a decade now. The Escape was last redesigned in 2013 with a new one coming out for the 2019 models, while the Fusion just had their re-design 2 years ago in 2016.


Kia has five models that Consumer Reports like for teens, not only for their safety ratings but also because they are fairly cost effective with pretty standard gas mileage. The Forte, Optima, Niro, Soul and Sportage make the list. Their Forte models are compact sedans that are usually at the bottom of their prices, while the Optima is their full-size sedan. The Niro, Soul, and Sportage are their small to mid-size SUVs with the Soul being one of their most popular models overall.


Subaru has four models on the list including the Crosstrek, Forester, Legacy, and Outback. Many know the Outback as their rugged station wagon, though design seems to be moving closer to the crossover style, and the Legacy is one of the sedan models. Also, known to Subaru are their compact SUVS, the Crosstrek and Forester.


Toyota Camry, Corolla, Corolla iM, Prius, Prius Prime, RAV4 and Yaris iA are all applauded as great cars for teens by Consumer Reports. The Camry and Corolla have long been known among Toyota’s most reliable sedans, while the Yaris has been slowly growing as a hatchback favorite. If you’re looking for ultimate fuel economy, their Prius has many options all of which vary from great to excellent gas mileage due to the hybrid engine.


The Nissan Altima and Rogue are featured in the Consumer Report lineup. The Altima is their standard full-size sedan, while the Rogue is their crossover SUV.

Several other manufacturers made the list with multiple models including Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, and Volkswagen. For more information on the list and the other cars listed, check out the consumer report list here.

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