best first car for teenager

There is nothing like the feeling of getting your first car. Sure, getting your license is exciting, but you are usually tied to a parents’ car for the first few months. Once you get that car of your own there is an unrivaled feeling of freedom, especially at that age.

Conversely, as a parent, few things could possibly be as terrifying as acquiring the first car for your first child. There are endless possibilities of how if can turn out the first time you hand off the keys. I can say from my misadventures as a youth, I fear the day that the roles are reversed and I have to give the keys away.

Many parents want to get their children the best first car possible–the newest, safest car going–but unfortunately its hard to financially justify purchasing a brand new car for a teenager. It’s not outside the realm of possibilities that they could wreck it.

On the other hand, some parents hand off a clunker to their kid, hoping that they will learn the value of a dollar. If you have a desire to ever become mechanically inclined, its a good way to learn, but if its too much of a hunk a junk, it can scare you away from ever working on cars. Also, if you have no mechanical know-how, a beater is just a headache factory for the driver.

There is a happy medium, then, between getting your kid a car that is so nice they will never understand the importance of owning one, and a car that is so terrible, that you will be checking your coffee for rat poison every morning.

As George Clooney said in the Desendants, “You give your children enough to do something, but not so much that they do nothing.” Strangely, that quote carries over here.

Good First Cars Option 1: The Small Car

People tend to freak out about the idea of driving a small car. Out on the road, people want to know they are safe, and think that by piling into a big honking SUV. The problem is, that is a bit of overkill, and the plethora of SUV being driven by people who don’t need them create a climate of too many big cars on the road, of which people are fearful. Its a vicious cycle.

Another thing: EVERY new car, regardless of size, for the last 10 years, has been incredibly safe. To prove this point, a few years back, Chevrolet conducted a test in which they collided a ’62 Chevy Malibu and a brand new Malibu. While this would usually cause gripes on account of smashing up a classic, understad the greater good at hand. You wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the ’62 weighs almost twice as much as the new model, and is made completely of steel and Detroit muscle. What you WOULD be surprised to find out is the findings of the test: Anyone in the new Malibu would have come out with barely a scratch. The ’62? Those conducting the test said anyone in that car would have either been dead or in critical condition following the crash.


Used 2013 Kia Forte

To that end there are plenty of great mid-to-late 2000’s cars. Everyone knows the standard small cars: the Civic, Corolla, and Focus, but there were some great newcomers in the last decade. The Kia Forte was the first proof of how serious the Korean automaker was to become in the next several years. First offered in sedan form,  it was also offered in coupe form, and in the SX trim, comes equipped with a 2.4-liter inline four matched with a manual transmission that is actually quite fun to drive! These are all good first cars.

Option 2: Heavy Metal

For anyone interested in actually taking part in repairing and maintaining their first car, the big american sedan is the perfect way to go. Cars from the 90’s and early 2000’s like the Chevrolet Impala, Buick Century, Oldsmobile Cutlass, Ford Crown Vic- they are all cars of simple layout, and though they may have some more tech than, say, a Model A ford, all of the diagnostic tools to work on these cars are available at a local auto parts store.

Much more was made here about the newer cars, but the older models cannot be discounted. Perhaps when you and I were starting out, the older crop of cars were much to be avoided, but within the last 15 years, just about every brand has caught up in reliability. Pretty soon you wont be able to buy a bad car!

Check out the vast inventory of used cars on  We’re confident you will find the perfect first car for your teenager!

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