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With a new driver in the house, you’re worried about safety, reliability, security, and costs as your teen ventures out on the road. Plus, there’s the stress of deciding on one vehicle from a plethora of models. But some experts say there isn’t a better contender than the Toyota Corolla. In fact, U.S. News just endorsed one Toyota Corolla model year as the best used small car for teen drivers. And it deserves to be at the top of your list for more than one reason.

U.S. News’ methodology for selecting the best used cars for teens

A dark gray metallic 2018 Toyota Corolla XSE parked on a country road surrounded by pine trees and mountains
2018 Toyota Corolla XSE | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

According to Carsurance, there are 13.2 million teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 20. Even with a fraction of that number needing cars, the subject of best teen cars is a hot topic. U.S. News recently ranked used cars for teens by considering five critical segments in its methodology.

The team evaluated data associated with high safety ratings, solid reliability, affordable long-term ownership costs, accident avoidance tech, and overall quality. For this roundup, U.S. News studied and ranked 2016, 2017, and 2018 vehicles. And one of these model years represents the best Toyota Corolla for teens.

Why the 2018 Toyota Corolla deserves consideration

Based on the methods behind the evaluation, U.S. News says the 2018 Toyota Corolla is the best used small car for teen drivers. It’s a safe and reliable compact with a five-star crashworthiness rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. But it also earned Top Safety Pick honors from the IIHS, confirming that when you’re looking for a safety-first car, the Corolla is an excellent option.

Adding to the safety component of the must-have features for your teen’s used car, the Toyota Corolla comes with a robust menu of driver’s aids. Automatic emergency braking and adaptive cruise control are standard. But also included are forward-collision and lane departure warning systems. 

In addition, the 2018 Toyota Corolla is a great car for anyone on a budget. It’s fuel-efficient, with a combined 32 mpg rating. And if properly maintained, it can be incredibly reliable over time. Buying one today costs only about $16,000 to $20,000, depending upon mileage and condition. 

Tips for avoiding problems with your teen car purchase


Toyota Corolla: A History of the Best-Selling Car of All Time

As you weigh your used car options for your new driver, you’ll want to avoid a few mistakes. 

For example, Liberty Mutual recommends that you don’t buy your kid a brand-new car. You can still find advanced safety systems and tech in a model that’s a few years old.

Another mistake is buying a large vehicle or SUV because you think it’s safer due to size. In reality, a larger seating capacity invites more passengers and more distractions. Plus, driving a huge vehicle can be challenging for new drivers who aren’t used to visibility and maneuverability in such behemoths. Too much horsepower is a mistake, too, because new drivers don’t realize how fast they’re driving until after they’ve logged enough time behind the wheel.

If you have a newly minted teen driver, you’re probably considering buying them a car. Take the unnecessary worry and guesswork out of the process by looking at a 2018 Toyota Corolla. It’s a U.S. News top pick for teens, and it might just be the perfect fit for yours too.