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The used car market is full of cars you should avoid if you’re shopping for your teenager. Fast, powerful cars can be a dangerous mix for an inexperienced teen. Furthermore, older SUVs and trucks with reliability issues or a lack of safety features like ABS might be the wrong choice. Here are some examples of cars you should avoid when shopping for your teen and cars you should consider, like the Toyota Avalon. 

What kind of cars should you avoid for your teen?

Let’s address the obvious; buying your teenager a fast, capable sports car or muscle car is not the best idea. For instance, the latest generations of Ford Mustang GT produce well over 400 horsepower. That’s enough to instigate nearly any teen to make some poor driving choices. Even the more fuel-efficient Mustang, the EcoBoost, makes 310 horsepower, making it more powerful than the V8-powered GTs from around 15 years ago. 

The Ford Mustang is one of the wrong cars for your teen; consider something else for your teenager.
Ford Mustang | Ford

In addition to muscle cars like the Mustang GT and Challenger R/T, you should rethink expensive or collectible vehicles. You might consider something more affordable if you don’t want to foot the bill for your teenager bumping into things with a Mercedes-Benz C300. Furthermore, buying a classic car can be unreliable and difficult to insure if your teen has a commute. 

What SUVs should you avoid for your teenager?

If you want a safe SUV for your teenager, you might want to avoid older examples. For instance, early Jeep Wranglers and CJs were notorious for rolling over in adverse handling situations. It’s not just Jeeps, either. Many old and new SUVs with high centers of gravity are prone to rollovers and the older examples have fewer life-saving features like airbags and ABS.  

What should you look for in a first car for a teen?

While the news may seem bleak, the new and used car market has many safe options for your teenager. According to an iSeeCars study, large vehicles have a much lower fatal accident rate than compact and subcompact cars. Duh, right? Well, SUVs are still more prone to rollovers than large cars. 

As a result, your best bet might be a midsize or large sedan with a low insurance cost and high safety scores. You can find safety scores from agencies like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The best scoring vehicles will typically earn five stars or a Top Safety Pick+.   

What is a good first car for a new driver?

If you’re looking for a new car with top safety scores, the 2022 Honda Civic hatchback marries practicality with an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating. It’s also less likely to instigate your teen to make poor, horsepower-induced decisions. However, if you’d like to avoid the wrong cars for your teen and save money, the used car market will deliver. 

The 2022 Honda Civic or a used Toyota Avalon are great cars for your teen.
2022 Honda Civic | Honda

For instance, Consumer Reports recommends the 2014 Toyota Avalon. The Avalon has a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA. Furthermore, an Avalon from 2011 to 2014 will cost you an average of around $9,400, making it a safe, cheap option for your teenager. Scroll down to the following article to read more about safe cars!


These 3 Big, Cheap Cars Are the Best for Your Teen