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Do you have a teenager in the house that’s itching to get their hands on your car keys? Don’t worry; it’s natural. However, if you don’t want to hand over the reins to your car and have the extra cash to buy your teen one, you have a lot of options. So many options that it might make your head spin.

Fortunately, the editors at U.S. News compiled a list of the best new and used cars for teens for 2023. Although you won’t find any super cheap options, you will find cars that provide the type of safety you would want when putting your teen behind the wheel of a car.

The best new cars for teens in 2023

A man's hand holds a car key out a car door window.
Teen holding a car key | via Getty Images

When considering the best new cars for teens in 2023, the folks at U.S. News divided them into different price categories. Each car was awarded “based on its cost with all of the accident-avoidance tech equipped.”

Although a new car will cost significantly more than its used counterpart, it will have updated safety and driver-assist features that can keep your teen safe. It will also have more convenient tech features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto so that your teen will keep their eyes on the road.

Best new car for teens ($20,000 to $25,000) – 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid

2023 CorollaHybrid in white
The 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid | Toyota

The 2023 Toyota Corolla Hybrid is a parent’s dream car for their teen. With a starting price of $22,800, the Corolla Hybrid is affordable, and it’s easy to use. U.S. News likes the Corolla’s intuitive infotainment system and feature-filled cabin. Some notable standard features include wireless Apple Carplay/Android Auto, a forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, and a lane-departure warning. Above all else, the Corolla Hybrid can get up to 50 mpg in the city and is available with all-wheel drive.

Best SUV for teens ($20,000 to $25,000) – 2023 Hyundai Kona

The 2023 Hyundai Kona was chosen for its low $23,100 price point and safety features. Some of those features include a blind-spot warning, a rear cross-traffic alert, and Bluelink. Opting for the higher Kona SEL trim level will unlock more safety features like automatic emergency braking and lane keep assist. The Kona also garnered a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS and good reliability ratings from J.D. Power, making it one of the best choices for a small SUV for teens.

Best car for teens ($25,000 – $30,000) – 2023 Kia K5

If your teen needs a little more room to stretch out, the 2023 Kia K5 is a great choice. Not only is the K5 a larger sedan, but it’s also very safe. Some of the most notable safety features include a forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, driver-attention monitoring, and blind-spot monitoring. Also, the K5 has a starting price of $25,290, which is low for the segment.

Best SUV for teens ($25,000 to $30,000) – 2023 Hyundai Tucson

The 2023 Hyundai Tucson is a small crossover SUV that will give your teen a commanding view of the road. In addition to its tall ride height, the Tucson has ample cargo room and a bevy of safety features to keep your teen safe. It’s also very affordable, with a starting price of $26,900.

Best car for teens ($30,000 to $35,000) – 2023 Honda Civic

A gray 2023 Honda Civic Touring sedan on an open road.
2023 Honda Civic Touring | Honda

The 2023 Honda Civic doesn’t need much of an explanation as to why it’s on this list. It’s safe, fuel-efficient, and fun to drive. The only issue is that it costs more than before and is pricey compared to others in its class. But some good things don’t come cheap.

Best SUV for teens ($30,000 to $35,000) – 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe is a midsize SUV that’s suitable for teens needing more room. It’s filled with plenty of safety features that will keep your teen alert and on the road. It’s also very fuel-efficient and cheaper than other SUVs in the same segment.

Best Car for teens ($35,000 to $40,000) – 2023 Toyota Camry Hybrid

A blue Toyota Camry Hybrid shows off its rear-end styling.
Camry Hybrid | Toyota

The 2023 Toyota Camry Hybrid may be a little pricey for a teenager to drive, but it could be worth it. In its top-trim form, the Camry Hybrid comes well-equipped with a leather interior, and all of the safety and convenience features a teen could want. Best of all, it’s very fuel efficient.

Best SUV for Teens ($35,000 to $40,000) – 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid capitalizes on everything the non-hybrid version has but with the added benefit of hybrid power. That means it can get up to 36 mpg in the city out of its 226-hp setup, which is great for its class. It also has plenty of safety and tech features that are indicative of its higher price tag.

The best-used cars for teens for 2023

Blue 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid Subcompact SUV
2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid | Subaru

When coming up with the list of the best used cars for teens, U.S. News looked at five different categories. Those categories included overall quality, safety ratings, reliability, ownership costs, and safety features. Check out the list they came up with.

  • Best large used car – 2019 Toyota Avalon
  • Best midsize car – 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
  • Best midsize SUV – 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Best small car – 2018 Chevrolet Volt
  • Best small SUV – 2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid

As we can see, the list of the best used cars for teens relies heavily on reliability and safety. For example, the 2019 Toyota Avalon is known for being reliable, fuel-efficient, and it comes with a bevy of standard safety features. However, even if you pick a unique car like the Chevy Volt, you can rest assured that your teen will be safe. But they will also benefit from 59 miles of all-electric range and good gas mileage.

No matter which used car you choose, U.S. News has the whole range of them covered.

Is picking a car for my teen only about safety?

The Ford F-150 is the most popular car in Vermont
2021 Ford F-150 infotainment display and controls | Ford Motor Company

Although safety is the main concern when putting your teenager behind the wheel of a car, it’s not the only thing to consider. However, we recommend going with a newer used car, if possible, to stay budget friendly and benefit from it being equipped with newer driver-assist features.

That said, the editors at Kelley Blue Book recommend looking out for other features like:

  • Outboard mirror with turn signal indicators
  • A power-adjustable driver’s seat
  • 360-degree camera
  • Auto on/off headlights
  • A head-up display

No matter which car you choose, it’s important to do as much research as possible and remember to have a pre-purchase inspection done. After all, you wouldn’t want to put your teen in a car that turns out to be a lemon.