Crossover & Midsize

Give Your Teen a Used Mazda CX-5 for Under $10,000

Many kids grow up with posters on their walls and watching endless YouTube clips of their dream cars. Getting a driver’s license is one of the most exciting days of a teenager’s life. On the other hand, turning over the car keys to a freshly licensed teenager is a stressful day for parents. The tightrope of cost and quality must be walked very carefully. Which is why the 2014 model of the Mazda CX-5 and onward, is the best car to buy your teen.  

What makes the Mazda CX-5 hit this sweet spot? It’s all about Price and quality overlap. Consumer Reports calls car models that fit in this price/quality overlap, “Goldilocks models.” Safety, price, and reliability are the key criteria Consumer Reports and the IIHS considered for this list. As a result, the 2014 Mazda CX-5 sits high on the heap. 

What qualifies as a “good” car

According to Consumer Reports, the Mazda CX-5 met the long list of criteria for what makes a good car for a teen driver. Consumer Reports surveys must find the cars be “above average” on reliability ratings and emergency handling tests. These cars must have Electronic Stability Control, which controls the braking for each individual wheel to maintain the driver’s intended direction and car stability. Other necessary criteria includes a dry braking distance of under 145 feet, good ratings from the IIHS “crashworthiness” tests, and four or five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

The Mazda CX-5’s specs

Exhibition of the 2014 CX-5 during the Toronto's International Auto Show 2013.
The Mazda CX-5 | Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The earlier model Mazda CX-5 models sport a 2.0-liter four-cylinder motor. Although the 2.0-liter engine isn’t a bad motor, keep an eye out for the later models with the 2.5-liter motors. The larger motor offers better throttle response and less stressed highway speeds. Overall, the Mazda CX-5 is stable and even relatively responsive to the road for a small SUV, according to Consumer Reports. With an average of 25 mpg, fuel costs are also quite reasonable.

The Mazda CX-5’s stature puts it firmly in the “Small SUV” classification. This is arguably one of the most practical body styles for a car. The shorter wheelbase and smaller body allow for easier parking and better maneuverability, ultimately making these vehicles safer and easier to drive. Although they are small, they still have a considerable amount of room inside for carpooling and carrying gear.

What your teen can look forward to in a used CX-5

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The base model is bare-bones, of course, but just a little more cash affords the higher trim packages. For the 2015-2016 models, the higher optioned packages allow your young driver extra features like blindspot sensors, automatic emergency braking, and all-wheel drive.

Starting with the 2014 model, the Mazda CX-5 hits every one of the criteria necessary for CR list of best cars for teens. Considering a starting price of $10,000, it is a solid choice for any parent looking to buy a first car for their teen.