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Putting a young driver in a new car is an important decision. Getting the right mix of affordability, efficiency, and safety matters when putting one of your loved ones behind the wheel for the first time. Fortunately, these three cars offer a great mix of all three. As the safest new cars for teen drivers in 2023, each model comes with a little added peace of mind.

Nissan Versa: cheap with plenty of safety tech

2023 Nissan Versa is the cheapest and one of the safest new cars for teen drivers in 2023
2023 Nissan Versa | Nissan

With a starting price just over $17,000 and a wealth of standard safety features, the 2023 Nissan Versa is a great choice for a teen driver. It’s affordable and cheap to insure, so even a youngster keeping up with their own bills can handle what this small car requires.

Standard features like forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection help make the Versa one of the safest new cars for teen drivers. In addition, a five-star NHTSA crash test rating indicates that the Versa holds up well in both front and side impacts.

Efficiency in the Versa rates at 32 mpg city and 40 mpg highway, making it the most efficient model on this list.
All that aside, the Versa is smaller than the other choices here, so cargo and passenger space is limited. Otherwise, this subcompact is an excellent choice for a first-time driver.

Mazda3: high safety ratings are great for teen drivers

2023 Mazda3, one the safest new cars for teens.
2023 Mazda3 | Mazda

While the 2023 Mazda3 carries a starting price of just under $24,000, it does so with more style and substance than many others. Unlike the Versa, the smallest Mazda model is available with all-wheel drive to give your teen driver an added layer of safety in poor road conditions.

Furthermore, the Mazda3 cements its place as one of the safest cars for teen drivers thanks to wealth of standard features. Automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection are standard, as are lane keep assist and lane departure warning. The 3 can also come with rear cross traffic alert and blind spot monitoring for even better protection. All of that is part of why U.S. News rated the Mazda3 at 9.9 for the safest small cars.

The compact Mazda is efficient, too. At 28 mpg city and 37 mpg highway it’s affordable to run, even on a budget. 

Subaru Impreza: the safest car company continues its reign

2023 Subaru Impreza
2023 Subaru Impreza | Subaru

When considering both safety and versatility, Subaru always ranks near the top of the list. That’s true once again here, with the 2023 Subaru Impreza rating as the safest new car for teen drivers in 2023.

Boasting advanced safety tech with its Subaru Eyesight suite, the Impreza comes with forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control as standard. Unlike the others, it also gets blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert on every model as well.

Skip the base model, as the cheapest Imprezas don’t come with the advanced safety suite. Instead, making the jump to the Impreza Premium adds a shedload of safety, an automatic transmission, and it all comes for just over $24,000.

The Impreza also comes standard with all-wheel drive to help ensure the safety of a young driver on wet or snowy roads. And with more cabin and cargo space than the others on this list, it’ll give them plenty of room to pack for that move to college.

The safest new cars for teen drivers offer more peace of mind

It’s hard putting your young driver behind the wheel for the first time, but these three cars should make it a bit easier. As the safest new cars for teen drivers, any of this trio should make an excellent choice.

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