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A good used car should have plenty of accident-prevention technology and good crash test scores. A reliable vehicle — such as the Toyota RAV4 — is also a good pick for teens. These models usually have a top-notch build quality and low maintenance costs suited for a young person’s limited budget.

Those are the standards U.S. News used to find the best cars for teenagers. The 2017 Toyota RAV4 ticks all the boxes nicely, outdoing every other SUV in its segment. So, what makes the 2017 RAV4 such a great car for teen drivers?

The 2017 Toyota RAV4 is easy to drive and easy on the wallet

A silver 2017 Toyota RAV4 Limited compact SUV parked on a paved hill beneath a clear blue sky
2017 Toyota RAV4 Limited | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

The 2017 Toyota RAV4 offers only one engine, a 176-hp four-cylinder, paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. U.S. News says it provides adequate power for daily driving, though it may struggle when fully loaded with passengers and cargo. The front-wheel-drive models are decently efficient, scoring 23/30 mpg city/highway. Getting an all-wheel-drive model drops that mileage by only 1 mpg and 2 mpg, respectively.

Consumer Reports says the 2017 RAV4 lost some of its athletic handling qualities present in previous years. However, the steering wheel is still nicely weighted, and the brakes are easy to modulate. Body roll is minimal, and the SUV can easily avoid obstacles on short notice, especially with AWD.

As for ride quality, the suspension absorbs most hard bumps for a smooth drive. Toyota also refined the cabin to isolate more annoying exterior noises. The AWD system and transmission also both operate smoothly on unsteady terrain.

So, not only is the 2017 RAV great on gas, but it’s also easy for teen drivers to maneuver. And though it isn’t the most powerful SUV, that’s a good thing for new drivers.

The 2017 Toyota RAV4’s amenities and features will please teens while keeping them safe

The Toyota RAV4 is one of the best SUVs because of its standard safety features. Even though the 2017 model is a few years old, it still comes with adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with assisted braking, automatic high beams, and lane-keeping assist. Some higher trims boast a 360-degree camera, blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors, and rear-cross traffic alert.

Additionally, the 2017 Toyota RAV4 has excellent safety scores. It earned a five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for its exceptional durability during front crashes, side crashes, and rollovers. It also received a Top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety despite below-average performance in the passenger-side small overlap crash test.

The 2017 RAV4 can seat five on either cloth or synthetic leather seats. Consumer Reports says the seats are reasonably comfortable, but some rivals provide more support. Still, all passengers can stretch out in both rows without any issues. This RAV4 model year also has a large cargo area — over 73 cubic feet total.

In addition, a touchscreen comes standard, and some models have a built-in app suite and Siri Eyes Free. This was before widespread smartphone integration became popular, but teens can still pair their smartphones via Bluetooth.

Best of all, this SUV is budget-friendly. According to U.S. News, the average price of a used 2017 Toyota RAV4 is $23,401 to $29,467. It also costs $4,450 on average each year for gas, maintenance, and the occasional repair. J.D. Power gives this RAV4 model year an average reliability rating, but Consumer Reports gives it a perfect score.

What used cars are bad for teen drivers?

U.S. News cautions families against buying sports cars for their teens. These vehicles often have limited safety features, low reliability scores, and too much horsepower for new drivers to handle safely. Trucks and large SUVs are also difficult to maneuver.

Sure, a tiny car might be easier to handle, but its small crumple zone makes it unsafe in a collision. However, the vehicle shouldn’t be too big because more passengers could easily distract a teen driver and become injured in an accident. A reliable SUV like the 2017 Toyota RAV4 is just the right size.


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