We have covered what the kids want, now we will make the parents happy.
We want to make it clear right away, buying a brand-new car for your teenager is not a good idea. They will likely crash it, and your money will be wasted. However, if you're absolutely sold that you want your kid driving something new, reliable, and safe, then we have got you covered. Last week, we listed top five cars that teenagers wished their parents would buy for them. This week, we are coming back down to earth to recommend five new cars that would be ideal for a teenager.
Our first choice is a little out of the box. When drafting up this list, we desperately wanted to include a Saab. Saabs were built with pathological attention to safety which might be the most important thing for teenage drivers. However, since there are no new Saabs, we included the Volvo XC90 on this list. We realize that putting a car with a $43,000 base price on this list is a bit silly, but here is our reasoning. Instead of buying your teen their own car, just get an XC90 for the family. That way, your teen can drive it around and you know that they will be safe. Volvo may not have been the coolest car in the past, but this new XC90 has Range Rover-level coolness. Volvo even promises death-proof cars by 2020.
On our "teen-dream" list, we included the Subaru BRZ. We said that this car was a bad choice for a teenagers because they could get into trouble with the RWD layout. If you live in a cold weather climate with snow, the BRZ would be very impractical. However, the Subaru Impreza is the perfect choice. The base Impreza comes with a 2.0-liter 152 horsepower boxer engine. You can even add the Subaru EyeSight Driver Assist Technology which includes adaptive cruise control, automatic pre-collision braking, lane departure and sway warning, as well as lane keep assist. The 2016 Impreza was an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ with this option, and the new 2017 model will be 40% better in crash absorption.
Another car on our previous list was the Ford Fiesta ST. We said the 200 horsepower was a bit unnecessary for a teenager, so here is our alternative. We would get our teens a Ford Fiesta with the 1.0-liter EcoBoost three cylinder engine. Your teen may scoff at having a three cylinder engine, but even a $140,000 BMW i8 has one! Ford has proved that three cylinders is enough, and the 1.0-liter EcoBoost has an adequate 123 horsepower. The EcoBoost engine is just a $995 option on the Fiesta and it even comes with a five-speed manual transmission. This will ensure that your kid can have some fun shifting their car and ragging on it (as teens do), without hitting any outrageous speeds.
Our fun choice on this list is the Mazda 3, which you can buy as either a sedan or a hatchback. We prefer the hatch because it looks less awkward and provides a little more practicality. Even without the optional 2.5-liter 184 horsepower engine, the Mazda 3 is a blast to drive. The base 2.0-liter SkyActive engine makes 155 hp, which is adequate, and a standard six-speed manual makes the driving experience even more pleasurable. If you get even a middle trim Mazda 3, you will be amazed at how BMW-like the interior looks. Mazda's interiors are by far the best in the class right now. The base Mazda 3 can get over 40 mpg and still deliver a driving experience that won't make your teen loath you.
Don't worry teens, we are still on your side! The Honda Fit may seem like a crappy choice, but it might actually the be the best designed car for teenagers. The Fit starts at just $15,890 and comes with a 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 130 hp. However, with the six-speed manual transmission, you will be able to have plenty of fun using 100% of that engine. Plus, your teen will love it when Vtec kicks in yo! With a manual transmission, your teen won't be able to text and drive and with apps on the optional touchscreen radio, or in fact touch their phone. The Fit is extremely practical with rear seats that fold down, and lift up to create a flat load floor.