Buying a Used Car for Your Teen Driver


Buying a used car can always seem a little bit daunting. No matter how great of a deal you get, it’s always a sizable financial investment. And no matter how well-engineered and reliable today’s vehicles are, there’s always that nagging worry that you’ll end up with a lemon. But while buying a vehicle for yourself can certainly be perilous, it’s far more worrying when you’re buying for someone else—specifically, for your teenaged son or daughter, with a brand-new driver’s license in hand.

When buying a used car for your teen driver, there are many considerations to weigh at once—your budget, your teen’s safety, and of course your teen’s desire for something that’s reasonably fun and cool.

The Best Used Cars for Young Drivers

So which vehicles come the most highly recommended for teen drivers? Which makes and models should you be looking for at your nearest used car dealership?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety—a group devoted to upholding automotive safety—has just released its recommendations. For parents of teenage drivers, this list is an invaluable resource.

In fact, the list is helpfully broken down into different sections—price segments, and also vehicle types. No matter what your budget is, you can find something for your teen driver on this list.

What’s On the List?

The complete list is available elsewhere; we won’t reprint it all here, but we will summarize some highlights.

Used Cars Under $20,000

  • Volvo S80 (2007 and newer)
  • Toyota Avalon (2015 and newer)
  • Infiniti M37/M56/Q70 (2013 and newer)
  • Dodge Avenger (2011-14)
  • Chrysler 200 sedan (2011 and newer)
  • Kia Optima (2011 and newer)
  • Volkswagen Passat (2013 and newer; built after October 2012)
  • Volkswagen Jetta (2015 and newer)
  • Nissan Altima sedan (2013 and newer; built after November 2012)
  • Ford Fusion (2013 and newer; built after December 2012)
  • Mitsubishi Outlander (2014 and newer)
  • Chevrolet Trax (2015 and newer)
  • Fiat 500X (2016 and newer; built after July 2015)
  • Nissan Rogue (2014 and newer)
  • Buick Encore (2015 and newer)
  • Chevrolet Equinox (2014 and newer)
  • GMC Terrain (2014 and newer)

Used Cars Under $10,000

  • Toyota Avalon (2009-14)
  • Buick LaCrosse (2010 and newer)
  • Lincoln MKS (2009 and newer)
  • Buick Regal (2011 and newer)
  • Saab 9-5 (2010-11)
  • Acura RL (2009 and newer)
  • Buick Verano (2012-15)
  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class (2009 and newer)
  • Toyota Camry (2012-13)
  • Subaru Forester (2007-13)
  • Ford Escape (2009 and newer)
  • Toyota Tundra Double Cab (2007-13)
  • Ford F-150 SuperCrew (2009 and newer)

Find the Best Used Car for Your Teen Driver

Again, this is just a snapshot of the list, meant to provide you with a sense of its scope and specificity. We recommend looking up the whole thing, and using it as a guide while you seek a used car, SUV, or truck for your young motorist.

You’ll find that you can get good, safe, reliable vehicles—for a reasonable price. Start seeking the used car for your teen driver today—and if you need any help, reach out to Get My Auto.

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