Few things are scarier for a parent than your teen getting their first car, but that’s an inevitable part of both of your lives. You can spend hours teaching your child the skills and knowledge they need to be safe on the road, but in the end, you have to let them go out on their own. The best you can do once the law says they’re ready to drive on their own is buy them a car that’s safe, reliable, and not too fast.
Finding that perfect car for your teen driver isn’t easy. Luckily, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety regularly puts together a list of the best cars for teen drivers. The IIHS also lists prices given by Kelley Blue Book. We’ve taken that list and distilled it down to the 25 safest and most affordable used cars you can buy today. These are cars that scored a good or acceptable rating in all crashworthiness testing and received four stars or better from government crash testing. Additionally, all cars listed come with electronic stability control, and performance cars are excluded no matter how safe they are. With this list, you’ll find the vehicle that’s just right for your teen.
1. Volvo XC90 (2005 and newer)
Price: From $2,500
If we could choose only one automaker for this list, it’d be Volvo. The company has been known as “The Safety Brand” since the 1950s, and it just so happens that its used vehicles are very affordable, too. Take the Volvo XC90 for example. It’s a large, safe, seven-passenger SUV that can be had with a five-cylinder, inline six-cylinder, or V8 engine under the hood. The XC90 is a great first car because it’s not fast or sporty, but is reliable and has plenty of room.