If you’re shopping for a new car for your teenager, these picks aced the government crash tests and have extra appealing safety features.

By Karen Cicero
April 08, 2020
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Illustration by Francesca Spatola; Courtesy of Chevrolet

Deciding on your teen's first car is no small feat. Check out our top picks for 2020 that not only have what parents want, but what kids want, too.

Chevrolet Equinox

Starting at $23,800

Why You’ll Like It This two-row SUV (pictured above!) received a perfect overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It’s also one of Parents Best Family Cars so it’s a good pick for you to use to haul around your whole crew now, and pass down to your teen for college. The Equinox also includes Chevrolet’s awesome Teen Driver Technology: You can set a speed alert, a volume limit, and track your teen’s driving performance. Plus, teens won’t be able to stream their music until passengers in the front seat are buckled.

Why Teens Will Like It The Equinox’s modern interior and practically effortless steering will appeal to teen drivers. Auto reporter Rob Stumpf notes that highway driving in the Equinox is “comfortable and low-noise” so teens won’t feel as stressed when they venture onto busier roads.

Toyota Camry

Courtesy of Toyota

Starting at $24,425

Why You’ll Like It Both the hybrid and gas-powered Camry received perfect ratings in all categories from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Camry’s safety technology will also give you peace of mind. For instance, the “lane departure alert” will beep if your teen inadvertently veers out of the lane—a common occurrence for beginning drivers.

Why Teens Will Like It The Camry looks sportier than most mid-sized sedans and is easy to handle. The hybrid version can run more than 50 miles on a gallon of gas—a win-win for teens who are conscious of both the environment and their budget.

Honda Civic

Courtesy of Honda

Starting at $20,650

Why You’ll Like It The four-door Civic and the recently redesigned hatchback both nabbed perfect ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (The two-door version got marked down a bit in the frontal crash category, but still ended up with a five out of five overall rating.) Many safety features, including applying pressure if It detects a collision, come standard as part of the Honda Sensing system.

Why Teens Will Like It Its smallish size and easy handling makes it a perfect car for learning to drive. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay enable teens to stream their fave tunes without touching their phone.

Subaru Impreza

Courtesy of Subaru

Starting at $18,695

Why You’ll Like It Both the roomy sedan and five-door hatchback received a perfect score in all categories from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. All wheel drive, a feature that provides better traction on wet roads, comes standard on all models. Plus, 97 percent of the Imprezas sold in the last 10 years are still on the road today so your teen will likely have the vehicle through college and beyond. (Or get a good price for a trade-in.)

Why Teens Will Like It The Impreza fits all their stuff! When you fold down the back seats, there’s so much room to haul belongings to college or sports equipment for a weekend adventure.

Kia Optima

Courtesy of Kia

Starting at $23,390

Why You’ll Like It Both the hybrid and gas-powered Optimas earned the top ratings in all categories from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Standard safety features include a blind spot collision warning: Sensors in the rear bumper alert drivers if they detect an approaching vehicle in their blind spot. It’s especially helpful because beginning drivers have a hard time fully grasping the concept of blind spots.

Why Teens Will Like It It’s sportier than most mid-sized sedans so they won’t feel like they’re driving their grandparents’ hand-me-down. A six-speaker audio system and large touch display with a rear camera are standard features with teen appeal.

More Best Family Car Winners

Priscilla Gragg

Check out our overall top 20 car picks for 2020 that scored a spot Parents' annual winners list, including the best minivans, SUVs, and sedans for families. See the Winners

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