The Best Small Cars for Teenagers in 2021
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You might worry about how to buy the right car and get the best car insurance for your teenager. A smaller car might be easier to drive, but a car that’s too small can be dangerous to drive.
Fortunately, Consumer Reports (CR) can help relieve some of the pressure with their list of the best small cars that suit teen drivers. These options give you an idea about what to look for in a car for inexperienced drivers. Here are the recommendations from CR for reliable and safe small car models.
Criteria for Consumer Reports’ best new small cars list
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and CR partnered to recommend new and used cars that factor in different budgets and needs. Since used car prices are on the rise this year, CR recommends buying your teen a new car. It might be worth the additional cost, since you’ll be seeing higher prices for older models.
All the cars that CR put on the list of best new cars for teens had to meet these standards:
- Good ratings in four IIHS crash tests, and Top Safety Pick
- CR Recommendation for reliability, safety, and road-test performance
- Easy-to-use controls and good emergency handling
- Able to brake in less than 140 feet from 60 mph
- No lighter than 2,750 pounds, which are the most vulnerable vehicles
- Has standard forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking
- Four or five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
All of these vehicles are 2021 models. The list does not include cars that have much higher than average insurance costs for medical and personal injury coverage.
The best small cars of 2021
CR’s most affordable pick was the 2021 Mazda 3 starting at $20,650. This is a great sporty car with good fuel economy and standard safety features. It has high ratings for reliability and your teen might like its elegant design and quiet interior.
The 2021 Honda Insight is slightly more expensive at $23,130. This is a hybrid, and the car has a lot better mileage than the Mazda 3. The ride is comfortable with good handling, and the car has several advanced safety features available. The Honda Insight is a solid green choice.
Both the hatchback and sedan models of the 2021 Toyota Corolla are recommended. The Corolla XLE model starts at $24,425, and the XSE model at $25,925. These cars have better-than-average reliability and come with a long list of safety and driver assist features.
The 2021 Honda Civic Touring trim is also on the list. It starts at $28,600. This car got five stars from the NHTSA, and U.S. News and World Report rated it highly for its front crash prevention.
Why is it important to get a safe car for your teenager?
Car insurance for people under 25 is more expensive because teenagers are seen as drivers with higher risk. The IIHS found that 16 and 17-year-olds are four times more likely than drivers 20 and older to be involved in a fatal crash. The increased risk is reflected in higher insurance rates for young drivers.
Getting a car that has good safety features will protect a young driver as they get more driving experience. This will also lower their insurance rate because companies know that they aren't as likely to have to pay for accidents.
Just because young drivers usually pay higher rates for car insurance, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t shop around. Jerry can help make insurance shopping quick and easy. The free app collects quotes from up to 45 top insurance companies in seconds! You’ll get all of the savings and coverage, with none of the hassle.