Top 10 Cool Cars for Teens to Drive in 2023

In 2023, the characteristics that define cool cars for teens have evolved significantly, striking balance among style, technological integrations, safety, affordability, and eco-friendliness. To help teenagers and their parents navigate through the numerous car options on the market, we have curated a highly researched list of vehicles that excellently align with these demanding parameters.

1. Honda Civic

Honda Civic- A side-view shot of a shiny, new Honda Civic

The Honda Civic has continually remained a top choice for many teen drivers due to a mix of valuable factors.

a. Affordability

One of Honda’s best-selling models, the Honda Civic boasts of proven reliability (source). This ensures fewer surprise repair bills, thereby, preserving the vehicle’s long-term value while fulfilling the demands of affordability for many teens and their families.

b. Safety

Honda has integrated its proprietary Honda Sensing Suite of safety and driver-assist technologies into the Civic which adds extra layers of protection. Features such as Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Road Departure Mitigation System (RDM), and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) (source) heighten the car’s safety quotient making it a preferred choice for new drivers.

c. Fuel Efficiency

With an EPA estimated mileage of 30/38 mpg city/highway, the Honda Civic offers significant fuel efficiency that goes a long way to keep running costs down and contribute to a sustainable environment (source).

2. Toyota Corolla

An image showcasing a Toyota Corolla2

Toyota Corolla holds its own in the market as a popular choice, thanks to its unrivaled combination of value and safety features.

a. Affordability

As one of the world’s best-selling cars, the Toyota Corolla continues to prove its worth with its exceptional reliability and competitive pricing (source).

b. Safety

Equipped with the Toyota Safety Sense system, Corolla boosts driver’s confidence by offering features like lane departure alert and a pre-collision system. Other attributes include pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, and dynamic radar cruise control, ensuring a comprehensive safety package (source).

c. Fuel efficiency

The Toyota Corolla continues to maintain a high standard of fuel efficiency, matching the Honda Civic with impressive estimated fuel economy figures of 30 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway (source).

3. Hyundai Elantra

Hyundai Elantra

The Hyundai Elantra is celebrated for its friendly pricing, generous warranty, and array of safety features.

a. Affordability

The Elantra pleasantly surprises with a reasonable starting price for a new car and an unmatched 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. This ensures that any major engine or drivetrain related issues are covered for a significant period, further amplifying its value proposition (source).

b. Safety

For safety-conscious teens and parents, the Hyundai Elantra raises the bar by presenting its Hyundai SmartSense package with diverse advanced safety features. This includes Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, and Driver Attention Warning, making the Elantra a strong contender in safety (source).

c. Fuel efficiency

When it comes to fuel economy, the Elantra shines with approximately 31 miles per gallon for city driving and an impressive 41 mpg on the highway, keeping long-term fuel costs low (source).

4. Subaru Impreza

An action shot of the Subaru Impreza2

The Subaru Impreza is known for its combination of all-wheel drive capabilities, competitive pricing, and advanced safety technology, making it an appealing choice for teen drivers.

a. Affordability

Subaru has built the Impreza with competitive pricing in mind, ensuring that it remains an attractive option for families seeking an economical vehicle. The Impreza’s reputation for reliability and durability contributes to impressive longevity and a higher resale value when compared to many of its competitors(source).

b. Safety

Subaru has integrated its state-of-the-art EyeSight Driver Assist Technology into the Impreza, enhancing driver confidence and making it a secure choice for new drivers. This driver assistance system features advanced safety options such as adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, sway warning, and pre-collision braking(source).

c. Fuel Efficiency

The Subaru Impreza delivers a solid and competitive fuel economy, with EPA estimated figures of approximately 28 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. This fuel efficiency helps to keep running costs low and supports a more eco-friendly lifestyle for conscientious teen drivers(source).

5. Ford Fusion

Ford Fusion parked at a sun-dappled picnic spot3

The Ford Fusion appeals to teen drivers with its mid-size sedan features, attractive price point, advanced safety technologies, and respectable fuel efficiency.

a. Affordability

The Ford Fusion comes generously equipped at its price point, balancing comfort and performance without adding an unnecessary burden to the family budget. Its affordability and overall quality make the Fusion a smart investment for those seeking a mid-size sedan(source).

b. Safety

Enhancing its value proposition, the Ford Fusion comes equipped with the Ford Co-Pilot360 suite of advanced safety technologies, ensuring that drivers enjoy a high level of protection. This integrated safety system includes key features such as blind spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, pre-collision assist, and pedestrian detection(source).

c. Fuel Efficiency

Ford’s Fusion offers decent fuel economy by delivering EPA estimated figures of approximately 21mpg in the city and 31mpg on the highway. This fuel efficiency ensures that teen drivers can maintain a lifestyle that keeps both costs and environmental impact low(source).

6. Chevrolet Malibu

Chevrolet Malibu- Depict the Chevrolet Ma2

The Chevrolet Malibu is well-regarded for its sizable value proposition, thanks to competitive pricing, advanced safety features, and reliable fuel efficiency.

a. Affordability

Chevrolet has designed the Malibu with affordability in mind, ensuring that it is accessible to a wide range of drivers. Competitive pricing and a plethora of standard features make the Malibu an excellent option for families seeking a cost-effective yet comfortable vehicle(source).

b. Safety

Safety is key for Chevrolet Malibu, which is why it comes with the Chevrolet Safety Assist as standard. This package includes vital active safety features such as Forward Collision Alert, Automatic Emergency Braking, Front Pedestrian Braking, and more, making it a secure choice for teens and parents alike(source).

c. Fuel Efficiency

The Chevrolet Malibu presents drivers with a fuel-efficient experience, sporting EPA estimated numbers of approximately 29 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. This fuel efficiency helps to minimize long-term costs for the driver, while also contributing to a more eco-conscious lifestyle(source).

7. Mazda3

Mazda3 in motion

The Mazda3 stands out as a high quality, stylish, and affordable journey companion for teens – synonyms of safety and fuel efficiency.

a. Affordability

Possessing a sleek design which transgresses its price class, the Mazda3 is an affordable vehicle offering much more in value than what its price point suggests. It competes well with upscale compact cars thanks to its top-notch interior design and extensive features. Its unbeatable blend of performance, comfort, and affordability make it an appealing choice(source).

b. Safety

Mazda has prioritized safety in the Mazda3, offering a broad range of standard safety features via the i-Activsense suite. Features such as lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, and automatic emergency braking serve to aid drivers and mitigate potential road accidents. This commitment to safety makes it a prudent choice for teen drivers(source).

c. Fuel Efficiency

Fuel economy in the Mazda3 is a notable aspect, with the model averaging roughly 26/35 mpg in city and highway driving respectively. This allows drivers to save on fuel costs while reducing their environmental footprint, aiding not just their wallets but the planet too(source).

8. Volkswagen Jetta

A cityscape shot of the stylish Volkswagen Jetta4

The Volkswagen Jetta delivers high affordability, optimal safety, and outstanding fuel efficiency wrapped in a comfortable design.

a. Affordability

The Jetta combines luxury and affordability, providing a rich feature set at an economical price point. Its upscale interior, high-quality materials, and extensive list of features for its price renders it a valuable choice(source).

b. Safety

Volkswagen has ensured that safety is paramount in the Jetta. Its advanced suite of driver-assist technologies, known as IQ.DRIVE, comes as standard. This suite includes beneficial features like lane-keeping assist and automated emergency braking, all of which uplift driving safety to the next level(source).

c. Fuel Efficiency

Paving the way in fuel efficiency, the Volkswagen Jetta delivers impressive numbers in its class with approximately 30/40 mpg for city and highway driving respectively. Such high fuel efficiency helps investing families limit their expenditure on fuel costs in the long term while also promoting an environmentally responsible lifestyle(source).

9. Kia Soul

Kia Soul on a colorful and vibrant graffiti-covered street5

The Kia Soul is recognized for its unique design, superior value, optimum safety features, and decent fuel economy.

a. Affordability

Also known for its affordability, the Kia Soul offers unique design and superior functionality at a very competitive price point. Boasting an attractive interior for its class and delivering an impressive suite of standard features, it provides noteworthy value for money(source).

b. Safety

Safeguarding drivers is a primary commitment for Kia, with the Soul coming well-equipped with Kia’s Drive Wise Assist Technology. This includes features such as forward collision warning, lane keeping assist, and blind spot monitoring, ensuring a greater level of reassurance for the driver and passengers(source).

c. Fuel Efficiency

The Kia Soul also provides a decent fuel economy, offering approximately 27/33 mpg for city and highway driving respectively. Such efficiency allows for sensible fuel costs, while also encouraging a less environmentally impactful driving habit(source).

10. Nissan Sentra

Nissan Sentra

The Nissan Sentra is synonymous with affordability, advanced safety, and commendable fuel efficiency, making it a superb fit for many teen drivers.

a. Affordability

The Nissan Sentra is packaged as a value proposition, offering a multitude of standard features at an attractive price. Its roomy interior, well-tuned controls, and quality materials align to deliver a drive experience that feels much more expensive than the price tag would suggest(source).

b. Safety

Safety is never compromised in the Sentra, with Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 being available in all models. This suite of six advanced safety and driver-assist technologies provides comprehensive 360-degree protection, offering teens and their parents additional peace of mind on the road(source).

c. Fuel Efficiency

In regards to fuel efficiency, the Nissan Sentra fares well in its class with an EPA estimated 29/39 mpg split between city and highway driving. Such figures translate to significant fuel savings and a more eco-friendly journey over the long term(source).

What Makes Cars “Cool” for Teens?

The allure of cars for teenagers often transcends mere aesthetics. Several factors play into making a car desirable for a teenager:

a. Affordability

A pivotal aspect teens and their parents must consider is cost-effectiveness. This isn’t merely about the initial purchase price; it constitutes an array of long-term costs emanating from car ownership:

  • Purchase Price: The upfront cost of the car is inextricably the first financial evaluation. Deciding on a new, used, or leased car can significantly affect this source.
  • Resale value: A car with a high resale value can be an asset down the road when the teen moves toward their next vehicle source.
  • Warranty: Comprehensive warranties reduce the financial concerns related to possible faults or breakdowns source.

b. Safety

Safety is a non-negotiable aspect, particularly for new and inexperienced drivers. Several features contribute to making a vehicle safer:

  • Driver Assistance Features: Systems like automatic emergency braking (AEB) or lane-keep assist (LKA) can be lifesavers source.
  • Safety Ratings: A car’s performance in crash tests conducted by organizations like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives insight into its real-world safety source.
  • Visibility: Good sightlines and a rearview camera can significantly enhance safety source.

c. Stylish Design

Young drivers appreciate modern, sleek aesthetics with feature-rich, technologically advanced interiors.

  • Exterior Design: Eye-pleasing designs with a good set of rims or a sunroof can make the car stand out.
  • Interior Features: Tech-forward interiors featuring Bluetooth, touch screens, and premium audio systems can enhance the driving experience [source](https://www KelleyBlueBook.com).

d. Fuel Efficiency

Given the current global focus on the environment, eco-friendly cars with good fuel efficiency are not only cost-saving but also make a statement about one’s commitment to reducing their carbon footprint.

  • Fuel Economy: A car with excellent miles-per-gallon (MPG) numbers can result in considerable fuel cost savings source.
  • Hybrids or EVs: For teens keen on sustainability, hybrid or electric vehicles (EVs) can be ideal choices source.

The Role of Budget in Selecting Cool Cars for Teens

The overall budget for car ownership doesn’t stop at the vehicle’s purchase price. Several additional costs significantly contribute to the total expense:

a. Initial Costs

The upfront cost of the vehicle often governs the choice of a car. However, achieving good value for that investment is crucial. This value can come from the car’s features, its reputation for reliability, or possible incentives for purchase.

b. Maintenance Costs

Routine servicing, repairs, and parts replacements factor into the total cost of ownership. For this reason, cars known for their low maintenance costs – often a correlation with their reliability – have an edge.

c. Insurance Costs

Insurance premiums can be steep for inexperienced drivers, with certain car models garnering higher premiums than others. Consequently, opting for models that are statistically safer and have lower insurance costs can be a significant advantage source.

By portraying a comprehensive approach that incorporates affordability, safety, style, and fuel efficiency, this guide seeks to help teens and their parents make an informed and suitable choice when investing in their first vehicle in 2023.

Decoding the Safety Features in Cool Cars for Teens

Understanding the intricacies of car safety features can be paramount in ensuring the protection of newly-licensed teenage drivers. There are primarily two types of safety features – active and passive.

a. Active and Passive Safety Features

Active safety features are those which assist to prevent accidents before they occur. These include anti-lock braking systems (ABS), tire pressure monitoring systems, and electronic stability control (source). On the other hand, passive safety features are designed to protect occupants during the event of an accident. Examples include seatbelts, airbags, and crumple zones which absorb impact during a crash (source). Understanding the distinction between these two, and selecting a car equipped with both, can enhance a teen’s safety considerably.

b. Importance of Crash Test Ratings

Another critical aspect to consider when purchasing a car, especially for a young driver, is the crash test ratings. Opting for vehicles that have high crash test ratings from recognized organizations such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) can ensure that the vehicle has been tested comprehensively for safety under various scenarios (source, source). These rigorous crash tests provide insights into a car’s ability to protect its occupants during an accident.

c. Hands-Free Technology and Teen Drivers

Hands-free technology, or voice-controlled technology, plays a critical role in promoting driving safety, particularly among teens. It helps minimize manual and visual distractions, allowing young drivers to keep their focus where it belongs – on the road. Navigation guidance, wireless phone connections, and music control are just some areas where hands-free technology can be applied, significantly reducing cognitive distractions(source).

Understanding Fuel Efficiency: Eco-friendly Cool Cars for Teens

a. Choosing a Fuel-efficient Car

In addition to safety, the efficiency of fuel usage is also an element to consider when choosing a car for teens. Fuel-efficient cars lead to lower running costs, thus easing the financial burden on the family. Simultaneously, they play a role in reducing environmental impact, contributing to lowering carbon footprints, and promoting a greener planet (source).

Conclusion: Making the Right Choice for the Best Cool Cars for Teens in 2023

a. Balancing Economics, Safety, and Sustainability

The right car accomplishes much. It’s not just about getting from point A to point B. The ideal vehicle balances economics, safety, and sustainability, and achieves this while remaining visually appealing to teenage drivers. The “cool” factor is essential, but should never forego the fundamental considerations for an informed and sensible decision.

b. Top Picks for 2023

With the list of top picks for 2023, teenagers and their families are armed with a well-rounded understanding of what to look out for when selecting their preferred vehicle. By considering affordability, reliability, safety, and environmental impact, families can ensure that their teens are well-equipped for the road, fostering a safe and responsible driving culture for their loved ones (source).

licensed car insurance riding in his car
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