Best Cars for New Drivers

Safe and Affordable Cars for New Drivers

Whether you’re a recently licensed driver or you’re buying a car for a novice driver, there are a few things you should keep in mind when you’re in the process of buying a new car. Safety is probably the biggest concern if you’re buying a car for a teenager. Most cars have advanced safety systems like blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and collision mitigation braking. Technology plays a big part in our lives, so you may also consider a vehicle that has the latest features like Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ so you or your teen can stay in touch with family and friends while traveling. Gas mileage and cargo space may also be high on the priority list especially if a vehicle is needed for the college experience or to start life after college. Based on these factors, Germain Cars has created a full list of vehicles we recommend for new drivers.


Safe and Affordable Sedans

 

2018 Ford Focus

2018 Ford Focus

NHTSA 5-Star Overall Safety Rating

NHTSA 5-Star Overall Safety Rating

There are many reasons why the fun and youthful Ford Focus ranks among the best compact sedans on the market. One reason in particular is the driving experience, offering excellent handling and a responsive ride. SYNC® 3 with Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ allows new drivers to safely stay connected to the outside world while Ford MyKey® technology helps parents encourage their teenagers to drive responsibly. Safety features found on the Focus include a standard Rear View Camera. Available driver-assistive technologies include a Lane-Keeping System, Active Park Assist, Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert, and Reverse Sensing System. The 2018 Ford Focus earned a 5-Star overall crash-test rating from the NHTSA, giving parents and new drivers peace of mind.

Key Features

  • Starting at $17,860 MSRP*
  • Driver-Assist Technologies
  • Available in Hatchback, Sedan and Battery-Electric Variants
  • EPA-estimated 25 MPG city / 34 MPG hwy*
  • Available Voice-Activated Navigation System with SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link®
  • AdvanceTrac® ESC (Electronic Stability Control) with Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS)

*Starting MSRP excludes destination/delivery charge, taxes, title and registration. Optional equipment not included. Starting A, Z and X Plan price is for qualified, eligible customers and excludes document fee, destination/delivery charge, taxes, title and registration. Not all vehicles qualify for A, Z or X Plan.

EPA-estimated city/hwy mpg for the model indicated. See fueleconomy.gov for fuel economy of other engine/transmission combinations. Actual mileage will vary.


2018 Honda Civic

2018 Honda Civic

NHTSA 5-Star Overall Safety Rating

NHTSA 5-Star Overall Safety Rating

2017 IIHS Top Safety Pick

When equipped with front crash prevention, the Honda Civic earned the 2017 IIHS Top Safety Pick. To qualify for 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK, a vehicle must earn good ratings in five crashworthiness tests — small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints — as well as an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention.

 

Known for its reliability, safety, and ease of use – the 2018 Honda Civic remains a top choice for parents searching for their teen’s first car. Following a complete redesign in 2016, the Civic builds on these key strengths while adding sportiness to the exterior design. On the outside, the bold and aggressive styling is sure to turn heads. Inside, the cabin features premium materials and a driver-focused layout. Not only can you cruise in complete style behind the wheel of a Honda Civic, you can also do so knowing you’re protected from the unexpected. Available Honda Sensing™ includes a suite of features that can assist and help you sense things you might miss while driving. The Honda Civic has achieved a 5-star overall safety rating from NHTSA and was named a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS. New drivers will also appreciate its excellent fuel efficiency, with an EPA-estimated rating of up to 28 MPG city and 40 MPG highway*.

Key Features

  • Starting at $19,790 MSRP*
  • 6-speed manual or available continuously variable transmission (CVT)
  • Available Honda Sensing® suite of safety and driver-assistive features
  • EPA-estimated 28 MPG city / 40 MPG hwy*
  • Optional Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with voice recognition
  • Available LED headlights (low & high beam) with auto-on/off

*MSRP excluding tax, license, registration and options, but includes $895.00 destination charge. Dealers set own prices.

28 city/40 highway/32 combined mpg rating for LX model with 6-speed manual transmission. 31 city/40 highway/34 combined mpg rating for LX & EX CVT models. 31 city/42 highway/35 combined mpg rating for EX-T model with 6-speed manual transmission. 32 city/42 highway/36 combined mpg rating for EX-T, EX-L and Touring CVT models. Based on 2018 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions and other factors.


Toyota Yaris iA

Toyota Yaris iA

NHTSA 5-Star Overall Safety Rating

NHTSA 5-Star Overall Safety Rating

2017 IIHS Top Safety Pick

To qualify for 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK, a vehicle must earn good ratings in five crashworthiness tests — small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints — as well as an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention.

 

The 2018 Toyota Yaris iA is a subcompact sedan which offers fuel efficiency, affordability, and eye-catching style. Sure to be a hit with both parents and new drivers, the Yaris iA includes standard features such as remote keyless entry w/Push Button Start, 7-inch touch-screen display audio, and Bluetooth® streaming audio capability. Thanks to a combination of outstanding fuel efficiency and active safety features, the Toyota Yaris iA is ready to go the distance. The standard Active Safety System includes Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Traction Control System (TCS), and Brake Assist (BA) for added confidence and peace of mind. Named a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS and receiving a 5-Star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, the 2018 Toyota Yaris iA proves to be a top choice for new drivers.

Key Features

  • Starting at $16,845 MSRP*
  • Active Safety System — includes Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Traction Control System (TCS), Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Brake Override System (BOS)
  • 7-inch touch-screen display audio
  • 60/40 split fold-down rear seats
  • 2 USB ports with iPod® connectivity
  • EPA-estimated 32 MPG city / 40 MPG hwy*

*MSRP includes the Delivery, Processing, and Handling Fee of $895. Excludes taxes, license, title and available or regionally related equipment. Actual dealer price will vary.

2018 EPA-estimated mileage. Actual mileage will vary.


2018 Volkswagen Jetta

2018 Volkswagen Jetta

NHTSA 5-Star Overall Safety Rating

NHTSA 5-Star Overall Safety Rating

2017 IIHS Top Safety Pick+

When equipped with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights, the Volkswagen Jetta earns the 2017 IIHS Top Safety Pick+. To qualify for 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK+, a vehicle must earn good ratings in the five crashworthiness tests, an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention and an acceptable or good headlight rating.

 

Generous cargo capacity and passenger room, fuel efficient four-cylinder engines, and athletic handling are characteristics of the 2018 Volkswagen Jetta that make it a great choice for young drivers. Select your favorite apps from your compatible iPhone or Android smartphone right on your dash with VW Car-Net® App-Connect. VW Car-Net® Guide & Inform gives you access to host of features like navigation, sports scores, weather information and much more. Advanced driver assistance features that sense and adapt to driving conditions include Park Pilot, Blind Spot Monitor, Front Assist, Rear Traffic Alert, and Adaptive Cruise Control. The Volkswagen Jetta is a proud IIHS Top Safety Pick+ winner and has a 5-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA, making it an ideal choice for a young driver.

Key Features

  • Starting at $18,645 MSRP
  • EPA-estimated 28 MPG city / 40 MPG hwy*
  • Available Volkswagen Car-Net® App-Connect
  • Rear View Camera System
  • Bluetooth® technology with audio streaming for compatible devices
  • Intelligent Crash Response System (ICRS)

*28 city/40 highway MPG (2018 Jetta 1.4L, 5-speed manual transmission). EPA estimates. Your mileage will vary and depends on several factors, including your driving habits and vehicle condition.


Safe and Affordable Compact-Crossovers

 

2018 Toyota RAV4

2018 Toyota RAV4

NHTSA 5-Star Overall Safety Rating

NHTSA 5-Star Overall Safety Rating

2017 IIHS Top Safety Pick+

When equipped with specific headlights, the Toyota RAV4 earns the 2017 IIHS Top Safety Pick+. To qualify for 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK+, a vehicle must earn good ratings in the five crashworthiness tests, an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention and an acceptable or good headlight rating.

 

The 2018 Toyota RAV4 is a great companion for new drivers. Generous amounts of cargo space make it perfect for moving into a dorm or bringing your gear along for a weekend getaway. Regardless of your destination, the available all-wheel drive system can help you conquer harsh weather conditions on your commute. Perfect for young drivers, the RAV4 has a standard backup camera along with an optional Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan to make maneuvering in or out of a tight parking space less intimidating. A suite of integrated safety systems known as Toyota Safety Sense™ P (TSS-P) is found on every Toyota RAV4 to help support your awareness and decision-making on the road. Connectivity features such as Bluetooth streaming audio and Entune® App Suite are sure to be a hit with even the most tech-savvy teen drivers.

Key Features

  • Starting at $25,405 MSRP*
  • Available Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan
  • Up to 73.4 cubic feet of cargo capacity
  • EPA-estimated 23 MPG city / 30 MPG hwy*
  • Standard Toyota Safety Sense™ P (TSS-P)
  • Available Dynamic Torque-Control AWD

*MSRP includes the Delivery, Processing, and Handling Fee of $995. Excludes taxes, license, title and available or regionally related equipment. Actual dealer price will vary.

2018 EPA-estimated mileage. Actual mileage will vary.


2018 Ford Edge

2018 Ford Edge

NHTSA 5-Star Overall Safety Rating

NHTSA 5-Star Overall Safety Rating

 

Not too big and not too small, the 2018 Ford Edge is the perfect-sized crossover for young drivers. With three available engines, the one that’s sure to be the biggest hit with teen drivers and parents alike is the 2.0-liter EcoBoost® which offers an EPA-estimated 29 hwy MPG fuel economy rating. Aside from fuel-saving performance, the Edge offers technology that’s intuitive and quick to use. Available SYNC®3 can easily respond to voice commands while the sleek touchscreen display places important information front-and-center. Enjoy excellent versatility and cargo-carrying ability from the practical crossover layout of the Edge. Standard safety equipment includes traction and stability control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, rearview camera, and hill start assist. Ford MyKey® technology helps encourage young drivers to travel more responsibly. The Ford Edge has earned a 5-star overall safety rating from NHTSA, giving you a peace of mind.

Key Features

  • Starting at $29,220 MSRP*
  • EPA-estimated 21 MPG city / 29 MPG hwy*
  • Up to 73.4 cubic feet of cargo space (second-row seats folded down)
  • SYNC®3 Technology
  • Available Driver Assistance Systems
  • Optional All-Wheel Drive

*Starting MSRP excludes destination/delivery charge, taxes, title and registration. Optional equipment not included. Starting A, Z and X Plan price is for qualified, eligible customers and excludes document fee, destination/delivery charge, taxes, title and registration. Not all vehicles qualify for A, Z or X Plan.

EPA-estimated city/hwy mpg for the model indicated. See fueleconomy.gov for fuel economy of other engine/transmission combinations. Actual mileage will vary.


2018 Honda CR-V

2018 Honda CR-V

NHTSA 5-Star Overall Safety Rating

NHTSA 5-Star Overall Safety Rating

2018 IIHS Top Safety Pick+

When equipped with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights, the Honda CR-V earns the 2018 IIHS Top Safety Pick. To qualify for 2018 TOP SAFETY PICK, a vehicle must earn good ratings in the five crashworthiness tests, an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention and an acceptable or good headlight rating.

 

With an available leather-trimmed interior, spacious seating for five, and technology to make life on the road more enjoyable – the 2018 Honda CR-V is committed to comfort and convenience. Perfect for young drivers, the CR-V delivers an array of available advanced safety features including Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Blind Spot Information System (BSI), and Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS). Optional turbocharged engine power helps the Honda CR-V achieve an EPA-estimated 28 MPG city and 34 MPH hwy fuel economy rating. Standard 60/40 split folding rear seats help create a variety of seating and cargo options for transporting your gear and passengers. As a recipient of safety awards from both the IIHS and NHTSA, the 2018 Honda CR-V is a top choice for young drivers.

Key Features

  • Starting at $25,125 MSRP*
  • Available Real Time All-Wheel Drive
  • EPA-estimated 28 MPG city / 34 MPG hwy*
  • Optional Hands-Free Access Power Tailgate
  • Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® and streaming audio
  • Multi-angle rearview camera with guidelines

*MSRP excluding tax,license, registration and options, but includes $975.00 destination charge. Dealers set own prices.

26 city/32 highway/28 combined mpg rating for 2WD LX with CVT model. 25 city/31 highway/27 combined mpg rating for AWD LX with CVT model. 28 city/34 highway/30 combined MPG rating for 2WD EX, EX-L, and Touring with CVT models. 27 city/33 highway/29 combined mpg rating for AWD EX, EX-L, and Touring with CVT models. Based on 2018 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.


Safe and Affordable Subcompact

 

2018 MINI Cooper Hardtop 2-Door

2018 MINI Cooper Hardtop 2-Door

2018 IIHS Top Safety Pick

When equipped with optional front crash prevention and only applies to Hardtop 2-door models, the MINI Cooper Hardtop 2-Door, earns the 2017 IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK. To qualify for 2017 TOP SAFETY PICK, a vehicle must earn good ratings in five crashworthiness tests — small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints — as well as an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention.

 

Few vehicles on the road offer the iconic spirit and unique character of the MINI Cooper Hardtop 2-Door. It delivers precise handling and nimble responsiveness which is sure to be a hit with young drivers. Technology features like MINI Connected allows you to integrate all of your favorite apps into your MINI — from Spotify® and Pandora® to hardware like GoPro® and much more. Regardless of your daily commute, you’ll make fewer stops at the pump with an EPA estimate of 28 MPG city and 38 MPG highway. The MINI Cooper Hardtop 2-Door will not only make a young driver look stylish, but will give a parent peace of mind. Safety features include optional adaptive cruise control, optional head-up display, eight dual-stage airbags, and corner brake control. There’s also optional parking assist to make maneuvering out of a tight space that much easier. Endless personalization options from MINI Yours help the MINI Cooper Hardtop 2-Door reflect your own unique personality.

Key Features

  • Starting at $22,450 MSRP*
  • EPA-estimated 28 MPG city / 38 MPG hwy*
  • MINI Connected system with 6.5-inch multifunction center display
  • Optional harman/kardon® premium sound with SiriusXM® Satellite Radio
  • Available Parking Assistant
  • Optional Navigation with Real Time Traffic

*Model year 2018 MSRP includes destination and handling charge of $850 and excludes license, registration, taxes and options and labor to install. Certain features may be optional. Actual price determined by your authorized MINI dealer.