As difficult as it may be to believe, it's back-to-school time for students as the vacation days of summer are winding to a close. For a number of teenagers, though, this fall will be the first time that they become fully licensed drivers, having completed the necessary coursework to be regular roadway users.
Unless they have a hand-me-down, this means that 16-year-olds will be needing a car, ideally one that's not only safe to drive, but easy on the wallet. With these highly desirable automotive qualities in mind, U.S. News & World Report recently released its top selections of vehicles that teens – and, perhaps more importantly, parents – will love.
Jamie Page Deaton, U.S. News Best Cars Managing Editor, indicated that parents experience a wave of emotions when kids get their "ticket to ride."
"Having a new driver in the family is both exciting and nerve-wracking," Deaton explained.
She added that even though many moms and dads opt for used cars in order to save money, it's worth their while to go all-new, if for no other reason than the added safety benefits virtually all of them are outfitted with these days.
"The 2016 Best Cars for Teens are some of the safest options on the road, giving parents a little peace of mind," Deaton continued.
Here are a few of the vehicles U.S. News & World Report picked as highly ideal for young, newly licensed motorists that push all the right buttons for parents too:
Subcompact or compact? That is the question. Though there's little difference between the two in terms of size – subcompacts are slightly smaller – perhaps the biggest is what they sell for. Similar to its subcompact contemporaries, the Chevrolet Sonic sells for less. With a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $18,000, what makes its selling price particularly attractive is that's the estimate when including a number of optional safety features like lane departure warning, forward collision warning and rearview camera. The Sonic has also received rave reviews from proponent government affiliated organizations like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The Kia Soul has been the subject of critical acclaim from the likes of Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.com. U.S. News & World Report thinks highly of the Soul as well, thanks to its interior technology that guard against distracted driving and accident avoidance capabilities. Plus, at an MSRP of less than $23,000 it's fairly easy on the wallet, not to mention the eyes.
For the active teen – perhaps one whose extracurricular activities call for added elbow room in the interior – the Mazda 3 more than measures up, offering an impressive 47.1 cubic feet once the back seat is appropriately adjusted. Safety isn't sacrificed for function, which parents will be glad to know, earning a Top Safety Pick+ designation by IIHS, thanks in part to tech features that weren't available less than a decade ago, such as blind spot monitoring and brake assist. With these and other optional add-ons, the Mazda 3 sells for just under $26,900.
Check out U.S. News & World Report's full review for the other picks parents and teens are bound to agree on.