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Safest Used Cars Under $10,000 for Teen Drivers

All parents want the best for their children. Once they become a teen driver, you want them to be safe and protected while driving out in the world.

When buying a car, you’ll want to ensure you get all the latest safety technology to protect your teen driver, but for most parents, buying a new car for their teenager is out of reach.

There are many used cars, much more affordable, that come equipped with some of the most important safety features to protect your teen.

Consumer Reports did a study on what’s the most essential safety options considered on a vehicle. Once they completed the study, they compiled the below list to help you find a safe and reliable vehicle to protect your teen.

What Makes a Vehicle Safe for a Teen Driver?

  • Front, Side, and Curtain Airbags – Front airbags became mandatory in 1999. Side and curtain airbags are a critical safety item during a side collision. Not only do they protect passengers from impact and flying glass, they can also help keep the passengers from being ejected from the vehicle during an accident.
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC) – ESC is a computerized technology that improves a vehicle’s stability by detecting and reducing loss of traction. Vehicles that are equipped with ESC will also have antilock brakes and most likely traction control. Beginning in 2012, it became mandatory vehicles must be equipped with ESC, but most manufacturers included it earlier as standard equipment.
  • Vehicle Size and Weight – The rumor is, “the-bigger-the-better.” However, you don’t want to go too big. Size and weight to play a significant role in safety, the recommended vehicle size is midsize or larger sedan. These are better for teens instead of SUVs, because the center of gravity is lower and gives them better stability for handling emergency maneuvers.
  • Handles Well – The vehicle must not be too fast or slow, have good stopping distance and handle well in emergency driving conditions.

Instead of letting your teen driver borrow your car this weekend, give yourself peace of mind knowing they’re driving one of the recommended vehicles off this list.

Safe and Reliable Cars for Teen Drivers Under $10,000

Year RangeVehicleStarting Price
2009 – 2012 4-cyl.Chevrolet MalibuStarting at: $8,125
2009 – 2011Ford FocusStarting at: $6,050
2010 – 2012 4-cyl. and HybridFord FusionStarting at: $8,325
2006 – 2014 4-cyl and non-turboHyundai SonataStarting at: $5,450
2010 – 2011Kia SoulStarting at: $8,925
2011 – 2013Mazda3Starting at: $9,825
2009 – 2013 4-cyl.Mazda6iStarting at: $8,375
2004 – 2012 4-cyl.Toyota RAV4Starting at: $5,590
2009 – 2010 4-cyl.Volkswagen JettaStarting at: $7,250
2009 – 2014Volkswagen Rabbit/GolfStarting at $7,700

If you’re considering the purchase of a pre-owned vehicle for your teen driver, I recommend using a free online referral services such as Ryde Shopper and Motor Trend. These services will tell you what others are paying for the vehicle you’re considering in your local area and which dealers give the greatest discounts.