Best Cars to Pass Along to Your Teenager

Last Updated Jul 8, 2010 6:58 PM EDT

Here's some advice for parents with young teenagers in the house. The next time you're in the market for a new car, consider buying one that you can pass on to your kids. Yes, you'll have to wait a few more years until you can pick up that BMW you've been eyeing. But you'll also save yourself some money a few years down the road when you'd otherwise have to go out and buy something "appropriate" for a teen driver.

In order to find the perfect "pass-along" cars, I decided to call Karl Brauer, who works at one of my favorite auto websites Edmunds.com. While coming up with his recommendations, Brauer says he was looking for vehicles with a high safety rating and a low sticker price. Here are his top five picks:

1. Ford Fusion Hybrid
The Ford Fusion Hybrid initially comes off as nothing more than your typical family sedan. But if you take a closer look, you'll notice this car is also green and sips just 39 miles per gallon (according to Edmunds.com). Plus, it's really fun to drive, Brauer says.

2. Honda Fit
This is one of my favorite cars on the road. It's cute, reliable and cheap. How cheap? You can buy one of these for just $15,000. Brauer also points out that you can fold down the backseat and open up 57 cubic feet of cargo capacity. All that room makes this a great vehicle for hauling belongings to and from a future dorm room.

3. Kia Soul
If you're looking for a hip car, the Kia Soul is it. Its boxy, youthful design gives it a unique look that appeals to both parents and teenagers alike. It also has an optional sound system that drivers rave about in customer reviews. The one downside? Owners complain that the plastic interior scratches easily.

4. Toyota RAV4
If you're looking for something a bit more high-end, the RAV4 could be for you. It's a solid crossover vehicle that's comfy, refined and fuel efficient. In terms of interior storage, Edmunds.com describes it as "cavernous" and says "it boasts more cargo room than some midsize SUVs".

5. Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V is a compact crossover vehicle with plenty of bells and whistles. But the real reason you'll want to pass this one along to junior is because it's considered one of the safest in its class.

Do you have a favorite pass-along car I missed? I'd love to know what your teen is driving.

Stacey Bradford is the author of The Wall Street Journal. Financial Guidebook for New Parents.
2010 Ford Fusion image by resedabear, courtesy of CC 2.0.
More on MoneyWatch:
Best Cars for Carpooling
Best Cars for Families with Small Kids
The Perfect Car for a Teenager
J.D. Power Picks: Great Deals on the Best-Made Cars
Auto Finance: Watch out for These Dealer Scams



  • Stacey Bradford

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