Car Industry

Hyundai Accent, Volkswagen Jetta nab best new cars for teens accolades

The Toyota Prius and Hyundai Tucson also top the best used cars list.


With kids heading back to school, it may be time to research a new set of wheels to make sure they have reliable and safe transportation. On Tuesday, US News & World Report returns with its 2019 list of the best new and used cars for teens and there's something for the budget-conscious and those looking to dabble in more technology.

First up, let's have a look at the best new cars for teens, per US News' rankings. Like previous studies, it capped segments into price categories: There's a choice for best new car and new SUV under $20,000 and selections within $5,000 increments. New cars are no more expensive than $40,000 on the list.

The most affordable new-car choice on the list is the Hyundai Accent. The Korean subcompact car falls under $20,000 in the Limited trim, and to parents' delight, it comes with a suite of active safety features. Namely, automatic emergency braking is standard. Looking at cars between $20,000 and $25,000, the Volkswagen Jetta earns the pick. Opt for the SE trim and a slew of active safety features will be onboard keeping young drivers safe at all times.

For SUVs, the Honda HR-V received the nod for the $20,000-$25,000 category, while the Kia Soul (we'd hardly call it an SUV) was the top pick for the $25,000-$30,000 category. Both have high predicted reliability ratings, return good fuel economy and offer active safety equipment within the price bracket. US News places a heavy emphasis on standard safety features to ensure teen drivers are in good hands.

Climbing up the price hierarchy, the Kia Forte, Toyota Camry, Hyundai Santa Fe, Toyota RAV4 and Camry Hybrid all earn a spot on the best new cars for teen drivers.

Let's face it: Most teen drivers and parents are likely on a tighter budget. That's where a used car may fit the bill, especially with oodles of modern cars coming in from lease periods. Here, US News broke its picks down by size since used-car prices vary. Each car comes from the 2016 model year.

For a small car, the Toyota Prius is the recommended pick, while the Hyundai Tucson earned the choice for a small SUV. Both are Top Safety Pick Plus winners from the IIHS. The Toyota Camry shows up again on the used-car list for best midsize sedan, while the Buick LaCrosse was named the best large luxury car for teens. Back on the SUV front, the Chevrolet Traverse topped the list. The GM vehicles each come with a Teen Driver System to help parents monitor driving habits and set parameters. Want the music to stay muted until everyone is buckled? No problem.

Flip through the gallery below to look at the top picks. Each car should certainly provide peace of mind for young drivers -- and their parents.

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