The Honda Fit is the most affordable car on the new car list.
It's a clear choice, because it's small, efficient, reliable and safe -- but sadly, it won't be around next year.
The Toyota Corolla has long been a favorite of no-nonsense parents as a first car for their kids.
With typical Toyota reliability as well as lots of standard safety, this one is a no-brainer.
Ford's Escape is new, and while its looks might not be for everyone, the driving experience is pretty decent.
Like the other vehicles on the list, the standard safety and connectivity features make this a strong contender.
The Optima won't be the Optima for long, but that doesn't mean it's not a fantastic midsize car at an affordable price.
Kia is really making it tough on other brands with its blend of styling, build quality and epic warranty.
It's still a brand-new Kia, so the bits about the Optima apply, but it's a small SUV so it's probably going to get your kid more street cred.
You don't give up much in terms of visibility or efficiency when moving to an SUV from here, and that's a big positive.
The recently redesigned Sonata is a stunner both inside and out.
The car is easily the boldest-looking in its class and brings it all together for a price that is shockingly reasonable.
Nissan's Rogue has long been one of the most popular smallish SUVs on the market because, like most Nissans, what it doesn't offer in interesting styling or driving dynamics, it makes up for in practicality.
The Rogue is coming out with some hot new looks, so this last-of-its-generation body style should be available for a song, even with the awesome ProPilot Assist.
It's a Camry and it's a hybrid. This car is like catnip to practical parents.
The Camry Hybrid offers stellar fuel economy, excellent crash ratings and surprisingly awesome resale value. It won't win your kid a lot of popularity contests though.
The Hyundai Santa Fe got a recent restyle to look more like its bigger brother, the Palisade, and that's not a bad thing.
Like the other Hyundais and Kias on the list, its safety and infotainment tech is formidable as is its warranty and build quality.