Flights of Fancy Mom

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Top 4 First Cars For Your Teen Driver

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It’s come to that time in my life that I’ve been dreading, but, waiting for with excitement!  Next year, I will have a teen driver in my house! Her father and I have started to discuss getting her a car.  We are making the decision to get her one that will (hopefully) last her six to eight years.  This will get her through college and started in her profession. We figure the car will be a minimum of nine years old and preferably with less than 90k miles on it.  I was even looking at SUVs, because we live out in the country, and figured she should have an all-wheel drive for bad weather, but, her father suggested against that due to less gas mileage and more expensive to upkeep.  Good reasons of course. So, back to cars, we go for our teen driver!

He and I are both putting in a minimum of $2,000 to $3,000 because we don’t want to get her a junker. As stated, we want it to last awhile! So, I took to Kelley Blue Book and researched car values and which ones had better gas mileage per gallon. Since she will be paying for her own gas, it’s the least we can do, lol. Here are the top four that I came up within the $6,000 range:

  • 2004 Toyota Corolla: We all knew this would make the list! Toyota makes great cars, to begin with. So, we know they will last a long time! The 2004 Corolla gets 24/City and 34/Hwy. It’s an automatic, which, just starting out, is good for any teen. This is a four-door car, which, may be better for car insurance.  It won’t be considered a sports car. Actually, do they even look at it that way anymore?  I’ve had one car, years and years ago that was a two door and I laughed when they told me it was a sports car. Per KBB, the “Suggested Retail Price” is $5,128.00.

teen driver

  • 2008 Ford Focus: Ford is not a bad brand at all. Although, I will admit my surprise when I saw that it was made in Mexico.  I thought all Ford cars were American made! The Focus offers 24/City and 33/Hwy per gallon. Again, not bad at all! The Focus comes in automatic and 4-Speed with overdrive.  The mischievous parent in me wants to get her this one and make her learn to drive a stick shift before she can drive her car. 😛  This car only has two doors, which, I know is what she prefers for her car. Not what I prefer for our insurance! Per KBB, the “Suggested Retail Price” is $5,633.00.

Image result for 2008 ford focus

  • 2007 Hyundai Elantra: Hyundai’s are another great car. Great design and well developed. They offer 25/City and 33/Hwy per gallon. I remember wanting an Elantra when I was a teen because it was pretty. But, alas, I ended up with a Pontiac Phoenix.  That thing was a steel boat!  The Elantra comes in the 4 door model.  Per KBB, the “Suggested Retail Price” is $5,373.00.

  • 2005 Toyota Prius: Say what you will about a Prius, but, hello… Toyota!  They made my list twice and the Prius is actually my top pick because of gas mileage.  It offers 48/City 45/Hwy. For a mid first decade car, that is the best you’re going to find!  And when your teen driver is the one paying for gas? Let’s find them the best deal we can :). The Prius comes in the 4 door model. Per KBB, the “Suggested Retail Price” is $5,817.00.

Image result for 2005 toyota prius

Looking at the pictures, it’s funny how they all pretty much look alike. I guess that was the design of its time!  Not bad looking cars, though.

The pricing that you see here, these cars are with mileage OVER 100k. As stated, we are hoping to get a car with less than 90k miles on it for longevity. So, if we were to choose one of these four cars, we would have to get lucky, or, modify the year of the car.

For your teen driver, what car did they end up getting? What did you like or dislike about it?


  1. foodyschmoody

    We just went through this last year. These all are safe options. My husband and I both have always had SUV’s so that is what our daughter was most comfortable in, so we went that route. Good luck w/ your new driver, it’s so stressful.

  2. Lisa (@blm03)

    My first car was a Chevy Cavalier. And it took looked like most of what you picked up above! LOL

  3. Dee

    I remember that my first car was a 1986 Ford Escorts and I loved that car. Its great that you took the time to research the cars that would best for teens today and ones that wouldn’t break you bank to give to them.

  4. Pam Wattenbarger

    Corollas were really popular when my daughter was learning to drive. Several of her friends had Toyota Corollas back then.

  5. Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz (@paulabendfeldt)

    These sound like great options for teen drivers. I’m not looking forward to my kids driving but it’s getting close!

  6. Liz Mays

    These sound like some good ones to choose from. I think a car with good gas mileage helps a lot when they need to save while working at their first jobs.

  7. tiarasandtantrums

    We were just having this conversation yesterday with my son. We are giving him our old SUV, because well, it’s paid in full and it’s safe. He wants fast and flashy – totally not happening.

  8. brandyellen

    These are great first car ideas. I remmeber my first car was one I bought from my aunt and uncle for $300. A 1989 Ford Taurus. Got me around to work and where I needed to go for a few years.

  9. Eileen Mendoza Loya

    The Toyota Prius would be my top choice too, if I had to buy a car for a teen. The miles per gallon is excellent! My children are all grown up and have their own cars, but I will share this information with my cousin whose youngest daughter starts college in the fall.

  10. Angelic Sinova (@SimplySinova)

    These are all great options for a teen/first car. I know a lot of people who got Ford Focus’s for their first cars and years later they’re still running smoothly.

  11. Chrishelle Ebner (@FantasticMrsMom)

    Both of my teens have driven the same car a 2007 Pontiac G5. I love that it get great gas mileage and has been very reliable as far as repairs. I am not crazy about the amount of plastic in the design.

  12. Rebecca Swenor

    This is a great list of cars for the first time drivers. I believe the Ford Focus would be the perfect car for my son who is now in college and I know they are good on gas. Thanks for sharing the list and information.

  13. Inspiring Kitchen

    These cars look fabulous. I’m sure it’s the safety that comes first when it comes to choosing the best car.

  14. Jenny

    My husband has a 2006 toyota corolla s and its been a great car, no issues and we bought it brand new. Cant go wrong with a Toyota.

  15. Robin Rue

    These are definitely the perfect suggestions. I really love the stylings of the Elantra ever since they changed it.

  16. Anosa

    I had a corsa for my first car and loved it. Kia’s are also a good choice, they have 5 star safety ratings. Our little one is only turning 4 this time so we don’t have to worry about this just yet although I am sure it will come round all too quick like usual

  17. Peachy A.

    I have no idea about cars so I’m really thankful you shared this options. I will keep these in mind

  18. Mushfiq

    Here are great options for teens. I’m looking at my kids driving. Thanks for this kind of super information.

  19. Mushfiq

    Here are great cars for teens. Thanks for this kind of super information.

  20. ELTEC

    Modern life is more distracting than ever before, so we need to teach our kids basic driving safety and how to practice it constantly. Amazing post!

  21. AH

    Those are really great cars perfect for the teens.
    AH recently posted…What Voids A Car Warranty?My Profile

  22. TSC

    Those cars are great perfect for the teens. Thanks for it.
    TSC recently posted…Engine Warnings on Your Dash & What Each MeansMy Profile

  23. Betterfleet

    I find this list of cars for first-time drivers to be excellent. I think the Ford Focus would be an ideal choice for my college-going son, especially considering its fuel efficiency. Thank you for sharing this list and providing valuable information.


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