Which Cars Do New Drivers & Teens Actually Drive?

October 01, 2018

teenager driving a car
Teenage drivers know what they want. They want a car that’s cute, like a Fiat or Mini Cooper. They want a car that’s fun to drive, like a Mazda3 or Jeep Renegade. Or they want a car with sleek good looks, like the Ford Mustang or Nissan Maxima.

And then, reality hits. It’s really tough to find cheap car insurance for teen drivers who are driving a brand-new car. New drivers don’t have any driving history (obviously) so the type of car they drive can have a big impact on their insurance quotes. That’s why, according to our research at Compare.com, most cars for new drivers are well-used vehicles that are 15 years old, on average. Here are the top 10 cars driven by teens in 2018 who searched for insurance quotes on Compare.com.

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Top 10 Cars For New Drivers & Teenagers

If you’re a new driver, don’t assume your Insurance premiums will be similar to these. Quotes can change dramatically depending on the state you live in, your ZIP code, your age, your credit score, your gender and many other factors. The only way to find the cheapest quotes for you is to compare personalized quotes on Compare.com. It’s free!

1. 2002 Honda Civic

The number-one car for new drivers is the trusty Honda Civic. It may not be a head-turner, but the Civic is one of the best first cars for good reason. It’s fuel-efficient, getting up to 30 mpg in the city and 36 on the highway. It’s reliable. And it’s cheap to insure: The average Compare.com car insurance quote for a new driver with a Honda Civic is $1,765 per year.

The Civic is pretty safe, with good crash test ratings. However, certain 2001-2002 Hondas (both Civics and Accords) were manufactured with defective Takata airbags that can explode, seriously injuring or killing the driver. Before passing on an older Honda to a teen driver, search the VIN on SaferCar.gov to find out if it has been recalled. These airbags can be replaced for free by a Honda certified repair garage.

2. 2002 Honda Accord

The Accord is a step up from the Civic, with a little more luxury and legroom. The top-of-the-line EX V6 model is pretty sweet, with leather seats, a power moonroof, automatic climate control and a high-quality sound system. The average Compare.com car insurance quote for a new driver with an Accord is $1,927.

3. 1999 Ford F-150

Even when it’s 20 years old, the F-150 keeps on truckin’. We love the classic, rugged design of the 1999 model. One downside of giving a new driver the keys to this truck, however, is that it received poor ratings for a moderate overlap front crash. In tests, the airbag deployed too late, and neck injuries were deemed likely. The average Compare.com car insurance quote for a new driver with an F-150 is $2,093.

4. 2003 Toyota Camry

Like the Accord, the Camry is a perfectly sensible, totally indestructible sedan. Its exterior design stands the test of time, too — even 15+ years later, it’s still a fine-looking car. The Camry’s one of the best first cars for teen drivers because it’s fuel-efficient, reliable and pretty safe. It performs better in front crashes than side crashes, however. The average Compare.com car insurance quote for a new driver with a Camry is $1,785.

5. 2002 Ford Mustang

Here’s proof that your first car doesn’t have to be a boring car: One of the top cars for new drivers is the Ford Mustang. Edmunds sums up the 2002 Mustang well: “Strong V8 power with GT, fun to drive, appealing all-American style, good crash-test scores, ragtop option.” What more could you want? You might think that putting a teen driver behind the wheel of a sports car would mean super-high insurance bills, but that’s not the case with an older Mustang. The average Compare.com insurance quote for a new driver with a Mustang is $1,818.

6. 2003 Chevrolet Silverado

Another classic American truck that’s popular with new drivers is the Chevy Silverado. The Silverado has a powerful engine and a lot of interior space (in the extended-cab models). Higher-end trims include cruise control, leather seats and premium audio. The Silverado’s crash test ratings, however, were pretty bad: marginal for a moderate overlap front collision, and poor for its head restraints and seats. For teens, the Silverado is cheaper to insure than the F-150: The average Compare.com car insurance quote for a new driver with a Silverado is $1,762.

7. 2002 Toyota Corolla

It’s a gas-mileage superstar, getting up to 31 mpg in the city and 37 on the highway. The 2002 Corolla might feel a little outdated (some models include a cassette player), but it’s comfy on the inside and has acceptable crash test ratings. The only bummer: the Corolla isn’t that cheap to insure. The average insurance quote on Compare.com for a new driver in a Corolla is $2,076.

8. 2005 Nissan Altima

The Altima is a little sportier than its small-sedan cousins, the Corolla and Civic. A lucky teenage driver might get his or her hands on a 2005 Altima SE-R, which has an amped-up V6 engine and a sporty, two-tone interior. The 2005 Altima’s crash test ratings are mixed, however: good for moderate overlap front crashes, poor for side impact. It can be expensive to insure, too. On average, a new driver in an Altima gets an insurance quote of $2,194.

9. 2006 Ford Focus

The newest car (on average) on our list of the top cars for teenagers is the 2006 Focus. While not as sexy as a Mustang, the Focus is a solid compact car — and the hatchback version is pretty darn cute. Its crash safety ratings are comparable to the Camry’s: good for moderate front overlap collisions, poor for side impacts. The average Compare.com insurance quote for a new driver with a Focus is $1,826.

10. 2005 Volkswagen Jetta

The 2005 Jetta is a great pick if you’re looking for cheap car insurance for new drivers. The average insurance quote on Compare.com for a new driver in a Jetta: $1,603, the lowest premium in our top-10 list. The Jetta is also fuel-efficient, spacious, and has good all-around crash test ratings.

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