May 7

Choosing the Right Car for Your Teenage Driver

man behind wheel

Do you have a new driver in your family? Choosing the right car for your teenage driver isn’t a decision you should take lightly. Parents have many factors to consider that go beyond price alone. 

What Are Some Top Concerns for Parents of Teenage Drivers?

Driver inexperience remains one of the top concerns for parents of new teenage drivers. Inexperience behind the wheel can often result in motor vehicle accidents that involve teen drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drivers ages 16 to 19 are three times more likely than drivers ages 20 and older to be in a fatal vehicle accident.

Besides driver inexperience, distracted driving is another significant factor in accidents that involve teenage drivers. Distracted driving accounts for close to 58% of vehicle crashes with teenagers behind the wheel, notes a 2019 AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study. Speeding is also a top concern among parents. The same AAA Foundation study also reported that half of teen drivers AAA surveyed (approximately 49.7%) admitted they had exceeded speed limits on residential streets, and 40% admitted speeding on freeways. 

When parents consider vehicles for their teenage drivers, accident-avoidance and driver-monitoring technologies are among the top features moms and dads find appealing. To help them evaluate potential vehicles, parents can turn to several sources, such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These two well-recognized sources offer information that include predicted vehicle reliability ratings and vehicle crash-test scores to help parents choose the right car for their teens.

What Should Parents Look for in a Vehicle?

Before visiting a dealership with your teen, you’ll want to do some research. Consider the following features when you’re evaluating potential vehicles for your teen driver:

  • Driver-assistance features: While new cars cost more than used, older model vehicles, new vehicles also have many driver-assistance features that can benefit teenagers who don’t have years of driving experience behind them. These features include automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and rear cross-traffic alert.
  • Driver-monitoring features: Technology features present in new vehicle models enable parents to monitor their teen drivers behind the wheel. Some vehicles provide systems that provide parents with real-time updates about their teen’s driving actions behind the wheel. Other technology enhancements let parents set vehicle controls for their teen drivers, such as predetermined speed restrictions or audio volume for the vehicle’s stereo system. 

What Should Parents Avoid in a Vehicle for Teenage Drivers?

Price isn’t the only consideration that should guide parents when searching for a vehicle for their teenage driver. Parents should keep the following points in mind when selecting a vehicle:

  • Oversized trucks and SUVs: Large trucks and SUVs require more experience and skill to handle than compact cars. As a result, teen drivers may be uncomfortable with their ability to drive a large vehicle.
  • Vehicles with greater seating capacity: More passengers in a vehicle can increase the potential for driver distractions. 
  • Vehicles with enhanced horsepower: Vehicles capable of offering enhanced horsepower could encourage teenagers to drive beyond their skill level. As a result, they may make poor decisions about speeding when they’re behind the wheel. 

Examples of the Best Vehicles for Teenage Drivers

When you’re ready to help your son or daughter purchase a car, consider several Kia-manufactured vehicles for their safety and dependability. 

2020 Kia Optima

Attractive safety features and high predicted reliability scores make the 2020 Kia Optima an appealing car for parents of teens. The base Optima LX trim comes with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, and rear cross-traffic alert. When you upgrade to the EX trim level, you’ll find Kia’s UVO eServices technology system incorporating parental functions such as speed alerts and geofencing that let parents monitor their teen driver’s behavior through a mobile app.

The IIHS gave the 2020 Kia Optima high ratings in all of its crash-test categories. Additionally, J.D. Power awarded the vehicle a predicted reliability rating of 4.5 out of five, a score that’s better than many new cars on the market today.

2020 Kia Sportage

If you’re looking for a dependable, practical, and safe SUV for your teen driver, consider the 2020 Kia Sportage. The NHTSA awarded the Kia Sportage a five-star overall crash test rating. J.D. Power also gave the Kia Sportage an excellent predicted reliability rating of 4.5 out of five, the highest rating for a compact SUV in its class.

Safety features abound in the Kia Sportage. Parents will appreciate the automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and rear cross-traffic alert indicators. The Kia Sportage also includes Kia’s signature UVO eServices technology system to keep an eye on your teen when you’re not physically present in the vehicle.

2017 Kia Sorento

With excellent IIHS and NHTSA crash test ratings, the 2017 Kia Sorento makes a great older model vehicle. This midsize SUV delivers an attractive safety package featuring automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-departure warning. A rearview camera comes standard on all 2017 Kia Sorento trims. When you upgrade to Kia Sorento SUVs in the SX-Limited trim, the vehicles come equipped with a surround-view camera to give drivers added visibility on the road. 

U.S. News & World Report added the 2017 Kia Sorento to its 2017 Best Three-Row SUV for the Money recognition, a classification which considers all midsize SUVs in the 2017 model year. This SUV delivers an attractive value for parents looking for an affordable, first-time vehicle for their teen driver.

When choosing a vehicle for your teen’s ride, place driver safety and vehicle dependability high on your list of features to consider. Start your vehicle shopping with us at Huffines Kia Corinth. We offer a selection of new and used Kia vehicles, and we look forward to helping you select the best car for the teen driver in your family. Browse our online inventory or visit our showroom today to test drive one of our vehicles with your teen.

Image via Unsplash by whykei


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