Chicago—April 12, 2006—Cars.com automotive experts, in conjunction with DriversEd.com, America's leading driver education resource, have selected the top new cars for teen drivers. The list highlights this year's hottest new cars for teens based on a variety of criteria, including safety, price, size and fun factor.
The list of top cars includes a wide range of body styles and a variety of vehicle features, given that it's often difficult for parents to see eye to eye with their teen on the type of new car to purchase.
"We kept in mind that many parents are more concerned about safety, while their child is looking for style," said Cars.com senior editor Joe Wiesenfelder. "This list offers new-car choices in various body styles and a wide range of prices likely to meet the needs of parents and teens."
"It's essential for teens to be involved in the car-buying decision so that they both understand the responsibility of the driving privilege and feel comfortable behind the wheel of their car," said Gary Tsifrin, founder of DriversEd.com.
Below are the sites' top new-car picks for teens, organized by body style.
Mazda3 — Sporty and affordable, it has a unique look that won't be confused with anything else on the road. Choose the sedan or four-door hatchback.
Honda Civic — The new model is roomier than ever, with a cool, modern dashboard, excellent performance in crash tests and good gas mileage. Treat it right and you can drive it for 10 years or more.
Scion tC — The tC feels rich for the price. The 2.4-liter engine has guts galore, and the backseat has room for your tallest friends. It's made by Toyota, so it should be reliable and inexpensive to own.
Mini Cooper — The Cooper is built by BMW, so it stops, goes and corners like its big brothers, but with a much lower starting price. Even though it's small, it's also full of airbags, and its safety history is strong.
Subaru Impreza — The Impreza is a good all-around performer. All-wheel drive means you're prepared for harsh weather. To be ready for anything, try the higher-riding Outback Sport version. This car offers plenty of choices: sedan or sport wagon, manual or automatic, and quick or road-rocket versions.
Mazda MX-5 (Miata) convertible — Although Cars.com doesn't typically recommend sports cars for teens, if you simply have to have one, this is the way to go. If you don't mind just two seats and a small trunk, the MX-5 isn't a bad deal at just more than $20,000.
Volvo S40 — If safety tops your list, check out this car. Volvo's legendary safety has never been so affordable. The S40 looks cool, and it has an all-wheel-drive option.
Hyundai Tucson — Like most Hyundais, this little sport utility vehicle gives you a lot for the money, including many safety features for which other companies charge extra. The Tucson is relatively new, but Hyundai has been selling some quality models for years now, and its warranty is the best in the business.
Toyota RAV4 — The RAV4 was the first small, car-based SUV. Now in its third generation, it's larger and not as wimpy looking. It should be versatile and inexpensive to own, and it's likely to last long enough to pass on to your kid sister when you buy your Mercedes.
Subaru Forester — Considering how small it is on the outside, the tall Forester is large inside — especially when you fold the seats down. The Forester rates very well in all areas, and you can choose a manual or automatic transmission. There's a turbocharged version as well.
Nissan Frontier Crew Cab — If trucks are your thing, step up to the Frontier. You can get a manual or automatic transmission, even with the optional V-6. Check out the spray-in bedliner and adjustable tie-down cleats for hauling your stuff.
Toyota Tacoma Double Cab — Toyota quality means you won't spend the summer pushing this car down the street. Cars.com recommends the PreRunner V6 with the six-speed manual. Safety as a category was highly weighted. While neither Cars.com nor DriversEd.com can designate a vehicle as safe or unsafe, an interpretation of crash-test ratings and an audit of safety features was conducted. Crash-test scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety were used in measuring safety.
For more information, contact Steve Nolan.
Criteria and Considerations:
Due to the rollover risk in SUVs, the most important features considered were electronic stability systems and side curtain airbags. In small vehicles, side-impact airbags and curtains are highly weighted, as they often prove to be the difference between a Poor and Good IIHS rating for a particular model. No vehicle with weak crash-test ratings is eligible for this list.
Ownership cost/reliability is another important consideration because low ownership costs can easily compensate for a higher sale price. Aside from being problematic, repairs are a significant component in the total cost of ownership. For reliability data, Cars.com relies on J.D. Power and Associates' Mechanical Reliability Ratings and Consumer Reports' Reliability Histories. Other factors in cost of ownership include fuel economy, required fuel grade (octane) and insurance costs, because these are items that many teens end up paying for on their own.
For more advice about buying cars for teen drivers, including information about used cars, visit Cars.com or DriversEd.com. Cars.com and DriversEd.com have partnered to provide expert advice to young drivers approaching the car-buying process for the first time.
Partnered with more than 200 leading metro newspapers, television stations and their websites, Cars.com is the most comprehensive destination for those looking to buy or sell a new or used car. The site lists more than 1.5 million vehicles from 10,000 dealer customers, classified advertisers and private parties to offer consumers the best selection of new and used cars online, as well as the content, tools and advice to support their shopping experience. Recently selected by Forbes.com as a Best of the Web site for car shopping, Cars.com combines powerful inventory search tools and new-car configuration with pricing information, photo galleries, buying guides, side-by-side comparison tools, original editorial content and reviews to help millions of car shoppers connect with sellers each month.
Launched in June 1998, Cars.com is a division of Classified Ventures, LLC, which is owned by six leading media companies, including Belo (NYSE: BLC), Gannett Co. Inc. (NYSE: GCI), Knight Ridder (NYSE: KRI), The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI), Tribune Company (NYSE: TRB) and The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO).
DriversEd.com — "click. learn. drive." — is America's No. 1 online driver education resource and solution. Founded in 1997, DriversEd.com interactive courses are web-based and DMV-approved. DriversEd.com provides direct training as well as unified school district, charter school and private school partnerships, along with national automotive and education initiatives. DriversEd.com instructor credentials include more than 20 years of in-class and in-car training of teens and adults throughout the United States. Based in Oakland, Calif., DriversEd.com is the most-visited driver education, defensive driving and traffic school website on the internet. For more information on DriversEd.com (http://www.driversed.com/), please contact Barbara Franzoia at Barbara@DriversEd.com; 415-291-0243.