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Best cars for First Time Drivers, Teen drivers, Young Drivers
More New Cars for First-Time Drivers
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Top Picks for First-Time Drivers

First-time drivers need safe, reliable transportation that won't break the bank. From a pool that included our Best Bets and all the newer cars we've driven since, we considered coupes, sedans, convertibles, hatchbacks, SUVs and regular-cab pickup trucks that cost less than $20,000. Top criteria included overall value and safety features, but our experts also considered gas mileage, exterior styling and interior comfort.

 Best New Car for First-Time Drivers
2015 Kia Soul
Starting MSRP $15,900

The Soul is an affordable choice for young hipsters wanting form, function, safety and individuality in the car they choose to drive them through their evolving lives. Add the ability to customize the Soul's features to take it from plain Jane to mighty Max and the car instantly appeals to a broad range of buyers regardless of age or income level. If optional features like a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated seats, and a massive sun-loving panoramic moonroof get your gears all revved up, your soul might just be crying out for a Soul.
 Best Deal for First-Time Drivers
2015 Nissan Versa Note
Starting MSRP $15,005

The Versa Note is an affordable subcompact with enough head and legroom for growing gangly teens sporting a shiny new driver's license. The front seats surprisingly tracks far enough back for drivers in the 6-foot-plus range, with enough headroom for those with long torsos. A functional hatchback design paired with a nifty Divide-n-Hide cargo management system will shuttle busy teens to hockey practice, high school art shows or weekend camping trips with friends. With EPA ratings of up to 40 mpg on the highway, that's one fewer lawn-mowing job needed to keep this one fueled up.
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Suggestions for First-Time Drivers
2015 Honda Civic  Recommended for First-Time Drivers Honda Civic (2015)
Starting MSRP $19,110

The Civic comes in enough trim levels to satisfy nearly every young driver out there. Efficiency blended with a history of quality attracts shoppers to the Civic in droves. The 2015 version warrants its place among the top contenders on this list.
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2015 Hyundai Elantra  Recommended for First-Time Drivers Hyundai Elantra (2015)
Starting MSRP $18,060

The Elantra is a youthful car chock-full of features for the tech-savvy, budget-sensitive B.C. (before children) consumer. It somehow manages to take feminine curves and turn them into a sporty, stylishly androgynous sedan perfect for smart young consumers.
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2014 Hyundai Elantra GT  Recommended for First-Time Drivers Hyundai Elantra GT (2014)
Starting MSRP $19,560

Who wouldn't love a fuel-efficient, feature-laden, functional hatchback that looks super sassy on the road? The Hyundai Elantra GT is fun to drive and leaves enough room in your budget to eat more than just ramen for dinner.
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2015 Mazda Mazda3  Recommended for First-Time Drivers Mazda Mazda3 (2015)
Starting MSRP $17,765

With a satisfying mix of functionality, efficiency and performance, the Mazda3 is an alluring choice for young compact-car shoppers. For the new driver with places to be and people to see, this compact's style and Zoom-Zoominess is quite irresistible.
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2015 Nissan Frontier  Recommended for First-Time Drivers Nissan Frontier (2015)
Starting MSRP $18,875

You may not think of a pickup truck as a best car for first-time drivers, but there are those hard-working industrious teens tasked with hauling more than just friends around. The Frontier's solidly built design can handle a newcomer's abuse both inside and out.
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2015 Subaru Impreza  Recommended for First-Time Drivers Subaru Impreza (2015)
Starting MSRP $18,990

For youngsters driving in climates as indecisive as their developing teen brains, the Impreza's standard all-wheel drive makes it an easy pick. A massive improvement in noise filtration, a standard backup camera and the available EyeSight system will sway any parent to hand the keys over.
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