Most Top Ten cars for teens lists operate under the assumption that everyone reading them has the budget to buy their kid a new car. They are often full of great advice like “the bigger the better” and make sure the car has stability control, calling that technology as important as seat belts. Never do any of them mention ongoing driver training or how kids who are buying their own car are going to pay for a new car. Modern safety is great, but it isn’t always attainable for the first time car buyer.
With a realistic price cap of $5,000, this list is for teenagers who are actually buying their own car, or those of us who can afford to buy one for our kids, but have to think about budget.
One thing to notice is that each one of these was available with a manual transmission. Not only does this option provide better fuel economy, but those who drive manual are more focused on the task at hand and are therefore usually better drivers. Stay safe and drive stick!
2000-2007 Subaru Impreza
We think so much of the Impreza as a great choice in my family that the resident 17 year old drives one that he bought himself. Available in a sedan or wagon, the Impreza's most important feature for Canadian life is its all wheel drive capability. Perfect for making it to school on a snow day or heading to the slopes after school. The cars are easily personalized and the rabid Subaru fan scene brings social opportunities.