The makes and models mentioned in this article are not placed in any particular order, nor intended to be viewed as a ranked list. KSL Cars does not endorse any vehicles. The views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and do not reflect the views or opinions of KSL.com or its employees.

It is truly terrifying to think that the kid who used to purposely and repeatedly crash Hot Wheels into each other can legally drive the life-size version. Knowing that rambunctious child has grown into a (somewhat) responsible teen offers a bit of reassurance. You’ll feel even better about the driving milestone when your teen is behind the wheel of one of these stalwart starter cars.

Photo Credit: Honda Automobiles Newsroom

Honda Accord

Honda Accords are easy to drive and can take a beating. The 2021 Accord received numerous accolades from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, MotorTrend and Consumer Reports for its abundance of advanced safety features. The 2017 and 2018 models were named Top Safety Picks by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Regardless of the model year, Accords are also some of the more affordable midsize sedans on the market. 

Toyota Corolla

Reliable and fuel-efficient, Corolla has been a starter-car staple for decades. An abundance of parts are available for older model years, making normal wear-and-tear repairs pretty simple. Newer Corollas are packed with advanced safety features, earning the 2020 model NHTSA’s 5-Star Rating and IIHS’s Top Safety Pick. 

Photo Credit: Mazda USA Newsroom

Mazda Mazda3

A teen’s first car is something they’ll always remember, so why not have them experience interesting driving dynamics right from the start? Mazda 3 feels alive, and your teen will get a real sense of what the car is doing by how well the dynamics are communicated to the driver. Multiple model years, including 2020 and 2021, received NHTSA’s 5-Star Safety Rating.

Subaru Impreza or Crosstrek

Small and subdued, Impreza and Crosstrek are excellent options for inexperienced drivers. Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel-drive system makes these SUVs easy to drive in all types of weather. Both models have received multiple NHTSA 5-Star Safety ratings over the years and neither is especially fast, something parents usually appreciate.

Whether you’re shopping for a vehicle on this list or something else for your first-time driver, KSL Cars has more than 40,000 vehicles to choose from.