The Best 2022 Cars, SUVs, and Trucks for Teen Drivers

These new vehicles offer plenty of tech to make you and your teen happy.

Honda Accord SportHonda

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It’s an exciting time in your life as a parent. Your teenager is getting their driver’s license, and you, being a generous and safety-conscious person, have decided to buy them a new car. It makes perfect sense to us, particularly considering that teenage drivers are nearly three times more likely to be killed in a car accident than drivers over the age of 20, according to AAA. But which cars for teens are good choices? We have some suggestions, all of which boast a five-star safety rating, the highest score offered by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration. Additionally, each comes standard with automated emergency braking and offers blind-spot monitoring, two safety features that decrease the likelihood of a fatal collision.

Subaru ForesterSubaru

Best Compact SUV: 2022 Subaru Forester

Base Price: $26,320

The Subaru Forester is a compact SUV, but it feels quite roomy and has decent cargo space with rear seats that fold flat. With Subaru’s Starlink Safety & Security subscription—available on all but the base model—parents can receive smartphone alerts when their teen leaves set boundaries, goes above a certain speed, or operates the vehicle after curfew. All-wheel drive comes standard, which can provide parents some peace of mind if they live in an area where it snows. (Just remember, all-wheel drive may help the vehicle find traction on slick surfaces, but it won’t help it stop. Drivers in the snowbelt who are concerned about safety should also invest in a set of winter tires.) What’s more, Insurify, Forbes, and NerdWallet found that the Subaru Forester is among the least expensive vehicles to insure, a great perk considering that insuring an SUV for teens often costs a pretty penny.

Honda Accord HybridHonda

Best Midsize Sedan: 2022 Honda Accord

Base Price: $26,470

Honda has made its name on safe, reliable, comfortable, and well-performing vehicles like the Accord. This midsize four-door sedan provides good sightlines all around, and its moderately powered four-cylinder engine will allow your kid to merge on the highway without a sweat but won’t have them drag-racing at stoplights. It isn’t a flashy car, but that’s a good thing: Flashy cars draw other drivers’ (and police officers’) eyes, which isn’t ideal for new drivers. The base sedan’s 33 mpg combined fuel-economy rating will appeal to cash-strapped teens who need to pay for gas, while parents will appreciate the car’s standard safety features, including forward-collision warning, adaptive cruise control, and road-departure mitigation. Plus, Honda’s traffic-sign-recognition system displays the current speed limit in the instrument cluster right next to the speedometer, so your teen has a constant reminder to keep their speed in check. Lastly, according to RepairPal, the Accord averages just $400 in annual repairs and maintenance costs over the life of the car—much better than the $526 average for the class.

Toyota Camry HybridToyota

Best Hybrid Sedan: 2022 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Base Price: $28,405

A leader in hybrid-car technology, Toyota has an excellent option in its lineup for the fuel-efficiency minded buyer who prefers the visual aesthetic of a traditional sedan: the Camry Hybrid. It scores up to 52 mpg on the EPA’s combined fuel-economy cycle, and Toyota locates the battery pack under the floor so as not to compromise trunk space. Like the Honda Accord, the Camry glides through traffic without attracting unwanted attention, and it comes standard with a similar suite of driver-assistance tech, including adaptive cruise control and road-sign recognition, making it an ideal car for teen drivers.

Nissan LeafNissan

Best Budget Electric Vehicle: 2022 Nissan Leaf

Base Price: $28,375 (before federal tax credit)

Are you worried about your teen using their newfound freedom to wander too far from the nest? The Nissan Leaf’s 149 mile range and relatively slow charging times will keep your new driver close to home. That limited range helps keep the price in check, but if you have more to spend and less to worry about with your honor student, you can upgrade to the Leaf Plus, which starts at $33,375 before incentives. Compared with the base model, the Plus offers a larger battery (62 kWh versus 40) which is good for up to 226 miles of range. An available subscription service called NissanConnect EV allows your teen to see the vehicle’s charge and other info with their smartphone. Parents can also use this app to receive radius, speed, and curfew alerts, should they wish to keep an eye on their teen’s driving behavior.

Honda RidgelineHonda

Best Pickup Truck: 2022 Honda Ridgeline

Base Price: $38,115

Generally speaking, trucks and SUVs have less grip for evasive handling maneuvers, require more space to come to a stop in an emergency, and are more likely to rollover in a crash compared to cars. If that doesn’t deter you from putting your teen behind the wheel of a truck, consider the Honda Ridgeline, which is smaller than full-size pickups like the Ford F-150 and easier to drive. Built around a unibody structure rather than the body-on-frame construction favored by most pickups, it rides more like a crossover than a traditional truck. And like all Hondas, the Ridgeline is reliable and boasts many safety features, such as forward-collision warning, road-departure mitigation, and adaptive cruise control. A multi-angle rearview camera also comes standard, which is great for helping your new driver park with confidence (and without incident). Plus, the Ridgeline’s 21 mpg combined fuel-economy rating is good for an all-wheel drive V6 powered truck for teens still figuring out how far a tank of gas gets them.

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Chaya Milchtein
Chaya Milchtein is an internationally published and featured automotive educator, journalist, and influencer. Milchtein has worked in the automotive industry since she was 18 years old, and is passionate about helping the average car owner better understand their second largest investment. When not writing about cars, you can find Milchtein teaching car classes at libraries, universities, and businesses, or making car videos for social media.