We are 103,000+ car owners sharing real-world car information.

Join Us

Fun, Safe, reliable car for teen driver

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta


What's a good, safe, reliable, but FUN car for my soon-to-be 16 year old daughter?

Will consider both new and used cars
Maximum mileage: 75000
Maximum age: 10 years

Maximum price: US $ 10000

« Return to results

Sign in or join TrueDelta to post your own thoughts.

Sort responses by likes

Response from NormT

7:30 am July 7, 2017

At $10,000 and the latest in crash safety I'd look to the newest car possible. Which it will be the most dependible being that will have low miles and full warranty. Not that all 16-year olds should get a brand new car, but you want the most for your dollar.

I really like the Buick Encore at this payment/$10,000 purchase. Even though they are discount almost $10,000 off MSRP to $16,000 on cars website, the lease payment will be similar to a 5 year loan on a less expensive car. You have the best fuel economy, standard backup canera...


Link to this reponse

Buick Encore
Buick Verano

Response from loumutt2k2

2:43 pm July 8, 2017


I've owned over 20 cars and the one I had the most fun with was the PT Cruiser. Not everyone is a fan and for me that was part of the appeal. It's a lot of fun to drive, it's bigger than it looks, and comfortably seats 4, 5 in a pinch. It has plenty of cargo room. One of the drawbacks is fuel mileage, I was getting around 18 overall (non turbo) (16-18 mpg city, 23 highway), Turbo mpgs are lower and require higher octane gas. It's not what you would expect for a 4 cylinder car. It was a blast to drive, handles well, and rides smooth. The last year was 2009 or 2010. It's not difficult to find for under $10k with 40-50k miles. Mine (2002 Dream Cruiser) was extremely reliable. Repairs can be a bit pricey due to that many repairs are labor intensive because the engine is bay is very tight. Parts are about what you'd expect. Replacing a timing belt (recommended every 60k miles) was around $600. Regular preventive maintenance items cost are average. I belonged to a car club locally and a few PT Cruiser forums nationwide and it wasn't uncommon to see PT Cruisers with over 200,000 miles on the original engine. If you consider the PT, don't get a base model. Touring models are pretty well equipped. There are a ton of aftermarket parts available and it's very easy and reasonably affordable to make modifications to the car which set it apart from the others and personalize it to your liking. I strongly recommend that whatever vehicle you consider, look up a couple of forums that are specific to that vehicle. You will get the most informative responses from current owners on the forum, they are usually quite knowledgable and can tell you which years to avoid and what problems to look out for.
The other car I would recommend is the Toyota Corolla (2014 or newer.) Very well laid out, I found it to have a very nice ride and it offers a lot of bang for the buck. The only thing "sport" about the sports version is the label. Good fuel economy and very reliable. I almost bought a MINI bought the repair costs scared me away. Good luck!


Link to this reponse

Chrysler PT Cruiser
Toyota Corolla
Mini Clubman

Response from NormT

10:29 am July 10, 2017

If you wanted AWD the 2013 Cadillac ATS is coming down in price to just above $10K mark. Make a 2.0T and you'll have a ride that passes all crash tests today.


Link to this reponse

Cadillac ATS
Buick LaCrosse

Response from LectroFuel

8:15 pm July 11, 2017

The only good car mentioned so far is the Toyota Corolla. I don't see how a Buick or Cadillac could be fun with their reputations with the elderly. Also, a 16 year old doesn't need a luxury car. Chrysler and MINI have had consistently poor reliablility (with the exception of a member's car above).The Corolla will at least last for a long time. In your situation, you want a fun, reliable, and safe car.

A 2006 to 2011 Honda Civic is a great choice. Get the EX-L because you can only get ESC on the ones with leather.

Also, the 2012 Mazda 3 is a very fun choice that also gets great gas mileage. ESC is standard on the Mazda 3 is standard starting in 2010.

When looking for a car for a teen, a car with ESC should be at the top of the list. I've read that it reduces the likelyhood of a fatal accident by 50%. It's considered one of the best safety features ever made in a car (even ahead of auto emergency braking). It's so good that the U.S. made it mandatory in all production cars as a standard feature in 2012.


Link to this reponse

Honda Civic
Mazda Mazda3

Response from NormT

9:52 am July 12, 2017

For the sub-$15,000 price there is no reason to go 5-8 year old econobox when a luxury Marque is available with more standard features like airbags that were optional on entry level cars back then. Modern day Buick or Cadillac offer full ABS brake systems and stability control as standard equipement, not optional. Buick lineup is most Opel tuned German cars and Cadillac is know today as one of firmer riding cars but with segment leading handling.


Link to this reponse

Cadillac CTS
Buick Verano
Chevrolet Cruze
Sign in or join TrueDelta to post your own thoughts.

Return to top