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Best Used Cars to Buy for a Teenager

Best Car for Teenager It's not easy having a teen driver, nor is it easy finding an affordable car that's also safe.

One safety feature that we insist on, cost notwithstanding, is electronic stability control.

Though it hasn't been around that long, limiting its availability on older vehicles, studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) show that ESC could be the most important safety feature since the safety belt, saving as many as 10,000 lives per year if all vehicles were so equipped.

Our advice: Buy your teen driver the safest, most reliable, and newest vehicle you can.

Remember, the $10,000 necessary to buy a good used vehicle with ESC, curtain air bags, and other safety gear that might save your kid's life isn't cheap. But it's cheaper than even one day in a hospital.

Here are the top car picks for teens:

VehicleEstimated Price
2000-2003 BMW 323i/325i$6,600-$9,450
2000-2003 BMW 528i/525i$6,100-$8,400
2006 Hyundai Sonata$8,450-$10,000
2007 Kia Rondo (5-pass. version)$10,000
2002 Lexus ES 300$9,600
2005 Saab 9-3 Linear$9,150
2008 Saturn Aura XE$12,825

The cars listed below take some more careful shopping, as ESC was optional. In the case of the Camry and Optima, it often required a higher trim level. Curtain air bags were also optional in the Camry in some years.

VehicleEstimated Price
2002-2004 Toyota Camry$8,250-$10,900
2006-2007 Kia Optima EX$7,500-$9,850
2007 Volkswagen Rabbit$12,000





3 Steps Every Car Buyer Needs to Take to Save Maximum Money

The key to getting the best deal is to gather price or lease bids from as many local dealers as possible. Then shop that best price around until no one can beat it. Here are the steps:

Step 1 Get Prices From My Trusted Network

Select the vehicle you're interested in to see if there are local dealers in my network who will provide you with their best upfront price. You will get direct access to an internet sales manager who you can further negotiate with online (no need to visit dealership).
Select Vehicle to Get Local Pricing

Step 2 Get Prices From TrueCar / CarsDirect

TrueCar, and CarsDirect are my top 2 online price quote recommendations. These services show you pre-negotiated prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually pretty decent. But remember, you can still negotiate further.

Step 3 Complete my Checklist

Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan

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About The Author

Gregg Fidan Gregg Fidan is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.

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