The Best Used Cars for Teens in 2019

The Best Used Cars for Teens in 2019

There are a few milestones in your life that you never forget. One of these is the first car you ever owned. It doesn’t matter if it was a rickety old heap of scrap, you will still have special memories of that car! Even celebs who drive the swankiest rides these days have fond memories of their pre-fame cars

When you are planning to buy the first car for your teenager, a new car simply does not make sense. The combination of adolescent hormones and rookie driving skills make teenagers notoriously poor drivers. 

As long as you choose wisely, taking into consideration important safety features, a used car in decent condition is the perfect option for a teenager. Here is a quick look at the factors you should consider before picking out a used car for a teenager:

What Not to Buy, and Why?

Sports cars are a big no-no, for obvious reasons. The more horses they have under the hood, the greater the risk for the teenage driver, as well as others on the roads. 

Did you know that auto accidents are the number one cause of death among Canadian teens and young adults (ages 15-25.) And more than half of them also involved alcohol as an aggravating factor. 

Whenever possible, avoid muscle cars and roadsters capable of high speeds. The same also applies to large SUVs, as their bulk and weight make them harder to control if you are a new driver. Besides, more passengers often mean more distractions in the form of loud (and often drunk) teenagers. 

Very small cars are also not recommended due to their inferior safety in the event of collisions. They may offer superior mobility on urban roads, but at high-speeds, they are not very reliable. That being said, it also depends a lot on the size of your teen.

If you want to go the extra mile on road safety, avoid cars manufactured before 2012-13. That was the year that Transport Canada made Electronic Stability Control (ESC) mandatory on all road vehicles sold in the country. 

Like airbags and ABS, ESC is a life-saving feature that helps a driver maintain control of the vehicle when they are forced to swerve the vehicle or apply the brakes suddenly to avoid collisions. 

Choosing The Vehicle: What To Consider 

Based on the above factors, mid-sized sedans are the best options for teenagers. Smaller SUVs and Crossovers are also options you can consider. Look for ones that have good crash test ratings, and a decent set of safety features like airbags, ABS, traction control, and ESC. 

The brand or manufacturer is another important factor to keep in mind. Cars from Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, and Kia all have excellent resale value because of their reliability. They have long-lasting components that make them very safe bets in the used car market. 

Another key consideration is fuel economy. Given the limited cash in the hands of a teenager, you don’t want them constantly pestering you for gas money! This is also an important consideration if you (or your teen) prefer environment-friendly vehicles. 

As a parent, you should always look for substance over style and looks, when picking a car for your teen. But that doesn’t mean they have to look ugly and boring. You can find safe and reliable models, that have sharp looks, and appeal to a younger generation.

With that in mind, here are some examples of the best used cars for teenagers in Canada in 2019:


Mazda 3 – Third Generation (2013-18)

With its youthful looks and great safety features, the Mazda 3 is an ideal car for a teenager.
Source – RL GNZLZ at Flickr

Why buy it – Excellent mix of safety, reliability, and style.

The Mazda 3 is a great option for first-time drivers due to its compact size, good handling, and very attractive looks. Look for the sedan version, available in both 2.0 and 2.5l engine configuration in the Canadian market. 

The base model with 155 horses should be more than enough for a teenager. It also boasts excellent fuel efficiency. On the safety front, you get everything from stability and traction controls to ABS, side curtain airbags, rear-view camera, cross-traffic alerts, and much more. 

With an average price of around $15,000 for a 2014 model, the Mazda 3 is an excellent choice for a teenager. 

Subaru Forester SJ – Fourth Generation (2012-18)

For teens who want a roomy crossover with off-road capabilities, the Forester is an affordable option.
Source – M 93 at Flickr

Why buy it – Compact Crossover, easy to drive, has plenty of room

If your teen needs a slightly roomier vehicle with good off-road capabilities, the Forester is an excellent option. Look for the standard 170HP variant instead of the turbocharged version if you are worried about speeding. If you have to deal with bad roads in your area, the Forester offers maximum reliability and safety. 

Despite being a mini-SUV, the Forester handles like a regular-sized car, which makes it a safe choice for rookie drivers. The crossover is a perfect fit for teenagers who have an active lifestyle with a capacity to carry skis, hockey sticks, and other sports equipment. 

The base variants of the Forester (2014) are available at prices that are closer to $10,000 than $15,000. 

Toyota Corolla E170, E210 (2012 – present)

With the right mix of style and safety, the Corolla is a popular choice for teens and adults alike.
Source – RL GNZLZ at Wikimedia Commons

Why buy it – One of the most popular cars in the world

The Toyota Corolla does not need any introduction. Currently, in its 12th generation, this series has been in the market since the 1970s. It is one of Canada’s top-selling cars for decades. Though you can find Corollas from all years in the used market, look for recent models dating back to 2012 or after for the latest in electronic safety features. 

The compact sedan is famous for its reliability. Parts are easy to find and maintenance is quite inexpensive as well. With 132HP, the base models are low powered and should offer peace of mind to parents who are worried about speed. 

You can easily find a decent condition 2015 Corolla in the used market for under $15,000 in 2019. 

Honourable Mention – These three cars only represent a wide section of potential candidates available in the Canadian market for parents who need a used car for teenagers. Other popular choices include the Honda Accord, Kia Optima, Hyundai Ioniq, and the Toyota Tacoma.

Consider a Salvage Auction

If you are leaning towards purchasing a used car for your teenager, think about visiting an auto auction. Car dealerships cannot compete with public car auctions when it comes to the selection or price of the vehicles. To learn more about Impact Auto’s In-person salvage car auctions, visit our page!