Buying Advice

AutomotiveMap Picks: Best New Vehicles for New Drivers

The Toyota Corolla is a valiant pick for new drivers because of its standard safety equipment and low price tag.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

When many of us were young, it was common to have our first cars be whatever Grandma didn't need anymore or whichever the most beat up model in the driveway was. Those days are quickly coming to an end as parents are eager to give their teenagers access to the latest safety technology, which means buying a new vehicle.

However, new cars are expensive. The best cars for new drivers offer a value proposition for the buyer as well as a long list of standard and available safety technology. The ones on the list are the favorites of AutomotiveMap's writers.

​2020 Kia Rio

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Jesus Garcia: A starting price well under 20k, the Kia Rio is a little car with big character. Parents should know that this car was recently named an IIHS Top Safety Pick, with high praises for its front crash avoidance technology.

​2020 Hyundai Kona

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Sue Mead: The 2020 Hyundai Kona has a high-tech image both outside and in. Its user-friendly features and available premium audio make it equally as attractive as its tidy dimensions for easy maneuvering. The Kona can hold up to five. It comes in four front-wheel drive trim levels in addition to all-wheel drive with a locking differential. Remote keyless entry with alarm, a rearview camera, and parking guidelines are also highlights.

Nicole Wakelin: This subcompact SUV has versatility for cargo for those moves back and forth to college. It's also affordable and has earned top marks for safety.

2020 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Harvey Briggs: It's not the fastest or most fun hatch on the road, but it does come with a manual transmission (which I believe everyone should know how to drive) and Toyota's Safety Sense. Compact so its easy to maneuver and park. And it's a Toyota so you know your new driver won't be left stranded somewhere.

2020 Nissan Versa

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Perry Stern, AutoNXT: The new 2020 Nissan Versa delivers fuel-efficient powertrain, roomy interior, the latest in safety technology and a low starting price – a great option for the new driver.

2020 Hyundai Venue

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Eileen Falkenberg-Hull - The Hyundai Venue is a bit smaller than the Kona but has similar features at a lower price. It's a pleasure to drive, easy to park, and has enough space for four adults for short trips. Hyundai wins points for making Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard on even the base model, as well as an 8-inch infotainment touch screen.

2020 Toyota Corolla

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Chad Kirchner: The 2020 Toyota Corolla is available in either a sedan or hatchback, making it versatile, but also because Toyota includes their excellent safety suite standard on every trim.

Trending News

 
 

EQS buyers will have access to two years of free charging.

Electrify America

The Mercedes-Benz EQSis set to start hitting dealers' lots in just a few months, and the automaker is working drum up excitement for the all-new EV. Today, Electrify America announced that it will partner with Mercedes to offer charging services to buyers of the upcoming vehicle.

The agreement means that EQS owners will have two years of free charging, which includes 30-minute charging sessions at Electrify America locations. The services go a step further, however, and will include the ability to plug and charge. This means that EQS owners who have activated their Mercedes me Charge accounts can start a free charging session just by plugging the vehicle into the charger. Electrify America says that no authentication or initiation steps will be required.


2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS The EQS is due to hit the market in late 2021.Mercedes-Benz


The agreement between Mercedes-Benz and Electrify America will also extend some services to future EQ battery-electric vehicles, as well as future Mercedes plug-in hybrid vehicles. The company notes that there may be costs to charge for those vehicles, but drivers will still be able to use the Mercedes me app to initiate sessions.

As more automakers jump in the EV game, free charging partnerships are becoming a bigger deal. Just last month, Hyundai announced that buyers of its Ioniq 5 EV will receive two years of free charging from Electrify America, and Ford offered free charging to its Mustang Mach-E customers, also through Electrify America, though The Blue Oval's offer only extended to 250 kilowatt-hours.

2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS The partnership with Electrify America will provide access to chargers across the country.Mercedes-Benz


The EQS itself is Mercedes' first vehicle in what will become an electric sub-brand for the automaker. It will hit the market as a 2022 model late in 2021, and will be offered in two models. The entry level machine features 329 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, while the up-level EQS 580 4Matic will see 516 horsepower and 611 pound-feet of torque. Beyond its electric powertrain, the EQS will offer several advanced tech features, including a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and a 17.7-inch touchscreen. Even the passenger gets a display in the new car, as a second 12.3-inch screen will be positioned on the right portion of the dash.

Trending News

 
 

Updated vehicle lineup

Toyota is going more places in 2022 and beyond

Toyota is giving its spunky 86 sports car a makeover for 2022.

Toyota

"Let's Go Places", Toyota's tagline adopted nearly a decade ago, speaks to the automaker's goal of "evolution and commitment to leading through innovation, enriching lives and connecting with customers in new ways they define". Today, Toyota has sold more than 15 million vehicles and is continuing to innovate with connected technologies and alternative powertrains and is global leader of hybrid electric vehicles.

Toyota plans to offer approximately 70 electrified models globally by 2025, in a lineup that will feature 15 dedicated battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), including seven in the new the "bZ" (Beyond Zero) brand and also plans to bring electrification to its truck lineup.

The Japanese manufacturer recently invited a cadre of journalists to its U.S. headquarters in Plano, Texas, to learn more about the company's latest developments and goals, as well as to hear about new and concept vehicles from both Toyota and luxury stablemate Lexus, during a three-day event that was akin to a Toyota-centric auto show. There were ride and drive opportunities in Plano and at the nearby Eagle Canyon Raceway, with a high-speed track and off-road course and even a "secret reveal" of the all-new Tundra. The breadth of new offerings includes models from every segment of the auto market, ranging from BEV to truck and high-performance.


Toyota bZ4X Concept The bZ4X shows Toyota's vision for its bZ (Beyond Zero) electric sub-brand.Toyota


Of the nearly two dozen vehicles on the roster, we selected the following models to highlight:

**The Toyota bZ4X Concept is Toyota's vision for the first of a global series of battery-electric vehicles sold under the "Toyota bZ" (Beyond Zero) brand. Jointly developed with Subaru, the sleek SUV is close in size to the RAV4 and will have a 300-mile range; the AWD model has stunning and chiseled looks, 20-inch wheels and showcases the new e-TNGA BEV-dedicated platform. Notable is the long wheelbase with short overhangs and open-concept interior, with a "bridge" style center console, a large infotainment screen and a unique digital gauge for instrumentation.

Heralded as the vehicle that revived Toyota's sportscar lineage, the all-new 2022 GR 86 hit the track with pro drivers before meriting its Gazoo Racing badge. The lightweight 2+2 rear-drive sports coupe has been engineered with more rigidity, and a horsepower bump from 205 to 228. Added torque moves the needle from 156 to 184 lb.-ft. from its naturally-aspirated 2.4-liter flat-four boxer engine, when set up with a manual transmission; peak torque is lower in the rpm range to bring a more linear driving feel. Zero to 60 times have dropped from 7 to 6.1 seconds for the manual and moved from 8 to 6.6 seconds for the automatic.

The Gazoo team put their mark on front and rear frame reinforcements; weight-shaving components, such as aluminum roof panels and fenders; new aerodynamic body elements, a functional MATRIX "G" Mesh grille and exterior air vents. The refashioned interior gets race-inspired touches and Alcantara-trimmed front buckets. Onboard are a host of updated technologies and audio/communications features; it comes in two grades, GR 86 and GR 86 Premium.


2022 Toyota Supra A91-CF Toyota will offer just 600 Carbon Fiber Edition Supras when it goes on sale in fall 2021.Toyota


The GR Supra A91-CF (Carbon Fiber) Edition goes on sale in the fall; only 600 will be available in North America. Exterior design features include numerous carbon fiber elements; a functional aero kit; duckbill rear spoiler; special edition forged 19-inch matte-black wheels with red calipers and a Toyota Supra logo; and new colors. Inside the red-and-black themed cabin with Alcantara-and-leather and carbon-fiber trim are heated sport seats and a collection of top standard features. A turbocharged three-liter inline-six with an eight-speed transmission has paddle shifters and brings zero-to-60 in 3.9 seconds. Performance parts include adaptive Variable Sport suspension, an active rear sport differential, and front Brembo brakes with red calipers.

Both cars offer complimentary one-year memberships to the National Auto Sport Association (NASA) comes with instruction from experts and the opportunity to participate in a High-Performance Driving Event.

Two new Tacomas add choices, capability and other new features to Toyota's mid-sized truck lineup.

The 2022 Tacoma TRD Pro bumps up off-road performance with a 1.5-inch front/.05 rear lift; TRD-tuned 2.5-inch Fox internal bypass shocks, and new suspension components, using machine-forged aluminum construction on the pickup's control arms. Toyota Racing Development's upgrades bring improvements that aid in obstacle clearance with a 36.4-degree approach, 24.7-degree departure, and 26.6-degree breakover angles. New black TRD wheels make a wider track width than stock versions, while new Goodyear Territory all-terrain tires have an aggressive sidewall design. A new exclusive Electric Lime Metallic color is added to the mix. New hood graphics are available that complement the blacked-out hood scoop. A color-keyed rear bumper, door handles and power outside mirrors with turn signal indicators will trim the dual-color styling theme, along with black overfenders and new badging. An aluminum front skid plate with red TRD lettering provides additional trail protection. Unique LED headlights with sequential turn signals feature TRD Pro inserts, while Rigid Industries LED fog lights help illuminate the road and trails ahead.


2022 Toyota Tacoma The Tacoma gets even more off-road goodies for the 2022 model year.Toyota


Based on the Tacoma TRD Off-Road 4×4 Double Cab short-bed model, the TRD Pro is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 and is available with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed auto. Nifty features include a Multi Terrain Monitor that displays front-, rear- and side-camera views on the 8-inch multimedia touchscreen; the instrument panel's 4.2-inch color Multi-Information Display has an inclinometer and tilt gauge. Inside are TRD-themed black leather-trimmed heated front seats, TRD shift knob, and TRD Pro all-weather floor mats., plus a standard moonroof and Toyota's Safety Star System, along with a broad array of technologies.

The 2022 Tacoma Trail Edition, built on the Tacoma 4×4 Double Cab, upgrades off-road performance. It is1.1 inches higher in front and boasts an approach angle of 34 degrees; the rear is lifted 0.5 inches for a departure angle of 23.6 degrees; breakover angle is improved at 26.4 degrees. Unique styling comes with four exterior color choices, black badging accents and a new Trail Edition badge on the rear tailgate. Rear bumpers are now color-keyed to match the exterior grille with new unique bronze-colored lettering and new bronze-finished wheels that offer a 0.5-inch wider track width both front and rear and are fitted with new Goodyear all-terrain tires with an aggressive sidewall tread pattern. New is lockable bed storage while the driver's side storage includes insulation and can double as a cooler. It's also equipped with a 120V power outlet in the bed. Standard is a 3.5-liter V6 engine (278 horsepower and 265 lb.-ft. of torque) and locking rear differential, as well as the Tacoma Tow Package, with a maximum towing capacity of 6,400 pounds.

Trending News