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

\u200b2020 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

\u200b2020 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

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

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

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

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.

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Big news! Automotive Map has moved to a new site and has changed its name to Your Test Driver. You'll notice the same format, writing style, and content on the new site. That's because Your Test Driver is run by Chris Teague, the former editor of Automotive Map. We hope to see you there for continued coverage of news, reviews, and features from around the automotive industry.

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Updated EV

2023 Nissan Leaf pricing announced

The Leaf got a mild facelift for 2023.

Nissan

Nissan is nearing the release of the Ariya, its first new EV in several years. Even so, the brand hasn't forgotten about its first mass-market EV, the Leaf. It was an early entrant in the space, and has been an efficient, affordable, commuter car for over a decade. The car got a mild facelift for 2023, with updated wheels and exterior styling accents. Today, Nissan announced pricing for the Leaf, which starts at just under $29,000.

2023 Nissan LeafThe Leaf feels lively, despite middling power numbers.Nissan

The base Leaf comes with a 40-kWh battery capable of delivering a 149-mile range. Its 110-kW electric motor produces 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. The Leaf SV Plus features a 60-kWh battery for a range of 212 miles. It comes with a 160-kW motor that makes 214 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. Nissan backs all Leaf models with an eight-year/100,000-mile battery warranty.

ProPilot Assist comes standard for the Leaf SV Plus, and brings a full suite of advanced driver aids that include adaptive cruise control, driver alertness features, and a surround-view monitor. All Leaf models get Nissan Safety Shield 360, which includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warnings, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts, automatic high beams, and rear automatic braking.

2023 Nissan LeafThe Leaf SV Plus offers up to 212 miles of range.Nissan

The new Leaf starts at $28,895, which includes a $1,095 destination charge. The Leaf SV Plus starts at $36,895. The 2023 Nissan Leaf is on sale now, and may be eligible for federal tax credits of up to $7,500. Depending on where you live, you may also be able to receive a state tax credit or other incentives.

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