Awards Season

U.S. News & World Report releases annual list of Best New and Used Cars for Teens

Looking for a new car for your teen? U.S. News & World Report has some recommendations

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Teens need a vehicle that isn't just safe. It also needs to be relatively fuel efficient, have a good level of technology to help them stay connected, and not be too tempting to go hooning around in. Today, U.S. News & World Report unveiled its annual list of the Best Cars for Teens

"Not every car is a good fit for a teen driver," said Jamie Page Deaton, executive editor of U.S. News Best Cars. "High-performance models can tempt teens to drive beyond their skills, and vehicles without key safety features can leave teens at higher risk for an accident. The winners of the Best Cars for Teens awards all have top-of-the-line safety features that can help teens safely develop their driving skills while lowering the risk that they'll be involved in a collision."

All 2020 Best New Cars for Teens have available forward collision warning and forward automatic emergency braking, as well as lane departure warning and lane keeping assist. All of the winners in categories above $20,000 also have teen driver controls or available smartphone apps that send parents alerts when the car goes over a set speed or is driven outside a set geographic area or time period.

You can see the 2020 U.S. News & World Report Best Cars for the Money list here and the rankings of Best Cars for Families here.

Best New Car for Teens Under $20,000 - 2020 Honda Fit

2020 Honda Fit Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

The Honda Fit wins with buyers because it's fuel efficient, has gobs of passenger space, and has easily configurable cargo space. It hasn't had many changes for the 2020 model year. The last round of updates included adding available Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, making Honda Sensing safety and driver assistance technology available, and giving buyers the option of adding automatic high beams.

Best New Car for Teens $20,000 to $25,000 - 2020 Toyota Corolla

2020 Toyota Corolla

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

The Corolla was redesigned for the 2020 model year and is now upgraded to fit nicely into Toyota's modern lineup. It can come loaded to the gills with high-tech features but its less premium models still don't feel like too much of a compromise. The Toyota Corolla Hybrid, though more expensive, is about as fuel efficient as the Prius.

Best New SUV for Teens $20,000 to $25,000 - 2020 Ford Escape

2020 Ford Escape No. 10 - Ford Escape (84,797 sold) Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

The Ford Escape has been completely redesigned for the 2020 model year. It features a cavernous cargo area, spacious seating, and easy low-speed handling. This Escape rides better than the last and its interior has been upgraded. New powertrain options include a PHEV and there's a long list of standard and available safety features.

Best New Car for Teens $25,000 to $30,000 - 2020 Kia Optima

2020 Kia Optima Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The 2020 is the last model year in the current generation Kia Optima. Despite being a little long in the tooth, the 2020 Optima delivers for customers offering a smooth ride, a well-designed cabin with premium appointments in high trim levels, and an easy-to-use infotainment system.

Best New SUV for Teens $25,000 to $30,000 - 2002 Kia Sportage

2020 Kia Sportage Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The Kia Sportage competes against some of the industry's heavy hitters including the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. It has a wide variety of trim levels from the budget-friendly base model and the plush near-premium top grade. The Sportage has good passenger space and an easy-to-use infotainment system.

Best New Car for Teens $30,000 to $35,000 - 2020 Hyundai Sonata

Hyundai redesigned the Sonata for the 2020 model year. It's a completely new car with fresh angles and innovative tech, yet it keeps the same spacious seating and cargo space buyers have known and loved about the midsize car.

Best New SUV for Teens $30,000 to $35,000 - 2020 Nissan Rogue

No. 2 - Nissan Rogue Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Nissan Rogue is a few years past its prime, but that hasn't stopped it from being a formidable choice for buyers. Nissan has given the compact SUV comfortable seats, a modern-enough infotainment system, and fuel efficiency. It's equally at home in the city on on the highway.

Best New Car for Teens $35,000 to $40,000 - 2020 Toyota Camry Hybrid

2020 Toyota Camry

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

The Toyota Camry reigns supreme for American buyers and it's easy to see why. Its looks are (finally) anything but mundane. The Camry's interior is plush and comfortable, and it comes loaded with a hist of standard safety and driver assistance features. The Camry Hybrid is the most fuel-efficient variant of the model.

Best New SUV for Teens $35,000 to $40,000 - 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The Hyundai Santa Fe was recently downsized to make room in Hyundai's lineup for the three-row Palisade. The model retains the daily driver functionality that made it appealing in the first place, while giving owners a high-quality interior filled with premium-level materials and features.

Best Used Large Car for Teens - 2017 Kia Cadenza

2017 Kia Cadenza

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Americans aren't buying too many large cars these days, but the Kia Cadenza remains a formidable choice. It is plush and comfortable, full of enough technology to make most anyone happy, and stylish.

Best Used Midsize Car for Teens - 2016 Toyota Camry/Camry Hybrid

2012 Toyota Camry Hyrbid ​2012–2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid LE Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The last-generation Toyota Camry fulfilled buyers expectations. In turn, they kept it near the top of the vehicle sales list for decades. It's reliable, reasonably fuel-efficient, and doesn't encourage speedster driving.

Best Used Midsize SUV for Teens - 2017 Kia Sorento

2017 Kia Sorento

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The Kia Sorento wins on passenger space and bang for your buck. It also was available with a good amount of safety and infotainment technology when new. It's also available with all-wheel drive.

Best Used Small Car for Teens - 2016 Toyota Prius

2020 Toyota Prius L Eco Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The Toyota Prius family of vehicles represents a fuel-saving line of quirky cars that give eco-conscious shoppers an untraditional option. The Prius is the OG, but it's been restyled over the years while getting more fuel-efficient.

Best Used Small SUV for Teens - 2017 Hyundai Tucson

2019 Hyundai Tucson Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The Hyundai Tucson delivers on a lot what empty nesters and young professionals are looking for in a compact SUV. It's plush and premium in its top trim levels, has high safety scores, and comes with a long warranty. The Tucson is comfortable enough to serve as a daily driver or road trip warrior.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Bugatti Chiron Sport "Les Légendes du Ciel" edition pays homage to vintage aircraft.

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

In the aftermath of World War I, company founder Ettore Bugatti showcased the first three vehicles made by the company that bore his name. They were race cars and Bugatti found itself at the pinnacle of the sport very quickly.

By 1930, the company would begin its relationship with the aerospace industry, first with the Bugatti 100P, which never actually flew due to World War II, but served as the inspiration for a number of patents that are filed by the company. The plane went into storage as the Second World War kicked off and Mr. Bugatti would never again work on it during his lifetime.

Bugatti Chiron Sport "Les Légendes du Ciel" edition

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

Bugatti is honoring its racing and aviation past with a new series of Chiron Sport models dubbed "Les Légendes du Ciel". The drivers who piloted the Bugattis to success in the early 1900s were often time multitalented with resumes declaring them flying aces, daredevils, and technically skilled pilots.

"Bugatti has had close associations with aviation since the company was established more than 110 years ago. Many successful Bugatti racing drivers, such as Albert Divo, Robert Benoist and Bartolomeo 'Meo' Costantini, flew for the French Air Force, the French aviator legend Roland Garros privately drove a Bugatti Type 18 to be as fast on the road as in the air," says Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti. "It is therefore almost an obligation for us today to pay tribute to the legends of that time and dedicate a special edition to them."

Each of the new models features a special, matte gray "Gris Serpent" paint job, which is inspired by the exterior color of aircrafts from the 1920s. The color extends front to rear with high-contrast, which gloss stripe running up the center. The front wings are adorned with the "Les Légendes du Ciel" logo. The "Le Bleu-Blanc-Rouge" tricolor decorates the front area of the side sills made of exposed black carbon fiber.

At the front is Bugatti's traditional horseshoe radiator grille, finished in gloss black. The grille mesh is made of laser-cut and deep-drawn aluminum, and constructed in a dynamic pattern that that is repeated on the car's leather seats. Entry lights project the edition logo on the ground at entry while "Les Légendes du Ciel" logo on the middle console inlays.

Bugatti has covered the engine with black exposed carbon fiber with contrasting white lettering. The material continues at the back where black exposed carbon fibre and a black-coated exhaust trim cover made of 3D printed, high-temperature-resistant Inconel dominate.

The car's interior is almost entirely upholstered in leather. The leather's light brown color was chosen to be reminiscent of the natural leather in early aircrafts. On the door panels there is a hand-sketched racing scene between the Nieuport 17 aircraft and a Bugatti Type 13.

The new Bugatti Chiron Sport "Les Légendes du Ciel" edition is limited to 20 vehicles. Every model is independently numbered and costs $3.5 million.

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Kia is offering the Sorento SUV in a hybrid form for the 2021 model year.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

New car prices keep going up so it was only a matter of time before the average new car price hit the $40,000 threshold. New quarterly analysis by Edmunds showed that the average amount borrowed for a new car in the fourth quarter of 2020 was $35,373. Buyers put an average of $4,734 down on top of that, which makes the average new car price $40,107.

Paying around $40,000 is a sweet spot in the market. It gets buyers into lower cost luxury and premium models as well as most of the mass market offerings. AutomotiveMap has put together a list of the best vehicles you can get for around the $40,000 mark.

2021 Acura TLX

2021 Acura TLX Advance

Photo courtesy of Acura

Price: $37,500
The Acura TLX debuted as a completely redesigned car for the 2021 model year bringing with it a new sportiness and fresh styling outside and in. The TLX is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. Its cabin is quite nice - decked out in leatherette upholstery with 12-way power-adjustable and heated front seats. Dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth, a 10-speaker audio system, satellite radio, two USB ports, a 10.2-inch infotainment touch screen, seven-inch driver information display, Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto make up just some of the items on the standard features list.

Editor's Note: Acura doesn't sell the TLX in a variety of trim levels. Instead, buyers choose the TLX then can add on packages to get what they want. The model described here has no package add-ons. Pictured: 2021 Acura TLX Advance

2021 Ram 1500 Big Horn

2021 Ram 1500 Big Horn

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Price: $39,490
Configure the 2021 Ram 1500 Big Horn with two-wheel drive, a crew cab, and 5'7" box to get one of the best trucks at the price point. It comes standard with Ram's tried and true 3.6-liter V6 engine, which provides a good amount of power. Cloth seating for six passengers and a five-inch infotainment screen is standard as well.

2021 Ford Bronco Sport Badlands

2021 Ford Bronco Sport Badlands

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Price: $32,660
The Ford Bronco Sport Badlands trim is the most off-road capable version of the SUV, and it's no slouch. The model is powered by a 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine, off-road suspension, advanced four-wheel drive with a twin-clutch rear-drive unit, a Terrain Management System with G.O.A.T. modes, metal bash plates, Trail Control, a 180-degree front camera with washer, front tow hooks, and rubberized flooring. The SUV rides on 17-inch Carbonized Gray-painted aluminum wheels wrapped in 28.5-inch all-terrain tires.

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid EX

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid EX

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Price: $36,590
The new-for-2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid comes in just two trim levels: S and EX. The upgraded EX model gets an EPA-estimated 37 mpg and has 227 total system horsepower. The features list for the Sorento Hybrid EX is long and includes a power liftgate, fog lights, a panoramic sunroof, and wireless phone charger. It also comes with a host of safety and driver assist technologies like adaptive cruise control and forward collision avoidance assist.

2021 Genesis G70 2.0T

2021 Genesis G70 Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

Price: $36,000
The Genesis G70 is a sports sedan you probably haven't seen that much on roads near you, but you should. They should be everywhere. For under $40,000, buyers can get their hands on a rear-wheel drive G70 2.0T with a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that produces 252 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. It has the buyer's choice of gray or black leatherette upholstery.

2021 Honda Ridgeline RTL

2021 Honda Ridgeline Sport

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Price: $39,470
The Ridgeline might not be a typical truck in the looks category, but for the 2021 model year the Honda has gotten some aesthetic beef thanks to a design refresh. The truck continues to have a trunk in its bed and now comes standard with the Honda Sensing suite of safety and driver assist technologies. Power comes from the truck's 280-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 that is paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission.The Ridgeline is most noted for its refined and comfortable interior that's more SUV-like than truck-like. For 2021, that has only improved. The RTL grade (Ridgeline Sport is shown above) is a step up from the base model.

2021 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid Touring

2021 Chrysler Pacifica Pinnacle

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Price: $39,995
The Chrysler Pacifica is presently the best minivan you can buy. Its Hybrid version (shown above in the Pinnacle grade) adds plug-in electric capability to the equation offering over 30 miles of gasoline-free driving per charge and running like a typical hybrid when the battery has been depleted or the van needs some extra oomph. With the Pacifica Hybrid Touring buyers get their choice of a number of included paint colors, 17-inch machined aluminum wheels with gray pockets wrapped in all-season tires, premium cloth bucket seats in black or cognac, and a 10.1-inch infotainment touch screen.

2021 Acura RDX

2019 Acura RDX Advance

Photo courtesy of Acura

Price: $38,400
Acura sells gobs of RDXs and it's really no mystery as to why. The SUV is fun to drive, has abundant cargo space, and is easy on the eyes. Add in the comfortable seats that offer plenty of space, and the RDX turns into one of the best family haulers out there, empty nest or not. The 2021 RDX rides on standard 19-inch glitter silver wheels, gets its power from a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 272 horsepower, and has a host of infotainment features like a nine-speaker audio system, two USB ports, HD Radio, a 10.2-inch infotainment system touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and satellite radio. Buyers ca opt for all-wheel drive, which puts the vehicle just a tick over the $40,000 mark.

Editor's Note: Acura doesn't sell the RDX in a variety of trim levels. Instead, buyers choose the RDX then can add on packages to get what they want. The model described here has no package add-ons. Shown: 2019 Acura RDX Advance

2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited

2021 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Limited

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Price: $35,300
Not only does the fanciest and most tech-forward Hyundai Sonata Hybrid you can buy get 47 mpg, it also has a solar roof. It also doesn't lack oomph, with 192 horsepower from its propulsion system at the ready. The car has a 12.3-inch fully-digital gauge cluster and a 10.25-inch infotainment touch screen. It also sports plenty of head- and legroom, cargo space, and forward visibility. Pricing for the sedan includes checking nearly every option box, which is standard for the Limited model.

2021 Kia Telluride EX

2020 Kia Telluride

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Price: $37,590
Kia is selling the Telluride like gangbusters and it's not hard to see why. The three-row SUV comes standard with a 3.8-liter V6 that supplies plenty of power. Its roster of standard features on the EX trim level includes a power liftgate, 18-inch alloy wheels, Driver Talk, Quiet Mode, a 10.25-inch infotainment touch screen, wireless smartphone charging, six USB ports, leather-trimmed seats, and more. Add all-wheel drive for just $2,000 more.

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