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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Highway safety

U.S. roadway fatalities up in 2021

Ford, Microsoft team to use quantum-inspired technology to understand traffic congestion
Photo coursesy of Ford Motor Company

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has just released its estimates on traffic fatalities for the first quarter of 2021 and the numbers aren't promising. In the first quarter of this year alone, 8,730 people died in motor vehicle crashes. Last year's cumulative numbers weren't much better, coming in higher than any year since 2007.


U.S. Roadways Traffic may be going up, but fuel fill ups are down according to the latest research automotivemap.com


The grim statistics represent a 10.5 percent increase from the same time period last year, a time when we were already marveling at the numbers. Further data reported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) indicate that the number of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) decreased by 2.1 percent, which makes the increase in fatalities all the more striking a statistic. Initial projections pegged the number of fatalities per 100 million VMT at 1.12, but it instead climbed to 1.26 fatalities per 100 million VMT.

Regionally, most areas in the United Statessaw an increase, though two did not. The Midwest region, which includes Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas did not change, while the mid-east coast states of North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and West Virginia actually saw a six percent decline in fatality counts.


Highway 1 big sur Highway 1 near Big Sur includes the Bixby Creek Bridge, a famous landmark. Photo by\u00a0Getty Images


What's behind all of this? Last year, the NHTSA reported that, with fewer people on the roads, those that were driving were engaging in risky behavior. What's more, Automotive News reports, that the number of deaths involving people not wearing seatbelts increased 15 percent last year and speeding deaths climbed 10 percent.

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Vehicle sales numbers

Toyota has sold over 50 million Corollas

Toyota has sold tens of millions of Corollas over the last 55 years.

Toyota

The Toyota Corolla entered its 12th generation in 2019, after more than 50 years on sale. Now, in 2021, the automaker says the car has reached another benchmark, this time with an almost unbelievable number attached to it. In Today, Toyota says that in July 2021, it sold the 50-millionth Corolla. That's almost one Corolla sold for every six Americans alive today, though the sales total includes international vehicles as well.


1969 Toyota Corolla The Corolla's frugal powertrain helped it grow quickly in the United States.Toyota


The Corolla debuted in 1966 but didn't make its way to our shores until spring 1968. Sold as a 1969 model, the car had a starting price of around $1,700 at a time when the median household income was $7,700. The first cars had a short-stroke 1,077-cc four-cylinder engine, 12-inch wheels, and a four-speed manual transmission. That powertrain produced only 60 horsepower, which was good for the car to (eventually) reach 60 mph in about 17 seconds.

Though the car's quality and design helped, it was the oil crisis in the early 1970s that really pushed it to the top of buyers' lists. Big American cars powered by V8 engines fell out of favor as fuel rationing and higher prices took hold. The early Corolla's fuel economy of over 35 mpg helped it earn a place in many Americans' driveways as a result.


2021 Toyota Corolla Cross 2021 Toyota Corolla Cross Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Corporation


Toyota notes that it was building Corollas in the United States by the mid-1980s and says that the current generation car is built at its manufacturing facility in Mississippi. The automaker's new joint plant with Mazda, which is located in Huntsville, Alabama, will start building the new Corolla Cross this summer.

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