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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The new Civic Hatchback just went on sale.

Honda

The Honda Civic is one of the most popular and well-known cars of any type. Honda keeps refining the Civic formula to the point that it seems hard for the car to get any better, but that's what we're here to talk about. The 2022 model year sees the Civic enter its eleventh generation, and updates for the new model year make the car more upscale, more refined, and safer than ever before. Honda released the Civic Sedan first, but the Hatchback is now on the streets. Both cars are excellent, but we want to take a closer look at the 2022 Honda Civic Hatchback. Here are three things to know about the car.

2022 Honda Civic Hatchback The Civic Hatchback is almost as practical as a small SUV, and it's way more fun to drive. Honda

Cargo Space

Looking at the Civic Hatchback, or any modern Civic for that matter, it's easy to start believing that there's nothing to it - that you can't use it as a proper family car. That isn't the case here, nor is it the case with the 2022 Civic Sedan. The Hatchback starts with 24.5 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second-row seats, and the rear bench folds flat to open up even more room for gear. That's shy of a compact crossover, but better than many subcompact crossovers - and the Civic is infinitely more fun to drive than either. The Honda CR-V, for example, offers 37.6 cubic feet of space behind the second-row seats, but the subcompact HR-V offers just 23.2 cubic feet of space. I know which vehicle I'd rather drive, and it's the Civic Hatchback by miles and miles.


2022 Honda Civic Hatchback Clever design elevates the Civic above its competition.Honda

Refinement and Design

Honda's redesign of the Civic started with the Sedan, which released first. Its interior carries premium feeling materials and a grown-up design that is at odds with the Civic's reasonable price tag. There are several clever design touches like a singular metal grille that runs the length of the dash. The front air vents are concealed behind it and feature thoughtfully designed control knobs. It's a detail that isn't seen in other cars at this price point, and it's one that elevates the Civic from a budget car to one that feels special.

2022 Honda Civic Hatchback All Civics come packed with safety tech.Honda

Safety Features and Crash Test Scores

The Honda Civic Sedan and Hatchback both earned Top Safety Pick + awards from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Vehicles earn the honor by scoring "Good," "Advanced," or "Superior" in all categories, including headlights. On top of that, Honda equips the cars with plenty of advanced driver aids, including forward collision warnings, lane departure warnings, collision mitigation braking, and road departure mitigation. Blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control are available in higher trims.

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Electric vehicles

NHTSA looking into Tesla's in-car video games

Some owners have discovered that their car's video games work when the car is moving.

Tesla

Tesla's vehicles are among the most advanced and forward-thinking products of any kind, but serious innovation doesn't come with tradeoffs. The automaker has been in the news recently because of issues with how its advanced cruise control systems function, and now, Autoblog reports that the NHTSA is asking questions about Tesla giving drivers the ability to play video games and browse the internet while driving.

Tesla Arcade hands-on: the Model 3 is your video game console youtu.be

The feature is intended to be used while the car is parked, such as while charging, so the discovery that people can use them while driving is a serious one. Vince Patton, the person who filed the complaint with the NHTSA, tested his car and found that he could play Solitaire and a fairly involved action game while it was in motion. Internet browsing was also possible, meaning the driver could take their attention completely off the road ahead for extended periods of time.

Tesla Model 3 Tesla's screens offer advanced functions that many others do not. Tesla

Tesla was already under investigation over crashes involving its Autopilot feature. Several collisions have occurred between Teslas and emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road. Following the initiation of that investigation, the NHTSA raised other questions with the automaker over a buggy software update that was pushed out, retracted, fixed, and reissued outside of the normal recall process. Despite their names, it's important to clarify that neither the Autopilot nor Full Self-Driving features are capable of driving the cars without driver awareness and input.

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