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 FitPhoto 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 EscapeNo. 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 OptimaPhoto 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 SportagePhoto 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 RoguePhoto 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 LEPhoto 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 EcoPhoto 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 TucsonPhoto 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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Comfortable midsize sedan

2022 Nissan Altima: Three things to know

The Nissan Altima is a good value and a comfortable car.

Nissan

The Nissan Altima may not get the attention or the praise that the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord get, but it's a solid entry in an ultra-competitive segment. It's also one of few options in its class with available all-wheel drive. We spent a week with the 2022 Nissan Altima SR Midnight Edition with AWD and came away from the experience impressed. Here are three things to know about the car.

The 2022 Nissan Altima is a Good Value

With a starting price in the mid-$20,000 range and available all-wheel drive, it's hard to complain about value here. The Altima is still reasonably priced at the top end, where it maxes out at around $35,000 before options and fees. That's a great value for a spacious, comfortable car like the Altima, and with all-wheel drive it's a great all-weather commuter.

2022 Nissan AltimaNissan offers the Altima in several configurations.Nissan

2022 Altima Interior Space and Comfort are Generous

It's easy to ignore Nissan's Zero Gravity seats as another marketing buzzword, but they are legitimately comfortable and supportive in a way that not many others are. Available leather upholstery and contrast stitching give the interior an upscale feel, but even lower trims' cloth upholstery feels nice and works well from a visual standpoint. Up front, there's room for both passengers to stretch out, and the driver won't feel cramped on leg or headroom. Back-seat passengers get a similar treatment, as there's plenty of space for adults and kids. Parents will find an easy time loading and unloading car seats as well.

2023 Nissan AltimaThe Altima gets an update for 2023 with fresh styling and more tech.Nissan

The 2023 Nissan Altima Gets an Update

Nissan is refreshing the Altima for 2023 with a facelift, new tech, and better safety features. The new car will go on sale in the fall of 2022 and will come in several trims, including one with Nissan's truck VC-Turbo engine. The Altima's most noticeable update will be its front fascia, which is all-new for 2023. Nissan gives the car a fresh grille design that varies depending on the trim, and LED headlights will be standard. Nissan Safety Shield 360 is standard, and the Altima is available with all-wheel drive, ProPilot Assist, and more.

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash preventionwww.youtube.com

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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