10 Best Cars for Young Drivers, 2014

If you’re buying a car for a high schooler, college student or recent grad -- or you are the family automotive consultant -- take a look at our list of best new and used vehicles for young drivers.

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If you’re buying a car for a high schooler, college student or recent grad -- or you are the family automotive consultant -- take a look at our list of best new and used vehicles for young drivers. The vehicles we spotlight won’t bust your (or their) budget, and they get high marks for safety and reliability.

All of these vehicles received a Top Safety Pick designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (its crash tests are more extensive than government tests). And all of our picks have stability control and at least six airbags. We used Consumer Reports' used-car verdicts to help choose used vehicles with above-average reliability. We also looked for the technology that millennials want (and because that tech reduces distractions while driving, you want them to have): Bluetooth and USB or iPod hookups that allow you to select songs on an in-dash screen.

Be sure to read our tips for buying a new car and getting a deal on a used car in today's market before you head to the lot.

SOURCES: Used-car prices are from Kelley Blue Book (opens in new tab) and assume very good condition and 42,500 miles -- average mileage for their age. (Certified vehicles cost more because they are inspected and sold with an additional factory warranty.) New cars are listed with sticker price, invoice price and KBB’s Fair Purchase Price to give you an idea of negotiating room. All models are priced with automatic transmission. Five-year service costs (expected outlays for maintenance and repairs) are from Vincentric (opens in new tab).

Jessica L. Anderson
Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Anderson has been with Kiplinger since January 2004, when she joined the staff as a reporter. Since then, she's covered the gamut of personal finance issues—from mortgages and credit to spending wisely—and she heads up Kiplinger's annual automotive rankings. She holds a BA in journalism and mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was the 2012 president of the Washington Automotive Press Association and serves on its board of directors. In 2014, she was selected for the North American Car and Truck Of the Year jury. The awards, presented at the Detroit Auto Show, have come to be regarded as the most prestigious of their kind in the U.S. because they involve no commercial tie-ins. The jury is composed of nationally recognized journalists from across the U.S. and Canada, who are selected on the basis of audience reach, experience, expertise, product knowledge, and reputation in the automotive community.