Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors reveal their pick for the best car for teen drivers. Plus, a checklist of what to look for in a car for your teen.
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Jessica Anderson: Hi! I’m Jessica Anderson, Kiplinger’s car writer and this is former car writer and now car editor, Mark Solheim. At Kiplinger’s, we often get the question, “What’s the car that I should buy for my teen? In our best list, we tell you, the Kia Soul. Mark Solheim: Your teen may try to convince you to buy a sporty, speedy model; the Porsche Boxster and the Chevy Corvette come to mind. Jessica Anderson: We think a better idea is to buy a small Sedan. It’s maneuverable, safe, and doesn’t go zero to 60 in five seconds. In fact, we have a checklist and Kia Soul scores highly in all points. Mark Solheim: First on our list is safety. Kia Soul gets a top safety pick from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which means it gets the highest rating the institute offers for crash tests including front crash test, side, and rear. There are also a list of standard safety equipment including stability control, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and airbags, standard front of course, side airbags, and head curtain airbags, and just in case something goes wrong, it offers 24/7 roadside assistance for five years for 60,000 miles. Jessica Anderson: Then there’s low ownership cost. The sticker price of the manual transmission Soul Plus is an easy to take 15,890. This is our favorite model because it provides a good mix of standard features and value, plus with 30 miles to the gallon on the highway and 24 in the city, it’s cheap to gas up. We put a lot of stock in how well a car holds its value. And with a resale value of 56% of sticker price after three years, the Soul is solidly above average. The hatchback design is bumpy and the fold-down second seats make it easy to haul stuff; bikes, camping gear or dorm room supplies. Rear legroom is a roomy 39 inches. Mark Solheim: Inside, it has a USB connection for your MP3 player, a three-month free subscription of SIRIUS satellite radio and a Bluetooth hands-free phone connection. Jessica Anderson: Put it all together and if you’re shopping for a young driver, be sure to check out the Kia Soul. If you want to look at other models, use Kiplinger’s checklist to make sure you get a good, safe car. Happy shopping!

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