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Best deals on new cars for teens under $25,000

15 models that are safe, reliable, and affordable

Published: May 16, 2014 09:00 AM

If you’re looking for a new set of wheels for your teen this summer, there are a number of new cars that fit the bill. While used cars are cheaper, if your budget allows, a new car will have all the latest safety features and be engineered to meet increasingly tough crash protection standards—important for an inexperienced driver.

We selected 15 new 2014 models that can be bought for less than $25,000 and meet Consumer Reports’ criteria to be recommended. These vehicles scored well in our testing, have average or better reliability in our latest survey, and performed well in government or insurance-industry safety tests, if evaluated. For teen cars, we also only considered models that provide good acceleration but aren’t overly fast, handle well in emergency situations, and achieve respectable braking distances. By buying new, the vehicle will have standard stability control, which is a proven lifesaver. Some models may even have a standard backup camera or other crash avoidance system, such as forward-collision warning, which can provide even more assistance to young drivers.

Each vehicle highlighted is available with at least a 5 percent discount off the retail price, factoring negotiability, dealer holdback, and incentives, if available. Those cars without an expiration date are the normal savings you can find at any time. Some vehicles may also carry consumer incentives that are directed at recent college graduates, enabling further savings for informed negotiators. Specific pricing details on these and other trim variations are available on the model pages. But discounts aren’t given in a vacuum. Often they are given for models that don’t sell well, either for not delivering what they promise or because they will soon be replaced.

Click through the model names to read the complete road test, and check detailed pricing, reliability, owner costs, owner satisfaction, and other key data.

For a list of other models that have deals this month, check out our best new car deals page that is updated each month with the latest numbers. Also, see our full list of best new and used cars for teens.

Model name MSRP Invoice Expiration date Potential savings below MSRP (+) Total Savings Available
2014 Chevrolet Sonic $17,890 $17,549 6/2/2014 5%+ $1,012
2014 Scion xB $18,675 $17,842   5%+ $358
2014 Hyundai Elantra $19,010 $18,582 6/2/2014 5%+ $1,296
2014 Toyota Corolla $20,510 $19,734 6/2/2014 5%+ $394
2014 Volkswagen Golf $20,815 $20,015 6/30/2014 5%+ $1,150
2014 Subaru Impreza Sedan $21,090 $20,410   5%+ $609
2014 Honda Civic   $21,880 $20,586   5%+ $422
2014 Hyundai Sonata $22,260 $21,565 6/2/2014 15%+ $2,644
2014 Kia Optima $22,300 $21,585 6/2/2014 10%+ $2,145
2014 Subaru Impreza Wagon $22,590 $21,780   5%+ $654
2014 Toyota Camry $23,490 $22,322 6/2/2014 5%+ $454
2014 Subaru XV Crosstrek $23,820 $22,918   5%+ $690
2014 Subaru Legacy $24,090 $23,085   5%+ $699
2014 Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen $25,705 $24,710 6/30/2014 5%+ $1,248
2015 Subaru Forester $25,945 $24,789   5%+ $753

Liza Barth

Build & Buy Car Buying Service

In addition to research and reviews, Consumer Reports offers subscribers access to the Build & Buy Car Buying Service at no additional cost. Through this service, a nationwide network of more than 7,000 participating dealers provide upfront pricing information, as well as a certificate to receive guaranteed savings off MSRP (in most states). The pricing information and guaranteed savings includes eligible incentives. Consumer Reports subscribers have saved an average of $2,919 off MSRP with the Build & Buy Car Buying Service.

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