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new teen driver learning

Picking the Best Vehicle for Learning to Drive

Whether you are a parent with a teen who will soon learn to drive, or you are a teen ready to begin driving, you might be wondering, “What cars are the best to learn how to drive in?” While there is not one perfect car for every new driver, there are a few things you may want to consider when picking the vehicle you will use for learning.


When learning to drive, it is easy to underestimate the size of your vehicle and to assume you have more space than you actually do. Because of this, larger vehicles, including SUVs, vans, and trucks, are generally not the best vehicles to learn to drive in. Instead, learning to drive in a medium-sized or smaller car can help a teen to gain confidence when first learning to drive. They will also allow the teen more room when learning skills like parallel parking, switching lanes, merging, and navigating curves. Once the teen has become comfortable with a smaller vehicle, they may want to practice on a larger vehicle. When first learning to drive, though, sticking with one vehicle can help the teen become more comfortable with the driving experience.


According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people 15-24 represent roughly 14 percent of the population. Males in this age group account for about 30 percent of the total cost of motor vehicle injuries among males, and females in this age group account for roughly 28 percent of the total cost of motor vehicle injuries among all females. Due to a variety of factors, including inattentiveness, inexperience, and speeding, teens are more likely to get into fatal accidents. While a vehicle with high safety ratings will not necessarily prevent an accident, it can limit the damage to the vehicle as well as the occupants.

Vehicle Condition

While a teen’s first vehicle is often older and not in great shape, it is important for teens to learn to drive in a vehicle that is in good condition. This does not mean it has to be a brand-new vehicle or even that it should be one without any scratches or dings. It does mean, though, that it should be in good working order. The brakes should work well. The lights should all work. The vehicle should have all its mirrors. There should not be any major mechanical issues. This is the vehicle your teen will likely use for his or her driving test, and the DMV often has requirements for the vehicle to be used for the road part of the driver’s license test.


Most people learn to drive an automatic transmission. Although it is possible to learn on a manual or standard transmission, having to learn how to shift while initially learning to drive can be a bit overwhelming. By learning to drive an automatic transmission, the teen will likely feel comfortable driving sooner. Things will just make sense sooner and the driving process will be easier overall. Driving an automatic transmission allows the person to focus specifically on driving rather than having to think about things like when you need to shift or making sure you use the clutch when shifting gears. Once the teen feels comfortable driving an automatic transmission and after the driving test, the individual can learn how to drive a manual transmission.

Although most people choose to learn on an automatic transmission, there are benefits to initially learn on a manual transmission, particularly if the person plans to eventually drive both automatic and manual transmission vehicles. One of the biggest benefits is that the person can learn the driving skills all at once. Once the person can drive a manual transmission, automatic transmission will come easily. Because of this, there will immediately be more options for driving a vehicle.

Of course, some people learn to drive using vehicles that do not fit these criteria. For the easiest initial driving experience, it is best to look for a vehicle that fits as much of these criteria as possible.

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