Being a new driver on the road can be a stressful experience, and some cars are better equipped than others for minimizing stressful situations. Kiplinger is a Washington, DC-based business, financial forecaster and large-circulation magazine that regularly publishes about auto trends. The company has some great advice for first time drivers as to which cars are the safest and most efficient.
Let’s take a look at some of the cars released in 2014 to see which one might suit your needs, taste, and budget. All of these picks have a least six airbags, stability control, excellent crash test ratings, and above-average Consumer Reports reliability ratings.
2014 Mazda 6
With a sticker price of $23,490, the 2014 Mazda 6 gets 26 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. The exterior of this car has a stylish curved look, and USB hookups come standard. The Sport model has Pandora Internet radio and SMS text messaging to read text aloud and respond safely when driving. Kiplinger estimates that the five-year service costs would come out to about $5,640.
2014 Chevrolet Spark
It’s not a Smart car, but it’s pretty tiny for a Chevrolet! The 2014 Chevrolet Spark 1LT model has a very affordable $15,820 sticker price and gets 30 mpg in the city and 39 on the highway. This is Chevrolet’s first mini-car and it’s surprisingly roomy inside. There are an impressive ten airbags packed into this car, including knee airbags for the front seat, and MyLink allows drivers to connect their smartphones to play music and make calls with USB or Bluetooth.
2014 Kia Optima
The 2014 Kia Optima is another great pick for first time drivers because it’s sporty, stylish, and affordable. This car’s sticker price is $22,300 and it gets 23 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. Hybrid models of this car are available as well. One of the cleverest features of this car is the cooler glove box that can keep snacks cool on long road trips. The technology package includes the option for blind-spot detection and rear camera navigation for easier parking and maneuvering.
2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
If you’re more in the market for an SUV, the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander is a good first time pick. This small SUV’s sticker price is $21,520 and it seats five comfortably with lots of room for gear. It gets an average 24 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway. USB and Bluetooth come standard in this SUV, and you can upgrade to the SE model for a rearview camera.
2014 Mazda CX-5
Another good highly-rated SUV for new drivers is the 2014 Mazda CX-5, which is easy to maneuver and enjoying strong resale values. This SUV is a bit pricier with a sticker price of $25,645, but it has lots of tech features inside. These include a rearview camera, blind-spot monitor, Pandora Internet radio, and Bluetooth. The 2014 Mazda CX-5 typically gets 25 mpg in the city and 32 on the highway.