In the past, the conventional wisdom may have been to pass down your old clunker to your kid. But today, an even better choice is to find an affordable new car that takes advantage of the latest safety technology, which is important for inexperienced drivers.
The vehicles you consider for your teen's first car should have an antilock braking system, working air bags and strong reviews in crash tests, says Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor the for the car research site Edmunds.com.
"You also want them to have electronic stability control, or ESC, which prevents a car from skidding during bad weather or at high speed," Reed says.
With that in mind, here is Bankrate's Top 10 list of cars for teens. These cars have the safety specs as well as fun features, such as a stereo system with AM and FM radio, a CD player and an MP3 input. Note that dealers are now making room for next year's models, so you may be able to find incentives to buy the 2011 versions.