What's the Best Car for a First-Time Driver?

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CARS.COM — First-time drivers often dream of fast, sleek sports cars. But really, that's about the worst choice you can make — whether you're the owner-to-be or, ahem, the bank. (That's the parents.) New drivers need safe, reliable transportation that won't leave you penniless. Try these 2017 models on for size.

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First off is the Toyota Yaris iA, a nimble sedan with a lot of tech features for its starting price of less than $17,000. It has excellent crash-test ratings and a standard low-speed collision warning system with automatic braking to boot. Now, there's value.

Next up is the Chevrolet Sonic, which drives like a bigger car than it is. The multimedia display offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, which teen drivers will love. And hey, parents: Both systems basically take over your phone, which reduces the potential for Junior to text and drive.

Then there's the Honda Fit hatchback and related HR-V crossover. Both are small but useful runabouts with exceptional versatility; well-equipped base models start under $20,000.

In the same vein are the Mazda3 and Mazda CX-3. The Mazda3 remains one of the more fun-to-drive options, while the CX-3 is a comfortable crossover with an affordable all-wheel-drive option.

Finally, the Nissan Sentra delivers rock-solid, sub-$20,000 value and a lot of room, while the Toyota Prius c hybrid will keep a lid on the gas bill so you can save for college instead. Or blow it all on video games and concert tickets.

Mazda Mazda Mazda3 2017 Honda Honda Fit 2017 Mazda CX-3 2017 Honda HR-V 2017 Nissan Nissan Sentra 2017 Toyota Toyota Prius c 2017 Family First Time Buyers Safety Video

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Senior Consumer Affairs Editor Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price.  Email Kelsey

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