On the one hand, you're taking a big step in encouraging her independence, but on the other, you're unleashing her on the American roadways (a terrifying thought, I know).
We probably can't help you decide if the time is right for your child to be trusted with her own car. But if you are in the market for a new or used car for your teenage driver, here are 4 solid options that combine safety with low cost and fuel economy.
2009 Ford TaurusBuying a car that's too sporty probably isn't going to encourage responsible driving. The Ford Taurus, thankfully, is an affordable option with decent gas mileage (20 miles per gallon or better) that's more utilitarian than flashy. It's also rated high for safety: the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety chose it as a Top Safety Pick.
2010 Honda CivicHonda Civics consistently rate high for value, and they get great gas mileage (36 miles on the highway). Bluetooth is standard, so you can make sure your teen driver is only using her phone hands-free.
2014 Chevrolet SonicThis smaller car gets bonus points for great handling, and its MSRP is only $14,995, making it one of the most affordable new cars out there. You also get hands-free voice texting and style your teen will love.
2013 Toyota Corolla LEIf you want to get your teen driver a car that will last, the 2013 Toyota Corolla LE's engine is designed to keep ticking. With the upgraded LE, you also get keyless entry, navigator, and a killer speaker system.
Equipped with one of these cars and a great auto insurance policy, your teen driver should be ready to safely ride the American roadways (just keep your fingers crossed).