Derek, Tacoma, Wash.

Honda’s Civic has an undeniable reputation for safety; it passes crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (our preferred crash-test organization) with the organization’s highest rating, Good, in front, side and rear collisions.

An entry-level Civic coupe costs $14,810, while the sedan is $15,010. Both include standard safety features like antilock brakes and six airbags, including front, side-impact and side-curtain inflatable restraints.

We voted the 2008 Civic Best Car for First-Time Drivers in Cars.com’s 2008 Lifestyle Awards:

“Whether you're a concerned parent or a sensible young person looking for a first car, the Civic can't be beat. It's safe, reliable, gets good mileage, retains its value and has a lot of standard features. Heck, even if you're slightly less responsible, the Civic has sporty handling and a sharp-looking exterior in coupe and sedan models. The interior is futuristic and well-made, and the doors shut with a solid thunk. The Civic is one of the best cars on the market for any driver; first-timers certainly won't go wrong with it.”

We also polled editors on the Cars.com review staff, and here’s what they had to say:

David Thomas
I just reviewed the 2008 Civic and it has held up really well against the newer competition. It’s still my top pick for a new driver. 

However, if I had to get something for my own kid I might go with the more radical Scion xB so I could steal some seat time. Or make him do Home Depot runs. Of course he’ll have to wait 16 years until this happens, but still…

Mike Hanley
I’d recommend something larger than a compact car but not an SUV. Something like a Honda Accord of Chevrolet Malibu LT would fit the bill. These two come standard with important safety features like a stability system and side curtain airbags but enclose passengers in more steel than a compact car. This provides more separation between the passenger compartment and another car in the event of a collision.

Kelsey Mays
The Civic is really a solid choice. It’s fun to drive, fuel-efficient and attractive, and the level of craftsmanship blows a lot of other cars out of the water. Crash-test and reliability ratings are good, though stability control is only offered in the Si trim, which I wouldn’t recommend for a first-time driver.

Though it doesn’t blow me away like the Civic, the new Corolla is a solid car. Six airbags and ABS are standard, and reliability will probably be good. Stability control is optional.

Learn more

Answered by Joe Bruzek on April 16, 2008 in How Safe is This Car? , What Car Should I Buy? | Permalink

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