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What Are the Easiest Cars to Drive?

BY: Adam Karner

The approach of Black Friday and the holiday season can only mean one thing—sales. And that’s not just with tech, clothes and other things, as even cars (both new and used) will often be on sale this time of year. But selecting that ideal “new car” for you involves extensive research. Sure, you’ll want to explore prices, maintenance costs, and other details. Yet, one aspect that often gets overlooked is how easy particular vehicles are to drive. We’re not talking about handling and performance, too, but rather how things like automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring can offer greater confidence while holding on to the steering wheel.

With this in mind, let’s explore the best cars that are easy to drive. These details include basic pricing, expert and consumer reviews, and estimated maintenance expenses. 

The 8 Easiest Cars to Drive

A quick note before we dive in. These models and accompanying information reflect the particulars for the 2022 model year. While some of these vehicles may be available as a 2023 model, there isn’t enough customer feedback and service data to accurately look at the latest examples. So, we’ll report on the 2022s (except as noted). Also, none of these cars underwent a substantial re-do since 2022, so 2023 is a carryover year for these models.

Unless mentioned otherwise, vehicle details come from the respective manufacturer’s website, ratings are gathered from Kelley Blue Book (KBB), and RepairPal supplies the estimated average annual repair costs. The MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) reflects the 2022 model year and covers the vehicle cost for the least expensive model before transportation charges.

Chevrolet Traverse (Pictured Above)

The Chevy Traverse is ideal for the family that needs a three-row vehicle but doesn’t want a giant Chevrolet Suburban or can’t face the idea of owning a minivan like the Honda Odyssey. Inside is ample cargo space and room for up to eight. Plus, all 2022 models now get a full suite of advanced safety technology like automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, lane-keep assist, and lane departure warning.

However, higher-than-average annual service costs ($656 versus $573) are something to be aware of. A vehicle protection plan, like those offered by Endurance, can help keep repair expenses in check after the original warranty expires. 

Honda Civic

A blue Honda Civic parked outside.

Not every easy-to-drive car has to be an SUV; that’s why we included the Honda Civic in the mix. A complete redesign for 2022 helped re-establish this compact car as the benchmark for the category. Honda includes safety goodies like automatic emergency braking, road departure mitigation, and lane-keeping support. Still, you’ll have to step up to one of the higher trim levels to get blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Estimated annual service expenses ($368) for the Civic are substantially less than the $526 most owners pay for other vehicles in this category. And both experts and consumers sing the Civic’s praises.

Ford Escape

Not everyone needs a large crossover, and that’s where the compact Ford Escape comes in. A base three-cylinder engine helps during fill-up time, and the standard CoPilot360 safety group adds to driver confidence with automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, and lane-keeping assistance. Ford also gets bonus points for including blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, extra technology that some other automakers charge more for.

At $600, predicted annual maintenance costs are $79 above the average for vehicles in this class. While experts give the Escape a so-so overall rating, this Ford scores above average for dependability.

Hyundai Tucson 

A blue Hyundai Tucson sits in a dealership parking lot with some snow on its windshield and on the ground.

Hyundai’s bang-for-your-buck formula has helped the Korean automaker succeed at the expense of other brands. Redesigned for the 2020 model year, the Tucson embraces bold and distinctive styling, unlike anything else on the road (except for another Hyundai). All Tucsons come with a standard array of collision avoidance and lane-keeping tech, but you’ll have to shell out more for blind-spot alerts, rear collision protection, and other niceties.

The Tucson also scores exceptionally well among professionals and owners, and the estimated yearly repair expenses only help bolster those high scores. 

Nissan Altima

The Nissan Altima is a go-to choice for those wanting a roomy mainstream midsize sedan. It’s also one of the few vehicles in this category with available all-wheel drive (the Toyota Camry and Subaru Legacy are others). In addition to the standard collision mitigation gear, Nissan includes blind-spot monitoring and rear automatic braking. However, lane-keeping technologies cost extra. Some trims can be upgraded with ProPilot, the automaker’s semi-autonomous driving system. 

Subaru Forester

Subaru gets high grades for including all-wheel drive capabilities on every Forester, a feature that helps make driving easier during inclement weather. All Forester trims come with automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assistance, and adaptive cruise control (which provides pedal-free driving during traffic jams). However, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and other tech upgrades require going beyond the base version.

However, while easy to drive, Subaru fans might be surprised that the Forester has above-average annual service costs ($632 versus $521 for vehicles in this category).

Toyota RAV4

A blue Toyota RAV4 driving off road.

Not counting the three workhorse pickup trucks from Ford (F-150), Ram and Chevrolet (Silverado), and despite the somewhat mediocre consumer ratings, more Americans bought the Toyota RAV4 than any other vehicle in 2021. So, to call this compact crossover red-hot is an understatement. Versions include the Toyota RAV4 Prime, a plug-in hybrid—the company can’t build them fast enough. All RAV4s come with anti-collision technology, lane control support, and adaptive cruise control

Volkswagen Jetta

Shoppers that want a wallet-friendly compact sedan from a European automaker have only one model to choose from, the Volkswagen Jetta. In fact, it’s the cheapest vehicle on our list of easiest cars to drive. Even the base model gets automatic emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring. Upgraded safety features like lane control support and adaptive cruise control are optional or standard on higher trim levels

However, owning a Volkswagen Jetta means being prepared for above-average repair and maintenance expenses. Thankfully, with an Endurance vehicle protection plan, you can be confident that your Jetta will have the breakdown protection you need to avoid unexpected and costly repair bills. 

Avoid Costly and Unexpected Repair Bills with Endurance

Whether you’re buying a new or used vehicle with the help of a Black Friday or holiday deal, or if you’re planning on making a decision later in the new year, taking the time to find the right vehicle is a must. But while checking things like reliability, maintenance costs, and more are all important, you should also consider how easy the car is to drive. You’ll also need to consider the cost of those unexpected breakdowns and repairs that you can’t avoid, and that’s where Endurance can help.

With a vehicle protection plan from Endurance, you can get comprehensive breakdown protection for your car’s most vital (and expensive) components. Plus, no matter if you have near factory-like coverage with Supreme or basic powertrain protection with Secure, every Endurance plan comes with 24/7 roadside assistance, trip interruption protection, and rental car reimbursements. Plus, you’ll get even more peace of mind knowing you’ll be able to go to any ACE Certified mechanic, along with a 30-day money-back guarantee to help ensure you’re getting the perfect coverage.

But that’s not all, as you’ll also be eligible for a full year of Endurance Elite Benefits. Just find the plan right for you, pay a small activation fee and then sit back and enjoy a year’s worth of extra perks and savings, including key fob replacements, collision discounts, tire replacements or repairs, and even up to $1,000 in total loss protection.

Don’t get stuck paying for expensive car repairs; request your free, no-obligation quote today or call the award-winning Endurance customer care team at (800) 253-8203 to learn more about how Endurance can help you. And check out the Endurance blog for expert-written articles about DIY car care, maintenance guidelines, vehicle reviews, and more.

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