What are the safest cars to buy for teen drivers?

As parents know, the combination of inexperience and immaturity makes driving risky for teens.

To help families make wise choices in the cars teens drive, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Consumer Reports (CR) compiled lists of the safest and most reliable vehicles.

A little background

A vehicle crash can happen in an instant causing devastating injuries. Safety for young drivers is paramount. The list of vehicles IIHS and CR deemed safest for teens to drive were also chosen for reasons of reliability and affordability. The recommended vehicles include small cars, midsize cars and small SUVs. Consumer Reports and IIHS used a two-tier approach to organizing their lists, one for Best Choices and one for slightly more affordable Good Choices.

Commonalities

Best Choices and Good Choices share certain attributes:

– above-average reliability

– scores that ranked average or better from CR’s emergency handling testing

– good rating in IIHS crashworthiness tests

– dry braking distances of 145 feet or less in CR brake testing

electronic stability control on all vehicles chosen

– four- or five-star ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Vehicle examples

In the small vehicle category, the top three choices are the 2014 or newer Mazda 3 sedan or hatchback, the 2014 or newer Toyota Prius and the 2018 or newer Hyundai Elantra GT. The top-rated midsize cars are the 2013 or newer Subaru Outback as well as the Subaru Legacy and the 2014 or newer Mazda 6. The top-rated small SUVs are the 2014 or newer Mazda CX-5, the 2014 or newer Nissan Rogue and the 2016 or newer Subaru Forester. In all, there are dozens of recommendations on the IIHS and CR lists as to the safest vehicles for teens to drive.

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