Safety is the most important feature for parents when car shopping for teens. According to data from the CDC, new teen drivers aged 16-19 are almost three times more likely to get into deadly crashes than drivers aged 20 and over. That’s a huge difference! Fortunately, there are options to make driving at least a little more safe for young drivers—without breaking the bank.
“It’s easier than ever to find a used vehicle with must-have safety features and decent crash test performance without spending a fortune,” says Ann McCartt, senior vice president of research for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The IIHS put together some recommendations about used vehicles for teens based on safety features, crash test ratings, and other factors.
Some things for parents to consider
When shopping for a car for their teen driver, parents should take a few elements into account. Larger vehicles are a safer choice than small ones—but vehicles with high horsepower should be avoided at all costs. Engines with a lot of power are hard to resist for teens, but they can also lead to more accidents on the road.
Most importantly, electronic stability control is a must to help drivers maintain control on slippery roads or around curves—and it has proven its necessity: single-vehicle crash rates are nearly cut in half with this feature, and the number of fatalities is reduced as well. Mandatory since 2012, most used cars from the past decade have electronic stability control, and all of the cars below include it standard. And if rated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, vehicles must earn 4 or 5 stars overall in order to be listed.
Top 10 safest used cars for teens
While many of the safest cars for teens are sedans, there are also quite a few pickup trucks and SUVs that met safety requirements during IIHS’ research: “We found in our survey last year that 14 percent of teenagers are driving pickups, so we’re happy to be able to recommend a few models,” McCartt says. Here are some of the highest recommended vehicles in different categories:
- Volvo S80 (2007 and newer)
- Buick Regal (2011 and newer)
- Chrysler 200 sedan (2011 and newer)
- Hyundai Sonata (2011 and newer)
- Chevrolet Malibu (2010 and newer)
- Toyota Camry (2012 and newer)
- Mitsubishi Outlander Sport (2011 and newer)
- Dodge Journey (2010 and newer)
- Honda Odyssey (2011 and newer)
- Ford F-150 crew cab (2011 and newer)
Although you can’t put a price on safety, all of the above vehicles fall under $20,000 for base models, and many are under $10,000. So you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have more peace of mind.
See the full list of IIHS-recommended used cars for teens here.
Image via Pixabay.