Mazda CX-5

We’re taking a look at the safest cars available for your teenage driver, to give you, and them, the confidence needed on the road.

Getting the keys to their first car is a life changing moment for a teen. It represents a newfound freedom, it means flexibility, a certain level of self-sufficiency, and it marks the first step in becoming an adult. It’s exciting and exhilarating. For parents it’s also an emotional rollercoaster but for different reasons. Their main concern is their child’s safety – after all they’re going out into the world not only in a high-ticket item, but one that’s potentially dangerous. The main worry is of course if there’s an accident, how will a certain car protect their kids? So safety factors are paramount when parents choose a car for their teen.

Six teens aged 16 to 19 years die every day from motor vehicle injuries

And their fears are justified. Due to inexperience and some destructive driving habits, including being distracted by a phone, younger drivers are more likely to be involved in an automobile accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, six teens aged 16 to 19 die every day from motor vehicle injuries.

Most parents choose to buy a used car for their teen

In a national survey conducted for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) 83 percent of families that bought vehicles for their teens chose to buy used. This makes sense of course because most families are on a tight budget. In the past parents tended to buy an old beater car for their new drivers. But people are far more safety conscious these days. Although new cars offer the most up to date safety features, there are many used options that will allay the concerns of the most anxious parent.

These are some of the IIHS recommendations when looking for the safest car for your teen:

Steer clear of high horsepower

Teen drivers should stay away from high horsepower, as more horsepower may temp them to go faster.

Bigger, heavier vehicles are safest

Bigger vehicles offer better protection in an accident and research has shown that teens are less likely to crash them in the first place.

Electronic stability control

Electronic stability control (ESC) is essential. This feature helps the driver keep control of the car on curves and slippery roads.

Best safety ratings

It may seem obvious, but it’s important to choose vehicles with the best safety ratings! Crash test scores, active safety features and reliability are things to look into.

Here are some of the safest used cars for teens as defined by the IIHS:


Volkswagen Passat, 2013 and newer, built after October 2012, for $6,600. Volvo S60 – 2011 and newer, $7,900. Ford Fusion, 2013 and newer, built after 2012, $8,100.

Large cars:

Volvo S80, 2007 and newer, $3,900. Ford Taurus, 2013 and newer, $10,000. Chevrolet Impala, 2015 and newer, $13,200.

Small SUV’s:

Mazda CX-5, 2014 and newer, built after October 2013, for $10,700. Fiat 500X, 2016 and newer, built after 2015, for $11,300. Nissan Rogue, 2014 and newer, for $11,500.


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