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When it’s time to begin looking for cars for their teens, parents look for cars that are both safe and affordable. Research done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) of parents of adolescents, 83% of those parents bought their teens a used car. However, a safe car doesn’t have to be a boring car. Whether that’s an SUV or car, there is a vehicle at a great price that will give you, as a parent to a new driver, a peace of mind.

When looking to buy a vehicle, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recommends the following principles when choosing a car for your new driver:

  • Bigger, heavier vehicles are safer. These vehicles will offer more crash protection than smaller cars due to their weight and size. The ideal models will have side airbags, as well as the standard driver and passenger ones. Another great feature to look out for in the anti-lock braking system (ABS) to help teen drivers avoid a crash.
  • Electronic stability control is a must. This advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) technologies feature, which helps the driver maintain control of the vehicle when driving through curves and slippery roads, reduces the risk on a level comparable to a seat belt.
  • Stay away from high horsepower. Vehicles with more powerful engines can tempt teenagers to speed to “test” their performance.
  • Vehicles should have the best safety ratings possible. Double-check to see if there are unchecked recalls that pose roadway risks.

If you are considering a vehicle for your teen, it’s important to remember that new drivers have fairly consistent behaviors. For example, consider the rollover factor when choosing the safest car for your teen driver. While you may think that pick-up trucks and SUVs, some cars may be safe because of their weight and size; they’re more likely to roll over during a crash and are not the best recommendation for new drivers.

New drivers tend to overcorrect or drive off the road when distracted or avoid hazards, leading to rollover. When looking for a safe vehicle for your new driver, it is best to consider cars with as many advanced safety features as you can afford to help keep your driver out of crashes. Take a look at the following vehicles that have strong safety ratings and are available with driver-assist features.

Top 10 Safe Cars for Teen Divers

1. Chevrolet Equinox 

The Chevrolet Equinox value has improved because of its standard features. The vehicle now has an automatic emergency braking standard, making it one of the safest cars for a teenager. Another cool feature is the Teen Driver, which allows you to set speed alerts and keeps drivers from turning the radio on unless they have their seat belt on.

2. Kia Optima

If you are looking for a safe car for your teen driver, a Kia Optima should be on your list. This affordable midsize sedan is a safe car for teens and has a strong safety features rating and a good list of active driver-assist tech. This vehicle provides many ways to keep your new driver from accidentally hitting somebody or something.

3. Subaru Crosstrek

The Subaru Crosstrek received an overall five-star rating, the highest possible. It was also given a four-star rating for frontal car protection, five stars for side crashes, and four stars in its rollover crash tests. The vehicle is equipped with stability control, which automatically senses when the vehicles handling limits may have been exceeded and reduces engine power and/or applies select brakes to help prevent the driver from losing control of the car.

4. Honda Insight 

This is a safe car for new drivers, as it rates strongly on crash scores and. It offers more power than its rivals and has excellent fuel economy, all at an affordable price. The Insight has a long list of standard safety equipment, including a rearview camera and driver drowsiness monitoring. Adding to the appeal are the perfect safety score, with the NHTSA awarding the Insight a five out of five stars overall.

5. Mazda CX-3

Being Mazda’s smallest SUV, the CX-3 offers reliable crash testing and plenty of driving fun, making it a great choice as a safe car for a new driver. The small size makes it easy to maneuver.

6. Hyundai Kona

If you are looking for a small car, this might be an excellent option for your new driver. The Hyundai Kona has simple controls, lots of features at a reasonable price and the option of all-wheel drive. Every Kona has excellent agile handling will help keep your driver energized during their daily drive.

7. Subaru Impreza

Subarus have earned a good reputation for reliability and safety. This model is very popular in the Northeast and Northwest regions because of the additional traction and stability in wet or snowy conditions. The Impreza is fuel-efficient and performs well with reliable handling and adequate acceleration.

8. Volkswagen Jetta 

The Volkswagen Jetta has been the smallest sedan and is one of the most popular models. They are known for their attractive but still stylish, spacious back seats and peppy acceleration. In car crash tests, the NHTSA rates the Jetta at five stars, and the IIHS gave it top marks in every test.

9. Toyota Corolla

The Toyota Corolla is an excellent option for teens looking to save money on gas. The Toyota Corolla has a lot of wealth of features, including Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 as standard on all models. It is a pleasant drive, a great car to drive in, and nicer to be in. Some of the safety features include anti-lock brakes, side-impact airbags, stability control, and pretensions.

10. Nissan Kicks

Introduced back in 2018 as a replacement for the Nissan Juke, the Nissan Kicks is the least expensive way to get an SUV with a surround-view camera. This is a comfortable car for new drivers to maneuver. All trims get forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking as standard, adding another layer of overall safety.

Keep your teen safe and accountable with our Parent-Teen Safe Driving Contract


How Can The Carlson Law Firm Help

At The Carlson Law Firm, we want all drivers to be safe, especially new drivers. Researching to equip your new driver with the safest car that you could afford could help them on the road. Unfortunately, as much as we try, some instances can’t be prevented. If you or someone has been involved in a car wreck, reach out to speak to one of our car crash attorney.

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