What Cars Are Best for Teen Drivers? New List Makes Recommendations

Christian Wardlaw | Oct 07, 2020

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has named 18 new vehicles that it says are the best new cars for teen drivers. Understanding that most people are unlikely to buy a new car for a teen driver, the IIHS says the list is also helpful to parents of younger children who are buying a new vehicle now with a plan to hand it down in a few years. The list of new vehicles is a complement to a previously-released list of 65 recommended best used cars for teen drivers, all of which are priced under $20,000.

2020 Mazda Mazda3 Hatchback Gray Front View

“It can be tempting to buy a tiny, bare-bones model for a teenager,” says IIHS President David Harkey. “But we know that teenagers are among the riskiest drivers, so it’s important not to skimp on safety. Spending a bit more for state-of-the-art crash protection and crash avoidance features is a worthy investment in your child’s future.”

In association with Consumer Reports, the IIHS list considers crash-test ratings, advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS), headlight performance, vehicle weight, vehicle handling, predicted reliability, and insurance claim rates. The list excludes small and light models that do not protect their occupants as well in a collision, large and heavy vehicles that don’t handle well, and high-powered vehicles that entice young drivers into engaging in risky driving behaviors.

The recommended vehicles fall into four different size and price classes, as listed below:

Small Cars

Midsize Cars

Small SUVs

Midsize SUVs

The information in this article is from the IIHS. It was accurate on October 7, 2020, but it may have changed since that date.

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