Best Teen Cars Recommended by Consumer Reports

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TEEN CAR CHOICES: IT’S ALL ABOUT SAFETY AND RELIABILITY

According to a recent collaboration between automotive analysts from consumer reports and experts from Insurance Institute for Road Safety (IIHS), the latest data shows that the fatal crash rate per mile driven for teens is about four times that of drivers 20 and older.

And while the numbers are largely attributed to many teenagers who lack the maturity and experience to drive safely, another factor is that not all vehicles are equally safe due to the lack of the latest safety features. to avoid being in an accident… or to limit injuries if an accident happens.

Car Buying Strategies for Teens

There are a number of strategies parents use when it comes to providing a car to a newly licensed young driver:

• Transfer the old family car because everything happens to it, it’s not that bad.
• Buy a cheap clunker for the same reason above.
• Lease a new vehicle for your teenager.
• Buy a new car with the latest safety features.
• Buy a used car with at least some desired safety features.

The first three strategies listed are the least desirable for smart consumer choice. Although older vehicles lose less value following an accident, they are often not equipped with much more than seat belts and a steering wheel airbag safety device. Rental vehicles are a problem because renters are heavily fined for ANY dings or scratches to a rental vehicle.

The focus is therefore on strategies for buying a new or used vehicle for a teenager, but with the caveat that not just any new or used vehicle will do. Rather, the focus is on the car model that has safety features and proven reliability to not only keep a teenager safe, but also to provide them with a car ownership experience they will take away with them. him after leaving the nest and being alone.

In other words, start them off on the right foot with respect to their driving and how to properly use and maintain a vehicle to make it last as long as possible. It’s one of those psychological things.

Recommended car models with safety features and reliability

To help parents find the right car model with safety features and reliability that qualify a used car as a “good” or a new car as a “best” choice, CR analysts along with safety experts of the IIHS focused on the following criteria:

For a used car to be considered “a good choice” CR analysts say vehicles must have:

• Above average reliability for the majority of the years listed, according to surveys of RC members.
• Average or better scores on CR emergency management tests.
• Dry braking distances of less than 145 feet from 60 mph in CR braking tests.
• Good marks in four IIHS crash tests: moderate overlap front, sides, roof strength and head restraints.
• Four or five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (if rated).
• Electronic stability control. ESC has great potential for collision avoidance and rescue. It became standard on all passenger vehicles in 2012 and was standard on many models before. All vehicles have this important feature as standard equipment for the years listed.

For a new car to be considered “the BEST choice” For new cars, CR analysts say vehicles must have:

• Good marks in four IIHS crash tests: Moderate overlap front, sides, roof strength and head restraints.
• Standard forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems.
• Average or better scores on CR emergency management tests.
• A rating of Good or better by CR for easy to use controls.
• Four or five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (if rated).
• Dry braking distances of less than 140 feet from 60 mph in CR braking tests.
• A curb weight of more than 2,750 pounds because small light vehicles do not provide sufficient protection in collisions involving multiple vehicles. Despite their mass, many large SUVs don’t make the list because they can be unwieldy and often have long stopping distances. Sports cars are also excluded as they may encourage dangerous driving.
• A designation as Best Security Pick Where Top Safety Pick More by the IIHS based on the model’s performance in major crash, crash avoidance and headlight tests.
• A consumer reports recommendation, which means it meets our strict standards for reliability, safety and road-test performance, including meeting particular braking and handling thresholds.

THE BEST NEW AND USED CARS FOR TEEN DRIVERS

That said on safety and making informed purchasing decisions, here is a summary of the makes and models recommended by consumer reports starting with the Best New Cars followed by Best Used Cars then the Good used cars Recommended car categories for teen drivers with expected current prices and additional reliability rating information:

TOP NEW CAR PICKS FOR TEEN DRIVERS

new small car
• Mazda 3 / $21,200 / Reliability rating: 3/5
• Honda Insight / $26,100 / Reliability rating: 5/5

New Midsize Cars
• Subaru Legacy / $23,800 / Reliability rating: 4/5
• Kia K5 / $24,700 / Reliability rating: 3/5
• Lexus IS / $38,900 / Reliability rating: 3/5

New Small SUVs
• Chevrolet Trailblazer / $21,900 / Reliability rating: 5/5
• Mazda CX-30 / $23,200 / Reliability rating: 4/5
• Hyundai Tucson / $25,800 / Reliability rating: 5/5
• Mazda CX-5 / $26,800 / Reliability rating: 4/5
• Ford Bronco Sport / $28,200 / Reliability rating: 5/5
• Buick Encore GX (Gasoline trim) / $28,800 / Reliability rating: 4/5
• Toyota RAV4 (XLE, XLE Premium, Adventure, Limited or TRD versions) / $30,300 / Reliability rating: 3/5
Honda CR-V (Hybrid EX, Hybrid EX-L, Touring or Hybrid Touring versions) / $32,300 / Reliability rating: 4/5
• Lexus UX (with auto-leveling triple-beam LED headlights) / $35.00 / Reliability rating: 3/5

New Midsize SUVs
• Subaru Outback / $27,500 / Reliability rating: 3/5
• Hyundai Santa Fe (built after July 2021) / $27,800 / Reliability rating: 2/5
• Hyundai Palisade / $34,300 / Reliability rating: 4/5
• Nissan Murano / $35,000 / Reliability rating: 4/5
• Mazda CX-9 / $35,700 / Reliability rating: 5/5
• Toyota Highlander / $37,100 / Reliability rating: 5/5

New van
Honda Odyssey / $33,300 / Reliability rating: 3/5

TOP USED CAR CHOICES FOR TEENS

(Please note that reliability ratings are more accurate by searching year by year)

Small used cars
• Ford C-Max Hybrid (2014-2015) / $8,400
• Mazda 3 sedan or hatchback (2014 or newer) / $8,700
• Chevrolet Volt (2014) / $10,500
• Subaru Impreza sedan or wagon (2015, 2018-2020) / $11,000
• Toyota Corolla hatchback (2019 or newer) / $18,700
• Honda Insight (2019 or newer) / $19,800
• Subaru Crosstrek (2018 or newer) / $19,900

Used Intermediate Cars
• Subaru Legacy (2013 or newer; built after August 2012) / $8,300
• Subaru Outback (2013 or newer; built after August 2012) / $8,800
• Volkswagen Passat (2015, 2017) / $10,400
• Mazda 6 (2014-19) / $10,800
• Toyota Prius V (2015-17) / $12,400
• Lincoln MKZ (2015 or newer) / $13,200
• Volvo S60 (2018) / $19,100
• Audi A6 (2016-19) / $19,400

Great Used Cars
• Toyota Avalon (2015 or newer) / $15,700
• Hyundai Genesis (2016) / $18,100

Used Small SUVs
• Mazda CX-5 (2014 or newer; built after October 2013) / $10,200
• Honda CR-V (2015 or newer) / $14,900
• Chevrolet Equinox (2017) / $15,600
• GMC Terrain (2017) / $16,000
• Hyundai Kona (2018, 2021) / $18,100
• Mazda CX-3 (2019) / $19,200
• Volvo XC60 (2017) / $19,400

Used Midsize SUVs
• Ford Edge (2015, 2020; built after May 2015) / $12,900
• Nissan Murano (2015 or newer) / $14,700
• Lexus NX (2015 or newer) / $16,700
• Hyundai Santa Fe (2017-19, built after March 2016) / $17,800
• Toyota Highlander (2014 or newer) / $17,800

Used Minivans
• Toyota Sienna (2015-18) / $14,700
• Kia Sedona (2017) / $15,200
• Honda Odyssey (2017, 2020 or newer) / $17,100

GOOD CHOICE OF USED CARS FOR TEENS

(Please note more accurate reliability ratings by research year by year)

Small used cars
• Mazda 3 sedan or hatchback (2011-13; built after December 2010) / $6,000
Honda Civic Sedan (2012-15, 2019 or newer) / $7,100
• Toyota Prius (2011 or newer) / $8,100
• Chevrolet Volt (2013) / $8,800
• Toyota Corolla sedan (2014 or newer) / $10,900
• Lexus CT200h (2012-13) / $11,100

Used Intermediate Cars
• Toyota Prius V (2012-14) / $8,500
• Toyota Camry (2012 or newer) / $9,400
Honda Accord Sedan (2012 or newer) or Coupe (2013 or newer) / $9,900
• Volkswagen Jetta (2016) $10,900
• Ford Fusion (2015, 2018) / $12,200
• BMW 3 Series Sedan (2016) / $14,500
• Nissan Altima (2017, 2020) / $14,700

Great Used Cars
• Ford Taurus (2011) / $6,300
• Hyundai Genesis (2011) / $6,900
• Toyota Avalon (2011-14) / $9,400

Used Small SUVs
• Nissan Rogue (2014-20) / $11,000

And finally…

For a more detailed breakdown of the data, please visit the CR website. Note that while access to some information requires a CR membership, the potential savings make it negligible in comparison when finding the latest information to aid your car buying search.

For additional articles on buying new or used cars, here are a few selected articles for your consideration:

• Beat the dealerships at their own game with this car contract loophole

• Consumer Reports recommends this important negotiation point to focus on when buying a new car

• Red Flag used car dealers don’t want buyers to know

Timothy Boyer is a Cincinnati-based automotive reporter for Torque News. Experienced in early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for better performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily news on new and used vehicles.

Image source: Pexels

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