Teenagers are among the riskiest drivers out there.
You can’t control what happens once they pull out of the driveway, but as a parent, you do have control over what vehicle they are driving. And it matters.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety believes young, inexperienced drivers should have vehicles with a high degree of occupant protection as well as good emergency handling, braking and reliability.
The institute teamed up with Consumer Reports and released their recommended vehicle list for teen drivers—looking at safety, reliability, and affordability.
The list consists of 16 new vehicles that all meet their 2023 Top Safety Pick Criteria. These cars had good ratings for driver-and-passenger small overlap crash tests.
They also list 46 recommended used vehicles. Those range in price from $7,000 to $20,000.
“A strategy for families that are on a budget that don’t have teen drivers right now but will be having teen drivers in their family in a few years would be to shop for the parents,” explained David Zuby, the chief research officer for IIHS. “Choosing a vehicle that’s got a high level of safety and then handing that down to the to the teen driver. I think the important thing that we’re trying to do here is suggest you don’t only want to focus on economics and choose the cheapest thing you can buy because many of the cheapest vehicles out there lack a high level of safety.”
The list excludes sports cars and other vehicles with excessive horsepower that may tempt drivers to speed and show off.
It recommends mid-size vehicles because they offer more protection than small cars—providing a better balance of crash avoidance and crash protection.
The type of car teens have also matters when it comes to insurance coverage.
Some things can jack up the price including the cost of the car matters and other variables like the likelihood of theft, cost of repairs, and overall safety record of the car.
Vehicles with high quality safety features might qualify for premium discounts.