What Are the Safest Cars for Teens?

You might see your teen as this age, but they are grown up and ready to drive.

Let’s all remember back to the time that we got that first set of keys. After all the driver’s ed, all the practice, and the terrifying DMV testing, we finally got to drive on our own! It is an exciting time, even for teens these days. (When I got my license, there was no Instagram to post a pic of my car on…different times!)

But now we’re parents, and those babies of ours have suddenly transformed into young adults with their very own driver’s licenses. But what keys should we be handing them? How about keys to a car that could save their life in an accident? Yes, that’s what every parent wants.

Aiming to tackle that fear, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) issued a report that lists the safest cars for teens, which, in a nutshell, says the best ones are bigger and heavier.

“Bigger vehicles provide greater protection,” said IIHS vice president for research Jessica Cicchino. “If you’re riding in one of the smallest vehicles on the road, you’ll be at a disadvantage in a crash with almost any other vehicle around you.”

How did they make these decisions? The IIHS did a national phone survey and found that 83 percent of parents bought their teens a used vehicle. And although the IIHS puts out an annual report for family cars, they decided to make recommendations for teens this year because obviously teen drivers are at a greater risk. They are more immature and have less driving experience than many other drivers on the road.

Here is the IIHS’s list of the safest used cars for teens, from midsize to minivans, and all for less than $20,000.

Midsize Cars:

  • Volkswager Passat, 2013 and newer
  • Volvo S60, 2011 and newer
  • Ford Fusion, 2013 and newer

Large Cars:

  • Volvo S80, 2007 and newer
  • Ford Taurus, 2013 and newer
  • Chevrolet Impala, 2015 and newer

Small SUVs:

  • Mazda CX-5, 2014 and newer
  • Fiat 500X, 2016 and newer
  • Nissan Rogue, 2014 and newer

Midsize SUVs:

  • Volvo XC90, 2005 and newer
  • Ford Flex, 2011 and newer
  • Chevrolet Equinox, 2014 and newer


  • Honda Odyssey, 2104 and newer
  • Kia Sedona, 2015 and newer
  • Toyota Sienna, 2015 and newer

Small Pickup

  • Toyota Tacoma Access Cab, 2016 and newer

Large Pickup

  • Toyota Tundra Double Cab, 2014 and newer

The IIHS recommends that no matter which car you choose for your teen, to stay away from high horsepower, go for the biggest, heaviest vehicle, check the safety ratings for the highest possible, and get electronic stability control.

And always, always make sure they are insured! The quote is always free. Call us on 714-838-1911 or email us: info@bmrins.com. Don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn for all the latest and best information and advice on all insurance matters.

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