used cars

Which new car models are best for inexperienced teen drivers?

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Typically teen drivers get stuck with older, used vehicles — with parents unwilling to pay top dollar on a new car for an inexperienced driver.

That’s why, earlier this year, Consumer Reports teamed up with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) to release a list of safest, most affordable used cars for teen drivers.

But there are some parents who have the extra cash and want to give their kids the most modern safety features available to better protect them as they get used to the open road.

With that in mind, Consumer Reports (CR) and the IIHS have released a list of the best new cars on the market for teen drivers.

“While buying a new car for a young driver is less common than buying used, new vehicles offer the latest in both crash avoidance and crash protection technologies,” said Jennifer Stockburger, director of operations at CR’s Auto Test Center. “And if you’re putting out the additional money to buy new, why not make it the safest option you can find?”

The list of 18 vehicles, ranging from approximately $22,000 to $37,000, are all winners of the IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK or TOP SAFETY PICK+ award, and have all received average or better reliability scores on Consumer Reports’ member surveys.

No sports cars were included on the list due to the potential temptation of the high horsepower, with mini cars left off due to safety concerns, and large SUVs not included due to their increased handling difficulty.

“It can be tempting to buy a tiny, bare-bones model for a teenager,” said 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.”

Here’s a look at the best new cars for teen drivers, according to CR and IIHS:

SMALL CARS

Honda Insight – $22,000

Mazda 3 (sedan and hatchback) – $22,100

Toyota Corolla (XLE/XSE sedan + Advanced Lighting; XSE hatchback + Preferred package) – $23,400

MIDSIZE CARS

Subaru Legacy – $22,100

Honda Accord (excluding Touring 2.0T and Touring Hybrid) – $23,300

Mazda 6 – $23,800

Nissan Altima – (SR, SV, SL and Platinum trims)$24,900

Subaru Outback – (built after October 2019) $25,900

SMALL SUVS

Mazda CX-3 – $20,700

Subaru Forester – $23,900

Mazda CX-5 – $25,200

Chevrolet Equinox (LT only) – $27,000

Honda CR-V (Touring and all hybrid trims) – $27,900

Lexus UX (with Triple-Beam LED Headlamps with Auto-Leveling) – $32,800

Kia Sportage (SX Turbo only; built after September 2019) – $33,000

Toyota RAV4 (Hybrid Limited only with Adaptive Front Headlight System) – $36,900

MIDSIZE SUVS

Hyundai Santa Fe (SEL trim with Premium package or Limited trim) – $32,700

Mazda CX-9 (built after December 2019) – $32,700

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