Insurance Institute for Highway Safety names safest cars for teen drivers

Is your teen about to hit the road? Well, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has released its list of the best cars to keep them safe behind the wheel.

The list is made up of affordable, used cars that meet important safety criteria for young drivers.

It is broken up into two tiers: best choices and good choices.

Price range varies from $2,000 to nearly $20,000.

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Experts looked at four main principles when making their recommendations:

  • No high horsepower: More powerful engines can tempt them to test the limits
  • Bigger, heavier vehicles are safer: They protect better in a crash, and HLDI analysis of insurance data shows that teen drivers are less likely to crash them in the first place. There are no minicars or small cars on the recommended list. Small SUVs are included because their weight is similar to that of a midsize car
  • Electronic stability control (ESC) is a must: This feature, which helps a driver maintain control of the vehicle on curves and slippery roads, reduces risk on a level comparable to safety belts
  • Best safety ratings matter: At a minimum, that means good ratings in the IIHS moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests and four or five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

Overall, they said teens should drive larger, heavier cars, instead of something small, "cute, and inexpensive."

"We know safety is just one of the factors people consider when choosing a vehicle, but we hope parents will give it extra consideration when purchasing a vehicle for a teenager," said Jessica Cicchino, IIHS vice president for research. "Teen drivers are at greater risk, due to immaturity and inexperience behind the wheel."

Among the best choices are Volkswagen Passats built after 2012, Volvo S80s 2007 and newer, Ford Fusions built after 2012, Subaru Legacies newer than 2012, and Honda Accord coupes 2013 and newer.

A full list of vehicles, of all makes, can be found on their website.

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