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The Safest Cars for Teens and New Drivers

safest cars for teens

Safety is always a consideration when buying a new car, but it’s especially important when it comes to teens and new drivers. For drivers without much experience behind the wheel, safety features are key to helping prevent and protect against crashes.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does extensive testing to determine the safety of new vehicles, including crash test ratings and evaluations of safety features. It awards a Top Safety Pick+ rating only to those with the highest scores, so we chose our safest cars for teens and new drivers from among those vehicles. From sedans to SUVs, there’s something for everyone.

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Criteria

We used several criteria to guide us in selecting the vehicle models below for teens and new drivers.

  • There are no subcompact vehicles. Larger, heavier cars provide a greater level of protection during a crash.
  • No sports cars or high-horsepower vehicles are included. Such cars may encourage young drivers to speed, which contributes to roughly one-third of all traffic fatalities.
  • Since safety is paramount, all vehicles listed have a good or superior rating from the IIHS, the top grades available.
safe cars for teens
Credit: iihs.org

Acura Integra

The Acura Integra is available as a four-door sedan. It received an IIHS good rating in all crash tests and was given superior ratings for all crash-avoidance and mitigation categories except for headlights, which received a rating of acceptible due to fair visibility on both sides of the road when driving on a straightaway path.

Subaru Outback

The Subaru Outback is a midize four-door wagon with standard all-wheel drive, making it a top choice for those new drivers who live in wintry climates. It also offers more room for people and cargo than a sedan. The Outback scored a good rating in all crash tests except moderate overlap front due to read passenger restraints, but received top marks for its front-crash prevention technologies.

BMW X1

The BMW X1 is a compact SUV with seating for five people and plenty of room for cargo, offering versatility as a family car and peace of mind if it’s just your teen behind the wheel. The X1 received a good rating in all crash tests, a marginal rating for its seat belt reminders and a superior rating for its standard crash-prevention technologies.

Genesis GV60

The Genesis GV60 compact SUV gets a good rating in all crash tests and an acceptable rating for its LATCH ease of use. It also scored superior on day and night crash-prevention technologies, which are standard.

Kia Telluride

The Kia Telluride is a midsize SUV that delivers perfect scores across the board. It received top marks a good rating in all crash tests and headlights, as well as a superior rating for its standard front-crash prevention technologies.

Infiniti QX60

Of all the safest cars for teens, the Infiniti QX60 is likely the most luxurious, with a beautifully appointed interior and plenty of standard amenities. But since looks aren’t important here, we’ll tell you about this midsize SUV’s excellent safety ratings. The QX60 scored good in all crash tests and for its headlights, and received a superior rating for its standard front-crash prevention technologies.

safest cars for teens

Volkswagen ID.4

The Volkswagen ID.4 is an electric SUV with seating for up to five people. It gets a good safety rating in all crash tests, good/acceptable for its headlights, depending on the trim, and superior and advanced ratings for its front-crash prevention technologies.

Honda Odyssey

The Honda Odyssey does it all with room for your new driver, their traveling companions and their cargo. But don’t worry, its high safety ratings should help set your mind at ease. It received a good rating in all crash tests, an acceptable rating for headlights and a superior rating for its front-crash prevention technologies, which are standard across the lineup.

Toyota Tundra

The Toyota Tundra is a full-size pickup truck with seating for five people. The crew cab version of this truck makes our list with excellent safety marks, including a good rating in all crash tests and good/acceptable for headlights depending on the trim level. The Tundra also earned a superior rating for front-crash prevention technologies, with an additional acceptable rating specifically for nighttime crash prevention.

Need a new car for your teen driver? Let AAA help finance the purchase with a low-interest auto loan.

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