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Choosing the Safest Car for Your Teenager

smiling young driver behind the wheel

The thought of handing over the car keys to a teenager can be unsettling for parents, and for good reason. When it comes time to buy your teenager their first car, safety is at the top of the list. Motor vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death for U.S. teens, with drivers aged 16 to 19 being three times more likely to be in a fatal crash than those 20 years and older. (Source: CDC).

Because of the factors that teen drivers face, parents and guardians should take extra care and precaution into choosing the teenager’s first vehicle. They should consider certain safety features such as Anti-Lock Braking Systems that prevent the wheel from sliding or locking up. Also, parents should look for vehicles with Electronic Stability Control (ESC), which helps drivers keeping control of the vehicle on curves and slippery roads. Other must-have features include airbags (both driver and passenger side) as well as a seat belt reminder system that beeps before the driver puts the car into gear.

U.S. News and World Report recently ranked the best new and used vehicles for teenagers. The publishers based their rankings on: overall quality, price, cost of ownership, predicted reliability, high safety ratings, and accident-avoidance technology. Here are the results:

Best New Cars For Teenagers

  • 2020 Honda Fit
  • 2020 Toyota Corolla
  • 2020 Ford Escape
  • 2020 Kia Optima
  • 2020 Kia Sportage

Best Used Cars for Teenagers

  • 2016 Toyota Prius
  • 2016 Toyota Camry
  • 2017 Kia Cadenza

Best New SUVs For Teenagers

  • 2020 Nissan Rogue
  • 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan

Best Used SUVs for Teenagers

  • 2017 Hyundai Tucson
  • 2017 Kia Sorento
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