The Safest Used Cars for Teen Drivers

October 21st, 2015 by

When parents are shopping for a first vehicle for their child, there are usually two key attributes they’re seeking: something affordable and something safe. Luckily, a major organization sorted used vehicles based on their safety features and their price.

Before you head out to a used car lot, see which car may be best for your first-time driver…


The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently released a list of recommended used vehicles for teens. As Jonathan Welsh of notes, that number of cars in the report has grown by more than 50 percent in just one year. The writer believes this is an indication that a wider range of vehicles now contain some necessary safety features.

As Welsh writes, the Insurance Institute had traditionally suggested “large, slow and unglamorous older sedans as the first cars for newly licensed young drivers.” Even then, the recommended cars are on the more expensive side of the used car market, and some of the vehicles may not be realistic for those seeking a bargain.

However, to appeal to those who can dish out a lot of money, the IIHS divided their list into two tiers: their “best choices,” which are priced under $20,000 and received good ratings from the Institute, and their “good choices,” which cost less than $10,000 but received “less-than-perfect ratings.”

“The prices for most of the vehicles we recommend for young, novice drivers are still higher than what a lot of people are used to spending,” said Anne McCartt, the IIHS senior vice president for research. “We would encourage parents to consider paying a little more for safety if they can.”

Furthermore, the organization suggests keeping three guidelines in mind when shopping for a teen’s first vehicle (via Welsh): “avoid high-horsepower models; large, heavier vehicles are safer than small, light ones; and electronic stability control is a must.”

Among the leaders for each class was the Volvo S80 (large cars), Volkswagen Jetta sedan and wagon (midsize cars), Honda Element (Small SUVs), Volvo XC90 (midsize SUVs), Chevrolet Traverse (Large SUVs), Dodge Grand Caravan (minivans), and Toyota Tundra crew cab (pickups). The cheapest models on the list were the XC90 ($4,600), Jetta ($5,600) and S80 ($5,800).

Leaders among the “good choices” were the Hyundai Azera (large cars), Saab 9-5 sedan and wagon (midsize cars), Suzuki Grand Vitara (small SUVs), Suzuki XL7 (midsize SUVs), Saturn Outlook (large SUVs), Kia Sedona (minivans), and Honda Ridgeline (pickups).


Luckily, potential buyers have a variety of choices that they can feel comfortable with. If you’re ready to buy a used car for your teenager, head over to Dan Cummins dealership. You’ll find a safe and affordable vehicle, meaning you can better focus on your kid’s new curfew.