2010 Ford Taurus red front
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2015 AOL

Safest Cars For Teens

My first car, way back in the early 1990s, was a 1987 Toyota minivan that many of you would recognize by its “Space Egg” nickname. That wedge of a people mover lasted about 12 months before I blew the engine, so I replaced it with a 1988 Suzuki Samurai hardtop. Young and dumb, I loved both of those silly vehicles unconditionally. But it’s fair to say that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety would’ve frowned on them. 

Teen drivers have different needs than your average American highway pilot. Lacking in experience and often confidence (that is, if they don’t suffer from a dangerous over-abundance of the stuff), IIHS reckons that teenagers are best off with heavier vehicles, well equipped with safety equipment, built to high crash standards, and not overburdened with power. That’s not exactly a recipe for an enthusiast vehicle, but following those basic guidelines is likely to keep a kid safe as they get their sea legs, so to speak.

As has become tradition then, IIHS has released a list of vehicles it finds most suitable for new drivers. With prices ranging from $2,700 to $19,900, in segments as diverse as midsize sedans and pickup trucks, the list here should offer guidance for that first car, no matter what your budget or predilections.  (That is, assuming you don’t like coupes, convertibles, V8s, or other such fun machines.) Categories are broken down into Great and Good categories, too, with the former carrying slightly better overall crash ratings, and the latter lower price points. 

Anyone with a teen driver in their household should be very interested in this list. According to the Centers for Disease Control, car accidents are the leading cause of teen deaths in the United States.

2007 volvo s80 silver front driving
  • Image Credit: Volvo

Great Large Cars

2007 and newer  Volvo S80: $5,800 (pictured)

2010 and newer  Ford Taurus: $10,900

2010 and newer Buick LaCrosse: $11,300

2011 and newer  Buick Regal: $11,500

2009 and newer Lincoln MKS: $12,300

2011 and newer Toyota Avalon: $15,700

2012 and newer Hyundai Azera: $16,800

2010 and newer Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan and coupe: $19,000

2011 and newer Infiniti M37/M56/Q70: $19,900

Acura RL silver driving
  • Image Credit: Acura

Good Large Cars

2006-11 Hyundai Azera: $4,100

2005 and newer Audi A6 sedan: $6,000

2005-12 Acura RL: $6,700 (Pictured)

2009 Ford Taurus: $7,100

2008-11 Cadillac DTS: $7,700

2009 Mercury Sable: $7,700

2011 and newer Chevrolet Impala: $8,700

2007-09 and newer Mercedes-Benz E-Class sedan: $8,800

2009-10 Toyota Avalon: $9,000

2006 and newer Lexus GS: $9,300

2008 and newer Cadillac CTS: $9,700

2010 Subaru Outback
  • Image Credit: Subaru

Great Midsize Cars

2009 and newer Volkswagen Jetta sedan and wagon: $5,600

2008 and newer Volvo C30: $7,000

2009 and newer Volkswagen Passat sedan: $7,300

2010 and newer; built after April 2010 Ford Fusion (2010 Fusions built before May meet "good choice" criteria): $7,400

2010-11; built after April 2010 Mercury Milan (2010 Milans built before May meet "good choice" criteria): $7,400

2011 and newer Chrysler 200 sedan: $8,000

2010 and newer; built after November 2009 Chevrolet Malibu: $8,200

2009 and newer Volkswagen CC: $8,300

2008 and newer Audi A3: $8,400

2011 and newer Dodge Avenger: $8,900

2010 and newer Subaru Legacy: $9,300

2011 and newer Hyundai Sonata: $9,900

2010 and newer; built after April 2010 Lincoln MKZ: $10,000

2011 and newer Kia Optima: $10,200

2009 and newer Audi A4 sedan: $10,800

2012 and newer Honda Accord sedan, 2013 and newer coupe: $10,900

2010 and newer Subaru Outback: $11,300 (Pictured)

2012 and newer Toyota Camry: $11,300

2013 and newer Nissan Altima: $12,200

2009-14 Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan: $12,300

2012 and newer Buick Verano: $12,400

2011 and newer Volvo S60: $13,400 (price is for 2012, which had lower trim level available)

2012 and newer Toyota Prius v: $14,200

2014 and newer Mazda 6: $15,100

2012 and newer Acura TSX sedan and wagon: $16,600

2012 and newer; built after April 2012 Acura TL: $17,300

Suzuki Kizashi Sport red front beach
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2015 AOL

Good Midsize Cars

2005-11 Saab 9-5 sedan and wagon: $2,700

2005-11 Saab 9-3 sedan and wagon: $2,800

2006-10 Hyundai Sonata: $3,300

2006-08 Volkswagen Passat sedan and wagon: $3,400

2005-08; built after October 2004 Audi A4 sedan and wagon: $4,200

2007-09 Volvo S60: $4,400

2010-13 Suzuki Kizashi: $4,500 (Pictured)

2005-08 Mercedes-Benz C-Class sedan: $4,600

2004-12 Acura TL: $4,800

2009 Saturn Aura: $5,500

2007 and newer Volvo S40: $5,600

2006-07 Audi A3: $5,800

2006 and newer BMW 3-series sedan: $5,900

2009-13 Mazda 6: $6,600

2010-12 Mitsubishi Galant: $6,700

2009-10 Chevrolet Malibu: $7,200

2008-11 Honda Accord sedan: $7,200

2010 Kia Optima: $7,300

2009 Subaru Legacy: $7,700

2010 Pontiac G6 sedan: $7,800

2009-10; built before May 2010 Lincoln MKZ: $8,000

2010-12 Nissan Altima: $8,100

2006 and newer Lexus IS 250: $8,500

2010-11 Toyota Camry: $8,900

2007 and newer Infiniti G sedan: $9,000

2007 and newer Lexus ES 350: $9,600

2014 Jeep Patriot red driving forest
  • Image Credit: Jeep

Great Small SUVs

2007-11 Honda Element: $6,700

2009 and newer Volkswagen Tiguan: $7,900

2009 and newer Subaru Forester: $9,000

2011 and newer Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: $9,300

2010 and newer Hyundai Tucson: $10,400

2011 and newer Kia Sportage: $11,300

2014 and newer Jeep Patriot: $13,700 (Pictured)

2013 and newer Ford Escape: $14,000

2014 and newer Mitsubishi Outlander: $14,400

2013 and newer Mazda CX-5: $14,800

2012 and newer Honda CR-V: $15,400

2013 and newer Buick Encore: $15,500

2013 and newer Toyota RAV4: $17,600

2014 and newer Nissan Rogue (except Select): $18,500

mercury mariner hybrid
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2015 AOL

Good Small SUVs

2006-13 Suzuki Grand Vitara: $3,500

2007-13 Mitsubishi Outlander: $4,600

2009-11 Mazda Tribute: $5,700

2009-12 Ford Escape: $6,100

2008-13 Nissan Rogue: $6,900

2007-12 Toyota RAV4: $7,600

2007-11 Honda CR-V: $8,300

2009-11 Mercury Mariner: $8,400 (Pictured)

Mercedes-Benz GLK gray front
  • Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz

Great Midsize SUVs

2005 and newer Volvo XC90: $4,600

2006 and newer Subaru Tribeca/B9 Tribeca: $6,000

2010 and newer Dodge Journey: $8,700

2010 and newer Chevrolet Equinox: $11,100

2010 and newer; built after January 2010 Ford Flex: $11,700

2010 and newer GMC Terrain: $12,000

2008 and newer Toyota Highlander: $12,000

2008 and newer Infiniti EX: $12,100

2009 and newer Toyota Venza: $12,200

2011 and newer Kia Sorento: $12,300

2011 and newer; built after February 2011 Ford Edge: $13,300

2010 and newer Volvo XC60: $13,500

2011 and newer Ford Explorer: $16,200

2010 and newer; built after March 2010 Lincoln MKT: $16,200

2011 and newer Dodge Durango: $16,300

2010 and newer Cadillac SRX: $16,900

2009 and newer Audi Q5: $17,300

2014 and newer Jeep Cherokee: $17,500

2013 and newer Honda Crosstour: $17,700

2012 and newer Honda Pilot: $18,200

2011 and newer Jeep Grand Cherokee: $18,500

2011 and newer Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class: $19,100 (Pictured) 

2007 Hyundai Veracruz gold late
  • Image Credit: Hyundai

Good Midsize SUVs

2008-09 Suzuki XL7: $3,600

2007-11 Mazda CX-7: $5,000

2008-09 Saturn Vue: $5,000

2008-09 Ford Taurus X: $5,700

2006-11 Honda Pilot: $6,000

2007 and newer  Hyundai Santa Fe: $6,400

2007 and newer  Mazda CX-9: $6,600

2007-12 Hyundai Veracruz: $7,000 (Pictured)

2007-11; built before March 2011 Ford Edge: $7,600

2006 and newer  Mercedes-Benz M-Class: $9,000

2010-11 Mitsubishi Endeavor: $9,500

2009-10 Ford Explorer: $9,600

2009 Ford Flex: $9,900

2007 and newer  Lincoln MKX: $9,900

2011 Chevy Traverse red rear driving
  • Image Credit: Chevy

Great Large SUVs

2011 and newer Chevrolet Traverse: $13,500

2011 and newer GMC Acadia: $15,400

2011 and newer Buick Enclave: $16,100

mercedes-benz r-class silver rear bridge
  • Image Credit: Copyright 2015 AOL

Good Large SUVs

2008-09; built after March 2008 Saturn Outlook: $7,800

2007-12 Mercedes-Benz R-Class: $8,500 (Pictured)

Dodge Grand Caravan black front fall leaves
  • Image Credit: Dodge

Great Minivans

2012 and newer Dodge Grand Caravan: $11,600

2012 and newer Volkswagen Routan: $11,800

2011 and newer Toyota Sienna: $13,200

2011 and newer Honda Odyssey: $13,600

2012 and newer Chrysler Town & Country: $14,600

Good Minivans
  • Image Credit: Honda

Good Minivans

2006 and newer Kia Sedona: $3,400

2005-10 Honda Odyssey: $4,100 (Pictured)

2007-08 Hyundai Entourage: $4,400

2008-11 Chrysler Town & Country: $5,600

2008-11 Dodge Grand Caravan: $6,200

2009-11 Volkswagen Routan: $6,300

2007 Toyota Tundra gold front
  • Image Credit: Toyota

Great Pickup Trucks

2007 and newer Toyota Tundra crew cab (Double Cab): $12,200

2011 and newer Ford F-150 crew cab (SuperCrew): $16,800

Honda Ridgeline
  • Image Credit: Honda

Good Pickup Trucks

2006-2014 Honda Ridgeline: $7,700 (Pictured)



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