• Image Credit: (scion)
For teen drivers, the summer months mark some of the best times for enjoying the freedoms of the road. No school. Late-night parties. Road trips.
These opportunities also bring danger. The summer months are the deadliest for teen drivers, according to a recent AAA study. Seven of the Top 10 deadliest days on the calendar come during the summer, the study found, and more teen-driving deaths occur in the summer than in any other season.
Along those lines, CarInsurance.com recently put together a list of the 14 best cars for teen drivers. At the forefront of the website’s methodology in determining the best cars was safety. In evaluating the cars, experts paid attention to whether the cars had electronic stability control, which became more widely available in the 2009 model year. 
“Stability control is a godsend, because it limits a lot of the dumb moves a young driver can make,” said Des Toups, the managing editor of CarInsurance.com. Stability control is a requirement to earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s “Top Safety Pick” designation, and Toups said that was the starting point for his rankings.
From there, the website factored in vehicle cost and reliability, fuel economy and insurance costs – which can be whopping for young, inexperienced drivers. Looking at used models from 2009, here are 10 of the cars that made the CarInsurance.com cut:
  • Image Credit: (Ford Motor Co.)

Ford Taurus

Average used price: $11,286
Combined fuel economy: 21 MPG
Annual insurance premium: $3,322
The Taurus was the top-scoring sedan in CarInsurance.com’s rankings, winning points for the low cost of the car and the cheapest insurance rate available for a theoretical 18-year-old male buying his own policy.
A tougher sell might be convincing a teen driver to drive the Taurus. Its heyday came in the 1980s and its boxy styling holds about as much charisma as a UPS truck.
  • Image Credit: (Ford Motor Co.)

Ford Fusion

Average used price: $11,216
Combined fuel economy: 23 MPG
Annual insurance premium: $3,494
Older models of the Fusion don’t have the more fluid styling of the great-looking Fusions currently on the market today. But much like their larger sibling, the Taurus, they’re an able jack of all trades, performing pretty well in every category measured in the CarInsurance.com study.
Note that on the ’09 models, electronic stability control is offered on some, but not all trim levels. “Like every safety feature, it appears first on expensive cars and works its way down to the cheap ones,” Toups said.
  • Image Credit: (Honda)

Honda Accord

Average used price: $14,399
Combined fuel economy: 24 MPG
Average insurance premium: $3,334
While the Taurus may have been most popular three decades ago, the appeal of the Accord is timeless. It has been one of the most consistent cars on the road for decades, and makes an ideal choice for a first-time driver.
Of all the cars on the CarInsurance.com list, automotive expert John Pearley Huffman likes the Accord the most. “You could keep it a long time without outgrowing it, and it’s big enough that parents won’t worry.”
  • Image Credit: (scion)

Scion xB

Average used price: $10,387
Combined fuel economy: 24 MPG
Annual insurance premium: $3,506
The xB has traditionally been Scion’s most popular model because of its versatility, and is the one utility vehicle to show up on the CarInsurance.com list – SUVs and pick-ups have been excluded from the list because of their high centers of gravity.
Its electronic stability control system comes with traction control, and dual front, side and overhead curtain airbags.
  • Image Credit: (AOLAutos.com)

Subaru Legacy

Average used price: $13,005
Combined fuel economy: 22 MPG
Annual insurance premium: $3,518
The words “rugged” and “sedan” don’t usually mix, but when it comes to the Subaru Legacy, that’s exactly what drivers are getting. The Legacy borrows from Subaru’s tradition of producing versatile vehicles for a variety of road – and off- road - conditions.
The Legacy also deserves a look for its legroom for rear passengers, and teen drivers might appreciate the 385-watt Harman/Kardon audio system that made its Subaru debut on the ’09 Legacy.
  • Image Credit: (Volkswagen)

Volkswagen Jetta

Average used price: $10,333
Combined fuel economy: 24
Annual insurance premium: $3,524
If you want a European sedan, but aren’t going to break the bank for a young driver, the Jetta presents a viable alternative.  And in 2009, Volkswagen made electronic stability control standard on all trim levels.
  • Image Credit: (Audi)

Audi A3 2.0T

Average used price: $14,474
Combined fuel economy: 24 MPG
Annual insurance premium: $3,622
So the Audi A3 is the second-most expensive car to make the list. And for good reason. Of the 10 cars name-checked, it’s the one we’d most want to own. The A3 possesses the dynamic performance capabilities and style none of the others can match.
  • Image Credit: (Toyota)

Toyota Corolla

Average used price: $10,294
Combined fuel economy: 30 MPG
Annual insurance premium: $3,656
The Corolla makes its first appearance on CarInsurance.com’s annual teen-friendly list, mainly because electronic stability control became standard on its ’09 models.
Its 30 combined miles per gallon makes it the second most fuel efficient on the list, which should make it an intriguing option for cash-strapped teenagers. They might not get much personality from the Corolla, but they can get one of the best compact cars on the market 
  • Image Credit: (Subaru)

Subaru Impreza

Average used price: $11,671
Combined fuel economy: 22 MPG
Annual insurance premium:  $3,732
Another versatile compact, the Impreza comes with all-wheel drive on all trim levels, as does traction control and stability control.
Most models feature a 170-horsepower, four-cylinder engine with options for manual or automatic transmissions. The GT trim level has a turbo-charged version of the engine that produces 224 horses, and for the true teen thrill-seekers, the performance WRX models have 265-hp under the hood.
  • Image Credit: (Honda)

Honda Fit

Average used price: $12,694
Combined fuel economy: 31 MPG
Annual insurance premium: $3,976
No car on this list gets better combined fuel economy than the Honda Fit, which is one reason it’s one of the most in-demand used cars on the market today. There’s a lot of room for passengers too, in this deceptive compact car.
“I love small cars like the Fit,” Huffman says. “But relatively speaking, your kid stands a better chance in something with bigger crumple zones.”
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