When considering a car for new teenage drivers, it’s often tempting for parents to go the budget-friendly route. After all, they reason, an inexperienced driver behind the wheel is just a fender bender waiting to happen. The problem with old, hand-me-down cars for new drivers, however, is that they often sacrifice safety. Take my Dad, for example. I can remember when I was 16 I received the family hand me down which was what we called the “Brown Boat“. It was a ginormous 1979 Pontiac Bonneville. The car had no airbags, horrible breaks and loose handeling. It was a miracle that we didn’t kill ourselves back then. These days the cars are much better, but teenage drivers are still much more likely than adults to be involved in car accidents including fatal ones. Choosing a safe car for your new teenage driver warrants more strategy than simply picking whatever cheap model is currently being advertised.
Listed below are the safest cars for teenagers.
Smaller Models are the Safest Cars for Teenagers
Mazda 3 (2011 or newer): When considering a car for your teenager, you might be tempted to choose something big, like an SUV. However, newer and smaller models are the safest cars for teenage drivers, due to new technology and better crash structure. Though it’s a small car, the Mazda 3 is a comfortable ride with accurate handling. For 2012 and later Mazda 3 models, the fuel economy is excellent– 32 mpg.
Safety Trumps Beauty
Ford Focus (2009-2011): This car isn’t likely to turn heads, but it’s a competent, safe car for your new driver. The Focus has higher than average scores in both reliability and crash tests. It’s small but sturdy with balanced handling.
Cost Effective, Reliable and Safe
Toyota Corolla LE (2013): Like the Focus, the Corolla isn’t a flashy car, but it’s reliable, safe, and competitively priced. Your teenager can drive himself to and from high school in the Corolla– and then continue to drive it all the way through his college years. An added bonus of the LE model that your teen will likely appreciate is the Bluetooth connectivity and the iPod interface.
Live Up North? Get A Subaru With Four Wheel Drive
Subaru Impreza (2009 or newer): If you live in an area prone to winter weather, a car with all-wheel drive capability is a good option for your new driver. In addition to all-wheel drive, the Impreza boasts excellent reliability and an impressive crash-test record.
Safe, Fun to Drive and Excellent Fuel Economy to Boot.
Mazda 6 (2009-2013): Bigger than the Mazda 3 that also made our list, the Mazda 6 is considered a midsized sedan and includes more interior space. It’s a fun drive for your teenager though not likely to inspire excessive speed like a sports car. It’s a reliable car, and if you opt for the four-cylinder, it has decent fuel economy too. Beware! The 2015 line are being built to look faster. This is why we shy away from the newer models.
Do you agree with our “Safest Cars For Teenagers” list? Send your recommendation below and back it up with a fact or two. We would love to know.