Best Used Vehicles for Teen Drivers

| Auto insurance, Auto Safety, Auto Safety Tips, Teen Drivers.

best used vehicles for teen drivers

Every year the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety makes recommendations for the best used vehicles for teen drivers. This list becomes slightly longer every year, as vehicles that have good crash test ratings become more affordable in the used car market. To make the IIHS list, vehicles must be affordable – under $20,000 for vehicles with a “good” rating.   There are now many vehicles that fetch less than $10,000 in the used-car market and still have a favorable crash test rating.

There are several key criteria that the IIHS recommends parents consider when looking for a vehicle that will be driven by a teen:

  • Avoid high horsepower cars.  Teens may not have the skill or self-restraint to handle a vehicle with a powerful motor.  In general, the recommend vehicles for teen drivers will have the base engine, usually a 4 cylinder option.
  • Bigger and heavier vehicles are generally safer.  This does not mean you need a full-size SUV for your teen, but you will not find any minicars or compacts on the list.  In general, those vehicles do not perform as well in IIHS crash testing.
  • Electronic stability control is critical.   All cars built since 2012 have some type of stability control built in.  It is designed to help a driver maintain control on slippery or curved roads.  The technology is well developed and has proven to save lives.  Every vehicle on the IIHS list includes stability control.

So, what types of vehicles are on the IIHS list?  Visit the website to read the full report, but here is a sampling the vehicles on the “best choice” list including the average value in the used-car market:

Make/Model Model Years Average Price
Volvo S80 2007 and newer $5,800
Ford Taurus 2010 and newer $10,900
Buick Lacrosse 2010 and newer $11,300
Hyundai Azera 2012 and newer $16,800
Ford Fusion 2010 and newer $7,400
Chevrolet Malibu 2010 and newer $8,200
Volkswagen Jetta 2009 and newer $5,600
Hyundai Sonata 2011 and newer $9,900
Nissan Altima 2013 and newer $12,200
Toyota Camry 2012 and newer $11,300
Mazda 6 2014 and newer $15,100
Honda Element 2007 to 2011 $6,700
Hyundai Tucson 2010 and newer $10,400
Ford Escape 2013 and newer $14,000
Honda CR-V 2012 and newer $15,400
Mazda CX-5 2013 and newer $14,800
Toyota Tundra 2007 and newer $12,200
Ford F150 2011 and newer $16,800

There is also a “good choice” list that includes many older model vehicles that sell for less – often below $8,000.   In all, the IIHS has over 100 vehicles they recommend as best used vehicles for teen drivers. The list includes vehicles in all price ranges and from from the mid-2000’s forward.

When considering a vehicle for your teen driver, make sure you take a look at the IIHS list of recommended vehicles.   The IIHS is a non-profit organization funded by the insurance industry.  It’s sole purpose is to reduce death, injury and other losses from motor vehicle accidents.

Image: Rob Marmion/123rf