The IIHS and Consumer Reports think these are safe and reliable options.
As a teenager, few moments in life are quite as exciting as passing your driving test. It's a ticket to freedom, a gateway to fun, and an opportunity to make memories and navigate the world on your own. It couldn't be more different for parents, though. The most precious thing in your life is now legally able to control 4,000 lbs of moving metal and, knowing what you were like as a teenager, that's a terrifying thought.
The best parents can do is educate their kids on the importance of road safety and, if financially possible, purchase a safe and reliable car for their offspring. But where do you start? Well, the IIHS and Consumer Reports (CR) have teamed up again to provide worried parents with a list of cars (new and used) to suit most budgets. If you're a horsepower-crazed teen, don't expect a list of sports cars - sensibility and common sense prevail here.
The organizations have highlighted several excellent picks, but we're mostly going to focus on vehicles that received recommendations in both the new and used categories. Unsurprisingly, the list comprises myriad Subaru, Honda, and Mazda models. Both the new and old Legacy and Outback models are featured and, frankly, we're not surprised.
Subaru has a stellar reputation for reliability and its safety record is something to boast about. Mazda fared well too, with the now-discontinued CX-3, 3 (hatch and sedan), CX-30, and CX-5 all receiving a spot on the list. Naturally, Honda is well-represented with the Odyssey being the only new recommended minivan. The CR-V is endorsed as both a great new and used buy.
There are plenty of "best" secondhand choices to select from. Sensible vehicles such as the 2014-15 Ford C-Max Hybrid make an appearance, but the IIHS and CR also recommend more interesting vehicles such as the 2016-19 Audi A6 and 2016 BMW 3 Series sedan - the latter receives just a "good" rating, though.
If you've got more cash to shell out, several new cars will appeal to style-conscious teens and provide parents with peace of mind. More expensive examples include the Lexus IS and NX, although more cost-effective options such as the Kia K5 and Honda Insight also make the cut.
You may be wondering how these vehicles were chosen. The IIHS and CR choose from vehicles that meet strict criteria. All have a curb weight in excess of 2,750 lbs and have received "good" ratings from the IIHS moderate overlap front, original side, roof strength, and head restraint tests, among other things.
Other requirements include standard stability control and above-average reliability ratings from CR. Even if they meet all the exacting demands, "vehicles with substantially higher than average claim frequency under medical payment or personal injury protection coverage" have been excluded.