Searching for the perfect car to surprise your newly licensed teen with is not always an easy undertaking. Your wish-list of features may look to combine your requirements as a parent with the desires of your teen. However, you shouldn’t have to compromise any of your wishes to meet the standards of the young adult. Considering it costs more to insure young drivers and that they are more likely to get into accidents than older drivers, safety should definitely be at the top of your feature wish-list. While car pricing and insurance costs are out of your control, it’s important to remember that deciding on the safest cars for teenage drivers is in your control.
Luckily, we did some of the dirty work for you. We’ve broken down key features to look out for when purchasing a car for teenage drivers as well as providing a few car options for you to choose from that include a combination of the best safety, reliability, affordability, and maintenance.
Features that impact car safety
Age of car
When it comes to new drivers, it’s common to receive hand-me-down or used vehicles. This is not a problem as many used cars can be safe for teen drivers, but it’s recommended that the cars be between 3 and 5 years of age. This age range includes cars that have more modern advancements in technology and engineering. If older than this, cars made after 2012 are suggested because that is when electronic stability control became a standard for new vehicles. In general, however, the newer the car, the newer the safety features which is a win for both you and your teen driver.
Another important consideration for your car purchase is the size of the car. Young adult drivers are safest in mid-sized vehicles, those that are neither too small nor too large. Micro or mini cars pose huge risks if involved in an accident. There is not much room for protection. On the flip side, large vehicles may be too difficult to maneuver and may require a longer breaking time, especially if they are a heavy duty vehicle.
Believe it or not, engine size is a feature that should also be researched. Cars equipped with 4-cylinder engines tend to be safer because their maximum speed is less than vehicles equipped with larger, more powerful engines. While high-performance cars can be exceptionally fun, they don’t rank at the top of the list for safe cars for teen drivers.
A few of the safest cars for teenage drivers
The Honda Civic is notoriously ranked as one of the safest cars for teen drivers. The Honda Civic belongs to the subcompact class of cars, as it’s a smaller sedan, but that doesn’t take away from its spacious and sleek build. This car is equipped with a collision mitigation braking system and a road departure mitigation system to provide the safest experience for passengers.
The Honda Civic, with its impressive fuel economy, has a 31 miles per gallon rating for city driving. This feature makes it the perfect everyday car for young drivers.
The 2022 Honda Civic starts at: $22,350
The Subaru Crosstrek, a subcompact SUV, is a great option for your adventurous teen. Its symmetrical all-wheel drive is a standard feature for this model. The Crosstrek has a 27 miles per gallon rating for city driving and standard EyeSight Driver Assist technology. Not to mention the Subaru Crosstrek also has a hybrid model which was a 2021 IIHS Top Safety Pick as it received the highest possible rating from IIHS.
The 2022 Subaru Crosstrek starts at: $22,445
The Mazda CX-5 is a sporty, compact SUV suitable for daily drives to school and weekend adventures. This car is completed with Mazda’s i-Activsense safety technology which includes Advanced Smart City Brake Support with Day and Night-time Pedestrian Detection and available Traffic Jam Assist. It also gets up to 24 miles per gallon with city driving. This is definitely one you’re going to want to consider. And maybe even Mazda’s other models such as the Mazda3 Sedan or the larger Mazda6.
The 2022 Mazda CX-5 starts at: $25,900
Final thoughts on the safest cars for teenage drivers
Once you’ve decided on which car checks all your important wish-list boxes, check out some tips on teaching your teen how to drive in their new car.