According to the IIHS
Each year, the same question is asked thousands of times across the U.S., “What car should we get for our teen driver?” There really is no single answer, and there’s no easy way of picking and choosing which car would be perfect. Why, because there are so many variables parents have to consider. Do you live in an area with inclement weather? How much money can you afford? Can they actually drive a car yet?
These are the questions parents have to reckon with, and it’s these questions that make choosing the right car so difficult. But there's one big question that parents always want answered: “Is this car safe?” That’s where the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has stepped in so as to help worried parents around the country.
For this upcoming year, the IIHS has compiled a list of what the agency considers both the best choices and some good choices for both parents and teens alike. The list is made up of used cars, all of which are under $20,000 since most families won’t spend a lot on a teen’s first car. Each section is broken down into Large Cars, Midsize Cars, Small SUVs, Midsize SUVs, Large SUVs, Minivans, and Trucks. Three other factors went into the lists; High horsepower should be avoided, Bigger, heavier vehicles are safer, and Electronic stability control is a must. We’ve highlighted the Best Category in the images throughout this article, but there’s one point we’d like to make that the IIHS didn’t.
For those that live in areas where weather can impair a cars function, such as snow or sleet, we find it odd that the IIHS would include so many SUVs. Many accidents during these times tend to involve some form of SUV. Adults become too reliant on AWD or four-wheel drive, thinking that it will save them in an emergency. The truth is, it won’t always. AWD and four-wheel drive gives you more traction when starting off, they do not provide more traction when braking or in emergency situations. And if adults can’t get that in their heads, why put that into the heads of teenagers just learning to drive. Additionally, the lack of small cars is somewhat confusing. Small cars are not only cheap to maintain, but their safety has come a long way since even a decade or two ago.
Take the Volkswagen Golf and both the Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus. All three received a 5-Star ratings from the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the IIHS, making them prime candidates for your teenager. The list the IIHS has built is one that most parents can sleep easy with; however, it doesn’t take into account all the options available. The key really to choosing the right car for your teenager is doing your homework. You shouldn’t just go out and buy the first car you see for a few thousand dollars. Spend some time online, find the right car, and not only will your teenager be happy, but you’ll be happy since you know they’re safe.