Parents are in a very tough spot when their teen begins to drive. All parents want to provide a safe vehicle, but they need to stay within their budget. Each year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety collects a list of safe and affordable used vehicle recommendations for teen drivers. The goal of this list is to provide parents and guardians a guide to follow when considering first-time and novice driver automobile purchases. Brad Pistotnik and the Brad Pistotnik Law firm would like you to consider these recommendations when purchasing a new vehicle for your teen. The hopes are that you will never need a personal injury lawyer for your teen, if you find yourself in need of legal advice about a car accident contact an accident attorney now for a free consultation. Please do your research before buying your teen a vehicle.

The IIHS teen vehicle recommendation list has multiple tiers to consider. The first is titled “best choices,” which includes automobiles that have good ratings in the four oldest IIHS crash worthiness tests and cost less than $20,000. The second tier is “good choices,” which includes vehicles that may not have perfect ratings in some crash tests, but are available for less than $10,000. The IIHS criteria emphasize safety. All the vehicles on the recommended list perform well in crash tests that have been conducted by the Institute and the federal government. And all have standard electronic stability control.

The most recent list included about 150 vehicles. The list has an increase of more than 50% from the list of the previous year. More than 80 cost $10,000 or less and 19 are $5,000 or less. The safest vehicles from each size category are listed below:

Large Cars: Volvo S80 (2007 and newer)

Midsize Cars: Volkswagen Jetta sedan and wagon (2009 and newer)

Small SUVs: Honda Element (2007-2011)

Midsize SUVs: Volvo XC90 (2005 and newer)

Large SUVs: Chevrolet Traverse (2011 and newer)

Minivans: Dodge Grand Caravan (2012 and newer)

Pickup Trucks: Toyota Tundra extended cab (2007 and newer)

The list includes many popular models that may already be in your driveway, so you may want to consider using one of your own vehicles when the time comes.

When buying a used vehicle for a teen there are a few things you should not compromise on,

Stay away from high-horsepower vehicles that can encourage risky and fast driving.

Avoid small cars because they’re not as protected in case of a crash.

No teen should be driving a vehicle that does not have electronic stability control. Electronic Safety Control is crucial because it helps to prevent loss-of-control crashes that inexperienced teen drivers are more prone to be involved in.

When thinking about safety, parents may focus on features like the amount of airbags. A key part of crash protection is a vehicle’s size and weight. Remember that bigger, heavier vehicles are more protected in a crash than small, lighter ones.


It is unfortunate that many of the used vehicles recommended for beginner teen drivers still cost more than many people are used to paying. It is important to think about your teen’s safety when considering the auto purchase, spend money based on the safety of the vehicle. If your teen’s life is saved the extra money will definitely be worth it.

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If you have been involved in an auto, truck or motorcycle accident and need to speak with a personal injury lawyer contact Brad Pistotnik now for a free consultation.