There’s a common dilemma in many households with a newly licensed teen driver: Do I pass down my old car to my teen? Or do I buy another vehicle for my teen to drive?
Fortunately for parents, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has some guidance. Recently, IIHS and Consumer Reports (CR) released their 2020 list of best used vehicles for teens, which recommends 65 used models, under the designations “best choices” and “good choices,” all of which are valued at under $20,000.
Along with finding a ride with ample crash protection, there are a few additional things parents should consider when they start to shop:
Avoid Vehicles That Encourage Reckless Driving
Teen drivers not only lack experience, but may also lack maturity. As a result, speeding and reckless driving are common.
Sports cars and other vehicles with high-performance features, such as turbo-charging, are likely to encourage speeding. Choosing a vehicle with a more sedate image reduces the chances your teen will be in a speed-related crash.
Aim For Stability
Sport utility vehicles, especially the smaller ones, are inherently less stable than cars because of their higher centers of gravity. Abrupt steering maneuvers, the kind that can occur when teens are fooling around or over-correcting a driver error, can cause rollovers in these less stable vehicles. A more stable car would, at worst, skid or spin out.
Choose A Mid-size Vehicle
Small vehicles offer much less protection in crashes than larger ones. However, this doesn’t mean you should put your child in the largest vehicle you can find. Many mid- and full-size cars offer more than adequate crash protection. Check out the safety ratings for mid-size and larger cars.
Avoid Older Vehicles
Most of today’s cars are better designed for crash protection than cars of six to 10 years ago. For example, a newer, mid-size car with air bags would be a better choice than an older, larger car without air bags. Before you make a final choice on the car your teenager will drive, consult the U.S. Department of Transportation or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Look For Electronic Stability Control & Crash Protection
This safety technology helps drivers maintain control on curves and slippery roads. Keep in mind, even if you don’t have a teen driver in your household, these vehicles could still be worth checking out if you’re looking to get into a reasonably priced, safe ride.