When your child earns their driver’s license, it’s both an exciting and nerve-wracking experience. While you’ll certainly be excited at not needing to drive your kid around everywhere, sending them out onto the open road can cause some concerns. Being unable to control the actions of other drivers and wanting to protect your child by helping ensure the vehicle they drive is reliable is only natural.
This is why learning how to choose a safe vehicle and picking from some of the most reliable vehicles on the market can help ease your mind.
How to Choose a Safe Vehicle
Before diving into some of the safest vehicles you or your child can consider purchasing, learning how to pick such a car is the first step. Here are some effective tips to consider when looking at vehicles in your area:
- Read safety reviews and crash test reports to gauge reliability.
- Review safety features included with the vehicle, such as a backup camera, sensors, automatic stop, or other items.
- Ensure basic features such as traction control, stability control, airbags, and potentially blind-spot monitoring is available.
- Check for previous recalls on the vehicle you are considering purchasing.
Above all, when you decide on a vehicle, always take it for a test drive. This is the best way to understand how the vehicle handles and whether you or your child feels safe behind the wheel.
10 Safest Cars for Teens
With the basic features to keep an eye out for when choosing a vehicle outlined above, it’s time to learn about some of the safest new and used cars on the market for teens:
- Subaru Outback
The Subaru Outback, specifically those models manufactured after 2012, is a notoriously reliable vehicle. This is a mid-size 4-door wagon that has won numerous awards over the years for its safety features and reliability. In crash tests, every category except for a small overlap on the driver’s side received the highest rating of Good, with the small overlap still receiving an acceptable rating.
Other features help make this vehicle one of the safest on the road, including daytime running lights and the ability to add a lane departure warning. One excellent benefit to this vehicle is that models after 2012 all have high safety ratings, meaning you can look at purchasing a used or new model.
- Chevy Volt
A slightly smaller vehicle than the first on our list, the Chevy Volt still stands as one of the most reliable cars out there. Specifically, the 2014 Chevy Volt stands out among other years as one of the safer produced, offering features such as optional systems that help prevent head-on crashes with other vehicles.
In fact, the 2014 Volt is a highly-rated vehicle in terms of safety, making it an excellent option for anybody looking for a used vehicle.
- Toyota Avalon
Toyota is a renowned brand worldwide regarding its vehicles’ safety and longevity. Receiving a reliability rating of 85/100, this fuel-efficient mid-size V6 provides the power you or your child need to be safe out on the road. This vehicle also has a relatively low starting price of $36,375, meaning that it can be afforded new and is even cheaper used.
- GMC Terrain
The GMC Terrain is an effective vehicle with a reliability rating of 83 out of 100, offering many safety features such as emergency braking, forward collision alert, stability control, and more. New GMC Terrain safety features soundly beat out the safety features of the old GMC Terrain, which makes this a better vehicle for those looking at new vehicles.
- Honda Odyssey
For those looking to purchase a larger vehicle, the Honda Odyssey is an excellent choice for safety. Specifically, the 2017 or 2020 and newer models are the most trustworthy to consider with this car. The Odyssey offers numerous seats and safety features as a minivan, including optional blind spot detection, lane departure warning, and daytime running lights. The Odyssey also receives the highest crash test rating on all sides of the vehicle, including the head restraints and seats.
The Mazda3 may seem like an unlikely vehicle to add to this list, but Mazda is known to make reliable vehicles. The 2014 or newer sedan is a small, 4-door vehicle with many safety features, including receiving the highest crash test safety ratings in all categories. A front crash vehicle-to-vehicle protection system sets this vehicle apart from others. A bonus to this vehicle is the starting MSRP in the low $20,000s, making it an affordable vehicle.
- Honda Accord
The Honda Accord is one of the most common vehicles on the road, and for a good reason. Receiving an overall five-star crash test rating, the Accord offers a strong structure and safety cage for drivers. With small bonus features such as seat belt reminders, crash protection from head-to-head and side-to-side, and strong outer foundations, the Accord can keep you protected on the road.
- Tesla Model 3
Those looking to spend a little more on a vehicle but seeking the best safety features available should consider the Tesla Model 3. This electric sedan received a five-star crash test rating in vehicle-to-vehicle collisions and vehicle-to-pedestrian collisions. While the MSRP starts higher at nearly $50,000 for the basic model, the safety features and technological components embedded in the vehicle make the cost worth it.
- Subaru Forester
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Subaru Forester an astounding five out of five stars for both frontal and side crashes and four stars for their rollover test. As a small, 4-dor SUV, this vehicle is perfect as a safe starter vehicle for any new driver.
- Toyota Corolla
Finally, the Toyota Corolla is an extremely safe choice for a vehicle, offering a five-star safety rating. Frontal and side crash tests earned the vehicle five stars, and rollover tests earned the vehicle four stars. With a small 10.5% chance of rollover, you can rest easy knowing that you’re extremely protected on the road.
Stay Protected Out on the Road
Whether you are buying your very own first vehicle or browsing on behalf of your child, ensuring you or your loved ones are safe on the road should be a top priority. Not only is it crucial to choose a vehicle with a low likelihood of breaking down, but it’s also important to aim to pick one with as many safety features as your budget allows. Beyond this, adding an extended warranty from a service provider can offer maintenance and breakdown protection if you opt for a used vehicle.
To find a plan right for your or your new driver, check out our reviews of top third-party service providers to see which packages might meet your needs.