Every teenager is eager to start driving their first car, making many parents concerned for their children’s safety. Newer drivers are at greater risk of getting into car accidents than experienced drivers.

Buying a first car is a huge decision, and teens should know it’s not all about status and appearance. Safety is the most important thing for parents to consider when choosing a car for their child.

Which Cars are Safest?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) publishes an annual list of the safest recommended cars for teenaged drivers. They began this in 2014 to help parents find a car for their new driver that can keep their minds at ease.

The 2016 list of cars is broken up into “Best Choices” and “Good Choices.” The Best Choices list are newer models of most of the same cars that are listed under Good Choices. These are also slightly more expensive. There are 49 Best Choices starting under $20,000, and 83 Good Choices starting under $10,000.

Top Vehicles by Category

Large cars

  • Volvo S80 (2007 and newer) for Best Choice
  • Ford Taurus (2009 and newer) for Good Choices

Midsize cars

  • Toyota Camry (Best Choice: 2014 and newer, Good Choice: 2012-13)
  • Hyundai Sonata (Best Choice: 2015 and newer, Good Choice: 2011-14)
  • Acura TL (Best Choice: 2012-14, Good Choice: 2009-11)

Small SUVs

  • Subaru Forester (Best Choice: 2014 and newer, Good Choice: 2007-13)
  • Mazda CX-3 (Best Choice: 2016 and newer)
  • Mitsubishi Outlander (Best Choice: 2014 and newer, Good Choice: 2011-13)

Midsize SUVs

  • Kia Sorento (Best Choice: 2016 and newer, Good Choice: 2011-2015)
  • GMC Terrain (Best Choice: 2014 and newer, Good Choice: 2010-13)
  • Nissan Murano (Best Choice: 2015 and newer, Good Choice: 2009-14)


  • Kia Sedona (Best Choice: 2015 and newer, Good Choice: 2006-14)

Pick-up trucks

  • Toyota Tundra extended cab (Best Choice: 2014 and newer, Good Choice: 2007-13)


The IIHS has raised the bar for safe vehicles. High horsepower cars are advised against because teens will be tempted to test out the feature and speed. All vehicles listed have electronic stability, which helps drivers maintain control on windy or slippery roads. Vehicle size was another factor in choosing the cars on the list—heavier cars are safer because they protect better in a crash.

For the first time, small overlap front crash protection was considered when compiling the Best Choices list. All cars have four or five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


The IIHS knows that while safety is the first priority, families are looking for the best prices for a car as well. All the cars on the lists are used and under $20,000. The cheapest car, the Saab 9-3 years 2005-2011, is listed at $2,000. Families on a budget should look at the Good Choices list, which are all still top safety picks, but more affordable.

Get the Right Insurance for Your Teen Driver

Talk to your Yetter Insurance agent today to find the best plan to cover your teenage driver. For more information, please contact Yetter Insurance Agency at our Milford office by calling 570-296-8329.