As another school year winds down, many young drivers want a car so they can get to and from a summer job and drive around their friends; others might want a car when they head off to college. To ensure your teenager’s safety and your peace of mind, be sure you choose the right vehicle.
Put your inexperienced driver behind the wheel of the safest, most reliable car you can afford. Consumer Reports urges you to choose a vehicle equipped with ABS, electronic stability control (ESC), and curtain air bags. The car should perform well in government and insurance-industry crash tests, as well as in our dynamic tests, which include accident avoidance, braking, and handling. Plus, it shouldn’t be overly powerful.
The models listed below are readily available with the recommended safety equipment and have performed well in safety-related tests. All are Consumer Reports recommended vehicles, meaning that they scored well in our testing and have had average or better reliability. They also have sufficient acceleration to merge onto busy highways, good brakes, and scored well in emergency handling.
Chevrolet Malibu (4-cyl., 2008 or later)
Ford Focus sedan (2009-2011)
Honda Accord (4-cyl., 2008 or later)
Hyundai Sonata (4-cyl., 2006 or later)
Kia Optima (non-turbo, 2010 or later)
Mazda3 i Touring (2009 or later)
Nissan Altima (4-cyl., 2010 or later)
Subaru Impreza (non-turbo, 2009 or later)
Toyota Corolla (2010 or later)
Volkswagen Jetta (2007-2010)