At Aceable, we understand that a safe car doesn’t have to mean a boring car. That’s why we compiled the five safest cars for new drivers that don’t sacrifice style and won’t break the bank so that you can keep your peace of mind AND make sure your teen is happy. If you want to shop for any of the vehicles we recommend, just check out Aceable’s Car Buying Service through TrueCar. You’ll get even better rates on new and used cars with our special discount available only to Aceable customers!
1. Subaru Forester (2014 and newer)
When it comes to safety, Subaru takes the cake: It’s the only car manufacturer with IIHS Top Safety Picks for all models for six consecutive years. And at one of the lowest starting prices in its class, it’s the perfect blend of sport meets utility. Other safety features include All Wheel Drive, superior visibility (a must when considering lane changes), side impact airbags, dual forward airbags, side curtain airbags, electronic traction control and stability control.
2. Honda CR-V (2015 and newer)
The timeless classic, and for good reason: The Honda CR-V offers great fuel efficiency and plenty of cargo space without sacrificing style or safety. All versions come with electronic stability control and traction control, along with side impact airbags up front, dual forward airbags, and side impact airbags. This is a perfect entry-level SUV, and one that your teen can definitely get on board with.
3. Mitsubishi Outlander (2014 and newer)
With outstanding fuel economy among three-row SUVs, the Mitsubishi Outlander is an affordable and safe competitor amongst other compact SUVs. Safety features include electronic stability control, integrated turn signal mirrors, rollover protection, traction control, blind spot monitor, and lane departure warning.
4. Chevy Malibu (2014 and newer)
Buying a 2016 model? Chevy recently debut a system called “Teen Driver,” which enforces a bunch of safety features when activated (like silencing the stereo system until both driver and passenger seatbelts are fastened). Parents can also receive a “Report Card” that details how far the car drove, how many times the over-speed warning was triggered, and various braking events. It’s a teen’s worst nightmare, but your best friend.
If you’re not springing for a 2016 model, don’t worry; older versions of the Chevy Malibu still offer some of the best safety around with high scores in safety and reliability.
5. Honda Accord (2013 and newer)
The Honda Accord is extremely safe, reliable, affordable and practical. It’s like the Meryl Streep of cars — you really can’t go wrong with one on your team. Safety features include 4-wheel ABS, six airbags, electronic stability control, night vision, rollover protection, traction control and blind spot monitoring. It’s everything you need to ensure your teen has a safe and stylish ride for their first time.
Interested in shopping for a car? Don’t forget to check out Aceable’s Car Buying Service through TrueCar and save up to $3,106 off MSRP.
How We Made This List
After consulting information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the American Automobile Association and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), we compiled this list based on the following criteria:
- Used. This likely won’t be your teen’s lifelong car. In a survey conducted among Aceable parents, 98 percent of those who bought a vehicle for their teenagers said they bought it used.
- Around $20,000 or less. This is a great price point that still gets a “cool” car while affording you a range of options that are both safe and budget-friendly.
- Mid-size sedan or small SUV. Experts agree that the heavier the vehicle, the better the protection. Both the IIHS and the American Automobile Association recommend midsize sedans to small SUVs.
- “Top Safety Pick+” rating from the IIHS and 5-Star National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash test rating. To get this rating, a vehicle must earn good ratings in five crashworthiness tests and an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention as well as an acceptable or good headlight rating.