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It isn’t easy to buy a new SUV for your teenager or that your teen will drive. In fact, it can be a pretty overwhelming task, as you want to make sure that you buy something safe enough for your teen while having something that’s nice – but maybe not too nice. No matter what kind of SUV you want to get your kid, you do have a range of options. There are a range of safest midsize SUVs for teenagers.

Front angle view of Wind Chill Pearl 2023 Toyota Highlander
Wind Chill Pearl 2023 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

The IIHS and Consumer Reports have strict standards

In order to be one of the IIHS and Consumer Reports’ recommended vehicles, the SUV must be either a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+. To win a Top Safety Pick award, a vehicle must get a good rating in all six crashworthiness categories. It also must have front-crash prevention systems with advanced or superior ratings. At least one headlight system out of all available has to be acceptable or good. To win the coveted Top Safety Pick+ award, a vehicle must have good or acceptable headlights standard on every available trim level.

In addition, they must have average or better reliability, emergency handling scores, and be able to brake in less than 140 feet from 60 mph on dry pavement. Controls must get a rating of good or better, and they can’t have a super high insurance claim rate under medical payment or personal injury protection coverage. These are the five safest midsize SUVs you can buy for your teen driver.

The 2022 Toyota Highlander is one of the best new SUVs for teens

The 2022 Toyota Highlander isn’t just one of the IIHS’ best new SUVs for your teen drivers, it’s also a Top Safety Pick+. On top of that, it’s loaded with safety features. It comes standard with pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, and cruise control.

In addition, the Toyota Highlander has automatic high beams, lane tracing assist, and road sign assist, according to Toyota. It also comes with its Star Safety System. This includes stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, and brake assist. It also has Smart Stop technology. A new Highlander costs about $37,100.

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe is a great choice for teens

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe comes with a host of important safety features. These include blind-spot collision avoidance, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, lane keeping assist, and driver attention warning. The Hyundai Santa Fe also has lane following assist, forward collision warning, and cruise control. In addition, the Santa Fe comes with safe seat exit and rear occupant alert, which helps to remind you if you leave a child or pet in your backseat.

The 2022 Nissan Murano is one of the best new SUVs for teen drivers

The 2022 Nissan Murano is one of the best new SUVs for your teen driver. It’s a Top Safety Pick+ and costs about $35,000. It also comes with Safety Shield 360, which is Nissan’s suite of safety systems. This includes things like automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, rear automatic braking, and blind spot warning.

The 2022 Hyundai Palisade is a great SUV that’s fun for you and your teen


No Pickup Trucks Made the IIHS’ List of the Best Vehicles for Teens

The 2022 Hyundai Palisade is a great SUV for you and your teen. It’s a nice midsize SUV that also happens to be an IIHS Top Safety Pick+. The 2022 Hyundai Palisade has essential driving safety features like forward collision warning, lane keep assist, and blind spot-monitor. The Palisade also has adaptive cruise control and rear parking sensors.

The 2022 Mazda CX-9 makes the list of the safest SUVs for teens

The 2022 Mazda CX-9 has a ton of safety features, making this a great option for a teen driver. While many SUVs offer some standard safety systems, the CX-9 is loaded with the essentials. Some of the safety systems that come standard in the Mazda CX-9 include blind-spot monitoring, smart city brake support with both day and night-time pedestrian detection, and rear cross traffic alert.

The Mazda CX-9 also has radar cruise control, adaptive front-lighting, and a smart braking system. In addition, the CX-9 comes with lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and driver attention alert. It even comes with traffic sign recognition and high beam control. 

If you’re looking for the safest midsize new SUVs for your teen, you can’t go wrong with any of these choices. They’ve each been vetted by two of the top safety organizations, which should put your mind at ease as your child is out there learning how to drive.