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When buying a reliable SUV for a teen driver, there are some things to consider. The best used SUVs for teens have high safety scores, are relatively new, and have some of the more important safety features. These are anti-lock brakes, traction control, and stability control. Sport utility vehicles are generally safer than subcompact sedans or smaller cars, so check out the options from Toyota, Mazda, and Honda below.

What is a good used SUV for teens?

According to Kelley Blue Book, the 2017 Toyota RAV4 has many essential features to keep your teen driver safe. It has room for five passengers and has plenty of cargo space. Every 2017 RAV4 gets Toyota Safety Sense P, which adds pre-collision braking, automatic high beams, and lane-departure alert. The best value for teens is the SE model, which adds more safety features. It also adds LED headlights, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist. Toyota makes some good used SUVs for teens, and this year of the RAV4 checks all those boxes.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the 2017 Toyota RAV4 with its Top Safety Pick Plus award when equipped with LED projector headlights. These are included on the Platinum, Limited, Hybrid Limited, SE, and Hybrid SE trims. Skip the XLE, Hybrid XLE, and LE for the halogen projector headlights. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also gave the RAV4 a five-star safety rating.

Mazda’s CX-5 is a good used SUV for teens

The best used SUVs for teens include this Mazda CX-5
The Mazda CX-5 SUV | Mazda

Parents looking for a reliable SUV under $20,000 will be happy to hear what the 2018 Mazda CX-5 offers. If you can find the 2018 CX-5 Touring trim, that provides the best value with the most safety features. Those features include lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, and adaptive cruise control. LED headlights and auto-leveling headlights also make driving at night safer. This Mazda is a good used SUV for teens that still comes under budget.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2018 CX-5 a four-star overall safety rating. It earned high marks on the frontal, side, and rollover crashworthiness tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this Mazda SUV its Top Safety Pick Plus award, but only when equipped with the LED projector headlights on the Grand Touring trim. It also had to be built after March 2018. The suggested Touring trim only received a score of “acceptable” with its LED projector headlights.

Teen drivers will like the Honda CR-V Touring


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There are a lot of reasons that make the 2017 Honda CR-V a good used SUV for teens. Honda redesigned the CR-V this year, which meant more standard features and better safety scores. If you can find the EX model that offers the best value for young drivers. Some features include dual-zone automatic climate control, fog lights, and automatic high beams.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave very specific versions of the CR-V its Top Safety Pick Plus award. You’ll want to find one with the Honda Sensing Package that added a Collision Mitigation Brake System. Only the Touring trim with LED reflectors earned the TSP+ award, too. The EX and EX-L trims earned a score of “marginal” with the halogen projector lights. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the CR-V a five-star safety rating.

Finding a reliable used SUV for teens can seem daunting, but these options are an excellent place to start. The more safety features and systems, the better. Your teen might want things like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but those driver assistance features will be more helpful in the long run.