The Best Safe SUVs for Teens, According to the IIHS and Consumer Reports

Letting your teenager drive on the roads can be a scary transition. It can be a little less scary knowing you are sending your teen out in a safe vehicle. Consumer Reports and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) compiled a list of the best safe SUVs for teens to help with the process. All of the options on this list are under $20,000 and can be purchased used.

Consumer Reports reccomends the 2014 Mazda CX-5 and the Subaru Forester

Consumer Reports recommends the best safe SUVs
Consumer Reports and the IIHS recommended the best safe SUVs for teens | Victor Decolongon/Getty Images for Mazda Motor Co

When it came to used small SUVs, the IIHS had an extensive list of options. The Mazda CX-5 was first on the list, as long as it was a 2014 or newer. The price was a reasonable $9,300 for one of the best safe SUVs on the market. Consumer Reports gave the CX-5 reliability of five out of five, and the owner satisfaction was a three out of five.

The 2014, 2016-2018, and 2020 Nissan Rogue also made the list. For around $10,100, the IIHS recommends this SUV that won’t break the bank. The 2016 Subaru Forester or newer came in a bit higher, at $13,500. However, people love the off-road capabilities and safety features of the Forester.

The Honda CR-V and Kia Sportage are some of the best safe SUVs under $15k

The IIHS and Consumer Reports recommend the 2015+ Honda CR-V. The CR-V received a score of five out of five for reliability, and the owner satisfaction was a three out of five. Consumer Reports found the 2017 CR-V to be OK, but the rest of the years come highly recommended.

The 2017, 2018, and 2020 Kia Sportage are also solid used options. Both of these SUVs are around $14,800. Like the other SUVs, Consumer Reports found the Sportage reliable and safe. The Sportage might even still have a warranty left, depending on the mileage. Kia has an industry-leading warranty of 10-years and 1000,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage. In addition to that, there is also a 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty for some vehicles.

$15k + options: Toyota RAV4, Honda HR-V, and the Hyundai Kona


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The Toyota RAV4, Honda HR-V, and the Hyundai Kona might cost a bit more. The Toyota RAV4 was recommended for 2015 and newer model years. Toyota is known for being affordable and making some of the best safe SUVs on the market. Consumer Reports found the 2015 Toyota RAV4 reliable, and this remained consistent through 2018.

The Honda HR-V made this list for 2017 and newer, but the Consumer Reports reviews don’t live up to the hype. This SUV scored only three out of five for reliability and one out of five for owner satisfaction. Priced around $15,400, the 2018 HR-V might be better for reliability’s sake. The 2018+ Hyundai Kona had a similar price and reliability.

Other notable entries are the 2018-2019 Buick Encore, the 2018+ Hyundai Tuscon, the 2019+ Mazda CX-3, and the 2017 Volvo XC60.

The choices on these lists offer used SUVs that cover three bases: safety, reliability, and affordability. Some of the best safe SUVs will offer all three, and the IIHS and Consumer Reports joined forces to find those options.