Skip to main content

Shopping for a new SUV for your teen driver can be super stressful. That’s because you’re probably shopping for something that will be safe enough for a new and inexperienced driver, but don’t want to spend a ton of money. A lot of people buy old, small cars for teen drivers, thinking that they’ll be easier to handle. Perhaps surprisingly, that isn’t always the case. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says that bigger, heavier vehicles are safer than small ones – even when the larger vehicle is used and the small vehicle is new. Here’s why, and which SUVs you should be looking at for your teen driver.

A white 2022 Mazda CX-9 next to a house.
2022 Mazda CX-9 | Mazda

At just 3,833 pounds, the 2022 Nissan Murano is the lightest SUV that makes the list of the safest vehicles for teens, according to the IIHS.  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 Santa Fe is one of the safest SUVs for teens

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe makes the list of the safest midsize SUVs for teens. It comes in at 4,017 pounds. 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 Hyundai Palisade is a safe midsize SUV

The 2022 Hyundai Palisade comes in third on the list of the safest SUVs for teens. It weighs approximately 4,127 pounds. 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 Toyota Highlander is a Top Safety Pick+

The 2022 Toyota Highlander weighs about 4,145 pounds and is a Top Safety Pick+. It’s worth noting that it’s one of the few midsize SUVs with a good updated side crash test score as well. 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 Mazda CX-9 is the heaviest midsize SUV for teens

The 2022 Mazda CX-9 is the heaviest midsize SUV recommended by the IIHS. It weighs 4,409 pounds. 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. In addition, it also has a good rating for the updated side crash test.

These five SUVs are the best midsize choices for teens. If you choose one of the heavier options, you’ll get yourself an all-around great SUV.


Just How Safe Are the Top 15 2022 Midsize SUVs?