Skip to main content

Getting a driver’s license is a huge milestone. As a parent, however, you’ll naturally have concerns when your teen gets licensed. One way to protect your child, even when you can’t be in the passenger’s seat, is to ensure they drive a safe, reliable, and economical car.

Rather than handing over the keys to a sport-tuned vehicle with tons of horsepower and distracting features, you’ll want to choose a car that keeps your teen safe. A used vehicle may be a good place to start. USA Today selected its picks for the safest used cars for teens who drive. Here is each category’s top car:

Midsize sedan: Ford Fusion

A midsize sedan is a practical first car for any teen driver. With its roomy interior, the Ford Fusion pairs safety with style. In 2019, the latest version of the Fusion received high marks from both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

For the latest advancements in safety technology, you can purchase a newer model equipped with lane guidance and collision assistance. With an overall safety rating of 9.2/10 from U.S. News, you can have confidence, knowing a Fusion sedan is a safe pick for your child.

Large sedan: Volvo S80

Between sports and other extracurricular activities, you may find your teen needs a car with a bit more space. In the large sedan segment, the Volvo S80 stands out among the safest cars for teens.

Renowned for its safety innovations, Volvo’s S80 sedan stands out for its excellent safety rating and crash test performance. In fact, the IIHS named the S80 its top safety pick for 2016. Volvo discontinued the S80 sedan model. But you can look for a used vehicle built between 2007 and 2016. 

Compact SUV: Mazda CX-5

For six years in a row, the Mazda CX-5 has received top safety reviews from the IIHS. The 2019 model even garnered a IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating, which is the highest possible safety rating from the agency.

Why does the IIHS think the Mazda CX-5 stands out for safety features in the crowded compact SUV segment? During crash tests, the car gave an excellent performance in every category. With its spacious cargo area and gas-saving engine, the CX-5 also offers plenty of practicality.

Large SUV: Chevrolet Equinox

View this post on Instagram

A safe ride at all hours. #ChevyEquinox

A post shared by chevrolet (@chevrolet) on

If you seek a vehicle with space for the whole family, you may want to consider a Chevrolet Equinox. First introduced in 2005, the Equinox has become a Chevy flagship. Both the IIHS and NHTSA agree that the strong body construction and refined safety features make this large SUV a very safe choice under all driving conditions. 

Minivan: Honda Odyssey

Many parents choose Hondas as their teen’s first vehicles. Compact SUVs, like the Civic, are excellent for new drivers. Honda’s excellent safety record also extends to its larger vehicles, such as the Odyssey minivan. In newer Odyssey models, Honda’s driver-assistive technologies will caution your teen and help them to navigate potential hazards on the road.