For many parents, buying their teen a new SUV is simply out of the question. However, the reality is that not all used cars come equipped with the latest in safety features. That’s why Consumer Reports and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) teamed up to identify the best new small SUVs for teen drivers.
Why these new SUVs made the cut
To be included on Consumer Reports’ list, these SUVs had to meet its high standards for reliability, safety, and performance. Each SUV also had to have standard safety features like forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking.
Consumer Reports said each SUV included in its list had to be recognized by the IIHS as a Top Safety Pick or a Top Safety Pick+. Each was required to have a four or five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) too.
Consumer Reports says it did exclude SUVs that came with “substantially higher than average insurance claim rates under medical payment or personal injury protection coverage in recent model years and haven’t been redesigned.”
2020 Mazda CX-5
Tapped as a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS, the 2020 Mazda CX-5 is a stylish SUV that teen drivers will be sure to enjoy. As for parents? You can rest easy knowing that this year’s model comes standard with Mazda’s i-Activsense safety features, including blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alerts, and a lane departure warning system.
2020 Mazda CX-3
The 2020 Mazda CX-3 was also included in Consumer Reports’ list. Much like the CX-5, the new CX-3 was named a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS and comes standard with Mazda’s i-Activsense safety features. The 2020 Mazda CX-3 was named a ‘Best Subcompact SUV of 2020’ by Kelley Blue Book too.
2020 Subaru Forester
Subaru has always been known for its commitment to safety, which is why it’s no surprise the 2020 Subaru Forester was included in Consumer Reports’ list. Ranked as a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS, the Subaru Forester comes standard with Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology.
2020 Honda CR-V (Touring and all hybrid trims)
The 2020 Honda CR-V makes for a safe pick for teens because of its five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA. This year’s model also features the Honda Sensing Safety Suite, which includes a collision mitigation braking system, a road departure mitigation system, adaptive cruise control with low speed follow, and a lane-keeping assist system.
2020 Chevrolet Equinox (LT only)
The Chevy Equinox has been recognized by J.D. Power as the ‘Most Dependable Compact SUV’ for three years running. It comes standard with Chevy Safety Assist, is available with Teen Driver Technology, and has also earned itself a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA.
2020 Lexus UX (with Triple-Beam LED Headlights with Auto-Leveling)
The 2020 Lexus UX is reconigzed by the IIHS as a Top Safety Pick. The Lexus UX earned a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA too. Standard on all models is Lexus Safety System+ 2.0, which Lexus says is “the most comprehensive safety system ever offered on the UX.”
2020 Kia Sportage (SX Turbo only; built after September 2019)
The 2020 Kia Sportage is recognized by the IIHS as a Top Safety Pick and comes standard with Kia Drive Wise Driver Assist Technology when you opt for the SX Turbo trim. Its many safety features and overall crashworthiness scores also earned it a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA.
2020 Toyota RAV4 (Hybrid Limited only with Adaptive Front Headlight System)
The 2020 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid is an excellent pick for eco-conscious teens. It’s fuel-efficient and comes well-outfitted with confidence-inspiring features like Toyota Safety Sense 2.0. It’s also been tapped as an IIHS Top Safety Pick and earned itself a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA.
How to choose the safest SUV for your new driver
Safety is critical when it comes to letting your teen take the wheel, that’s why you must consider a vehicle’s standard and available safety features before signing along the dotted line. Fortunately, with this list, Consumer Reports makes picking the safest SUV for your new driver a rather easy feat.