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Watching your teen get behind the wheel can be one of two things. It can either be exciting, or it can be extremely stressful. For most parents, though, it’s probably both. That’s why, before putting their teen behind the wheel, many parents opt to check out the latest cars, trucks, and SUVs on the market.

With so many SUVs to choose from, how can you be confident picking the best car for your teen? Particularly when it comes to midsized SUVs. Fortunately, Consumer Reports has unveiled the best, and safest, midsized SUVs for teens.

How Consumer Reports made their picks

There are a few reasons Consumer Reports included these midsized SUVs in their list. Not only were they able to meet its stringent requirements for reliability, safety, and performance, but each also comes standard with forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking.

To make the cut, each of these midsized SUVs also had to have scored a four or five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Each also had to have earned the Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). 

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe (SEL trim with the Premium package or Limited trim)

The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe is the kind of SUV that you can confidently put your new driver behind the wheel of. Standard with Hyundai SmartSense, the 2020 Santa Fe includes features like lane-keeping assist, forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, and driver attention warnings.

It’s recognized by the IIHS as a Top Safety Pick and earned a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA too. And to further sweeten the deal? The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe also comes standard with five years and unlimited miles of 24-Hour Roadside Assistance.

2020 Mazda CX-9 (Built after December 2019)

While your teen may not need three-rows of seating, that doesn’t mean the 2020 Mazda CX-9 isn’t a midsized SUV worth considering. Standard with Mazda’s i-Activsense suite of safety features, the 2020 Mazda CX-9 aims to inspire confidence with blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alerts, a lane departure warning system, lane-keep assist, smart brake support with collision warnings, and its advanced smart city brake support with pedestrian detection system.

Unlike the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe, the 2020 Mazda CX-9 was tapped by the IIHS as a Top Safety Pick+. It also earned itself a five-star overall safety rating from the IIHS. 

2020 Subaru Outback (built after October 2019)

Subaru has always been committed to equipping its SUVs with the latest in confidence-inspiring safety features. That’s why when it came to the 2020 Subaru Outback, it pulled out all the stops. 

Standard on all new Outback models is the EyeSight suite of driver assistance technologies, which includes sought after safety features like forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist. It’s also available with blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, reverse automatic emergency braking, adaptive headlights, driver distraction monitoring, and a front-view camera.

Much like other SUVs on the list, the 2020 Subaru Outback has proven its ability to keep both its drivers and passengers safe. Not only did the IIHS recognize it as a Top Safety Pick+, but it also gave it the highest possible rating for front crash prevention. As for the NHTSA? It gave the Subaru Outback a five-star overall safety rating.

Choosing the safest SUV for your new driver

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among teens between 16 and 19 years old than in any other age group. Such a statistic is startling. It’s also a good reminder to consider the importance of safety features and ratings when choosing the safest SUV for your new driver. 


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