Parents who have to choose a vehicle for their teens’ first car are often surprised at the long list of potential options. Even consumers who might have purchased half a dozen cars for themselves throughout their life see buying a car for their child as a completely separate endeavor – and it is. Inexperienced drivers are some of the most vulnerable on the road, and the constant distraction by an ever-increasing number of mobile apps doesn’t help. Safety is a more important concern than ever for a child’s first car, and that’s where Toyota comes in.
Consumer Reports and the IIHS
Luckily, auto manufacturers have been adding new safety features just as quickly as they can to develop them. Airbags and seatbelts were the peak of safety not too long ago, and companies have kept up the pace. Rearview cameras, lane assist, crumple zones – it’s all going into nearly every car to keep drivers and passengers safe.
Recently, Consumer Reports and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (the IIHS) teamed up for the first time to officially recommend some of the safest vehicles on the road.
Toyota makes the list again and again
Although CR and the IIHS avoided recommending any specific automaker over another, a huge portion of the list is Toyota vehicles. Among small used cars over a few years old, the survey lists four standouts: The Mazda3, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, and Toyota Prius. The Prius recommended is any year 2011 or later, while they recommend finding a 2012 or newer Toyota Corolla.
On the more expensive side, the 2019 and newer Corolla and 2017 and newer Prius make the list of “best choices.” The IIHS makes it clear that a safe used car can be found at nearly any price point, and it’s generally the same models between the “good” and “best” choices list.
Among midsize cars, the Toyota Prius V makes the list. Model years 2015-2017 are recommended by the survey, but this is a category where many other options are present. The Prius V comes in at around $12,500 for the listed model years and options like a 2013 Subaru Legacy can be found at under $8,000. But in the “good choices” list, the Prius V comes up again along with the Toyota Camry (after 2012).
On the larger side, Toyota makes the “best choices list” with both the RAV4 (2015-) and the Sienna (2015-). Those two are also found on the “good choices” list along with the Toyota Venza and the Toyota Highlander. As long as risk factors like rollover are mitigated, larger cars generally perform better in safety tests than small cars. Toyota has fully embraced this philosophy in designing the RAV4 and Sienna.
The bottom line on teen safety
Overall, Consumer Reports and the IIHS have done a great job listing cars at different sizes and different price points that meet their stringent safety requirements. The best way to stay safe in a crash is to avoid it in the first place, of course. But learning to drive isn’t easy and many teens can benefit from the increased safety features on the listed models.
Different families have different needs, and one teen’s perfect car might not fit another family’s. But certain vehicles are safer across the board than others. The team of Consumer Reports and the IIHS went into depth about the pros and cons of various safety ratings. But in nearly every category, Toyota produced one (or more) of the top offerings.