If you’re shopping for a safe, reliable vehicle for your teen, you’re in luck. The folks at Consumer Reports (CR) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) got together to create a list of 2020 vehicles they’ve deemed safe and reliable for teenagers.
On this list, one particular brand kept turning up in each category. Which brand is especially reliable and safe for teens and why?
The importance of teen safety
The director of operations at CR’s Auto Test Center, Jennifer Stockburger, acknowledged that buying a new car for a teen isn’t as common as buying a used one. Stockburger explained that the benefit of new vehicles is the latest advanced safety features and technology. If you’re willing to spend the money on a new vehicle, Stockburger reasoned, you should get the safest option you can.
According to IIHS President David Harkey, the temptation is often great to buy an inexpensive, basic vehicle for teen drivers. Since teens are also among the riskiest drivers, Harkey explained, safety shouldn’t be disregarded. He called investing in the latest crash protection measures as an investment in the teen’s future.
The list could also serve as a good resource for a parent considering the purchase of a new vehicle they may pass along to a teen driver in the next couple of years.
What’s on the list
CR and IIHS selected 18 new 2020 models for their list of safe, reliable vehicles for teens. The vehicles on the list are 2020 vehicles ranging in price from $21,000 to $37,000.
Each of the vehicles on the list is either an IIHS Top Safety Pick or a Top Safety Pick+. That means they earned strong ratings in all six IIHS’s crash tests with an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention and an acceptable or better rating on headlights. Each vehicle was equipped with vehicle-to-vehicle automated emergency braking systems as standard features.
Each vehicle on the list also has average or better reliability ratings per CR’s member survey process. They also have average or better scores from CR on brake tests, emergency handling, and how easy the controls are to use.
No sports cars or cars with powerful engines appear on the list. There are no mini cars or vehicles under 2,750 pounds for safety. Larger vehicles were also excluded because they can be difficult for new drivers to navigate and usually have a longer braking distance.
You can’t go wrong with Mazda
Using the Kelley Blue Book New Car Fair Purchase Prices, the prices on the list are rounded to the nearest $100 for the least expensive trim level that meets the qualifications. If a package is required to meet the qualifications, the price has been adjusted to include it.
The recommendations list includes small cars, midsize cars, small SUVs, and midsize SUVs. Mazda has a vehicle in each category. The Mazda 3, both hatchback and sedan, appear on the list for small cars. Mazda 6 showing up on the midsize car segment.
Both the Mazda CX-3 and CX-5 are on the list for recommended small SUVs with the Mazda CX-9 on the list for midsize SUV.
Mazda is known for excelling at many things. Their vehicles handle well and many find them fun to drive.
But they are also known for their safety and reliability. Mazda vehicles are usually found at the top of their segment in both and that makes them ideal for new drivers. It should also be mentioned that Mazda does well with fuel efficiency.
Mazda also perpetually strives to keep its customers happy even after the vehicle has left the dealership. The automaker isn’t above offering new features to owners as upgrades as they did with those who wanted Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration couple of years ago.
So if you’re looking for a new vehicle for a new driver in your house or one you may pass along to a teen driver in the next couple of years, Mazda is a good choice. Its vehicles are well-made, safe, and fun to drive.