IIHS Best Used Vehicles For Teens

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(Photo Credit: Fotolia)

Each year the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) releases its list of the best used cars for teen drivers. Research was conducted on a wide range of factors, including statistics on claims propensity and fatalities of teen drivers based on vehicle size and type. IIHS also carried out a nationwide survey of parents to determine the choices parents make when purchasing a vehicle for their teenagers.

Results showed that while parents and teens frequently opted for cheaper, older vehicles, these choices often offered inadequate crash protection, regardless of vehicle size. 83% of teenagers were purchasing used vehicles, with the median purchase price of $5,300 and the average purchase price of $9,800. Size does matter, because while the vehicles most often purchased were midsize or full-size sedans, almost 30% of all teenage fatalities occurred in mini or small cars, with fatality rates generally decreasing as vehicle size increased.

IIHS then compiled a list of recommended used vehicles for teens based on four main criteria:

  • Lower power-to-weight ratios
  • Larger and heavier – No small cars were included
  • Includes electronic stability control
  • Received high ratings for crash protection

Once the list was compiled, Kelly Blue Book values were looked up for the recommended vehicles, and categorized as either Best Choices for teens under $20K, or Good Choices for teens under $10K for those shopping on a budget.

To view the IIHS’s list of recommended used vehicles for teen drivers, click here.

2015 IIHS Top Safety Picks

2016 Mazda 6 Small Overlap Crash Test
(Photo Credit: IIHS)

Cars keep getting safer and for 2015, the number of vehicles earning the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)’s Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ has increased from 39 to 71, indicating consumers now have more choices when shopping for a safe vehicle. According to this year’s report, Top Safety Pick+ standards were increased for many factors, driving auto manufacturers to improve vehicle performance in the new “small overlap front crash” test, as well as encouraging them to offer automatic forward-crash detection and autobrake systems on their cars.

The small overlap front crash test replicates what happens when the front corner of a car collides into another object, such as another vehicle, a tree, or utility pole. These types of crashes are very common and can be quite serious for occupants, as much of the energy-absorbing structure of the vehicle is bypassed in a small overlap. The IIHS and other organizations have been pushing manufacturers to look for solutions to overcome these vulnerabilities when designing their cars.

Historically, forward-crash detection/warning systems have been standard only on higher end vehicles. These systems are now being offered as an optional extra and sometimes even standard on more mainstream brands as the industry recognizes the benefits they can provide. The IIHS encourages manufacturers to go even further, with autobrake systems that don’t require a driver response in order to apply the vehicle’s brakes if the system detects an imminent collision. These systems can help avoid or mitigate the effects of crashes even if the driver isn’t paying attention to the road.

For more information on the IIHS’s report on their 2015 Top Safety Pick+ and Top Safety Pick winners, click here.