Your teen has his or her driver's license and is finally ready for the road! You are rejoicing and a little apprehensive as well. S/he has saved money for a good used car, or perhaps you plan to buy one for your teen so you have some hope of being able to drive yours!
For a teen, appearance and the “cool” factor are probably foremost, but your main concern is, and should be, safety. Which cars have the best track record for safety and reliability? What is the best kind of car out there that will best protect your son or daughter if they are in a car accident? In any case, before buying any car – used or new – do not forget to check the VIN code of the car.
Important Safety Considerations
Electronic stability control is statistically the most important auto safety advancement since seat belts. Mandatory since 2012, it will help keep the car safely on the road, helping prevent rollovers and other single-car accidents. Many cars included it before it was mandatory. Front, side, and curtain airbags are also important for passenger safety and are standard equipment in most cars.
The weight and size of a car are important safety features. A mid-size or larger sedan gives better impact protection than a compact or subcompact car. Avoid too-large cars, though, if you can. SUVs and minivans are harder to maneuver in parking lots.
Lists abound of cars known for safety and reliability, but most include the following:
Recommended American-made Cars
- Chevrolet Malibu 2009-2012
- Ford Focus 2009-2011
- Ford Fusion 2010-2012
Recommended Imported Cars
- Hyundai Sonata 2006-2014
- Kia Soul 2010-2011
- Mazda 3 2011-2013
- Mazda 6i 2009-2013
- Toyota RAV4 2004-2012
- Volkswagen Jetta 2009-2010
- Volkswagen Rabbit/Golf 2009-2014
Checking Car History
Of course, lists of recommendations are only a guide. Each individual used car has a history, and that history can affect safety and reliability. Examine the car carefully for evidence of prior accidents, and get your trusted mechanic to give it a going-over as well.
One of the best ways to learn a vehicle's untold story is to check it through a car report service. Any car can be checked using its unique vehicle identification number, providing you with information about its owner history and accident records.
Finding and researching a used car for your teen can become quite a project. Involve your teen. Next time, s/he will have the savvy to pick a safe car without help!