12 of the Safest Used Cars For Teens That Won’t Break The Bank

LaFontaine Automotive Group —  July 17, 2014 — 1 Comment

Here’s the reality when it comes to the vehicles our teenagers drive. Too often, budget takes precedence over safety.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting parents don’t care about their children’s safety. Of course they do. Probably more so than their own.


That being said, a recent study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that more than half of all used cars purchased for teenage drivers were 2006 or earlier model year vehicles.

Also, the study found that two-thirds of teenagers who drove a vehicle already in the household were driving models from 2006 or earlier.

What Changed After 2006?

I know what you’re thinking. “What is it about cars from 2006 and earlier that make them less safe?”

The fact is that vehicles from 2006 and earlier aren’t likely to have safety features like Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Side Airbags – both proven in their ability to help keep drivers and passengers of all ages safe and sound.

Electronic Stability Control (sometimes referred to electronic stability program, stabilitrak or vehicle stability program) is a technology that improves a vehicle’s stability by detecting and reducing loss of traction.

When ESC detects loss of steering control, it automatically applies the brakes to help “steer” the vehicle where the driver intends to go. Braking is automatically applied to wheels individually, such as the outer front wheel to counter oversteer or the inner rear wheel to counter understeer.

A pretty impressive technology and I’m sure if you had the choice, you’d prefer your children were driving a vehicle that came with some form of ESC, right?

Once a feature that was mostly found on European Luxury cars, the technology quickly trickled down to all automakers by the mid-2000’s.

It became such an effective technology in preventing accidents, that in 2008 some form of Electronic Stability Control was mandated to be a standard feature on all vehicles weighing under 10,000 pounds.

Budget AND Safety

As a parent, we should never have to choose between budget and safety.

That’s why I took a look at this list of safe used vehicles for teens as recommended by the IIHS and selected 12 used vehicles that offer a great balance between affordability and safety.

In addition to affordability, the recommended vehicles all take in to account these four main principles:

  • Young drivers should stay away from high horsepower vehicles.
  • Bigger, heavier vehicles protect better in a crash.
  • ESC is a must.
  • Vehicles should have the best safety ratings possible.

The best part about this list is that I feel not only will you as a parent feel comfortable about having your teens drive these used cars, but your kids themselves will also find plenty to like about each used vehicle featured.

Who ever said ‘practical’ has to be boring?

1. Buick Regal (2011 and later)


Why your teen will like it: Sporty handling, plenty of standard features, upscale cabin

Why you will like it: IIHS Top Safety Pick, high fuel economy

(Browse our used Buick Regal inventory)

2. Chevrolet Malibu (2010 and later)


Why your teen will like it: Excellent ride, comfortable seats, straightforward controls

Why you will like it: IIHS Top Safety Pick, 5 Star NHTSA crash rated, good 4-cylinder fuel economy

(Browse our used Chevrolet Malibu inventory)

3. Dodge Avenger (2011 and later)


Why your teen will like it: Impressive styling, plenty of standard features, commendable handling and ride

Why you will like it: IIHS Top Safety Pick, commendable four-cylinder fuel economy

(Browse our used Dodge Avenger inventory)

4. Ford Edge (2011 and later)


Why your teen will like it: Roomy cabin, innovative technology, attractive design

Why you will like it: IIHS Top Safety Pick, plenty of safety equipment

(Browse our used Ford Edge inventory)

5. GMC Terrain (2010 and later)


Why your teen will like it: Quiet and attractive cabin, good handling, roomy interior

Why you will like it: IIHS Top Safety Pick, 5 Star NHTSA Crash Rated, good fuel economy

(Browse our used GMC Terrain inventory)

6. Honda Element (2007 and later)


Why your teen will like it: Unique styling, balanced handling, easy to clean interior

Why you will like it: 5 Star NHTSA Crash Rated, low overall ownership costs

(Browse our used Honda Element inventory)

7. Hyundai Sonata (2011 and later)


Why your teen will like it: Smooth ride, stylish interior cabin, standard technology features

Why you will like it: IIHS Top Safety Pick, 5 Star NHTSA Crash Rated, high fuel economy

(Browse our used Hyundai Sonata inventory)

8. Kia Optima (2011 and later)


Why your teen will like it: Copious features, smooth ride, handsome cabin

Why you will like it: IIHS Top Safety Pick, 5 Star NHTSA Crash Rated, great fuel economy

(Browse our used Kia Optima inventory)

9. Nissan Rogue (2008 and later)


Why your teen will like it: Simple controls, spacious interior, large cargo space

Why you will like it: IIHS Top Safety Pick, strong safety scores

(Browse our used Nissan Rogue inventory)

10. Subaru Outback (2010 and later)


Why your teen will like it: Carlike driving experience, supple ride, comfy front seats

Why you will like it: IIHS Top Safety Pick, top safety scores, MotorTrend SUV of the Year in 2010

(Browse our used Subaru Outback inventory)

11. Toyota Camry (2012 and later)


Why your teen will like it: User friendly high-tech features, comfortable and spacious interior

Why you will like it: IIHS Top Safety Pick, 5 Star NHTSA Crash Rated, excellent fuel economy

(Browse our used Toyota Camry inventory)

12. Volkswagen Passat (2009 and later)


Why your teen will like it: High end comfortable interior, well rounded performance

Why you will like it: IIHS Top Safety Pick

(Browse our used Volkswagen Passat inventory)

If you didn’t find the exact used vehicle you were looking for here, you can browse our complete inventory of 1,200+ Used Cars on FamilyDeal.com.




LaFontaine Automotive Group

Posts Google+

Founded in 1980, the award winning and nationally recognized LaFontaine Automotive Group includes 33 franchises, 5 Collision Centers in 19 Michigan locations and employs over 1100 people. It’s the mission of the LaFontaine Family to personalize the automotive experience by building lifelong relationships that connect families and strengthen the community. The Family Deal: It’s not just what you get, it’s how you feel.

One response to 12 of the Safest Used Cars For Teens That Won’t Break The Bank

  1. Ford offers the MyKey technology that helps parents encourage teenagers to drive responsibly. This feature promotes good habits, such as increasing seat belt use, limiting vehicle top speeds and decreasing audio volume.

Leave a Reply

Text formatting is available via select HTML.

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>