5 Smart Cars for Teen Drivers

5 Best Cars for Teen Drivers
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Car accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers, with 2,163 teens killed and 243,243 injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2013. That’s why safety needs to be the top priority when picking out a car for a teen driver. But finding a safe car is about more than just looking up crash test ratings. Carmakers continue to develop new safety systems, and parents should start by learning which of these are the most likely to keep teen drivers safe.

"When parents think about safety, they have outdated information about what makes a safe feature," says Russ Rader, senior vice president of communications for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). "They think about airbags, but they don’t think about crucial characteristics like size and weight."

One safety feature that is a must for any teen’s car is electronic stability control (ESC). "No teen driver should drive a vehicle without it," Rader says. "It’s designed to prevent the very kinds of crashes teens get into," caused by such things as overcorrecting the steering or taking a turn too fast. ESC is standard in all vehicles that are a 2012 model year or newer, though many older vehicles also have it.

Taking all this into consideration while finding a car that’s also reliable and affordable can be challenging. But safety experts caution parents against compromising on safety to stay within a certain price range. "For teens, crash risk is high," reminds Rader. To keep your teen as safe as you can, he says it’s best to "spend a little more to get a vehicle with high crash test ratings and ESC." Read on to find five of the best cars for teen drivers.

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