5 Smart Cars for Teen Drivers

2011 Kia Sportage
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2011 Kia Sportage

One of the safest types of vehicles on the roads, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is the SUV. "It boils down to physics," explains IIHS spokesman Russ Rader. "Smaller, lighter cars afford less protection in a crash." Ten years ago, he says, SUVs were more prone to rollover crashes. But since electronic stability control (ESC) became a standard safety feature, SUVs have become significantly more stable. Now, the "size and weight [of an SUV] is protective in crashes," Rader says.

The 2011 Kia Sportage is one of the safest SUVs in its class and is also one of the top picks all around for 2011 Affordable Compact SUVs. For teen drivers, parents should pick the standard four-cylinder engine over the four-cylinder turbocharged engine. The smaller engine still has decent power, reviewers say, and it won’t entice young drivers to drive as fast or as aggressive as they might with the sportier engine. 

See more used compact SUVs »

See our 2011 Kia Sportage review »

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