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Parents of New Drivers: These are the Safest Cars to Buy for Them

You watch in profound fear as your son hooks up his smart phone to the stereo system and adjusts his Bluetooth before he even begins to adjust the mirrors and his seat in the car. This makes you wonder about his level of concentration, despite the hours of training him to safely drive a car. Additionally, he’s backing out of the driveway in your brand new car. Relax, Mom and Dad, we’ve compiled a list of the safest and best cars for new drivers for your consideration.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or IIHS monitors automobiles and their safety ratings for all drivers. Their requirements for autos for new drivers, however, are more stringent. Gigantic SUVs, for example, are not on the list due to their questionable center of gravity. Cars with little to no armor such as subcompacts are not on the list. In fact, the safest cars for new drivers, according to the IIHS are pre-owned mid-sized to large cars due to their inability to accordion in an accident. The autos also had to pass the IIHS’ tests regarding fuel economy, number of airbags and reasonable price. So without further ado, here is the list of the safest and best cars for your new driver.

Large Cars

Priced between $10K and $20K, these 2010 and newer models are the best picks for new drivers on both IIHS and Bankrate’s lists:

  • Buick Regal
  • Buick Lacrosse
  • Mercedes-Benz sedan
  • Lincoln MKS
  • Toyota Avalon

On the merely good list, these large cars might not turn on your new driver, but he or she will be safer. Year models 2006 and newer and priced between $7K and $10K:

  • Chevy Impala
  • Mercury Sable
  • Cadillac CTS
  • Cadillac GTS
  • Lexus GS

Mid-Size Cars

To meet IIHS’ stringent criteria, certain cars produced after April 2010 and after November 2009 are reduced to only a good rating. The others, however, hit the mark. Made from 2009 and newer and costing between $5K and $17K, these are the best:

  • Volkswagen Jetta sedan or wagon
  • Volkswagen Passat sedan
  • Volkswagen CC
  • Audi A3
  • Audi A4 sedan
  • Chrysler 200 sedan
  • Dodge Avenger
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Honda Accord
  • Subaru Legacy
  • Subaru Outback
  • Toyota Camry
  • Toyota Prius v

Some of these are on the merely on the good list, but they date from 2004 and newer, with a price range of $2K to $9K:

  • Saab 9-3 sedan and wagon
  • Saab 9-4 sedan and wagon
  • Volkswagen Passat sedan and wagon
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Honda Accord
  • Mercedes-Benz C Class sedan
  • Audi A3
  • Audi A4 sedan and wagon
  • Lexus IS 250
  • Lexus ES 350
  • Toyota Camry
  • BMW 3 sedan

Mid-size SUVs

These vehicles are just a little taller than a car and much less big around than the usual SUV, so IIHS put them on their list, although Bankrate did not. Here for your consideration are mid-size SUVs, ranging from models 2008 and newer and priced between $3K and $10K:

  • Honda Pilot
  • Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Hyundai Veracruz
  • Mercedes-Benz M Class
  • Lincoln MKX
  • Mazda CX-9

Small SUVs

These received the same consideration from IIHS, with models ranging from 2006 and newer and priced from $3K to $9K:

  • Toyota Rav4
  • Honda CR-V
  • Mazda Tribute
  • Mercury Mariner
  • Mitsubishi Outlander

Parents will be pleased to note that this list contains nothing with a powerful enough engine for their child to race. All of them get good gas mileage, may or may not come in standard transmission and all are heavy enough to get through the snow and ice, which are major considerations for parents of new drivers in the snow-belt. So relax parents; they’ve been well-taught and you’ve provided him with the safest and best wheels around. Now you can reset the radio to your own favorite stations!

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