Print Friendly and PDF
Texas has highest uninsured rate for health insurance in nation, while Massachusetts has lowest
Watch out for scams during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Consumer Reports, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety team up to offer list of best new cars for teens

Toyota_COROLLA_HYBRID Red Parked New_S_2WD_(6AA-ZWE211-AEXEB)_front

Photo: Tokumeigakarinoaoshima

Parents shopping for a safe and reliable 2020 model for their teenage drivers can consult a new list of recommended vehicles compiled by Consumer Reports and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The two organizations created this resource following their recently published joint list of recommended used vehicles for teens.

The list of 18 recommended new vehicles is shorter than the used vehicle list, which consists of 65 models. The recommended new models are more expensive than the used vehicles, which were all under $20,000.

 “While buying a new car for a young driver is less common than buying used, new vehicles offer the latest in both crash avoidance and crash protection technologies,” said Jennifer Stockburger, director of operations at Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center.

Stockburger asks if you’re putting out the additional money to buy new, why not make it the safest option you can find?

The recommended 2020 vehicles range in price from $22,000 to $37,000.

All of them are winners of the IIHS Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ award. This means they have good ratings in all six of the institute’s crashworthiness tests, advanced or superior ratings for front crash prevention, and acceptable- or good-rated headlights.

Only vehicles that come with vehicle-to-vehicle automated emergency braking as standard equipment are included in the recommendations. In cases in which acceptable or good headlights aren’t standard, the list specifies the qualifying trim levels and options.

In addition, all vehicles have average or better reliability, based on Consumer Reports’ member surveys; average or better scores from Consumer Reports’ emergency handling tests; and dry braking distances of less than 140 feet from 60 mph in Consumer Reports’ brake tests. They also receive a rating of good or better from Consumer Reports for ease of use of their controls.

The list has no sports cars or other vehicles with excessive horsepower because these vehicles can tempt teens to test the limits. In addition, there are no minicars or vehicles under 2,750 pounds.

The biggest, heaviest vehicles, including those in the large SUV class, have also been left off the list because they can be hard to handle and often have increased braking distances.

The list also excludes vehicles that had substantially higher than average insurance claim rates under medical payment or personal injury protection coverage in recent model years and haven’t been redesigned.

Both coverage types pay for injuries to occupants of the insured vehicle. The Highway Loss Data Institute, an IIHS affiliate, collects and publishes insurance loss data by make and model every year.

Consumer Reports puts every car it purchases through more than 50 tests and evaluations and supplements that information with reliability and owner satisfaction data from its surveyed members. From these insights, Consumer Reports produces recommendations for the best cars for teens, with an emphasis on performance, safety, and reliability.

IIHS began issuing used vehicle recommendations for teens in 2014 after IIHS researchers found that teenagers were likely to drive old or small vehicles. This is the first time IIHS has issued recommendations for new vehicles for teens.

Recommended new vehicles for teens, 2020 models

Prices, rounded to the nearest $100, reflect Kelley Blue Book new car fair purchase prices for the least expensive trim level that qualifies for the recommendation. If a particular option package is needed, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for that package has been added to the price.


Honda Insight


Mazda 3 (sedan and hatchback)


Toyota Corolla (XLE/XSE sedan + Advanced Lighting; XSE hatchback + Preferred package)



Subaru Legacy


Honda Accord (excluding Touring 2.0T and Touring  Hybrid)


Mazda 6


Nissan Altima (SR, SV, SL and Platinum trims)


Subaru Outback (built after October 2019)



Mazda CX-3


Subaru Forester


Mazda CX-5


Chevrolet Equinox (LT only)


Honda CR-V (Touring and all hybrid trims)


Lexus UX (with Triple-Beam LED Headlamps and with Auto-Leveling)


Kia Sportage (SX Turbo only; built after September 2019)


Toyota RAV4 (Hybrid Limited only with Adaptive Front Headlight System)



Hyundai Santa Fe (SEL trim with Premium package or Limited trim)


Mazda CX-9 (built after December 2019)



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)