IIHS and Consumer Reports Release Updated List of Recommended Vehicles for Teens

May 23, 2024
The top tier of recommended vehicles comes with standard automatic emergency braking, a crucial feature for inexperienced drivers.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Consumer Reports (CR) have released their updated list of recommended vehicles for teen drivers, offering more safety features for less money, according to a news release.

The list includes 58 used models ranging from $5,800 to $19,900. For the first time, all recommended used vehicles have a good or acceptable rating in the IIHS driver-side small overlap test, good ratings in four other IIHS tests, and passing marks for braking, handling, and reliability from CR.

The top tier of recommended used vehicles also come with standard automatic emergency braking (AEB), a crucial feature for young, inexperienced drivers who are more prone to mistakes.

“Vehicles continue to get safer, and for the first time since the pandemic-era disruptions, prices on the new and used market have stabilized,” said Jennifer Stockburger, director of operations at CR’s auto test center. “These trends have enabled us to point families to even better options this year.”

Rebecca Weast, IIHS research scientist, added, “It’s exciting to see crash avoidance tech like automatic emergency braking filtering through the fleet and into affordable used models, including many priced under $15,000.”

For those looking to buy a new vehicle, there are 22 recommended 2024 models to choose from. All are winners of the 2024 IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK or TOP SAFETY PICK+ award, offering state-of-the-art crash protection and crash avoidance.

The IIHS and CR advise that a teen driver’s first vehicle should not be too small, too big, or too fast. Sports cars and vehicles with excessive horsepower relative to their weight are excluded from the list, as are minicars or vehicles under 2,750 pounds, and large SUVs and pickups.

Recommended used vehicles are divided into Best Choices, ranging in price from $9,600 to $19,900, and Good Choices, starting at $5,800 and going up to $14,400. This year there are 32 Best Choices and 26 Good Choices.

All Best Choices come with standard AEB that earns an advanced or superior rating in the original IIHS front crash prevention test. AEB cuts police-reported front-to-rear crashes in half, IIHS research has shown, and rear-end crashes make up nearly a quarter of all crashes teens are involved in.

Parents handing down a vehicle produced before 2012 should make sure it includes standard electronic stability control (ESC), a lifesaving technology.

The recommended new vehicles all have good ratings in the driver- and passenger-side small overlap front tests and updated side test. They also have good or acceptable headlights standard and good or acceptable pedestrian front crash prevention.

This year’s recommended vehicles include one all-electric model, the Hyundai Ioniq 6. As electric vehicles expand their market share, it’s likely that many novice drivers will be driving one in the future.

The IIHS-CR vehicle recommendations focus primarily on safety and reliability. But teens and their parents may also want to consider the cost of ownership, including insurance premiums. One way to get a sense of how much a vehicle will cost to insure is to look at insurance losses by make and model compiled by HLDI. It’s also advisable to get a quote from your insurance company for the specific vehicle you intend to buy before you complete your purchase.

The list can be found at the IIHS website.

About the Author

FenderBender Staff Reporters

The FenderBender staff reporters have a combined two-plus decades of journalism and collision repair experience.

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