The Top Cars for Teens: Better Safe Than Sporty
On April 6, 2011, an article was written by Joseph White in the Wall Street Journal titled, The Top Cars for Teens: Better Safe Than Sporty. The criteria used to pick the best safe and reliable cars were: decent performance without too much power, top crash scores with advanced safety features and high reliability scores. Many late model used cars now have very high safety ratings due to the introduction of features like side air bags and stability control. Because of the use of stability control, some SUVs now have high safety ratings.
For safety ratings, the author used the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) ratings and those of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). For reliability ratings he went to Consumer Reports. The best cars for teen drivers by score according to White are:
- Honda Pilot (06-08), CR-V (05-06), Accord (03-07)
- Subaru Legacy (05-09) and Forester (03-08)
- Acura MDX (01-06) and TL (04-08)
- Lexus ES 330 (04-06)
- Ford Five Hundred (05-07)
- Mercury Montego (05-07)
These are the top vehicles. You can see the complete list or read the entire article.
I decided to look at these vehicles using a reliability rating from a different source. I used J D Powers because I think their methodology for determining reliability is better than the reliability methodology used by Consumer Reports. I found the top five to be:
- Honda CR-V
- Acura MDX
- Lexus ES ES 330
- Honda Accord
- Mercury Montego
All of these had top reliability ratings from J D Powers. For the Acura MDX the reliability ratings for 2005 and 2006 were 5 out of 5 while the ratings for 2001-2004 were lower. The next 3 on my reliability list were Subaru Legacy, Subaru Forester and Acura TL. The Pilot came out near the bottom with an only average reliability rating.
Choosing a safe and reliable car for your teenager will likely involve some negotiation. But whether for you or your child there’s much to consider. Fortunately there are some really nice cars on this list for either you or your teen.
As always, if you’re not sure or you have questions, you can always contact us. We’ve been serving the Elmhurst, Illinois area for more than 30 years.