How to Choose the Best Car for a Newly-licensed Teen Driver

Consumer Reports produced the YouTube video below to help parents choose the best car for a newly-licensed teenage driver.

The experts advise parents to NOT buy a cheap car or an old car lacking important safety features that could save lives in an accident. A vehicle with good safety features can compensate for a teen’s lack of driving experience and judgement.

They also recommend:

  • Do not buy a car without Electronic Stability Control (ESC). This is a crucial safety feature that helps stabilize the car to avoid accidents.
  • Do not buy a car without antilock brakes.
  • Do not buy a teen a pickup truck. They don’t handle or brake as well as some smaller cars and the vehicle’s high center of gravity makes it unstable and easier to roll.
  • Do not buy a teen a cheap new car. The car may be too slow for easy merging. In a crash, they do not have the mass to protect the car’s occupants.
  • Do not buy a teen an older car that lacks important safety features found in newer cars such as airbags, ESC and antilock brakes.
  • Do not buy a teen a larger SUV or a minivan because the more passengers your teen has in the car when they are driving, the more likely they are to have an accident.
  • DO buy a teen a 4-cylinder midsize sedan with as many safety features as you can afford.

Consumer Reports produced a list of the best used cars to buy for a teenage driver.  You can find the list at this link: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2016/03/best-used-cars-for-teens/index.htm


We talk about the essentials, including why electronic stability control is so important. Viewer comments also point out some common concerns, opinions, and misconceptions about good cars for teens. Finally, we discuss the role of advanced driver training and where our vehicle recommendations overlap with the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety – and where they deviate.