5 rules for selecting a teen driver’s first car

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5 rules for selecting a teen driver’s first car
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Teens are three times more likely to crash a vehicle than a 20+ adult, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS). That means the choice of automobile for your teen driver is a very important one!

Read more: How to check the safety record of a used car

Here are a few pointers from Consumer Reports to keep in mind when selecting a vehicle for your teen…

1. The fewer cylinders, the better

Four cylinder engines are perfect because they don’t have so much muscle that they’re unwieldy. Typically, that means a nice and boring family sedan! But avoid V6 versions of the popular sedans; they’re too powerful in the hands of an inexperienced driver.

Meanwhile, forget about the need for speed: Look for a humble ride that goes zero to 60 mph in anywhere from 7.5 seconds to 11 seconds.

2. Forget about a sports car!

Sports cars are a definite no-no. Too much muscle! They also cost too much and come with higher insurance rates and maintenance costs. While you might be tempted to buy an older model that’s more affordable, it may lack current safety features.

3. Skip the SUV too

You would think SUVs and pickups would be a no-brainer when it comes to protecting a young driver. But while they’re generally good in multi-vehicle crashes vs. smaller cars, they’re more prone to single vehicle crashes and may not boast the advantage you think.

‘According to IIHS, even though passenger car occupant death rates are similar in single (55 percent) and multi-vehicle (51 percent) crashes, single vehicle crashes accounted for 61 and 62 percent of SUV and pickup truck fatalities in 2013,’ Consumer Reports writes.

4. Minivans can contribute to distracted driving dangers

Distracted driving is a big deal for drivers of all ages. Whether it’s texting, blaring music or transporting distracting passengers, the result is the same: You can be involved in a potentially deadly crash. Minivans and three-row SUVs allow your teen driver to have a gaggle of unruly kids out for a ride. Not good!

5. Don’t forget the #1 safety feature!

With all the new safety features in cars coming soon, there’s one that remains the make-or-break feature you need, particularly if you have younger drivers. Today’s cars are better at limiting injury or fatality when in an accident. That’s due in large part to electronic stability control (ESC). Remember this rule: Do *not* buy a car for a kid if it does not have ESC on it.

Read more: 3 ways to monitor your teen behind the wheel

Top picks: Safest cars for teen drivers

The IIHS took a look at a few of the most affordable picks from the most popular categories.

Large cars

  • Volvo S80: 2007 and newer, $5,800

  • Ford Taurus: 2010 and newer, $10,900

  • Buick LaCrosse: 2010 and newer, $11,300

  • Buick Rega: 2011 and newer, $11,500

  • Lincoln MKS: 2009 and newer, $12,300

  • Toyota Avalon: 2011 and newer, $15,700

  • Hyundai Azera: 2012 and newer, $16,800

Midsize cars

  • Volkswagen Jetta sedan and wagon: 2009 and newer, $5,600

  • Volvo C30: 2008 and newer, $7,000

  • Volkswagen Passat sedan: 2009 and newer, $7,300

  • Ford Fusion: 2010 and newer; built after April 2010; 2010 Fusions built before May meet ‘good choice’ criteria, $7,400

  • Mercury Milan: 2010-11; built after April 2010; 2010 Milans built before May meet ‘good choice’ criteria, $7,400

To see the full list, click here.

Source: Premium gas vs. regular gas—which is better for you? by Clark on Rumble

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Theo Thimou About the author: Theo Thimou
Theo is director of content for clark.com. He has co-written 2 books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times.
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