Turning sixteen is a big deal for teenagers. They've finally reached the age where they can get their driver's license. Once that happens, it's only natural for them to want their own vehicle. Parents or caregivers looking to purchase a vehicle for their teen would be wise to make sure they put extra consideration on safety.

What Makes a Vehicle Safe?

Safe and affordable

The main thing working against teens behind the wheel is their lack of experience. Recent studies indicate that teenagers have the highest crash rate of any age group in the U.S., and they experience a fatal accident rate that is three times that of all other drivers.

It's numbers like these that lead many parents to put safety at the top of the wish list when it comes time to buy their teen a vehicle. You want your teenager to have the safest vehicle possible to better protect them, but what does that even entail?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) suggests that you should adhere to these four guiding principles:

  • Stay away from vehicles with high horsepower
  • Bigger, heavier vehicles are inherently safer
  • Electronic stability control (ESC) is a must-have feature
  • Vehicles should have the best safety ratings possible

These four guidelines are an excellent place to start when considering vehicle options for your young driver.

Safety Doesn't Have to Break the Bank

While parents and caregivers looking to buy a vehicle for their teen want something safe, many are operating on a fixed budget. A recent survey from the IIHS found that the vast majority of parents who bought a vehicle for their teen driver bought it used.

But affordability and safety aren't mutually exclusive. Over the last ten years or so, technology has revolutionized vehicle safety features. Policymakers have also made safety requirements more stringent. It's easier than ever to find a used vehicle that is equipped with essential safety features and has performed well in crash testing.

Even if you are dealing with bad credit, Auto Credit Express can help you find a vehicle for your teen that is both safe and affordable. Thanks to our nationwide network of car dealers, we can identify the one nearest you who can get you financed.

Safe and Affordable Vehicles for Your Teenager

To help you in your search for a safe and affordable vehicle for your teen, Auto Credit Express has created a list of recommendations.

Our team collected a list of the most common vehicles in the inventories of our dealership network. We then adjusted the data to only include cars with an average price under $15,000. From there, we cross-referenced our list with a list from the IIHS that identified all vehicles that have standard ESC and scored top marks on their crash tests.

This list properly identifies a number of realistic vehicle options for your teen that are both safe and affordable.

  • 2010, 2011, and 2012 Ford Fusion
    Parents will love this 4-door mid-size sedan because it gets good gas mileage and comes loaded with safety features. Certain models come with the following features standard: vehicle anti-theft, traction and stability control, all-wheel drive, ABS brakes, automatic headlights, and more.
  • 2011 and 2012 Chevrolet Malibu
    The Chevy Malibu is a mid-size car that could be perfect for your young driver. Both the 2011 and 2012 model years are part of the Malibu's seventh generation, and both have a four star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
  • 2011 and 2012 Hyundai Sonata
    These sixth generation Sonatas are famous for their sleek, stylish exterior, excellent fuel economy, and nicely executed interior. But that's not to say it lacks in the safety department. It's built with a great deal of ultra high-strength steel and comes standard with 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS and a full compliment of airbags.
  • 2012, 2013, and 2014 Chrysler 200
    The Chrysler 200, a 4-door, 5-passenger sedan, is the re-imagined Sebring that was introduced in 2011. All three of the listed models years would be an excellent choice for your teen because they all scored a four star overall safety rating from the NHSTA.
  • 2012 and 2013 Dodge Avenger
    This mid-size sedan from Dodge was named a Top Safety Pick in 2012 and a Top Safety Pick+ in 2013 by the IIHS. With a well-crafted interior, attractive sticker price and composed ride and handling, both you and your teen can be on board with the Avenger.
  • 2011 and 2012 Volkswagen Jetta
    Yes, Volkswagen is still dealing with its highly publicized emission-cheating scandal. The frugal buyer should know that this means that you should probably be able to get a sweet deal on a gas-powered Jetta these days. These model year Jettas offer an excellent blend of safety, fuel economy and affordability.

These six models are only the tip of the iceberg. There are many other good choices for your teen if none of these suit you. You can consult a list from the IIHS or you can do your own research. When it comes to car shopping and buying, it never hurts to be extra informed.

And, while you're at it, make sure that you have the right auto insurance for your teen driver. Click here for information about the best and most affordable policies. Instant, free rate quotes are available.

When You Are Ready to Get Approved

Whether you want the perfect vehicle for your teen or you personally want a safe and affordable vehicle, Auto Credit Express can help you. No matter the shape your credit is in, we are confident that we can locate the car dealer that can get you approved. To begin the process, simply fill out our secure and obligation-free application today.