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Safety first! Check out the 22 best used cars for teen drivers

Are the kids driving your old Ford Taurus? You may want to rethink what vehicle they drive, based on the results of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's list of the safest used vehicles for teenage drivers.

IIHS compiled its list based on important safety criteria with teens in mind. Recommendations for teen autos are based on four criteria:

  1. Young drivers should stay away from high horsepower. Vehicles with more powerful engines can tempt them to test the limits.
  2. Bigger, heavier vehicles protect better in a crash. There are no minicars or small cars on the recommended list. Small SUVs are included because their weight is similar to that of a midsize car.
  3. Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is a must. This feature, which helps a driver maintain control of the vehicle on curves and slippery roads, reduces risk on a level comparable to safety belts.
  4. Vehicles should have the best safety ratings possible. At a minimum, that means good ratings in the IIHS moderate overlap front test, acceptable ratings in the IIHS side crash test and four or five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Those vehicles considered "best" choices are under $20,000 used (prices from the Kelley Blue Book on July 1, 2014). All the recommended used vehicles have standard ESC and provide good protection in moderate overlap front crashes. These autos also have good ratings for side crash protection, good head restraints and seats for rear crash protection, and good roof strength to protect occupants in rollover crashes. 

IIHS' best used midsize cars for teens are listed below and on the following pages, from most expensive to least expensive:

 

 

Toyota Prius V
Year: 2012 and later 
Used price: $19,100

 

Mercedez-Benz C-Class sedan
Year: 2009 and later
Used price: $16,000

 

Honda Accord Sedan
Year: 2012 and later; coupe 2013-14
Used price: $14,400

 

 

Audi A4
Year: 2009 and later
Used price: $14,300

 

 

Toyota Camry
Year: 2012 and later
Used price: $14,300

 

Buick Verano
Year: 2012 and later
Used price: $14,100

 

 

Subaru Outback
Year: 2010 and later
Used price: $14,000

 

Lincoln MKZ
Year: 2010 and later; built after April 2010
Used price: $13,500

 

Kia Optima
Year: 2011 and later
Used price: $13,300

 

Hyundai Sonata
Year: 2011 and later
Used price: $12,100

 

Subaru Legacy
Year: 2010 and later
Used price: $11,900

 

 

Dodge Avenger
Year: 2011 and later
Used price: $11,600

 

Audi A3
Year: 2008 and later
Used price: $11,300

 

 

Volkswagen CC
Year: 2009 and later
Used price: $11,200

 

Chevrolet Malibu
Year: 2010 and later, built after November 2009
Used price: $10,900

 

Chrysler 200 sedan
Year: 2011 and later
Used price: $10,700

 

Mercury Milan
Year: 2010-11; built after April 2010
Used price: $10,700

 

Ford Fusion
Year: 2010 and later; built after April 2010
Used price: $10,200

Volkswagen Passat
Year: 2009 and later
Used price: $10,000

 

Volvo C30
Year: 2008 and later
Used price: $9,800

Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen
Year: 2009 and later
Used price: $9,400

 

Volkswagen Jetta
Year: 2009 and later
Used price: $8,200

 

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