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IIHS releases list of safest vehicles for teens

IIHS recommends not picking 'cute and inexpensive' car

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released Thursday a new list of the safest cars for teenagers.

There are two lists -- one ranked "good" and one ranked "best." The best choices are listed below. To see the "good" choices, click here for the full list.

Prices range from $2,000 to $20,000.

The recommendations are guided by four main principles:

  • Young drivers should stay away from high horsepower. More powerful engines can tempt them to test the limits.
  • Bigger, heavier vehicles are safer. They protect better in a crash, and HLDI analyses of insurance data show that teen drivers are less likely to crash them in the first place. 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Vehicles should have the best safety ratings possible. At a minimum, that means good ratings in the IIHS moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests and four or five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Best choices

Midsize cars

Large cars

Small SUVs

Midsize SUVs

Minivans

Pickups