Consumer Reports Publishes List of Best Cars, SUVs for Teens

2021 Honda Insight

The cost of new and used vehicles has risen during the pandemic, although recent high used car prices are starting to level off, according to Cox Automotive. New cars are still sold with thousands of dollars in premiums attached.

The price hike has made many newer models, packed with safety and with a high degree of predicted reliability, economically out of reach for families with teenage drivers.

That reality has caused the number of vehicles recommended by Consumer Reports and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for teenage drivers to drop by 2022. Only 49 models were recommended this year, compared to 61 last year. Twenty-one new models are recommended, down from 29.

The recommended used vehicles are priced from $6,000 to $19,000. The price of new vehicles ranges from a base price of $21,200 to $38,900.

“As the pandemic has changed both the way people travel and the way they spend, the demand for reliable used cars is remarkably high – meaning it can be more challenging to get your budget to meet your needs,” he says. Jennifer Stockburger, director of operations at Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center. “This list is designed to help you stretch your dollars further.”

The Honda Insight is one of Consumer Reports’ recommended models.
American Honda Motor Co.

The science and education group and membership organization have divided the vehicles into two groups, Best Choices and Good Choices.

There is overlap between the groups in terms of characteristics. They all have standard electronic stability control, which actively works to keep a vehicle connected to the ground; above-average reliability based on Consumer Reports member survey; dry braking distances of less than 145 feet from 60 miles per hour (mph); Good or acceptable ratings in IIHS crashworthiness tests and four- or five-star ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

All new models are winners of the 2022 IIHS Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ awards, which indicate that the vehicle has passed the highest levels of crash test safety IIHS testing across multiple types of tests.

There are some caveats to the list. Only model year 2022 vehicles that have vehicle-to-vehicle automatic emergency braking as standard are included. If headlamps rated Good or Acceptable by IIHS are not standard, the recommendations specify qualifying trim levels and options.

Best Used Car Picks For Teens:

  • 2013 or newer (built after August 2012) Subaru Legacy
  • 2013 or newer (built after August 2012) Subaru Outback
  • 2014-2015 Ford C-Max Hybrid
  • 2014 or newer Mazda Mazda3 sedan or hatchback
  • 2014 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2014-2019 Mazda 6
  • 2014 or newer (built after October 2013) Mazda CX-5
  • Toyota Highlander from 2014 or newer
  • 2015-2018 Toyota Siena
  • 2015 or newer Honda CR-V
  • 2015-2017 Toyota Prius V
  • 2015 or newer Lincoln MKZ
  • 2015 (built after May 2015), Ford Edge 2020
  • 2015 Nissan Murano or newer
  • 2015 or newer Lexus NX
  • 2015, 2018-2020 Subaru Impreza sedan or wagon
  • 2015, 2017 Volkswagen Passat
  • 2015 Toyota Avalon or newer
  • 2015-2018 Toyota Siena
  • 2016 Hyundai Genesis
  • 2016-2019 Audi A6
  • 2017 Volvo XC60
  • Kia Sedona 2017
  • 2017, 2020 or newer Honda Odyssey
  • 2017 Chevrolet Equinox
  • GMC terrain 2017
  • 2017-2019 (built after March 2016) Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Kia Sedona 2017
  • 2017, 2020 or newer Honda Odyssey
  • Subaru Crosstrek 2018 or newer
  • 2018 Volvo S60
  • 2018, 2021 Hyundai Kona
  • 2019 Mazda CX-3
  • Toyota Corolla hatchback from 2019 or newer
  • Honda Insight 2019 or newer

Used Car Good Choices For Teens:

  • 2011-2013 (built after December 2010) Mazda Mazda3 sedan or hatchback
  • 2011 Toyota Prius or newer
  • Ford Taurus 2011
  • Hyundai Genesis 2011
  • Toyota Avalon 2011-2014
  • 2012-2015, 2019 or newer Honda Civic sedan
  • 2012-2013 Lexus CT200h
  • 2012-2014 Toyota Prius V
  • 2012 or newer Toyota Camry
  • 2012 Honda Accord sedan or newer
  • 2013 or newer Honda Accord coupe
  • 2013 Chevrolet Volt
  • 2014 Toyota Corolla sedan or newer
  • Nissan Rogue 2014-2020
  • 2015 Ford Fusion
  • Volkswagen Jetta 2016
  • 2016 BMW 3 Series Saloon
  • 2017, 2020 Nissan Altima

Recommended New Vehicles for Teens:

  • Mazda Mazda3 sedan or hatchback
  • Honda Insight
  • Subaru Legacy
  • Kia K5
  • Subaru Outback
  • Lexus IS
  • Chevrolet Trailblazer
  • Mazda CX-30
  • Hyundai Tucson
  • Mazda CX-5
  • Ford Bronco Sport
  • Buick Encore GX (Essence trim)
  • Toyota RAV4 (XLE, XLE Premium, SE, XSE, Adventure, Limited or TRD versions)
  • Honda CR-V (Hybrid EX, Hybrid EX-L, Touring or Hybrid Touring finish)
  • Lexus UX (with Triple Beam LED auto-leveling headlamps)
  • Hyundai Santa Fe (built after July 2021)
  • Hyundai Palisade
  • Nissan Murano
  • Mazda CX-9
  • Toyota Highlander
  • Honda Odyssey