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IIHS Report Claims Teens are Safer in Larger Used Cars

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 11/2/2018 Motor Trend Staff
2011 Volvo XC90© Motor Trend Staff 2011 Volvo XC90

Parents have all kinds of choices when it comes to their teen's first car. Do you give them your current car so you have an excuse to buy something new for yourself? Do you buy them something affordable that could last them through college? Do you have them save up to buy their own car even though you know it probably won't be as safe or reliable? To help make that decision a little easier, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has a few suggestions.

After conducting a pair of head-on crash tests, the IIHS found that small, new cars still aren't as safe for occupants as larger crossovers, even if that means buying something used and older. As safe as new cars have become, size and weight are still major factors in a crash. In each crash, test dummies in the smaller cars experienced much stronger forces, and the chance of head and bodily injuries were also higher.

"Bigger vehicles provide greater protection," said Jessica Cicchino, IIHS vice president for research, in a statement. "If you're riding in one of the smallest vehicles on the road, you'll be at a disadvantage in a crash with almost any other vehicle around you."

The IIHS also cautions against letting teens drive high-horsepower vehicles. That includes dedicated performance vehicles, as well as high-horsepower versions of regular vehicles, as it's found that more power is associated with higher insurance losses. So while you probably shouldn't buy your teen a new Ford Mustang GT, you also probably shouldn't give them your old BMW 550i.

To find out which affordable cars the IIHS recommends for teen drivers, check out its list here. All of the cars it recommends cost less than $20,000, with the most affordable choice being the first-generation Volvo XC90.

Source: IIHS
 

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