Safest Used Cars Deals for $10K or Less, & Best New Car Safety Picks Under $25K for Teen Drivers and Families
Many families put a high priority on safety for their kids. Unfortunately, for various valid reasons, most are not able to go out and buy a brand new car with the latest safety features. Perhaps others are buying a car for a teen or college student and want something safe, but are concerned they might wreck a new car. Earlier this year, the IIHS evaluated hundreds of cars to produce an updated list of recommended models for teens. A similar list was created by Consumer Reports.
I have somewhat different criteria for my teen drivers, with the most emphasis on actual crash test results and crash avoidance safety features. For example, while I also exclude the smallest sub-compact and “micro” vehicles, I have no issue with my teen driving a compact sedan, but only if it has very good crash test results. Compact sedans are less expensive to buy and maintain, plus they are generally easier to maneuver and park, especially for an inexperienced driver.
Unfortunately, the IIHS excludes compact sedans from their list, even top performing models with many safety features and good all-around crash test scores, including their own small overlap test. In fact, some models they have recommended in the past do marginally or poorly in this newer crash test. Like Consumer Reports, many of their recommendations are well over $10,000 even with very high mileage. Speaking of Consumer Reports, they omit many very safe choices if the vehicle didn’t do well in their proprietary reliability rankings.
For this list, the requirements are very objective and focus only on safety with a price threshold.
Safe Used Vehicle Requirements:
- 5-star NHTSA overall rating
- IIHS Top Safety Pick
- Around $10,000 or less to buy
- Good visibility and handling
- No sports cars, minicars, sub-compacts or any model under 2,700 lbs
- No “2-star” or “1-star” ratings in any individual NHTSA crash test or rollover rating
- No “Marginal” or “Poor” IIHS crash test results in ANY crash test, including the newer small overlap tests
Safest Used Vehicle Preferences:
- IIHS Top Safety Pick+
- No 3-star NHTSA ratings in any test
- Midsize or larger, 3,200 lbs. or more
- Stability Control and Side Curtain Airbags standard
- 2011 or newer. In 2011, the NHTSA began crash testing with its improved crash test system that doesn’t compare to models before 2011
Safe Vehicle Wish List: