Mazda, Subaru top safest new cars for teens list

Certain Mazda and Subaru vehicles make the safest new cars for teens, according to a list compiled by Consumer Reports and the IIHS released Wednesday. 

The list marks the second time the non-profit agencies have teamed up to recommend the safest cars for inexperienced drivers. In late July, they announced the safest used cars for teens under $20,000 that included 65 cars. 

The list of new 2020 cars encompasses only 18 models, including five Mazda models. 

Both lists exclude vehicles with high horsepower, sports cars in general, or lightweight cars under 2,750 pounds that have a harder time of withstanding crashes. On the other hand, heavy vehicles such as full-size SUVs were excluded because their girth can make them harder to handle and require more braking distance. 

The list also excludes vehicles with substantially higher than average insurance claim rates for injuries. 

So what does the list prioritize?

Safety and reliability, which are important factors for all vehicle shoppers regardless of age and experience. All 18 vehicles earned a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS. That means the vehicles earned top “Good” ratings in all six crash tests, have headlights with at least an “Acceptable” rating, and come standard with automatic emergency braking that can prevent crashes with other vehicles. 

Additionally, all 18 vehicles have average or better reliability based on Consumer Reports‘ comprehensive member surveys. Other factors rated by Consumer Reports include easy to use controls that lessen distraction, average or better emergency handling and braking tests.

Of course, these vehicles cost more than their used counterparts, ranging from $22,000 to $37,000. 

“It can be tempting to buy a tiny, bare-bones model for a teenager,” IIHS President David Harkey said in a statement. “But we know
that teenagers are among the riskiest drivers, so it’s important not to skimp on safety.”

Vehicles listed below indicate base price, where applicable, or certain trim levels that have the required safety features. 

Mazda topped the list with five vehicles out of its lineup of seven:

2020 Mazda 3 compact sedan and hatchback ($22,110)

2020 Mazda 6 mid-size sedan ($23,800)

2020 Mazda CX-3 subcompact crossover ($20,700)

2020 Mazda CX-5 compact crossover ($25,200)

2020 Mazda CX-9 three-row crossover ($32,700 built after December 2019).

Subaru and Honda each had three models qualify:

2020 Subaru Legacy mid-size sedan ($22,110)

2020 Subaru Forester compact crossover ($23,900)

2020 Subaru Outback mid-size crossover ($25,900 built after December 2019);

2020 Honda Insight compact sedan ($22,000)

2020 Honda Accord mid-size sedan ($23,300 excluding top Touring 2.0T and Touring Hybrid models)

2020 Honda CR-V compact crossover ($27,900 excluding Touring and Hybrid models).

Other vehicles on the list are:

2020 Toyota Corolla compact sedan and hatchback ($23,400 for XLE and XSE models with certain packages)

2020 Toyota RAV4 compact crossover ($36,900 Hybrid Limited only)

2020 Lexus UX subcompact crossover ($32,800 with triple-beam LED headlights)

2020 Chevrolet Equinox LT compact crossover ($27,000)

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe mid-size crossover ($32,700 with SEL trim with Premium package or Limited trim)

2020 Kia Sportage SX Turbo compact crossover ($33,000)

2020 Nissan Altima mid-size sedan ($24,900 all but base S trim).

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