The latest list considers small-overlap performance and includes 'good choices' that start under $10,000.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has published its latest list of recommended used vehicles for teen drivers.
The organization is best known for crash assessments of new cars, but it occasionally looks back through the results to determine which older cars now offer the best balance between safety and used-market affordability. The rankings reflect the reality that parents want their kids to be safe but might not be able to pay $30,000 for a brand-new car.
The latest update includes 49 "best choices" that should be available used for under $20,000, along with 82 "good choices" that can likely be found for under $10,000.
For the first time, small overlap crash protection has been factored in for the best choices category. The good choices also face more stringent requirements for side and head restraint ratings.
Some of the cheapest cars in the "best choices" lineup, based on Kelly Blue Book market estimates, include the 2005+ Volvo XC90 ($2,500), the 2007+ Volvo S80 ($4,000), the 2011-2014 Dodge Avenger ($5,300) and the 2011+ Mitsubishi Outlander Sport ($6,900). Notably, the only pickup that qualifies in the best category is the 2014+ Toyota Tundra extended cab ($15,600).
The most affordable cars in the "good" list include the 2005-2011 Saab 9-3 ($2,000), the 2006-2014 Kia Sedona ($2,500), the 2007-2008 Hyundai Entourage ($3,300), the 2010-2013 Suzuki Kizashi ($3,600) the 2008-2009 Ford Taurus X ($3,700) and the 2007-2013 Mitsubishi Outlander ($3,900).
To be clear, the IIHS intentionally omitted any vehicles that met the safety and price criteria but "only come with powerful engines." Some on the list are available with high-horsepower engines as optional equipment.
"Good crash protection is more affordable than ever, so there's no need to skimp on safety when it comes to a vehicle for a young driver," says IIHS executive VP and research chief David Zuby.