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Consumer Reports: Best vehicles for new drivers

Posted at 8:48 AM, Mar 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-04 10:48:03-05

When it comes to buying cars for teens, Consumer Reports picks safety over style.

"You don't want a car that's really fast, that's just going to entice young drivers to get in trouble," says Consumer Reports Auto Expert, Jen Stockburger.

So no sports cars. Instead, go for mid-size sedans or smaller SUVs. Avoid minivans, large SUVs and trucks, too. Those are harder to handle and hold more passengers which can be distracting.

"Most parents are going to buy used, so buy as much safety as your budget will allow you to afford," says Stockburger.

"When I was buying cars for my kids, I was definitely looking for airbags and stability control to keep them on snowy roads," says Consumer Reports Auto Expert, Patrick Olsen.

Also, experts say we should opt for forward-collision warning that alerts drivers of obstacles or vehicles in front, and automatic emergency braking that senses a collision and applies the brakes if you don't. Like it or not, kids will be tempted to use their phones in the car, but Bluetooth lets them use phones hands-free so they keep their eyes on the road.

If you're looking for which specific cars Consumer Reports recommends for teens, you can find a whole list of both new and used ones here.