Summer is prime time for teens to get behind the wheel and cruise, so Consumer Reports has released its list of best cars for new drivers, as well as best cars for seniors.
David Champion, Senior Director of Consumer Reports Automotive Test Center, says "Often parents think that putting their child in the biggest car is the safest thing they can do, but that's not so. Teens are the most inexperienced drivers on the road, so you want to make sure they're driving something that handles well, is agile and has as many safety features as possible—especially electronic stability control."
CR recommended cars in three classes: small sedans, midsized sedans, and SUVs. "The choices were based on safety features such as electronic stability control and curtain air bags," reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
Among small sedans, CR recommends the 2008 to 2010 Hyundai Elantra SE, the 2007 to 2010 Mazda3 and the 2008 to 2010 Scion xB. For midsize sedans, they recommend the 2004 to 2010 Acura TSX, 2008 to 2010 Honda Accord and the 2007 Kia Optima. For small SUVs, they pick the 2005 to 2010 Honda CR-V, and the 2008 to 2010 Nissan Rogue.
The list is similar in some ways to our list of Best Cars for Teen Drivers, but the two differ in some key respects. For one, we recommended cars only with standard electronic stability control; some of the cars on CR's list have stability control as an optional feature. We also kept our list to cars that cost under $17,000 new. And, we intentionally stayed away from sporty cars like the TSX, because such cars may tempt inexperienced teen drivers to take risks they can't handle. Finally, each car on our list is an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick, and has fun and stylish features that teens should appreciate.