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Vehicles recommended to help keep teens safe

Most adults have fond memories of their teen years, forging friendships, finding young love and beginning to understand the directions they wanted to take in life. Unfortunately, many teen dreams come to sudden ends in motor vehicle crashes.

In fact, teenagers are about four times as likely to be in auto accidents as adults - and those violent collisions are the leading cause of death in U.S. teens.

Even though teens are crash-prone, they are often behind the wheel of vehicles more likely to be unsafe: older vehicles lacking advanced safety tech (side airbags, electronic stability control, etc.) and smaller vehicles lacking the impact-absorbing bulk that helps protect vehicle occupants in serious collisions.

"It's understandable that parents don't want to shell out big bucks for their teen's first car," said Rebecca Weast, research scientist for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). "And they probably don't realize how much safer a newer, larger vehicle is."

The IIHS and Consumer Reports have teamed up to help parents to protect their kids as they consider purchasing a vehicle for a teen. The organizations released a list of recommended safe, reliable, affordable used cars and SUVs chosen with teenagers in mind.

The two nonprofits' list includes the following vehicles, listed with model years and typical pricing:

  • Small Cars

Mazda 3 (2011-13): $5,300
Honda Civic sedan (2012-15): $5,600
Toyota Corolla sedan (2012 and newer): $6,800

  • Midsized Cars

Subaru Legacy (2011-12): $5,700
Lincoln MKZ (2011-12): $6,000
Subaru Outback (2011-12): $6,600

We don't have the space here to include the entire list, but you can find it here, along with information about the testing and safety grading applied to each recommended vehicle.

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