If you have a teenager who is learning to drive, you may be finding the anxiety somewhat paralyzing. (“Does my child know enough to be trusted on the road?” “What about crazy drivers?” “Is the used vehicle I’m allowing my teen to use safe?”) While there is no way to entirely eliminate the fear of unleashing a new driver on the road, there are some steps you can take to ensure your child’s safety should an accident occur.

Many parents purchase a used car for a new driver: after all, it’s cheaper to insure and more affordable if the teen is paying money toward the purchase. But not all used vehicles are safe. So how do you determine what the best choices are for teen drivers?

IIHS and Consumer Reports (CR) recently joined forces to make it easier for young drivers and their parents or guardians to find a vehicle that will best protect a teenager on the road for the first time. The cooperation has resulted in a list of two tiers of used vehicles: “Best Choices” and “Slightly More Affordable Good Choices.”

It’s important to note that IIHS and CR include the safest model years in their ranking; see the full list for more information.

The Best Choices for Teen Drivers

All the vehicles in listed in the Best Choices category earn good ratings in the IIHS moderate overlap front, original side, roof strength, and head restraint tests, as well as a good or acceptable rating in the driver-side small overlap front test. Vehicles with substantially higher than average claim frequency under medical payment or personal injury protection coverage are excluded from the list.

In the Best Choices category for small vehicles, the Ford C-Max Hybrid topped the list, followed by the Mazda 3 sedan or hatchback and the Chevy Volt (with average used prices at $8,400, $8,700, and $10,500, respectively.) In the mid-size category, the top-ranked vehicle was the Subaru Legacy, followed by the Subaru Outback and the Volkswagen Passat ($8,300, $8,800, and $10,400, respectively). The Toyota Avalon ($15,700) and the Hyundai Genesis ($18,100) topped the list for large vehicles. The SUV category recognized the Mazda CX-5 ($10,200) as the best choice for small SUVs, and the Ford Edge ($12,900) for midsized SUVs.

Good Choices for Teen Drivers

All the rated vehicles in this category earn good ratings in the IIHS moderate overlap front, original side, roof strength, and head restraint tests. If rated by NHTSA, they earn 4 or 5 stars overall or 4 or 5 stars in the front and side tests under the old rating scheme.

For small vehicles, the top-rated choices included the Mazda 3 sedan or hatchback, the Honda Civic sedan, and Toyota Prius ($6,000, $7,100, and $8,100, respectively). In the mid-size category, top choices included the Toyota Prius V, the Toyota Camry, and the Honda Accord sedan ($8,500, $9,400, and $9,900, respectively). For large vehicles, the best good choices included the Ford Taurus, the Hyundai Genesis, and the Toyota Avalon priced at $6,300, $6,900, and $9,400, respectively. The Nissan Rogue ($11,000) rounded out the list as a top good choice for a small SUV.

Adjusting Your Insurance for the Teen Driver

If you’re adding a teen driver to the family, it’s important to have the best auto insurance policy in place to accommodate a new driver. In Connecticut, Petruzelo Insurance offers personal and business policies, including auto insurance, that fit your needs. Call us at 866-479-3327 or visit our website for more information.