By on November 5, 2018

Assuming you’re the sort of parent who’s willing and able to buy your child their first vehicle, you’ve probably made safety your top priority. While you could purchase a new vehicle with all the latest self-preservation tech, teens have a habit of scratching up cars. If you buy them an old clunker, they’ll learn a valuable lesson about the importance of auto maintenance but won’t be as protected when they crash into something — which they’re statistically more likely to do.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently updated its list of recommended vehicles for teens, promoting the “bigger is better” mentality. It claims an older, larger used vehicle is often a safer choice when compared to a newer small vehicle that costs roughly the same. While the institute’s suggestion makes sense, it’s also one step removed from recommending putting teenagers in armored personnel carriers. 

“We know safety is just one of the factors people consider when choosing a vehicle, but we hope parents will give it extra consideration when purchasing a vehicle for a teenager,” said Jessica Cicchino, IIHS vice president for research. “Teen drivers are at greater risk, due to immaturity and inexperience behind the wheel.”

And the solution, according to the IIHS, is to give them routine access to hardware that can do some real damage on the open road. Were it up to this author, every new driver would be forced to drive a manual-transmission Geo Metro for a full year with a notice on the steering wheel explaining that the car will absolutely not protect them in the event of an accident. But that doesn’t sound particularly American, what with all the absent freedom and emphasis on communal safety.

 

“Bigger vehicles provide greater protection,” Cicchino continued. “If you’re riding in one of the smallest vehicles on the road, you’ll be at a disadvantage in a crash with almost any other vehicle around you.”

Hoping to better illustrate its point, the IIHS chucked disproportionately sized vehicles at each other at 40 mph. In the first test, a 2016 Kia Sorento and 2018 Kia Forte (which is an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus awardee) went head-to-head. In the second test, the outlet used a 2015 Toyota Avalon and the pint-sized 2018 Toyota Yaris iA (which has an overall good safety rating). While the Forte and Yaris actually held up rather well structurally, their lack of mass still placed them at a severe disadvantage against the much larger models.

From IIHS:

Forces on the driver dummies in the smaller vehicles were much greater than those in the larger vehicles. Measurements indicated a high likelihood of head injuries for the driver of both the Yaris iA and the Forte in a real-world crash of the same severity. Right leg injuries would be likely in the Forte and possible in the Yaris iA. Neck and chest injuries would also be possible for drivers of both vehicles, and left leg injuries would be possible in the Forte.

In contrast, the Avalon and Sorento had mostly good injury measures, aside from a possible right leg injury in both.

The structures of the Forte, which weighs 928 pounds less than the Sorento, and the Yaris iA, which weighs 1,033 pounds less than the Avalon, didn’t hold up as well against the larger vehicles as in the car-to-barrier tests on which IIHS ratings are based.

The IIHS also recommends parents avoid any models that offer “excessive horsepower.” This seems like a no-brainer, as the temptation to treat the gas pedal the same way you would a light switch is far too tempting as a youngster. The IIHS says high-horsepower vehicles are more likely to exceed the posted speed limit, adding that powerful engines are “strongly associated with higher insurance losses.”

Another essential item for teens is standard electronic stability control. Unless you’re buying something truly vintage, you probably don’t have to worry about this one. ESC has been mandatory on all vehicles since 2012, and was already extremely common before then. Still, we’re of the mind that attentive parents probably know best. If you’ve imparted real knowledge onto your child and deemed them mature enough to handle a vehicle that isn’t loaded with aids and makes more than 150 hp, that’s your business.

However, if you’re not entirely convinced that you can trust them to behave behind the wheel, the IIHS has a laundry list of recommended models. Many come close to the $20,000 bracket, though alternatives exist with more reasonable price tags. The least expensive “Best Choice” was the 2005 Volvo XC90, which is estimated to set you back $3,700. Just make sure it has the base engine.

 

[Images: IIHS]

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72 Comments on “IIHS Recommends Putting Your Teen Behind the Wheel of the Largest Vehicle Possible...”


  • avatar
    salmonmigration

    Thanks for fueling the arms race IIHS! Not only do we have to deal with bored housewives texting behind the wheel of their Suburbans, now we’re gonna have more and more 16-year olds sending snapchats from the left lane in their Borregos.

    • 0 avatar
      ACCvsBig10

      Peter Griffin: What can you tell me about this one?

      Car Salesman: Oh, that’s just an old tank I use for those commercials where I declare war on high prices. Now about that sedan…

      Peter Griffin: Hang on there, slick. Now I see your game. We come in here wanting a practical car, but then you dangle this tank in front of me and expect me to walk away. Now, I may be an idiot, but there is one thing I am not, sir, and that, sir, is an idiot. Now, I demand you tell me more about this tank!

      Car Salesman: Well, if you’re looking for quality, then look no further.

      Peter: That’s more like it! Tell me, what are the tank’s safety features?

      Car Salesman: What a good-looking question. Three inches of reinforced steel protects your daughter from short-range missile attacks.

      Peter: I see. And does the sedan protect against missiles?

      Car Salesman: It does not.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    When I was a teen the most common tactic among parents who could afford to buy or help buy their kids a car, was to purchase a D3 sedan with the smallest engine available.

    I have not had time to read the full report, does it take into consideration, a) passive safety aids such as active head restraints, air bags, etc which may not be installed in older vehicles, b) active collision avoidance systems such as ESC, traction control, ABS etc, which also might not be installed (avoiding a collision is the best way to survive one), c) the condition of the body of the older vehicle as rust/corrosion may weaken its structural integrity, d) changes in engineering which have generally strengthened auto frames (see Jack Baruth and his recommendations after being T-boned in his Town Car) and greatly improved offset impact results?

    • 0 avatar
      madferret9

      Is there even any robust evidence proving that Collision Avoidance systems actually reliably prevent a collision? Wouldn’t it depend on the system and manufacturer?

      • 0 avatar
        Deontologist

        People who drive vehicles equipped with optional forward emergency braking have a 20% lower insurance claim rate than people who drive the same cars without the emergency braking feature.

        This is across the board, from Volvo to Mercedes to Mazda to Toyota.

      • 0 avatar
        carlisimo

        madferret9, ESC seems to make a very big difference. It keeps drivers from spinning out at high speeds and hitting trees side-on or tripping their SUVs into a roll.

        Forward emergency braking is great in low-speed situations, so it saves money (and pedestrians), rather than saving the driver’s life. There may be a manufacturer or two that have figured it out at higher speeds, but it seems to be consistently good at low ones.

        ABS is nice against fender benders, but at high speeds inexperienced drivers mash the pedal like they’ve been told and then spin out and die. Traction control is more about convenience – it helps you get going in slippery conditions. But you couldn’t have ESC without ABS and traction control, so they’re indirectly important.

      • 0 avatar
        John Ganger

        It does depend on the system, but these systems are independently tested by the IIHS for collision avoidance. Active braking definitely reduces collision rates. Lane departure warnings might not help much. None of these systems are perfect, but it’s far better to drive with them than without.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I don’t think IIHS is telling you to get kids some 15 year old jalopy with rust but rather a 5 year old larger vehicle. A 5 year old Suburban for instance has plenty of safety features and would fare much better in an accident then a new Trax for example.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “A 5 year old Suburban for instance has plenty of safety features and would fare much better in an accident then a new Trax for example.”

        — And do a lot more damage, too.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        I’m doubtful if that holds, if “faring better” takes into account all participants in all accidents, from single vehicle, to pileups and car/suv vs pedestrian and cyclist…

        A good old machine gun on the hood, for ensuring a frozen traffic picture for the one operating it, makes driving safer as well, if you only consider the guy doing the shooting.

  • avatar
    raph

    Yes, that’s what the world needs, a bunch of inexperienced drivers barely cognizant of the world outside the 6 x 3 display on a hand hdobile device barreling down the road running over below the hood line and wiping the bloody mess away with the wipers.

    I cant wait to hear a parent say ” I dont care who my kids kill as long as they survive “

    • 0 avatar
      thegamper

      Yeah, sort of an irresponsible report as they seemingly recognize they are putting a vehicle that is massive and dangerous to other motorists in the hands of the least experienced drivers most likely to cause an accident. Thus any benefit to the occupants of the massive vehicles that worried parents stick their kids in, will likely be outweighed by the damage and injury they cause to other motorists. Nice call IIHS.

      One of the best new car features I have seen is the safety key. Where the owner can set speed, acceleration limits on the driver simply by giving them a programmed key. Controlling speed and attentiveness is most likely the best tactic to protect your kids, not equipping them with a brodozer.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      So should parents put the safety of random strangers ahead of their own children? Not sure what your solution is.

      • 0 avatar
        thegamper

        Fewer overall deaths and injuries should be the goal. I won’t claim to have the solution but putting teenage drivers in pickups and full sized SUVs doesn’t sound like the answer.

      • 0 avatar
        Erikstrawn

        Parents should teach their kids to be attentive drivers and to understand they don’t live in a consequence-free world.

        Despite my best efforts, two of my three kids wrecked their cars. Luckily they were just fender benders. If they’d been in bigger vehicles, the consequences for the other drivers would have been more severe. I will put random strangers ahead of my kids if my kids are driving like idiots.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        The solution is to ditch nonsensical feelgood regulation, like CAFE and mandated safety features aimed solely at protecting driver and occupants. And instead charge fees/taxes based on how much of a threat a given vehicle is likely to pose to other trafficants.

        People don’t need government’s help in picking safety features that benefit themselves. As you point out, they’d be happy to carpet bomb Preious’ school route in advance of her pulling out of the driveway, to ensure she encountered no other drivers who could pose a danger to her, on her drive to school in her new Abrams.

        But people could, otoh, benefit from regulation making vehicle operators see a more complete cost picture of the danger they pose to others.

        Momentum, or KE, limits, instead of speed ones, could be a good start…

  • avatar
    jack4x

    Perfect.

    When my son turns 16 in 2033 I’ll be ready to hand him down my CCLB F350. 266″ long, 7350 lb. Lucky I ordered the gas engine, the diesel is probably considered “excessive horsepower”.

    /s

  • avatar
    Garrett

    Time to start shopping for a gently used GMC TopKick that I can put away in storage for when my kid is ready to drive.

  • avatar
    SixspeedSi

    Great, I can’t wait to buy my kid a 2018 Ram 3500 Laramie Longhorn Anodized Snap Chatting While Driving Sport Limited Edition and send them on their way!

    But also, seriously their best cheap choice is an 05 Volvo XC90? Sounds like a great teen beater. Put them in a car and let them risk it like the rest of us.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      XC90 would not be anywhere near my list of “cheap beaters” lol. I get that they are safe, but they might end up being a bit too safe in a different way: it’ll be at the shop getting fixed while your kid takes the bus.

      If safety is a priority I’d hit’em where they ain’t: Ford Five Hundred/Taurus/Monterey/Sable. Same sturdy and safe Volvo underpinnings but with cheaper and more reliable parts where it matters (just avoid the CVTs). At the low end, an old guy’s Five Hundred with dealership servicing should be within reach for about $3-4k, and with the 3.0L duratec they’re not going anywhere too quickly. At the high end, ex fleet 2015 Taurus SELs with 40k miles can be had for $13-14k if you look. Horrible rear visibility compared to the earlier cars is the only downside.

      • 0 avatar
        SixspeedSi

        Yep! Having something that’s safe in a collision is all well and fine, but there’s nothing more dangerous than being broken down on the side of a road or freeway.

        Those are good alternatives, cvt models withstanding. I’m going to go out on a whim and say most people (teens/adults) don’t think much about safety as the IIHS might believe. If you have a more flexible budget, you’ll buy your son/daughter a safe new or lightly used car. If not, you’ll try to find something that is a good deal and offers attractive features.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          I’ll change my tune a bit on certain older Volvo models: 1st gen S60. It might have various dashboard lights illuminated (including SRS airbag fault) and a center info screen going on the fritz, but buy an ’03+ and keep fluids in it and it will keep going for a long time, with a rattling and worn suspension, but it will start and get you where you need to go, and probably do well in an accident if that happens.

          • 0 avatar
            SixspeedSi

            My good friend had an 04 S60 in High School/College til it was totaled. Thing was nearing 200k with minimum issues. However, he replaced that with a 05 S40 which transmission failed at 104k. So, idk Volvo is hit or miss to me.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        We briefly had a Ford 500 in the family, I can attest that it was a decent fairly spacious car, only drawbacks were the gas mileage and the sparkplugs being in a dumb spot.

        It had two accidents before we sold it, one a hit and run in a Wal Mart Parking lot (where else?) that damaged the front bumper and broke the AC, the second was the result of an old women in a Scion xB that tried to occupy the same lane as the 500, that totaled it, but more importantly nobody was hurt.

        I’m not really sold on Volvos old or new, they make good chassis but their electronics are awful.

  • avatar
    mcs

    Has the IIHS evaluated this yet: https://bit.ly/2D2NZ8i

    It’s cheap, but needs a little work. The ultimate in teen driver safety.

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    “OK, kid- there’s your first car, and a ladder to get into it. Have fun, and remember- you’re safer than everybody else!”

    Not so fast, Hoss. The IIHC should have read their own report, which states, “Nationwide, 55 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths in 2016 occurred in single-vehicle crashes.” How will your road-ruling mass help you then? To “win” such a collision, you’d need a vehicle taller than a tree and stronger than a bridge abutment.

    I’m not surprised when such sociopathic messages come from the truck manufacturers, but from the insurance industry? Yikes!

  • avatar
    Maymar

    If that’s how you’re looking, I’d push something like a Chevy Equinox – it’s rated pretty well for safety, it’s moderately sized enough to neither be an irresponsible wrecking ball, or at risk of being crushed by every other driver who isn’t your precious little driver, and joyless, unenthusiastic base engines that pass for slow in modern terms.

  • avatar
    Menar Fromarz

    I love these guys. Talk about moronic. Its indicative of the breed. I remember the “safety cars” of the ’70’s, which were lumbering bubblewrap mobiles. Lets not talk about awareness, or skill, or anything else reasonably to do with their role in the actual operation of the vehicle, no, just stick them in the largest cage possible. Our local (govt.) run mandatory insurer in B.C. is about the same mindset. Ask insurers about a discount based upon actual driving skill improvements? NADA. Skid school? Advanced driving techniques? NOPE, no discount for that. Oh, you have a immobilizer?, here’s a discount.
    Somewhat related, I half feel new drivers should only start out with a scooter licence, and then to either a M/C licence or a car. Awareness? Gotcha! Fear of morons on the road? You bet! Appreciation for the joy of motion and how everything is trying to kill you ? Yup. They would make better drivers for sure.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheatridger

      That’s what I had to do. Back in Tennessee, circa 1966, the first motor vehicle I was eligible to drive was a sub-50 CC motorbike. The Honda 50 was the popular choice, but I found a Harley-Davidson — one lung, three on the tree, Italian-made and HD-badged (you could look it up.) Power was scant, and the brakes often were “can’t,” too. I had all the fun 40 mph could offer, with none of the forced-ego-induction of a large, powerful vehicle. I navigated the roads like a skin diver among sharks and barracuda, humbly and watchfully.

      Later, I learned to love the sensations of driving light cars of modest power and thin tire, but that’s a different story.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    That might protect your teen but it does NOT protect all those who become victims of said teen’s lack of experience. The largest possible vehicles are also the ones that cause the greatest number of fatalities; both in single-vehicle crashes and occupants of other vehicles in multi-vehicle crashes.

  • avatar
    lon888

    Dumb, dumb , dumb idea putting inexperienced drivers behind the wheel of a massive poorly handling vehicle. Not long ago, a non-English speaking lady, driving a large Land Rover, who obliviously did not have any formal driving instruction smashed into the rear bumper of my GTI whilst trying to park. The punchline to this was that there wasn’t another car in the parking lot! Inexperienced drivers have no business driving large vehicles.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    You should check out the ‘student’ parking areas at the local ‘commuter’ university in the north-west area of Toronto.

    Just today saw an Audi R-8, a couple of Maserattis, about a half-dozen AMG logoed Mercedes, around the same number of M-Series BMW’s, a GT-R, a Lambo, and a Bentley. That was just while walking from my car to the nearest building.

    Quite often you see them with either multiple parking tickets on their windshields, or you see the student tear up the ticket(s) as they enter their car.

    This summer, an exotic car night was held just up the street once per month.

    One co-op student that I placed last year, totalled his Mercedes which had a custom paint job, during the morning of the very first snowfall. He replaced it with a 6 series BMW cabriolet the following week. He didn’t even have his ‘full license’ still working on one of our graduated licenses, so his insurance must have been upwards of $8k.

    That is not unique, generally there are a few collisions per week, involving at least one student driven vehicle, in the vicinity of the school.

    Students at the University of British Columbia known as UBC, now say that stands for ‘university of beautiful cars’.

    Maybe a little off topic, but how safe would you feel having your children drive to and from this school in their 12 year old Buick, or Yaris?

    • 0 avatar
      SixspeedSi

      You see a bunch of that at larger universities. When at Penn State, many foreign students had at least some sort of luxury brand vehicle. On the lower end you saw Q5’s and Evoques, on the high end it wasn’t uncommon to see Aston’s, McLaren’s and Gallado/Huracan’s.

      I just read a few months ago one of these students slipt a C7 Z06 in half after hitting a tree at approx 70 mph (on a 35). He did not survive. It crazy how their social status among other foreign students depend on these cars.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Yep my brother was telling me about that wreck. As a local, it kind of grates on his nerves to see all those high end cars at the university, and frankly, he didn’t have much sympathy for that kid in the ‘vette. Tree sawed that car clean in half at the rate of speed he was going when it got sideways. He had a different story about the guy who blew up the engine in his Gallardo, he simply didn’t know that he had to change the oil I guess.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      I’d like to know how students are affording University classes AND high end luxury cars, must be wealthy parents.

      I wouldnt feel safe there until they setup some speed bumps.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        It’s the upper crust of Chinese society. A diploma from an American University, almost irrelevant of degree, opens all sorts of doors back home. They come here, screw around in fancy cars, never make much of an effort to integrate or interact with non-Chinese students, then head home. Universities love that they pay full tilt tuition. Those are my personal observations anyways.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Some universities in Canada now receive a greater amount of their total revenue as tuition fees from foreign students, than as tuition fees from Canadian students.

          Foreign students pay a significantly higher tuition fee than ‘nationals’.

          This unfortunately creates an incentive to the universities to accept foreign applicants/students for programs that have limited enrollments, as the school receives much more money that way.

  • avatar
    ajla

    This headline isn’t very good. The IIHS is not recommending people buy “the largest vehicle possible” and they aren’t recommending HD trucks or ’75 Buicks either.

    Their point is more that if you’re between a new Sonic and a ’13 Lacrosse, then there’s a safety advantage to the Buick even with it being (slightly) older. I guess you can disagree with that conclusion, but they are the ones with the data.

  • avatar
    JRoth

    “emphasis on communal safety.”

    This is really, precisely, NOT about communal safety. Instead, it’s about the all-American values of “fuck you, buddy, I got mine.” It’s about viewing the success of the next generation as a zero-sum battle to the death in which the only moral choice is to kick the legs out from under your kids’ peers/competitors.

    What’s weird about this out-of-place line is that the article otherwise understands exactly who this advice is bad for—the community at large.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    Yes, let’s give the kids a tank so they can kill some one else.

    If society has deemed that one must be 21 to be mature enough to drink, it seems to me that 21 should be the limit for a regular driver license, with strict limits (as in, not at night, no riders under 21 without an adult) with STRICT PENALTIES (JAIL TIME!) if caught.

    Of course, with that logic, one should be at least 21 before being put in a life and death situation in Afghanistan, where misinterpreting the Rules of Engagement can lead to imprisonment, and following them to the letter can be fatal. But no, it’s OK to be 18.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    I’ll never forget the look on my then 16-year-old daughter’s face when she came out of the house and saw the 1984 RX-7 parked there. Oh, did she love that car.
    She’d already become a competent driver of the 5-speed Accord, and had actually started learning to drive on back roads, some of them gravel, when she was 13. She saw the RX-7 as a step up. She lucked out, and her first collision with it was a very minor rear-ender when she tapped the car in front of her coming out of the high-school parking lot.
    As an EMT she drove the ambulance often before starting up the ladder to become a RN.
    She’s married now and when the family’s going somewhere she does the bulk of the driving.

  • avatar
    TDIandThen....

    What’s wrong with the standard issue Volvo sedan or wagon of whatever generation is affordable?

    Post-2000 Saabs are available for cheap, have excellent safety even for today, requires the kid to learn some mechanical things for maintenance and running them, and are rarely fast if you know what you’re shopping for. Get them a Prancing Moose sticker and Good tires and watch them start looking for a job to pay for repairs and gas.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “and are rarely fast if you know what you’re shopping for”

      Is there such a thing as a 9-3 or 9-5 past the early 2000s that isn’t a turbo 2.0L? They’re pretty darn quick. Anything pre ’07 is bound to be an electrical sh*tshow. My friend bought a 110k mile Aero with the 2.8 turbo and stick, great car for about 3 months before it started to drive him crazy with gremlins.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I’m curious as to how much ride height plays a role in this, to use an old example (80s-90s) there was an offset crash between a VW Vanagon as a Volvo 7-940 series, the VW destroyed the Volvo in part due to it riding taller.

    That being said I’m not advocating that we all buy CUV-type things, if anything I’ve found them to be harder to park and see over compared to a regular sedan.

    Todays regular compacts (Civic/Corolla) are big and chubby enough as it is, I think they’re safe enough in most accidents. The only cars that I really doubt are Mirages (cheap car by a zombie company) and Smarts (no crumple zone, but it’ll be at a Mercedes dealer more than on the road). Then theres cars with autopilot but thats for very different reasons.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    The car talk guys used to be frequently asked “What car should I buy for my high school or college age kid?”
    They would almost always respond. “Used Volvo 240 or 7 series or a first or second generation Lexus LS”. Well built reliable and robust in case of an accident.
    No mention of a Canyonaro or grandpas old 75 Buick Electra 225.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      LS? They’re robust, sure, but not particularly cheap to wrench on (lots of one-off parts and OE Lexus is NOT cheap). I love old Toyotas and over-engineered efforts like the LS in particular, but I feel like they’ve gotten a bit over-recommended by internet car-guys to be honest. For the enthusiast who appreciates what it is, certainly a great choice. For a kid’s first car in the name of safety? There are much more practical options. With how old they are getting, I’d not be recommending a 200/700/900 Volvo to any casual car owner either, or any sort of 850/S70 for that matter either.

      The Five Hundred I mentioned above covers the bases perfectly. Volvo-tier safety, and any rural shop anywhere in the US will be able to work on it, including their diagnostic hardware (versus Volvo’s VIDA). If you’re less safety obsessed, literally any domestic/korean/japanese without accident history or structural rust, with a good service record will work just fine with a few highlighted exceptions (Chrysler’s early 2.7Ls, Nissan CVTs, stuff like that).

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        Yes the 500 and forgotten Montego are sensible sedans available with AWD. Because of the popularity of SUV’s they slightly raised the seating and ride height compared to its Taurus/Sable predecessor.

        Another good vehicle for youth is the Matrix/Vibe. Roomy and reliable. I know someone who passed one along to their college kid and they are still getting reliable use out of it post college even though they want to buy a preowned XC70.

        The Volvo 850/C70/S70 are not as robust as the old 240 and 740/760. They suffer from electrical and suspension issues. I’ve considered a C70 drop top as a inexpensive weekend cruiser. You see them on CL in the $1500-4000 range but they can be a crapshoot.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        I blame Matt Farah for the LS recommendations, before him they were seen as nice cars but it wasn’t considered thrifty car.

        I used to reccomend old Volvos myself, but age and part scarcity make them impractical, on top of their dated safety.

        Off topic but I used to think Toyota fans were a little too full of themselves, then I started looking at old Volvos again, their craiglist ads tend to be more overhyped than any Toyota ad, ditto the fan forums.

        Then theres always this exhange, “Dual overhead cam Redblocks are generally solid, just be sure to remove the balance shaft or itll self destruct”.

        At MRF: All of those older Volvos suffered from electrical issues/suspensions, what made the 240 nice was there were generally less electrical bits to break, on top of simple engines.

    • 0 avatar
      markogts

      Nope: https://youtu.be/qBDyeWofcLY

  • avatar
    kkop

    Sounds like uhhh… sound advice.

    We bought a regular cab Ram 1500 for our daughter to use (not keep) while she was in college. No room for more than one passenger, so less possible distractions. Good view of the road, and an incentive to learn how to park properly. Basic amenities, so also less distractions.

    She was rear-ended on a highway off-ramp 3 months later by an uninsured idiot. Ram 1500: scratches on the tow hook mini bumper thingy and dent in corner of bumper. Sedan that rear-ended her: mangled, leaking, totaled mess.

    Size and mass worked for her (and I felt pretty relieved (and clever) as her parent).

  • avatar
    MrAnnoyingDude

    I’m a big enough guy to stand by this advice in my first purchase.

    188 cm (6’3″) is nothing to laugh about.

  • avatar
    George B

    Here in North Texas it’s fairly common for a teen driver to inherit a large sedan from an elderly relative who has recently given up driving. Something like a Buick Lacrosse or Toyota Avalon. These cars tend to be low mileage well maintained examples with a well known history. Other families hand down something like and Accord or Camry instead of trading in that car on a new one. A third strategy is to put the teen in a fully depreciated, relatively safe luxury sedan. The common thread is that they’re all relatively safe and not a huge loss if the new driver totals the car.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    “The only way to prevent a crash by a bad guy with a bloated overweight vehicle is to have a good guy with a bloated overweight vehicle.”

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    The Compass/Patriot in the picture however much they are rightfully panned might be a sensible vehicle for a young driver.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      The 4wd is really a default AWD system on those isn’t it?

      And people pan CVTs etc but if you look at the forums for those vehicles it seems like there were many more issues with the manual version than the CVT version.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        The Patriots and Compass offered a 6 speed automatic with the selectable Freedom drive AWD. (As if there was a Taliban drive) Probably better than the CVT.
        I always thought the manual was not very ergonomic with the canted bent shifter.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Surprisingly enough the jatco-supplied CVT was not the horrible dumpster-fire that it gets made out to be in the Caliber-platform cars. It’s just ear-searingly bad to drive, and the rest of the car’s build quality just adds up to an unpleasant aura. IMO the Patriot to get is a newer (post much needed interior refresh), AWD (Freedom Drive I) with the Hyundai 6spd automatic. The FDII with simulated low range with the CVT get abysmal fuel economy as a result of the shortened final drive. The EPA rating was 23mpg…

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Terrible fuel economy is a feature not a bug when it comes to teen drivers. Less money to spend on other things.

          (Source: Guy who got 29 mpg in his Iron Duke Celebrity and had more money to spend on things he shouldn’t.)

  • avatar
    Garak

    If you teach someone to drive a big car, they won’t have problems driving any cars in the future. If you instead teach someone to drive a small car, big vehicles might seem intimidating later on.

    Diesel W123 Benzes used to be good for this. They weren’t gargantuan like some US cars of the era, but big enough, and taught RWD handling also. The 55-60 hp engines also didn’t encourage reckless behavior.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      That’s a great strategy, teaches them to have better fundamentals for parking, turning, and defensive driving when your vehicle needs some extra awareness from the drivers. Mid 90s Ford and GM full size fits the bill pretty well. Maybe 90s Avalons too?

  • avatar
    gottacook

    A less massive car (especially one with a shorter wheelbase and length) will enable faster accident avoidance. My young daughters each drive a 2007 Forester L. L. Bean – about 3300 pounds, wonderful visibility, very safe construction, electronic brake force distribution, not too powerful (173 hp), front and side airbags – and I wouldn’t want them in anything more massive.

    • 0 avatar
      sco

      I agree, accident avoidance has to play a role in here somewhere and visibility is key for not doing stupid (and dangerous) things like merging into a lane with a car in it or hitting a pedestrian. I think for this reason alone many modern vehicle with poor visibility would be poor choices for an inexperienced driver.

  • avatar
    TwoBelugas

    Well, let me go ahead and show my wife the study so i can give my Ram 2500 megacab to my son and I can finally get my Power Wagon. Sweet.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    My daughter got my12 year old Volvo xc wagon as her first car, not to fast but very safe, after 185,000 miles a cam shaft went, not worth fixing, I got her another newer XC wagon, some ass t bones her one month before her collage graduation, plenty of air bags went off and some injuries but she crush across the stage to get her diploma , could not find a decent volvo wagon and this time she was paying , she is now driving a saab wagon, I will put up with some weird dash lights if needed, but safety first. I drive a saab 9-5 and have had saabs in the past that were hit and totaled, I have walked away so I am sold on safety.

  • avatar
    carguy67

    re: “Were it up to this author, every new driver would be forced to drive a manual-transmission Geo Metro for a full year with a notice on the steering wheel explaining that the car will absolutely not protect them in the event of an accident.”

    I taught my son to drive in a 1967 Austin-Healey 3000 (at least it had SOME power, and overdrive). When he first got behind the wheel I told him: “You have no crumple zones, no air bags, no ABS, no traction or stability control, and the seat belts are only there so the coroner can tell who was driving after the accident. The steering column is a javelin pointed at your chest. The only ‘safety feature’ in this car is you, the driver.” I took him on a couple long cross-country drives so he got to experience all kinds of roads and conditions (no ice, unfortunately). He’s been driving for 12 years now with nothing but a minor moving violation (illegal U-turn). Unfortunately, I couldn’t get him interested in the other personal accountability training ground, general aviation. But he just got into Navy OCS so he should have some other cool toys to play with ;)

  • avatar
    markogts

    Is this IIHS advice based on some real-life statistics or just on a very superficial application of the third Newton’s law under the hypothesis of spherical vehicles?

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