IIHS says these 6 midsize SUVs are safe enough for teens


If you have a teenager who drives (or will soon be driving), you might be stressed about what kind of vehicle you should get them. Or you might be wondering which SUV to buy because your child will probably drive it. If so, contact the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The IIHS is a non-profit organization that tests cars and shares data so consumers can make informed decisions about car safety. These are the six 2022 midsize SUVs they claim are best for teens. It’s important to note that while these are the most recent IIHS picks, the 2022 SUV list hasn’t been released yet, so the 2021 models are the most recent.

Mazda CX-9 2021 | Mazda

6. The 2021 Mazda CX-9 is one of the IIHS’ Best Teen SUVs

RELATED: Why the 2022 Mazda CX-9 Can’t Make the Top 3 Midsize SUV

The 2021 Mazda CX-9 is one of the IIHS’ picks for best teen SUVs. It is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+, which means it has good crash test results, good or acceptable headlights available, and superior or advanced safety systems. One thing to keep in mind when shopping for a car is that there are different trim levels available for each model and you want to make sure the one you get has good safety ratings. You can view it on the IIHS website.

The Mazda CX-9 – and all CX-9 trim levels – come with a suite of safety equipment. This includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation and blind spot monitor. All CX-9s are also equipped with lane keeping assist.

The 2021 Mazda CX-9 starts at $35,335 for the Sport. The Mazda CX-9 Sport is equipped with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. That makes 227 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque and is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The Sport comes standard with front-wheel drive, although there is also optional all-wheel drive.

The 2021 Mazda CX-9 also comes with LED headlights and heated side mirrors, as well as rain-sensing windshield wipers. The interior includes a power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats and a second-row bench seat. A 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment display comes standard in the 2021 CX-9, and it’s compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

5. The 2021 Hyundai Palisade is unsurprisingly on this list

The 2021 Hyundai Palisade is a shoe for such honor as one of the best teenage SUVs. It has the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award as well as good headlights and top front crash prevention ratings in the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian categories.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also tested the 2021 Palisade. NHTSA gives the Palisade five stars for everything except rollover. Both 2WD and 4WD get four stars. You can pick up the 2021 Hyundai Palisade for just $32,675.

4. The 2021 Nissan Murano has superior security systems

RELATED: The Best SUVs For Senior Drivers

The 2021 Nissan Murano is one of the best SUVs for teens. Not only is it an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ winner, it also has superior forward collision avoidance systems for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian. In fact, everything is good about the Murano except for the seat belt reminders, which only get an acceptable rating.

3. The 2021 Toyota Highlander is one of the safest SUVs for teens

The 2021 Toyota Highlander is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+. You have to be careful what headlights you buy, because only the Highlander Platinum and Hybrid Platinum versions have good headlights. Other Highlander trim levels only have acceptable headlights, and that includes a lot of things: L, LE, Hybrid LE, XLE, Hybrid XLE, XSE, Limited, and Hybrid Limited trims all have acceptable headlights.

Pricing for the 2021 Toyota Highlander starts at $35,085. It comes with a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, cruise control, lane departure warning with steering assist and automatic high beams. The 2021 Highlander also has lane following assist and traffic sign assist.

2. The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe is safe as long as you buy the Calligraphy or Limited version

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RELATED: This SUV Is No. 1 on US News’ Best Used SUV List Twice

If you want the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe, you’ll need to buy the Limited or Calligraphy trim level to get an IIHS Top Safety Pick+. The Santa Fe comes with driver attention warning, forward collision warning, blind spot collision and blind spot monitor. It also has a surround view monitor and lane keeping assist.

1. The 2021 Kia Sorento is a super-safe SUV for teens

The 2021 Kia Sorento is one of the safest SUVs for teens. It has good headlights – provided you get the SX or SX-Prestige trim levels. The LX, S, and EX trim levels all have poor headlights, so shop with care.

Pricing for the 2021 Kia Sorento starts at $29,390. The Sorento comes with forward collision avoidance, cruise control, lane keep assist, lane departure warning and rear occupant alert.

The best teen SUV is the safest you can afford. Using the IIHS list as a starting point of SUVs to consider is a great idea.

RELATED: The 5 Best Used SUVs Under $20,000 in 2021


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