According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the safest cars for teens are bigger and heavier. You've heard in all those car ads about a vehicle being an IIHS Safety pick? They're the group that rates safety and survival chances by crash testing. It's time for the 2017 list.

Every year the IIHS puts out a list of the safest vehicles for teen drivers, and some of the choices might surprise you. Your kids will probably be thrilled that the Dodge Avenger (Model years 2011-14) is rated the safest midsize car, while the Toyota Avalon (2014 or newer) is one of the top large cars. They're pretty nice vehicles.

IIHS says bigger, heavier vehicles greatly increase the surviveability for teens in case of a crash, according to their data over the years. They don't recommend, for example, letting your teen drive a Smart Car.

IIHS also takes into account price point, and most of these cars on their list are priced at $14K or lower. There are a total of 49 cars on the list.

Other models recommended for teen drivers include:

  • The Volkswagen Passat (2013 or newer)
  • Kia Optima (2011 or newer)
  • Toyota Camry (2014 or newer)
  • Audi A3 (2015 or newer)
  • Chrysler 200 sedan (2011 or newer)

The IIHS list specifically lists certain years of certain models as they were the ones that performed best in crash tests.

Our son will be happy to see this list, he drives an older Volkswagen Passat we got him last year, and when Mom gets her dream BMW, he inherits her 2008 Dodge Avenger R/T, although it's the model with the 256 HP engine and extra 'goodies.'

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