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U.S. News and World Report released its picks for the best cars to help new drivers get acclimated behind the wheel.
The publication, which also publishes an extensive list of Best Cars for the Money and Best Cars for Families, released a list of six vehicles with advanced safety features, top safety ratings and strong long-term value.
Jamie Page Deaton, the managing editor for U.S. News Best Cars, believes the magazine’s recommendations will help teen drivers get more comfortable behind the wheel, keep them safe and allow parents to feel secure about letting their teen drive.
“Having a new driver in the family is both exciting and nerve-wracking,’’ said Page Deaton in a statement. “Although it’s expensive, parents should consider investing in newer models because they have many more safety features than cars made just five years ago.’’
Modern cars are more likely to offer advanced safety features like automatic braking, lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring.
Several cars listed also have smartphone connectivity that allows parents to monitor teen driving habits from a distance. For example, Kia’s UVO system can alert parents if a teen driver was operating a car past curfew or driving too fast.
“We’re talking about an inexperienced driver and these are features that can save a driver and other lives,’’ Deaton told Boston.com.
Deaton said U.S. News considered the vehicle’s safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reliability grades from J.D. Power and Associates, and the availability of active safety features.
The prices reflect the price of the car when equipped with available active safety features. The cars listed come in a wide range of prices from under $20,000 to over $40,000, which Deaton acknowledges can be high for many families.
“If you have a teen, your food budget is already shot,’’ she said.
But while it may be tempting for some families to opt for a used car for their teen driver, Deaton says this not necessarily a safe alternative.
“It’s a mistake because even looking at the crash test results for a 2010 vehicle, those crash results are not comparable because current crash test are more stringent,’’ she said. “If you get the most up-to-date car you can afford it will keep your family safe.’’