Consumer Reports: Buying first car for teens

Think your child getting their first driver's license is scary? What about buying their first car?

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens aged 16-19 years, so it's no wonder. But don't fret, the experts at Consumer Reports were once teenagers themselves and have some advice on how to go about buying your teen their first car.

Remember your very first car? Consumer Reports asked its auto test experts to remember theirs.

When it comes to buying cars for teens, Consumer Reports picks safety over style.

"You don't want a car that's really fast, that's just going to entice young drivers to get in trouble," said Consumer Reports Auto Expert Jen Stockburger.

So no sports cars. Instead go for mid-size sedans or smaller SUVs. Avoid minivans, large SUVs and trucks - They are harder to handle and hold more passengers which can be distracting.

"Most parents are going to buy used so buy as much safety as your budget will allow you to afford," said Stockburger.

"When I was buying cars for my kids, I was definitely looking for airbags and stability control to keep them on snowy roads," said Consumer Reports Auto Expert Patrick Olsen.

And keep them in their intended path. Also opt for forward-collision warning that alerts drivers of obstacles or vehicles in front and automatic emergency braking that senses a collision and applies the brakes if you don't.

Like it or not, kids will be tempted to use their phones in the car, but Bluetooth lets them use phones hands-free so they keep their eyes on the road. And as for those first cars?

"Nostalgic," said Consumer Reports Auto Expert Erik Dill. "It just brings back memories of high school."

If you're looking for which specific cars Consumer Reports recommends for teens, you can find a whole list of both new and used ones on their website.

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