IIHS Says Teens Shouldn't Have High-Horsepower Cars But, Like, They're Not My Dad, Okay? Whatever

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Teens! They’re fascinating to study and often terrifying behind the wheel of a car. But learning to drive is a rite of passage, so many parents want to get the safest cars possible for their new drivers. It could be a daunting task, but don’t worry, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has it covered. And—shocker—they do not recommend teens get cars with a lot of power.

There are four major things parents should be aware of when shopping for a car for their teenaged driver, Jessica Cicchino, vice president for research at IIHS says. She acknowledges that not every family’s budget can accommodate a brand-new car, so this also applies for used vehicles.

First, bigger and heavier cars are far safer for their occupants. Second, electronic stability control is also handy for an inexperienced driver. Third, parents should also research cars with the best crash-worthiness ratings possible, from both the IIHS and the feds. Lastly, Cicchino notes, “teens should stay away from high-horsepower vehicles.”


She went on to say, “Teen drivers are at greater risk, due to immaturity and inexperience behind the wheel.”

A lot of this is absolutely common sense, but it bears repeating now, even as cars are safer than ever before.

The teenaged me would have been highly incensed by this, but the adult me is very much in agreement. Teens don’t know the limits of their driving, abilities or cars, so it makes no sense to give them something powerful. Hell, I ask you guys about the dumb shit you’ve done in cars all the time. Most of those instances happened when you were teens.

In fact, the IIHS recommends parents to get a bigger and heavier car over a newer and smaller car for the same price. It conducted some crash tests using a smaller car and a larger car. The crash test dummy in the smaller car was more likely to sustain injuries and suffer from trauma to the head.

On its list of recommended vehicles for teens—which tops out at cars for $20,000—it includes things like a 2011 Volvo S60, a 2014 Acura RLX and a 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe.


I saw no Mustangs on that list!

Anyway, here’s MCR.