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Thursday, March 15, 2007

15 Smart Cars for Teenagers Announced by Forbes Magazine

Cars Cited for Combination of Value, Fuel Economy, Safety, Reliability and Quality.

Recently, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced that changes to Ford's $18,000 Fusion sedan have resulted in better safety ratings, especially for front and side protection.

Not only does the IIHS sees improvement in the model, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), working with a one-to-five star scale, gives the Fusion four- and five-star safety ratings across the board. Not surprisingly, Ford's Web site is now heralding "advanced safety" as one of the Fusion's biggest selling points.

But safety is just one of the reasons the Fusion has made Forbes list of 15 smart cars for teenagers. It also boasts an inexpensive price sticker and gets good gas mileage (23/31 city/highway, under optimal configurations). Consumer Reports says it has "very good" accident-avoidance capabilities (citing the most important factors in determining accident-avoidance capability as braking and emergency handling) and "much better than average" predicted reliability, according to the magazine.

Moreover, its overall manufacturing quality is between "about average" and "better than most," J.D. Power and Associates reports.

There is no doubting that this car makes for a great choice for teen drivers. Yet the Fusion is just one of 15 cars on Forbes' 2007 list. These cars offer the market's best combination of value, fuel economy, safety, reliability and quality.

Another standout car for teenagers is Honda Motor's Civic, due to its $15,000 base price, tremendous accident-avoidance capabilities and a reliability score of better than average.

Japanese automakers such as Honda and Toyota are afraid of the rise of South Korea's Hyundai, because Hyundai's cars are improving each year. In 2007, Hyundai's Sonata sedan made Forbes' list, thanks to a $17,000 base price, four different five-star ratings from the NHTSA, excellent accident-avoidance capabilities, and overall manufacturing quality rated between "better than most" and "among the best," according to J.D. Power.

In forming their list, Forbes:
  • Eliminated all new-model cars with a base price of $20,000 or higher.

  • Eliminated any model that lacked an accident-avoidance rating or predicted-reliability rating from Consumer Reports, a J.D. Power rating for overall manufacturing quality, or a full set of NHTSA safety ratings (meaning they eliminated any car that does not have two frontal-star ratings, two side-star ratings and a rollover-resistance rating). Not every car on the market is tested by these organizations, and not every car has all of these ratings, but, according to Forbes, "we wouldn't put our kids into cars without the availability of such critical information."

  • Amongst the remaining cars, eliminated any vehicle with below-average J.D. Power manufacturing-quality ratings, Consumer Reports predicted-reliability ratings or Consumer Reports accident-avoidance ratings.

  • Eliminated cars that did not have good fuel economy.

  • Examined cars' ratings under optimal conditions. For example, different engines generate different gas-mileage figures, so a car's fuel economy, as considered by Forbes, is the mileage it gets with the most-efficient engine/transmission combination.
View the complete list of Forbes' Smart Cars for Teens 2007.

Teach your teen how to become a safe driver with Driver Education Handbook for Parents developed by Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Certified Chief Instructors.

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