Top Twenty Safest, Most Affordable Used Cars for Teenagers

Choosing a first car is a right of passage. While the top two criteria for most parents are safety and affordability, teenagers on the other hand, are more focused on what’s cool. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) recently published a list of safe and affordable used vehicles for teenagers and we’ve taken it up a notch.

A first car should be safe above all, but it needn’t be boring. Grandma’s cast-off Buick LaCrosse may be safe and priced right, but it lacks a certain cache. That’s why we’ve poured through the list to find the ten most affordable and most appealing of the IIHS’ picks. Our criteria focused on affordability, with all models starting under $10,000, in addition to a preference for manual transmissions and all-wheel-drive. If you’re driving a manual, you’re not holding a cell-phone.

Our top eleven list (yes, our list goes to eleven!) includes imports, domestics, sedans, wagons and SUVs, but no small cars. The IIHS does not recommend any small cars for teenagers. Big is better when it comes to safety. We’ve included links to MPG reviews and fuel economy ratings in the list.

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How Many Times Has Bruce Springsteen Mentioned Car Brands in His Songs?

While it’s slow going, the revival of the American economy can be clearly linked to the renewed strength of our domestic automobile industry. At a rally yesterday at Cuyahoga County Community College in Ohio supporting President Obama, Bruce Springsteen gave thanks that General Motors is still making cars, remarking ”What else would I write about?”

That quote got me thinking about the wealth of automotive imagery in Bruce’s songs over the years, dating all the way back to his very first album, Greetings From Asbury Park. There’s The Angel’s mention of VW – “The interstate’s choked with nomadic hordes in Volkswagen vans with full running boards dragging great anchors,” and the pure American brother in Lost in the Flood, “dull-eyed and empty-faced, race(ing) Sundays in Jersey in a Chevy stock super eight.”

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2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist Review

2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist Quick-Specs MPG-o-Matic 2012 Buick LaCrosse eAssist Review Summary: The 2012 2012 LaCrosse with eAssist plays the efficiency card, as it targets the more affordable end of the luxury full-size market, with the Lincoln MKS, Acura TL, and Lexus ES350 as its primary competitors. The LaCrosse eAssist mates a 2.4-liter inline four with a lithium-ion battery powered electric motor, which achieves significantly better fuel economy (25/36) than the conventionally powered MKS (17/25), TL (20/29), and ES350 (19/28). When compared to the slightly smaller Lincoln MKZ Hybrid (41/36), the LaCrosse eAssist is an equal in the highway efficiency, but drastically behind in the city.

The 2012 LaCrosse eAssist is powered by a Direct Injected VVT 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine with an eAssist mild hybrid system that produces 182 horsepower (HP) and 172 foot pounds of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. A conventional 3.6-liter VVT V6 is available with either all-wheel-drive (AWD) or front-wheel-drive (FWD). The LaCrosse eAssist is not offered with AWD. (The eAssist system is shared with the Chevy Malibu Eco and Buick Regal eAssist.)

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2012 Buick Verano Review

2012 Buick Verano 1SL - side view MPG-o-Matic 2012 Buick Verano Review Summary: Buick aims high with the Verano sedan, targeting imported luxury marquees from Lexus and Acura to Audi and Volvo, with a price that undercuts the competition. With a smooth and exceptionally quiet ride, the Verano challenges what has come to be convention. The Verano’s FlexFuel engine and its ability to utilize E85 provides a clear advantage in geographic areas where ethanol is plentiful and significantly less expensive than unleaded gasoline. As gasoline prices continue to rise, this capability will become increasingly important.

The 2012 Buick Verano is equipped with a direct-injected 2.4-liter inline four cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission. The DOHC FlexFuel four produces 180 horsepower and 171 foot pounds of torque. The Verano’s capability to run E85 ethanol offers a significant advantage in certain geographic locations, in these uncertain times.

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2011 Buick Regal CXL Review

2011 Buick Regal CXLMPG-o-Matic 2011 Buick Regal CXL Sedan Review Summary: Remove the trademark grille and telltale badges from the 2011 Buick Regal CXL and you’d be hard-presssed to know what it is as you stroll up to it. Slip behind the wheel, and you might guess you’re in a European sport sedan … which, in fact, you are. Beneath the badges, the Regal is an Opel Insigna. While the engine might come from America (and the transmission from China), the Buick Regal is built in Russelsheim, Germany. Bottom line? This is the best handling Buick. Evah.

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