The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (a.k.a. the IIHS) publishes data about the safest vehicles on the road. Consumer Reports finds the most reliable and affordable used cars. In a move hopefully involving some form of elaborate Captain Planet-esque ring ritual, the two companies have combined their powers to provide the ultimate list of safe, reliable, and affordable used cars. (The list is particularly useful for parents buying used cars for their teenagers — what with 83 percent of parents giving their teens a car.)
IIHS and Consumer Reports broke their recommendations down into two tiers: Best Choices and Good Choices.
Cars meeting the Best Choices criteria needed a good rating on IIHS moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests and at least a good or acceptable rating in the driver-side small overlap front test. They had to have either four or five-star rating from NHTSA (if rated), electronic stability control and a curb weight greater than 2,750 pounds.
The vehicles also needed an above-average or better reliability score from Consumer Reports, a score of 3 or 5 out of 5 on CR’s emergency handling test and have a dry braking distance of 145 feet or less. Cars that met all of those criteria but had a “substantially higher than average” medical payment and personal injury protection claim frequency were excluded.
More than 40 cars made since 2014 met the Best Choice criteria — but only eight managed to do it and be available for less than $10,000. Those eight are below.