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Choosing the best, safest car for your teen

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Photo: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is crashing smaller cars up against larger cars of the same manufacturer so parents can judge which is the safest ride for their teen driver.

The crash test results show the larger the car... the better the safety for an inexperienced driver.

IIHS Vice President for Research Jessica Cicchino says, "Bigger, heavier vehicles are safer than smaller lighter vehicles. So we don't have any smaller cars on our list."

Forces on crash test dummies in smaller cars were much greater than those in larger vehicles including the higher likelihood of head injuries.

The Insurance Institute's new list of best used cars for teen drivers includes 53 Best Choices which start under $20,000 including a 2013 or newer Volkswagen Passat or a 2013 or newer Ford Fusion. It also includes 62 Good Choices under 10 grand including 2010 or newer Chevy Malibu or a 2011 or newer Chrylser 300.

It doesn't include any minicars and avoids excessive horsepower vehicles.

"We think electronic stability control is a must for teenage drivers," Cicchino says. "It helps drivers maintain control when they are going around curves and wet roads."

So Moms and Dads, you have 115 vehicles to choose from, including some that cost under $4,000.