BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- When it comes to teen drivers, there's a common misconception among parents that putting their new drivers behind the wheel of a big, ugly car is the safest thing they can do -- other than forbidding the kids to drive altogether.
The opposite is true: For inexperienced drivers, good handling and automatic stability control are keys to safety.
For drivers on the other end of the age spectrum, the road to a safe ride includes easy access to controls, a superior braking system and big windows for good visibility.
Here are some of the best bets for teens and seniors, according to Consumer Reports magazine.
Hyundai Elantra SE $11,775-$18,695 A Consumer Reports top pick for 2010, the Elantra SE comes standard with electronic stability control, which helps make up for the fact that teenagers don't generally come with human stability control. Consumer Reports editors call it "a good all-around car that's relatively comfortable, quiet and roomy." Cars such as the Elantra helped the South Korean carmaker say at the end of last month that it will probably beat its annual revenue forecast.