If you have a Volvo mechanic nearby, ask him about the 240/740/940 series of cars - but these are a bit older, much slower, and hard to find in decent shape. Other makes are just as "safe" today. With a 16 year old, a concern would be the much higher incidence of single-vehicle crashes due to inexperience. I like the idea of AWD because it will help to keep that driver on the road when weather conditions change. An Accord is a great car, but often not a great value when buying used because everyone is competing for them and driving prices too high to make good personal fiscal sense. Cars that hold their value very well are best bought new, not used. If you do find one that you like and if you are not a highly skilled negotiator, do you have a friend who is retired car salesman or professional negotiator? A 2001 Subaru Impreza with the bulletproof 2.2 motor would cost thousands less than a 2001 Accord and would have AWD for increased security in rain & snow, as well as the lane-straying forays onto the soft road shoulders. It would be as likely to be as reliable - if fully checked out by your mechanic before you begin negotiations. If you don't have a regular independent mechanic, I have had great luck with this site:
My son found a terrific mechanic just 2 miles from his college using this site.
In addition to the Subaru Impreza (my favorite for a new driver but with 2.2 liter motor only!), keep an open mind to any extra-clean Mazda Protege, even an 06 Ford Focus, Mitsubishi Galant 03-04, Buick Century 04-05 (yes - boring, but cheaper to insure). Run a few models past your insurance agent & see what she has to say (that might rule out any Korean cars).