Looking at buying a new car? Trying to decipher which safety features matter and which style of car provides the best protection for your family can be a difficult task. However, relying on two organizations which are solely focused on evaluating a car’s safety is a smart choice. The top vehicles listed in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 5 Star Safety Rating and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Picks list should be your only consideration. Our list combines cars only with the top scores from both of these lists.
How the List was Decided
This list is based on vehicles that were tested by both safety organizations and received top marks in their class in both rating systems for the model year 2015. If a vehicle or class of vehicles did not score ‘perfect’ ratings in the IIHS system they were dropped from scoring with the NHTSA’s system being the tie-breaker between those receiving perfect scores in the IIHS system. For example the Subaru Impreza was a perfect score for IIHS’ TSP+ with a “Superior” rating in front crash prevention and received a 5 Star rating in NHTSA’s system with an underlying score of 14 of 15 stars, whereas the Subaru Crosstek and Honda Civic were 2nd and 3rd in the category receiving 13 of 15 stars with their 5 Star rating.
- Subaru Impreza – received a perfect IIHS Top Safety Pick Pus award with the highest rating for front crash prevention technologies of ‘Superior’. The IIHS tests include a small front overlap, moderate front overlap, side impact, roof strength and effectiveness of head restraints and seat belts. The NHTSA 5 Star rating for the Impreza is impressive with a 14/15 stars, getting 4 of 5 stars for its frontal crash score.
The runners up in the Small Car category included the iconic Honda Civic and the veritable Subaru Crosstek, each receiving a 5 Star Rating and 13 of 15 underlying stars.
A dead-heat tie in the Midsize Sedan category provides two of the four “Absolute Perfect” scores across both organizations, with another three models tying for a top 10 spot with 1 star off the elusive perfect safety score across both systems.
- Honda Accord – the two door version received an ‘Absolute Perfect’ TSP+ and 5 Star Rating with 15/15 underlying stars from the NHTSA.
- Subaru Legacy – the Subaru name is synonymous with quality and durability and as will be seen a haven of safety according to these two safety organizations.
- Hyundai Sonata – The three way tie of the next three vehicles with a TSP+, a 5 Star rating and 14 of 15 stars in NHTSA’s crash tests provides proof that a midsize vehicle can be very safe on the roads. Remember most of these tests were done with ‘all’ the optional safety features in each model. Recommended or optional safety features should be included when purchasing.
- Lexus ES 350 – was the only midsize luxury sedan to be qualified for this “Ultimate Safety List”, which is surprising with the many brands and monikers that vie for your purchases. The ES350 received a TSP+, a 5 star rating and 13 of 15 underlying stars.
- Toyota Avalon – provides the only option for families that want the ultimate protection as proven by these testing agencies with a TSP+, 5 star rating and 13 of 15 stars.
- Acura RLX – when it comes to a large luxury sedan, the Acura RLX and Hyundai Genesis provide a wellspring of safety, as these two models provided the other 2 “Absolute Perfect” safety scores across both testing.
- Hyundai Genesis
The venerable Mercedes E Class receives an honourable mention for its showing of TSP+, 5 star rating and 13 of 15 stars.
- Mazda CX-5 – is worthy of your choice in the Small SUV category receiving 14/15 stars in the NHTSA crash tests, a 5 Star crash rating and an IIHS TSP+.
If you are looking for alternatives, the Subaru Forester and Toyota Rav4 come in a close second with only one star separating the three models.
Midsize Luxury SUV
- Acura MDX – a near perfect score for the Acura provides a great option if you are looking for a larger and more luxurious SUV missing the absolute perfect score by one single star.
Lexus RX is an honorable running mate, losing to the Acura by one star.
Please remember that these testing agencies do not test ‘every’ single vehicle ever produced, so even a list that combines vehicles from both agencies can be missing a considerable number of models. However the agencies do test a wide array.
Safe Cars Cheap Insurance
Your car’s safety features not only save you and your loved ones but also save money for you when insuring it. Remember that your auto insurance costs based on the likelihood of your insurer paying out for damages. The safer the vehicle is the less likely you and your passengers will suffer serious injuries in it in cases of accidents. Hospital bills are expensive and liability claims are plenty in America that insurers are happy to offer cheaper rates to owners of safer automobiles. Cheap automobile insurance premium is another reason for you to be searching for the safest auto in its class.
Another important point to state is that these vehicle safety standards improve every year. Hence, you may need to change your drive every few years if you want to be benefiting from the latest protections. The same goes for other gadgets and comforts around cars, including connectivity, GPS technology, and crash avoidance features.