Safest Cars in America

© Subaru of America. © Hyundai Motor America, © Mercedes-Benz USA, © Toyota Motor Sales USAIIHS Top Safety Pick+
For most car shoppers, safety is the number one concern when choosing a new model. Every new vehicle sold in America must meet standards mandated by Title 49 of the United States Code, Chapter 301, for motor vehicle safety. While airbags, seat belts and crumple zones keep you and your loved ones safe in a crash, technologies available in some new cars work to prevent the crash altogether. Systems vary among car companies — some use radar, others use cameras — but the goal is lessening or avoiding impacts without the need for driver input. For a vehicle to be named an IIHS Top Safety Pick +, it must earn Good ratings (Good is the highest IIHS rating) in the driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests, and Advanced or Superior rating for crash avoidance and a Good headlight rating.

© Insurance Institute for Highway SafetyNew Requirements
For the 2018 model year the IIHS has added an additional requirement to gain distinction as a IIHS Top Safety Pick+ — vehicles must achieve a good or acceptable rating for passenger-side protection in small overlap front crashes. This is the first time that passenger-side crash test results have ever been a factor in an IIHS award, and this new requirement has pared the list of Top Safety Pick + winners to just 15 vehicles. “Drivers expect that their passengers, who are often family, will be protected just as well as they are,” said IIHS President Adrian Lund. “Manufacturers have been taking this issue seriously since we first shed light on it, and we’re confident that good small overlap protection will become the norm on the passenger side, just as it has on the driver side.” We fully expect this list to grow as manufacturers adjust their vehicles to meet these new requirements. Here, in alphabetical order, are the vehicles that achieve the elite IIHS rank of Top Safety Pick +, shown with their front crash prevention rating and points earned out of six possible.

© BMW of North America2018 BMW 5 Series
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
For the second year in a row, the BMW 5 Series luxury sedan has earned the Top Safety Pick + distinction. All new last year, this seventh-generation 5 Series makes extensive use of aluminum, magnesium and high-strength steel to improve handling and safety while reducing weight. In addition to the long list of standard safety features, the 5 Series can also be equipped with Blind Spot Detection, Daytime Pedestrian Protection, Lane Departure Warning, Cross-traffic Alert, Active Lane Keeping Assistant w/side collision avoidance and Frontal Collision Warning with Collision Mitigation. When equipped with the Frontal Collision Warning system, the 5 Series was able to avoid a collision in all the IIHS autobrake tests.

© Hyundai Motor Company2018 Genesis G80
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
The Genesis brand was introduced last year, creating a luxury model line from Hyundai. Genesis currently offers two luxury sedans in its lineup and, like last year, both are rated Top Safety Pick+. The G80 sedan is available in a variety of high-end trims, and Automatic Emergency Braking is standard on all of them. Using the radar from the Smart Cruise Control and cameras from the Lane Keep Assist system, the G80 can detect a slower or stopped vehicle ahead and automatically apply brakes as needed to avoid a collision.

© Hyundai Motor Company2018 Genesis G90
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
As the flagship of the new Genesis brand, the G90 is designed to go head-to-head with the best European offerings — at a significantly lower price. An array of high-tech safety features is standard on the G90, including Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Blind Spot Detection, Lane Keep Assist and Driver Attention Alert. The G90 avoided collisions in all IIHS tests, and the luxury sedan’s LED projector headlights earned the rare Good rating.

© Hyundai Motor America2018 Hyundai Santa Fe
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
Hyundai made several improvements to the Santa Fe last year. The stylish crossover received an updated exterior, fresh interior and — more importantly — the latest in high-tech safety features. Standard equipment includes stability control, traction control, multiple airbags and electronic brake distribution, but it is the optional Automatic Emergency Braking that earned the Santa Fe a Superior rating in front-crash prevention, putting it on the list of the safest cars in America. Hyundai’s AEB uses both the forward-facing radar and cameras to detect a vehicle or pedestrian, and then warns the driver of a potential collision. If the driver does not react to avoid the impact, the system will apply emergency braking.

© Hyundai Motor Company2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
The Santa Fe Sport is the smaller sibling to the Santa Fe, with two rows of seats rather than the Santa Fe’s three rows. Although it is a bit smaller, the 5-passenger Santa Fe Sport carries all the same safety equipment as the larger version and earns the rating of Top Safety Pick +. Features such as Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are standard on the higher trims, and the top-level 2.0T Ultimate is available with a Tech Package that includes Lane Departure Warning and Automatic Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection.

© Ford Motor Company2018 Lincoln Continental
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
Last year Lincoln revived the legendary Continental luxury sedan after a 15-year hiatus. As a new flagship for the brand, Continental not only showcases top levels of luxury and comfort, it also is available with the latest safety technology. When equipped with an optional Technology Package, the Continental gets Lane Keeping Alert and Aid, Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Collision Warning, Active Braking and a Driver Alert System. With these systems in place, the new Lincoln achieved the highest IIHS score possible, avoiding collisions in both the Low- and High-Speed Autobrake tests and earning the coveted Top Safety Pick + designation.

© Mercedes-Benz USA2018 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
When the E-Class was redesigned for 2014, Mercedes-Benz upped its safety game with many new standard and optional high-tech features. These continued as an all-new E-Class was introduced last year. At the heart of these systems are dual cameras mounted behind the rearview mirror, along with a new multi-mode radar sensor system. These provide information to the Active Brake Assist system that can warn the driver of an impending collision and apply brakes as necessary. This system is standard on the E-Class and earned it a perfect score by stopping the vehicle before a collision in the high-speed autobrake 25 mph test.

© Mercedes-Benz USA2018 Mercedes-Benz GLC
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
All new in 2016 when it replaced the outgoing GLK, the GLC is the compact luxury crossover offering in the Mercedes-Benz lineup. With a structure consisting of aluminum and high-strength steel, the GLC received the top Good rating in all the IIHS crash tests. The GLC can also be equipped with Collision Prevention Assist Plus, which uses radar-based technology to detect impending collisions and not only warn the driver but automatically apply braking to avoid the collision. Also featuring LED projector headlights, the GLC earns the Top Safety Pick + rating for the second year in a row.

© Kia Motors America2018 Kia Forte
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
One of the lowest-priced cars on the list, the Forte offers the latest in advanced safety features in a small, fuel-efficient package. Refreshed last year with styling that matches the rest of the Kia lineup, the Forte has a starting price of $16,600. In addition to the standard electronic stability control and 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, the Forte can be equipped with lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot detection with lane change assist, lane keep assist and — most importantly — a front collision warning system tied to the autonomous emergency braking system. The Forte’s optional HID projector headlights also earn the small car a top rating of Good.

© Kia Motors America2018 Kia Soul
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
Not many vehicles on the market can be called unique, but there aren’t many vehicles on the road quite like the Kia Soul. Last redesigned in 2014, the Soul features a roomy interior for five passengers and a spacious cargo area — all wrapped in a funky package that redefines the “boxy” car segment. Even though Soul is primarily unchanged for the 2018 model year, Kia has added the availability of a forward collision warning system, automatic emergency braking and HID headlights — all of which earn Soul the coveted Top Safety Pick + rating for the first time.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2018 Subaru Impreza
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
The Subaru Impreza was all new for the 2017 model year, built on a new global platform with updated styling inside and out. In addition, Subaru made updates to headlights as well as its high-tech Eyesight system, earning Impreza a place on the Top Safety Pick+ list last year. The camera-based Eyesight system includes adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, sway warning and — most importantly — pre-collision braking with pre-collision throttle management. With this system in place, the Impreza earned a perfect score in the IIHS Low- and High-Speed Autobrake tests. The Impreza also meets the headlight requirement with LED steering-responsive headlights.

© Subaru of America2018 Subaru WRX
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
With the WRX, Subaru offers excellent performance in a very safe package. Motivated by a turbocharged 268-horsepower engine, the WRX features full-time all-wheel drive, a standard feature of every Subaru except the BRZ. The Japanese automaker made Eyesight available on the WRX for the 2016 model year, which includes a full suite of safety features; most important is automatic emergency braking. As with other Subarus on this list, the WRX Limited is also available with Blind-Spot detection as well as Rear Cross-Traffic Alert. The WRX was not named a Top Safety Pick + last year due to headlights that did not meet the requirements. For 2018 this fast Subaru can be equipped with LED steering-responsive headlights that earn the requisite Good rating.

© Subaru of America2018 Subaru Legacy
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
Legacy is one of five models from Subaru to earn a top ranking from the IIHS, as it has since 2013. This all-wheel drive midsize sedan is available with Subaru’s Eyesight system, which is unique in that it doesn’t use radar like more expensive systems — it relies solely on dual cameras mounted in the windshield. The Eyesight system includes pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, vehicle lane departure warning and lane keep assist. For 2018 Subaru has equipped the Legacy with several new features, including a steering-responsive LED headlight system.

© Subaru of America2018 Subaru Outback
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
There aren’t many wagons available in America, but the Subaru Outback with its perfect score from the IIHS is arguably the safest wagon on the market. Like other Subarus on this list, the Outback can be equipped with Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure & Sway Warning, Pre-Collision Braking and Pre-Collision Throttle Management — all part of the innovative Eyesight system. These systems can make driving less stressful as well as much safer, and earn the Outback a place on the Top Safety Pick + list for the sixth year in a row.

© Toyota Motor Sales USA2018 Toyota Camry
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
The Toyota Camry is all new for the 2018 model year, built using a new global architecture with updated styling, a line of more powerful and efficient engines and the latest in advanced safety technology. Toyota has made Toyota Safety Sense P standard on the Camry, which includes a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist and automatic high beams. This system allowed the Camry to completely avoid a collision in both low- and high-speed IIHS autobrake tests. With its available LED projector headlights, Camry earns the rating of Top Safety Pick + for the fourth year in a row.

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