Small Yet Safe

Small Yet SafeBig Safety, Small Package
A common line of thinking among car shoppers is that in order to be as safe as possible on the road you need to be in the biggest truck or SUV possible. While physics does support the idea of the larger the vehicle the better off occupants fare in a crash, it is no longer the only hard and fast rule for vehicle safety. In fact, many midsize and even smaller cars on the road are safer options both for surviving an accident and — even better — avoiding one. The small cars we call out here have earned Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. To be named a Top Safety Pick, a vehicle must earn good ratings (this is the top score from the IIHS) in five crashworthiness tests: small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints. These cars must also earn a basic rating for front crash prevention. The Top Safety Pick+ vehicles must do the same, but must also earn an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention. We’ve also included approximate insurance costs for these vehicles, obtained from insure.com. Vehicles are listed in alphabetical order.

2016 Acura ILX2016 Acura ILX — Top Safety Pick +
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (5 points)
Annual Insurance Costs: $1,496
The ILX is the latest Acura to earn the coveted Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS. To achieve this rating, the ILX must be equipped with the optional Acura Watch, which includes a Collision Mitigation Braking System with Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assist System, Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Departure Warning. Acura Watch makes use of a windshield-mounted monocular camera and front grille-mounted radar system, providing enhanced sensing that can anticipate a collision and serve up warnings or — in certain instances — initiate emergency braking and steering.
Additional Costs: Acura Watch adds $1,300 to the base ILX price.

©Audi of America2016 Audi A3 — Top Safety Pick +
Front Crash Prevention: Advanced (3 points)
Annual Insurance Costs: $1,607 – $1,747
Audi’s entry-level sedan in the United States, the A3 is one of five midsize luxury cars to be rated a Top Safety Pick + by the IIHS. The A3 earned a score of Advanced (3 points) when equipped with the brand’s pre sense front system, which means it was able to avoid collisions at up to 12 mph. Using radar and camera systems, the A3 detects a potential collision and provides warning signals that become more urgent. If no driver input occurs, the system will continue to increase braking, eventually reaching maximum braking. At the same time, seat belts are pulled taut when it is clear that a crash will not be avoided. The A3 also offers secondary collision brake assist that automatically applies the brakes after a collision to avoid any further collisions.
Additional Costs: NA

2015 BMW 2 Series2016 BMW 2 Series — Top Safety Pick +
Front Crash Prevention: Advanced (4 points)
Annual Insurance Costs: $1,543
Surprisingly, only one BMW meets the requirements to be on the IIHS TSP+ list — the 2 Series. Among the safety features available on this small BMW is Active Driving Assistant. Using information gathered from camera- and radar-based systems, Active Driving Assistant includes Lane Departure Warning, Frontal Collision Warning, City Collision Mitigation and Pedestrian Protection. With a combination of driver alerts, priming of brakes or automatically applying the brakes, this system can reduce the severity of a collision with a pedestrian or another car.
Additional Costs: Active Driving Assistant is part of the Driver Assistant Plus package that costs $700.

© General Motors2016 Chevrolet Sonic — Top Safety Pick
Front Crash Prevention: Basic (1 point)
Annual Insurance Costs: $1,274–$1,375
This stylish small car from Chevrolet is well equipped to protect its occupants in the event of a crash. Sonic comes standard with 10 airbags, including side airbags to provide head protection to outboard passengers in the event of a side impact or rollover. Also standard are anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, stability control with rollover sensing and brake assist — all designed to help the driver avoid a crash. Sonic can also be equipped with Forward Collision Alert which warns the driver of an impending impact.
Additional Costs: The Driver Confidence Package that includes Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning adds $395.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2016 Fiat 500X — Top Safety Pick +
Front Crash Prevention: Advanced (4 points)
Annual Insurance Costs: $1,543
Fiat’s newest model and first crossover in America is available with FCA’s Forward Collision Warning-Plus system. Available on the 500X Easy and higher trim levels, the system uses radar and camera tech to determine if a crash is imminent. Audible and visual warnings alert the driver, and if no action is taken the brakes get applied automatically to avoid or lessen the impact, depending on the vehicle’s speed. The 500X can also be equipped with Lane Sense Departure Warning-Plus, which uses the electronic power steering to alert the driver with steering-wheel inputs that also provide course correction.
Additional Costs: NA

© American Honda Motors2016 Honda Civic — Top Safety Pick +
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
Annual Insurance Costs: NA
The Honda Civic is all new for the 2016 model year, and with the redesign the Civic earns the Top Safety Pick + rating. The new Civic features multiple airbags, stability control, anti-lock brakes, brake assist and a new body structure that uses high-strength steel and advanced crash engineering features. Civic also is available with Honda Sensing, which includes Collision Mitigation Braking System, Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keep Assist and Lane Departure Warning.
Additional Costs: The Honda Sensing package is standard on the Civic Touring, optional on all other trims at a cost of $1,000.

© Kia Motors America2016 Kia Soul — Top Safety Pick
Front Crash Prevention: Basic (1 point)
Insurance Costs: $1,220–$1,302
Kia’s unique compact four door has been a Top Safety Pick since it was introduced in 2010. Safely equipped with multiple airbags — including full-length side-curtain airbags — as well as anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control and electronic brake-force distribution, the Soul gets top scores in all five of the IIHS crash tests. For 2016 Soul is now available with a forward collision warning system and lane-departure warning system.
Additional Costs: Forward Collision Warning is only available on the Soul Exclaim as part of the Premium Package which runs $4,400.

© Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.2016 Lexus CT 200h — Top Safety Pick +
Front Crash Prevention: Advanced (3 points)
Annual Insurance Costs: $1,585
The first hybrid-only model in the Lexus lineup, the CT 200h has more than a high-tech powertrain — it features a number of innovative safety features. Most noteworthy is the optional Pre-Collision System with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. Using millimeter-wave radar to measure distance from a vehicle traveling ahead, the system will maintain a set distance behind the leading vehicle. PCS goes a step further, detecting certain obstacles in front of the car and alerting the driver while activating Brake Assist. The system does not apply brakes automatically until two seconds before the collision — lessening, but not avoiding, the impact — which is why the CT 200h scored three out of a possible six points.
Additional Costs: The Pre-Collision System is a standalone option priced at $1,500.

© Mazda North America Operations2016 Mazda Mazda3 — Top Safety Pick +
Front Crash Prevention: Advanced (2 points)
Annual Insurance Costs: $1,374–$1,479
Available as either a 4-door hatchback or sedan, the Mazda3 comes well equipped, considering it has a starting price around $18,000. Mazda3 features i-ACTIVSENSE, which is an umbrella term to cover a suite of available camera and radar-based safety features. On the Mazda3, this can include Forward Obstruction Warning and Smart City Brake Support. The FOW system warns the driver both audibly and visually when there is a high risk of collision (at speeds up to 92 mph), while SCBS will prepare the brakes by reducing brake-pedal travel and, if necessary, apply the brakes automatically. SCBS only activates at speeds below 19 mph.
Additional Costs: The i-ACTIVSENSE package requires the additional purchase of the Grand Touring Technology package for an additional $2,600.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2016 Nissan Sentra — Top Safety Pick
Front Crash Prevention: Basic (1 point)*
*Autonomous Braking not tested
Annual Insurance Cost: NA
The Sentra has been refreshed with new styling and updated features for 2016, which includes new safety equipment. This is the second year Sentra has earned the Top Safety Pick rating. In addition to standard multiple airbags, stability control and anti-lock brakes, the Sentra is available with Nissan’s advanced Safety Shield Technologies. These include Forward Emergency Braking, Intelligent Cruise Control, Blind Spot Warning and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. The IIHS has not yet tested the autonomous braking system —once tested, it’s likely that Sentra will move up to a Top Safety Pick + rating.
Additional Costs: Forward Emergency Braking is part of the Technology Package, which is only available on SR and SL trims and priced at $1,230. However, the Tech Package requires the Premium Package which runs $2,590 on the SR and $1,130 on the SL.

© Toyota Motor Sales USA2016 Scion iA — Top Safety Pick +
Front Crash Prevention: Advanced (2 points)
Annual Insurance Costs: NA
The iA is an all-new model from Scion for the 2016 model year. The compact hatchback has a starting price below $17,000, yet it comes standard with safety technology good enough to earn the IIHS TSP+ rating. The iA’s Low-Speed Pre-Collision System uses an infrared laser sensor in the windshield to determine if a frontal collision is imminent, and then automatically applies the brakes in certain low-speed situations. In the IIHS Low-speed Autobrake test, the iA was able to avoid the collision entirely from 12 mph.
Additional Costs: None

© Subaru of America, Inc.2016 Subaru Impreza — Top Safety Pick +
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
Annual Insurance Costs: $1,401–$1,518
The least expensive model in the Subaru lineup, the Impreza is still available with the high-tech Eyesight system. With dual cameras positioned behind the rearview mirror, the system monitors lane markers as well as vehicles in front. With this information, Eyesight warns the driver if the vehicle drifts out of its lane with Lane Departure Warning, and can keep the vehicle a set distance behind a vehicle in front with Adaptive Cruise Control. Most importantly if it detects a potential collision, Eyesight will apply brakes automatically to lessen or completely avoid the crash.
Additional Costs: Eyesight is only available on the Impreza Sport Limited, and is packaged with a number of other features priced at $2,795.

© Subaru of America, Inc.2016 Subaru WRX — Top Safety Pick +
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
Annual Insurance Costs: $1,592–$1,731
With the WRX, Subaru offers excellent performance in a very safe package. Motivated by a 268-horsepower engine, the WRX features full-time all-wheel drive, as does every other Subaru (except the BRZ). The Japanese automaker made Eyesight available on the WRX for the 2016 model year — but only on the top-level WRX Limited. As with the other Subarus on this list, the WRX Limited is also available with Blind-Spot detection as well as Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.
Additional Costs: Eyesight is packaged with a number of other features on the WRX Limited, priced at $4,095.

© Volkswagen of America, Inc.2016 Volkswagen Golf 4-Door/Wagon — Top Safety Pick +
Front Crash Prevention: Advanced (3 points)
Annual Insurance Costs: $1,395–$1,431
Volkswagen upgraded the safety systems in the Golf for 2016 to offer Autonomous Emergency Braking along with Forward Collision Warning. Forward Collision Warning alerts the driver to potential front-end collisions — both audibly and visually at speeds above 19 mph — and, if necessary, engages the brakes to slow the vehicle. Even if the driver does engage the brakes, the system will increase braking pressure automatically to aid in slowing or stopping the vehicle. Although the system is not designed to completely avoid impacts at high speeds, the Golf’s speed was reduced by 10 mph in the 12 mph IIHS Low-speed Autobrake test.
Additional Costs: Autonomous Emergency Braking is available in the Driver Assistance Package on the Golf SE or SEL for $1,495.

© Volkswagen of America, Inc.2016 Volkswagen GTI 4-door — Top Safety Pick +
Front Crash Prevention: Advanced (3 points)
Annual Insurance Costs: $1,402
A step up from the standard Golf in terms of performance, the GTI has more power and better handling. GTI is available with the same Driver Assistance Package as the Golf. In addition to the Autonomous Emergency Braking system, this optional package includes a Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning and Adaptive Cruise Control.
Additional Costs: Autonomous Emergency Braking is available in the Driver Assistance Package on the GTI SE or Autobahn for $1,495.

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