Safest New Cars in America

© American Honda Motor Co., © Automotive Content Experience., © Mercedes-Benz USAIIHS Top Safety Pick+
For most car shoppers, safety is a primary 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. Those 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. The vehicle must also must earn an Advanced or Superior rating for front crash prevention, as well as a Good headlight rating.

© Insurance Institute for Highway SafetyNew Requirement
For the 2018 model year, the IIHS added an additional requirement for vehicles to gain distinction as an 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 the new requirement has resulted in a list of 31 vehicles as Top Safety Pick + winners. “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.

© American Honda Motor Co.2019 Acura RDX
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
All new for the 2019 model year, the Acura RDX returns to this elite group of safest vehicles in America. The previous-generation RDX earned the rank of TSP+ for 2016 and 2017, but the compact crossover didn’t meet the headlight requirement for 2018. The new model gets the highest rating for every IIHS test, thanks in part to the newest generation of Acura’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure, new high-strength steel door stiffener rings and eight airbags, including new driver and front-passenger knee airbags. The RDX also features the AcuraWatch suite of safety and driver-assist technologies, including automatic emergency braking and road departure mitigation. RDX also features new LED headlights.

© 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 for 2017, 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 with 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.

© BMW USA2018 BMW X3
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
The BMW X3 is all new for the 2018 model year and earns the TSP+ ranking for the first time. The new model stands out with more aerodynamic styling, a “three-dimensional” kidney grille, available full LED headlights and a roof spoiler at the rear. The X3 achieves the highest ratings — avoiding a collision in all three IIHS collision avoidance tests —when equipped with BMW’s optional Driving Assistance Plus package. This includes frontal collision warning with collision mitigation, active lane-keeping assist and blind spot detection.

© Hyundai Motor Company2018 Genesis G80
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
For the 2017 model year, Korean automaker Hyundai created a luxury brand from its flagship model line. Genesis currently offers three luxury sedans in its lineup — the G80 and larger G90 are both rated Top Safety Pick+. (The G70 has not been tested.) The G80 sedan is available in a variety of high-end trims, and automatic emergency braking is standard on all of them. Using radar from the smart cruise control and cameras from the lane-keeping 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 relatively 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-keeping 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.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Honda Insight
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
Honda brings the Insight back for a third time — and this may be the best version yet. The extremely-efficient hybrid sedan also scores at the top for all IIHS crash tests in its first year on the road. All Insights come standard with the Honda Sensing suite of advanced safety features, including automatic emergency braking with forward collision warning, road departure mitigation, lane departure warning and lake-keeping assist.

© American Honda Motors2019 Honda Pilot
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (5 points)
The Honda Pilot dropped off the IIHS TSP+ list last year when it didn’t meet the headlight requirements; however, for 2019 the Pilot is all new with improved headlights as well as the latest in high-tech safety features. Like the new Honda Insight, all Pilots are equipped with Honda Sensing; however, the larger SUV did not perform as well as the Insight in the crash avoidance tests. In the IIHS 25-mph high-speed autobrake test, the Pilot was able to reduce impact speed by 12 mph, but not avoid the collision.

© Hyundai Motor America2018 Hyundai Elantra
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
The Hyundai Elantra was all new for the 2017 model year. In addition to updated styling and a new chassis, the small sedan was available with the latest in safety equipment, earning it a spot on the TSP+ list. A surprising feature in the compact car class, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection is available in the Elantra. Utilizing both the forward-facing radar and camera to detect a vehicle or pedestrian, the system will warn the driver about a potential collision. If the driver does not act to avoid the impact, the system will apply emergency braking. Elantra also achieved a Good rating for headlights.

© Hyundai Motor America2018 Hyundai Kona
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
The Kona is an all-new compact crossover from Hyundai with unique styling, a spacious interior and it’s offered with the latest in high-tech convenience and safety features. The bright LED headlights are available on Kona Limited and Ultimate trims, as is advanced active safety equipment that includes forward collision avoidance, lane-keeping assist, high-beam assist and driver attention warning. Blind-spot collision warning and a rear cross-traffic alert system are also available.

© Hyundai Motor America2019 Hyundai Santa Fe
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
Hyundai has introduced an all-new Santa Fe for the 2019 model year with updated styling and a range of new features. The Santa Fe replaces the Santa Fe Sport as the 5-passenger offering, while a new Santa Fe XL will offer three rows of seating. This fourth-generation Hyundai SUV comes with  the latest high-tech safety items as standard equipment, including automatic emergency braking and blind-spot collision warning, as well as lane-keeping and rear-cross traffic alert. Also standard is safe exit assist, which locks the rear doors to prevent rear-seat occupants from opening them into traffic when vehicles are approaching from behind.

© 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.

© Hyundai Motor America2018 Hyundai Sonata
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
One of five Hyundais to earn a Top Safety Pick + rating, the Sonata was redesigned for the 2018 model year. With bold new styling front and rear, as well as a new rear suspension system and an improved ride, Sonata is available with the latest features that make it one of the safest cars in America. Those features include automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist as well as smart cruise control with start/stop functionality.

© 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-keeping assist and — most importantly — a forward 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 Niro
Niro is the first dedicated hybrid model to come from Kia. As a crossover, the Niro smartly goes after the heart of the U.S. car market; but as a hybrid, Kia sees the Niro going after the leader: the Toyota Prius. In addition to its very fuel-efficient powertrain, the Niro is available with the latest in advanced safety features, including a forward collision warning system and autonomous emergency braking, as well as high-intensity discharge headlights.

© Kia Motors America2018 Kia Optima
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
The Optima was all new for the 2016 model year, and with that redesign the midsize sedan was equipped with the latest in safety technology, earning it a spot on the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ list, which it has now retained for three years. Last year there were a number of updates to the Optima, including the addition of LED dual-projection headlights which achieve the top rating of Good. When equipped with the Advanced Driver Assist System, the Optima gets autonomous emergency braking, a forward collision warning system, high-beam assist and a lane departure warning system.

© Kia Motors America2019 Kia Sorento
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
Kia has introduced an all-new Sorento for the 2019 model year, and for the first time this 7-passenger SUV has earned the top safety rating from the IIHS. In addition to its updated styling and more upscale interior, the Sorento is now available with an array of high-tech advanced safety features. The Sorento’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems includes forward-collision warning system, blind-spot collision warning, rear cross-traffic collision warning and lane-keeping assist.

© 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, autonomous emergency braking and HID headlights — all of which earn Soul the coveted Top Safety Pick + rating for the first time.

© Toyota Motor Sales USA2018 Lexus RC
Front Crash Prevention: Advanced (4 points)
The sporty RC coupe joined the Lexus lineup a few years back, offering a nice combination of luxury and performance. As with other Lexus models, the RC features a high level of advanced safety technology. Using the radar sensors of the adaptive cruise control, the RC can detect an obstacle in its path and not only alert the driver but automatically prepare brake assist, which increases brake pressure the moment the driver applies the brakes. If for some reason the driver still does not act, the brakes are automatically applied to slow the vehicle and lessen the collision’s impact.

© 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 IIHS Low- and High-Speed Autobrake tests and earning the coveted Top Safety Pick + designation.

© Mazda North American Operations2018 Mazda CX-5
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (5 points)
Mazda’s popular CX-5 crossover has been on the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ list since 2014, and the redesigned 2017 model continued this success. CX-5 is available with advanced safety features that include lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist and smart brake assist — the latter of which warns the driver and automatically applies the brakes to avoid or minimize damage from a frontal collision. These items are part of an i-ACTIVSENSE package that also includes high-beam control, adaptive cruise control, automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers.

© 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. This has continued, keeping the E-Class on this safest car list. 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.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2018 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.

© Mercedes-Benz USA2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
Mercedes-Benz instituted a completely new naming system for its vehicles a few years ago, so the model that was formerly known as the M-Class is now called the GLE-Class. In addition to the new name, the GLE was completely updated for the 2016 model year. (Note that the M-Class had been an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ winner since 2012.) The GLE comes standard with Collision Prevention Assist, which uses radar to monitor the distance to a vehicle in front and will alert the drive while priming the brake if a crash seems imminent. Also available is Collision Prevention Assist Plus with active brake assist, which will automatically apply the brakes to avoid a collision.

© Perry Stern, Automotive Content Experience2019 Subaru Ascent
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
Subaru has returned to the three-row crossover market with its largest production vehicle yet — the all-new Ascent. Built on the company’s new platform, Ascent is available in a number of trim levels, all of which come standard with full-time all-wheel drive and Subaru’s suite of safety features called EyeSight. The safety suite includes automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and sway warning. The Ascent is also available with blind-spot detection, lane-change assist, rear cross-traffic alert and reverse automatic braking.

© Subaru of America2018 Subaru Crosstrek
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
The Crosstrek is all new for the 2018 model year, built on a global platform first introduced a year previous in the Subaru Impreza. This is the first major redesign of the popular crossover which features updated styling which includes a sculpted hood, larger fender flares, matte-black cladding and an impressive 8.7-inches of ground clearance. The Crosstrek is also available with the latest version of Eye Sight, Subaru’s innovative driver-assistance system that utilizes stereo forward-facing cameras as well as other sensors. With EyeSight, the Crosstrek is available with automatic pre-collision braking, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert. New for 2018 is reverse automatic braking, which stops the car if an obstacle is detected in the car’s path while backing up.

© 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-keeping 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 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, lane departure warning and lane-keeping 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 and 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.

© 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 + in 2017 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.

© Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.2019 Toyota Avalon
Front Crash Prevention: Superior (6 points)
The flagship of the Toyota model line gets a complete makeover for the 2019 model year. Now in its fifth generation, Avalon is built on Toyota’s New Global Architecture, which means the premium model is longer, wider and lower for a more aggressive stance. In addition to its new styling and premium new interior, the Avalon now comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense P, which includes pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert.

© Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.2018 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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