Everything you need to know about reviews, features and more

Of course, performance and technology are important in a new car, but many buyers consider safety an even more crucial factor. For consumers around the world, a car without strong safety ratings or certain safety features will be wiped off a shopping list. So how should you go about looking for a safe car, SUV or truck? Here’s what you need to know.

What are car safety ratings?

Looking for the safest small SUV or mid-size sedan? To determine which vehicles are the safest choices, start with NHTSA and IIHS crash test safety ratings.

the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a government agency under the US Department of Transportation that rates vehicles on a five-star system. The more stars a vehicle gets, the lower the risk of injury to the occupants in the event of a collision. NHTSA performs frontal and side impact tests, as well as a rollover test.

the Insurance Institute for Road Safety (IIHS), an independent agency created by a group of automobile insurance associations, gives crash tests good, fair, marginal and poor ratings. Testing includes front, sides, roof strength, and head restraint and seat ratings. In recent years, the agency has begun to assess the ability of automatic braking systems to avoid an accident. Another recent addition to the IIHS program is the headlight test.

Starting in 2022, vehicles that win the agency’s Top Safety Pick Award must achieve good ratings in crash test categories, an advanced or better rating in front crash prevention, and an acceptable or good rating in headlights available. The even more prestigious Top Safety Pick+ award requires acceptable or well-rated headlights as standard equipment.

Not only do car safety ratings provide critical information to car buyers, they also motivate automakers to keep improving the safety of their vehicles. Learn more here:

What are the safest cars?

Many cars today get solid safety ratings from the IIHS and NHTSA. Some of the safest cars available on the market today include affordable models like the Honda Accord and Mazda 3 as well as luxury offerings such as the Volvo S60 and Tesla Model 3. The safest SUVs consist of a similar mix, with the Hyundai Palisade, Nissan Murano, Acura RDX and Cadillac XT6 among the top performers.

Safest cars for 2022:

  • Acura TLX
  • Audi A6
  • Chrysler Pacifica
  • Genesis G80
  • Honda Accord
  • Honda Insight
  • Honda Odyssey
  • Kia K5
  • Kia Stinger
  • Lexus IS
  • Lexus ES
  • Mazda3
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class
  • Nissan Maxima
  • The Subaru Legacy
  • Tesla Model 3
  • Toyota Camry
  • Toyota Siena
  • Volvo S60 and V60

The safest SUVs for 2022:

  • Acura RDX
  • Audi E-tron
  • Audi E-Tron Sportback
  • Audi Q5
  • Audi Q5 Sportback
  • Cadillac XT6
  • Chevy Pioneer
  • Ford Bronco Sports
  • Genesis GV80
  • Hyundai Palisade
  • Mazda CX-30
  • Mazda CX-5
  • Mazda CX-9
  • Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class
  • Nissan Murano
  • Subaru Ascension
  • Tesla Model Y
  • Toyota Highlander
  • Volvo XC90/XC90 refill

Learn more about the safest vehicles available today:

What are the most important car safety features?

Today, automotive safety is not limited to airbags and anti-lock brakes. Active safety features, which are now common on mainstream and luxury vehicles, can help prevent accidents. Other advanced features such as automatic parking assist help ease the burden of daily driving tasks. Here are some of the most important car safety features to consider on your next vehicle:

Automatic Emergency Braking applies the brakes automatically when it detects the risk of an accident. This braking can help avoid an accident altogether or lessen its effects. We are fans of this feature, also sometimes referred to as AEB, as it can lessen the impact of collisions or eliminate them in some cases.

Blind Spot Monitoring detects the presence of other vehicles that the driver may not see in adjacent lanes. If there is a car in the driver’s blind spot while trying to change lanes, the system issues an audible and/or visual warning. Enhanced systems can also manipulate steering and brakes to avoid a crash. With the rise of SUVs and the large blind spots of many models, blind spot monitoring can be useful for drivers who actually pay attention.

Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist help the driver keep the car in its designated lane. Lane Departure Warning alerts drivers when they have wandered into another lane, usually with a beep or steering wheel vibration, while Lane Keep Assist uses steering corrections and braking inputs to prevent the car from crossing into the other lane.

Adaptive cruise control maintains a certain speed set by the driver while keeping the vehicle within a set following distance from the vehicle in front. Think about the potential of this feature to help with stop-and-go traffic, and you’ll see how the best versions of this technology can help drivers.

Adaptive headlights react to changing road conditions to improve driver visibility. Curve-adaptive headlamps pivot according to the vehicle’s direction of travel, while automatic high beam automatically switches between low beam and high beam in the presence of traffic to avoid dazzling other drivers.

Automatic Park Assist controls steering, throttle and brake inputs to steer a car into a parallel or perpendicular parking space. A related feature is remote park assist, which will pull the car in and out of a parking spot with the driver standing outside the vehicle and pressing a button on the key fob. Some of these features can quickly detect a space, making it a real convenience. Others, however, take too long and are more party stuff than practical additions.

Hill Descent Control allows a vehicle to descend a grade without the driver needing to apply the brakes. It works with the vehicle’s traction control and anti-lock braking systems to reduce tire slippage and achieve a slow, controlled descent.

Which cars have self-driving features?

The most advanced driver assistance system available today is GM’s Super Cruise, but it still forces the driver to pay attention to the road at all times. The technology automatically steers, accelerates and brakes in one lane on many miles of highways across the United States. Other advanced semi-autonomous driving systems include Ford’s BlueCruise, Mercedes-Benz’s Drive Pilot and Tesla’s Autopilot.

Car Seat Safety: Which Vehicles Have the Best LATCH Ratings?

Attaching a car seat is not always easy. That’s why the IIHS rates vehicles on the ease of use of their LATCH system, which is attachment hardware for child restraints. LATCH systems are rated Good, Fair, Marginal, or Poor based on criteria such as ease of finding the anchors, the force required to tie them, and the presence of other hardware that could be mistaken for the anchors.

The following 2022 model year cars and SUVs earn high marks in the LATCH rating while achieving Top Safety Pick+ status.

Cars/Minivans:

  • Acura TLX
  • Audi A6
  • Audi A7
  • Honda Accord
  • Honda-Civic
  • Honda Insight
  • Honda Odyssey
  • Lexus IS
  • Lexus ES
  • Mazda3
  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class
  • Nissan Altima
  • Nissan Maxima
  • The Subaru Legacy
  • Toyota Camry
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Toyota Siena

SUV:

  • Acura MDX
  • Acura RDX
  • Audi E-tron
  • Audi E-Tron Sportback
  • Audi Q5
  • Audi Q5 Sportback
  • Genesis GV70
  • Hyundai Nexo
  • Lexus NX
  • Mazda CX-30
  • Mazda CX-9
  • Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class
  • Mitsubishi Outlander
  • Nissan Murano
  • Nissan Rogue
  • Subaru Ascension
  • Subaru Crosstrek hybrid
  • Subaru Outback
  • Toyota Highlander
  • Volkswagen ID4


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Susan W. Lloyd