Top Ten Safest Cars

Every year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety releases its list of the safest cars for a particular model year. Its list for the 2013-2014 model year introduces an additional rating, a Top Safety Pick + that highlights cars that stand out among those that have made the safest list. The Institute tests vehicles in five categories including rear impact, moderate overlap frontal crash, small overlap frontal crash, rollover and side impact and ranks them from “good” to “poor”. Top Safety Pick + cars are those that have been ranked at least “good” in four of the five tests and no lower than “acceptable” on the fifth.!

Dodge Dart

This midsize four-door sedan landed a Top Safety Pick + rating and was excellent in the medium-overlap front test, although it did well in overall safety testing. Safety features in the Dodge Dart include a battery of airbags including rear seat airbags to protect the pelvis in case of crashes as well as rear head curtain and lower instrument panel airbags to protect knees from injury. Other notable features include comfortable front seats, sound-proofed interior to ensure a quiet ride, refined suspension and body motion control as well as responsive shift quality to improve handling.

Ford Focus

Both its sedan and hatchback versions have won Top Safety Pick + ratings due to their high marks in all five of the IIHS tests, with the only issue being the frame around the driver, which showed some vulnerability in small overlap front testing. However, the IIHS still concluded that the risk of significant injuries in case of a crash was low. The Ford Focus recently ranked fifth out of the top 40 Affordable Small Cars and is also less expensive to operate due to its good fuel economy ratings. Its notable safety features include a network of airbags in the passenger and driver’s side as well as side-head and rear-head, rear drum and front disk brakes, traction control, electronic stability control, brake assist and four-wheel ABS.

Hyundai Elantra

This Top Safety Pick + ranked high in moderate front and side overlap testing, but had some issues exposed in small front overlap testing. Despite this, the IIHS still said that the risk of significant injury was low in case of a crash. The 2013 Elantra is also affordable to operate since its EPA-estimated fuel economy was 28 mpg city and 38 mpg highway. Its safety features include a complete complement of airbags, four-wheel ABS, child safety locks, traction control, electronic stability control and four-wheel disk brakes.

Scion tC

This Top Safety Pick + had some issues with its structure and safety cage but otherwise earned high ratings. Notable safety features include knee-level airbags in the passenger and driver areas in addition to the fact that the airbags in the side-curtain are now programmed to deploy in case of a small front overlap crash. Some of the other noteworthy features in the 2014 model include LED accent display and standard eighteen-inch wheels and touch-screen display.

Dodge Avenger

The 2013 model marks the second year in a row that the Dodge Avenger is among the top safety picks, and it solidly lands this year among the first Top Safety Pick + choices. Among its notable safety features are four-wheel anti-lock brakes, a complete complement of airbags, a unique child-seat restraint system and active head restraints.

Ford Fusion

The Fusion has been winning accolades since it was launched and its Top Safety Pick + award only confirm that it is a great all-around buy. The Fusion uses the Ford Personal Safety system which incorporates a restraint control module that uses sensors placed all around the car to gather information, a network of eight airbags and advanced venting technology to enhance side impact protection in case of crashes.

Honda Accord

The Top Safety Pick + award was given to the Accord’s coupe and sedan models. The redesigned Accord in its two and four-door configuration uses the upgraded Compatibility Engineering II body structure, with a frame that is designed to disperse more energy during crashes away from the driver and the passengers. The Accord earned its accolades due to its outstanding grade in small overlap frontal crash testing although it tested well overall. Safety features include a full contingent of airbags, four-wheel disk brakes, traction control, daytime running lights, child safety locks and brake assist.

Kia Optima

The Optima won its Top Safety Pick + award due to good ratings in four categories although it only got an acceptable in small overlap frontal crash testing. Notable safety features of the Optima include active head restraints, a reinforced frame with side-impact protection beams as well as seatbelt pre-tensioners. For 2014 the Optima also offers blind spot detection, rear parking and rear cross traffic alert, as well as having a longer warranty coverage.

Mazda6

This moderately-priced midsize car rated perfect in four categories although IIHS testing revealed some issues in the small front overlap test which had the potential for head injury in case of a crash. Its outstanding performance in IIHS testing was still enough to win it a Top Safety Pick + award. Its notable safety features include anti-lock brakes which increase the vehicle’s ability to turn while braking, stability control that helps prevent the driver from losing control of the vehicle, front-impact, side-impact and overhead airbags and anti-whiplash air restraints. The redesigned Mazda6 now extensively uses SkyActiv technology to help improve fuel efficiency ratings.

Acura TL

This midsize luxury car earned its Top Safety Pick + award due to its Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure which distributes structural elements throughout the frame in order to better distribute energy in case of a frontal crash away and around from the driver and passengers. Safety features include a network of airbags including passenger-side and driver-side as well as rear-head and side, four-wheel disk brakes, daytime running lights, traction control, brake assist and four-wheel ABS.