10 Safest Car Models In The U.S. Today

car models
Source: Saroj Khuendee/Shutterstock

Nowadays, there are thousands of car models in the market, which is why knowing which are the safest can be quite a challenge.

The safest car models aren’t necessarily the best looking, and to find the one that caters to your every need, research is crucial. If you are planning on buying a car with the highest safety standards in the market, consider the following recommendations.

How To Check Safety Levels

When shopping for a new car it’s essential to check the safety levels on the models that have interested you the most. Nowadays, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) are considered the most reliable entities when it comes to safety performance testing in the U.S.

Browse your favorite vehicle models on the NHTSA and IIHS respective websites and make an informed decision. These organizations even upload car test videos that clearly illustrate what would happen should a car accident occur inside such vehicles.

Safety & Functionality Features

For a car to be considered among the safest for the driver as well as the passengers, it needs to have certain specific features. These can be divided into two categories:

Structural Safety Features

According to most crash tests, heavy cars tend to suffer less damages in car crashes, as opposed to smaller and lighter cars. Newer vehicles usually have better structural design to ensure passenger safety. Some of the latest structural advances are:

  • Crumple zones: These are designed to absorb the impact of a collision by crumpling, generally in the front of the vehicle, since head-on collisions are the most common. However, crumple zones are sometimes installed in other parts of the vehicle.
  • Load paths: These help disperse the kinetic energy in a car crash.
  • High-strength steel: A lighter material that can be up to 200 percent stronger than steel plate, high-strength steel is usually installed in the so called “crushable zones.”

Safety Features Inside The Vehicle

You probably already know most of the standard safety features inside car models. However, the quality of such features can vary, which is why you need to know what you want and what to look for on your next vehicle. Consider the following 3 essential safety features every car should have:

  • Seat belts: As you know, these keep you in place and prevent any possible collisions with the windshield or dashboard. Additional features that the safest car models tend to have are pretensioners, which make the seat belt fit your body, avoiding loose fits that are unsafe (and quite common).
  • Airbags: This is another popular way of preventing dashboard or windshield collisions in a car accident. They can also be installed in the doors, as side bags, to reduce the risk of passengers hitting the door. Nonetheless, airbags aren’t effective unless the person wears a seat belt.
  • Head restraints: Also known as headrests, these limit head movement, protecting the neck when the car is hit from behind.

Note: Airbags can seriously injure a child, which is why if a child were to sit in the front, make sure you place the sear facing the rear of the car. However, it’s best to seat children in the back of the car.

Functionality Features

These features improve driving experience and reduce collision risks:

  • Stability control: 2018 car models include this feature which prevents them from tilting and flipping over.
  • Anti Lock brake system: Wheels tend to lock when exposed to panic braking, hindering steering control. This anti lock brake system is designed to prevent this from happening. Generally, this system is installed in all four wheels, while trucks, vans and sport utility vehicles normally have two-wheel antilock brake system.
  • Traction control: This also helps control stability, with a feature that determines the slipping of the wheels when accelerating.

10 Safest Car Models

Fortunately, there are several safe car models in the U.S. market. To help you shorten the list of possibilities, consider our following 10 recommendations for the safest car models in the country, rated by the NHTSA or the IIHS (generally, by both):

2018 Toyota Camry

Midsize cars are now safer due to the 2018 Toyota Camry. Awarded five stars by the NHTSA, this vehicle includes more safety features than most cars of the same category, such as a rearview camera and adaptive cruise control.

2015 Tesla S60KWH 5 HB RWD

Awarded a five-star rating by the NHTSA, this electric car is much more than an eco-friendly vehicle. Its comfort is only surpassed by its safety features: traction control, airbags in every seat and anti lock brake system in all 4 wheels.

2016 Hyundai VELOSTER 3 C FWD

Besides having the classic safety features, such as airbags, a rollover sensor, anti lock brakes, seatbelt pretensioners and stability control, this car is also equipped with an anti theft security feature: an ignition disabler in case something other than the original key is used to start it.

2018 Honda Civic Si 4 DR FWD

This Honda is one of the safest car models in the U.S., with an overall five-star rating. Additionally, the IIHS awarded it a Superior grade for its front crash prevention system.

Note: Another popular model, the Honda Sensing Suite, comes with additional safety features like forward collision warning and lane departure warning, definitely worth considering.

2018 Toyota Camry

Winner of the U.S. News’ Best Midsize Car for Families, the 2018 Toyota Camry is also rated a top safety option by the IIHS. Among its safety features are a pre-collision system, blind spot monitoring and automatic high beams.

2017 Subaru Impreza SW AWD

This Subaru is the definite evolution of previous Subaru car models; with a sleek design as well as a sound structure. Awarded an all-over five-star rating, it should come as a surprise that it has anti lock brakes, an anti theft ignition disabler, airbags and special knee protection feature for the driver.

2014 Chevrolet Cruze 4 DR FWD

In the event of a car accident, the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze 4DR FWD deserves 5 stars, according to the NHTSA. Nonetheless, this vehicle scores 4 out of 5 stars in terms of rollover resistance (that is, the risk measures to avoid a car rollover). The safety features are the standard: stability control, air bags and an ignition disabler, among others.

2018 Acura MDX SUV FWD

The NHTSA also gave this model an interesting rating: 5 stars in frontal crash and 5 stars in side crash, yet only awards 4 stars when it comes to rollover resistance. On the other hand, the IIHS awarded this SUV 5 stars in every assessment areas. Some of its safety features are forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking and blind spot monitoring.

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid 4 DR FWD

Considered one of the safest car models in the market, this Hyundai model has been awarded 5 stars in most of the areas assessed by the NHTSA, except rollover resistance (4 stars). Although it received a good score, bear in mind that most of the safety features are not actually included with the car but can be added for an additional fee.

2018 Honda Accord Hybrid 4 DR FWD

This Honda car model received great scores by both the NHTSA and the IIHS. Furthermore, it includes a few standard safety features such as traffic sign recognition and rearview cameras. You can also get a blind spot monitoring system for an additional fee.

Are Safer Cars More Expensive?

It is a popular misconception that cheaper cars are less safe, myth that was debunked by the IIHS in a test conducted to evaluate the safety levels of moderately priced vehicles against luxury car models. This institute assessed the performance of 15 more affordable cars, 2 of which were rated as Good and 11 as Acceptable. As far as the midsize luxury car models are concerned, just 3 models were rated Good or Acceptable out of 11.

Do Your Part!

One of the main things you should factor into your decision when assessing car models is safety features. However, once you select and purchase your new vehicle, it is crucial to look after it. Car maintenance needs to be part of your routine, because cars break down and safety features can stop working at any time, without notice.

Furthermore, everything should be in the correct position, like the driver’s seat and the side mirrors, before starting the car.

Having read this quick guide on car models, you can start looking for the perfect and safest car for you. Remember to take into account safety features and look up the IIHS and NHTSA scores online to make sure you’re investing in your own peace of mind when on the road. Finally, take care of your new car to guarantee that it continues to work at its best.