Safest Vehicles

SafeDad Picks the Safest Family Cars, SUVs and Minivans

My objective new car Top Picks and Runners-Up for 2017 must be IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award winners, have “Superior” rated front crash prevention systems, 5-star overall NHTSA crash test ratings and have 5-stars in four or preferably all five individual NHTSA crash test results.  Honorable mentions may be awarded based on more subjective factors, including carseat friendliness, availability of advanced safety features and value.  Any model listed below offers superior safety for your family!

For more details on how these vehicles were selected and which ones have advanced safety features at lower prices, please click the large category links to the original articles.

Safest New Sedans
  • Top Pick:
    2015-2017 Subaru Legacy
  • Runners Up:
    2017 Genesis G80
    2017 Mazda 6

    2016-2017 Nissan Altima
    2016-2017 Nissan Maxima
    016-2017 Volvo S60
  • Honorable Mentions:
    2016-2017 Acura RLX
    2017 Chevrolet Volt
    2017 Toyota Corolla
Safest New SUVs
Safest New Minivans & 3-row SUVs

Many models just missed my picks due to very slightly lower crash test results or missing crash test results.  The objective standards I used are very high to be able to select up to ten of the very safest vehicles, even though many other vehicles are almost as safe overall.

Many manufacturers still force consumers to buy the most expensive trim level(s) if they want a full set of advanced safety features, sometimes also requiring a pricey technology package on top of the high price of the premium model.  What good is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating if you can’t afford it or can’t find it on a dealer’s lot?

Kudos to Honda, Nissan and Subaru for setting the trend to keep families safe at a reasonable price, even on lower and mid-level trims.  Toyota now offers Safety Sense advanced crash prevention systems standard on most 2017 models!  Combine that with solid designs that perform well in crash tests and it’s no mystery why these makes did so well in my 2017 picks for the safest family family sedans, 5-passenger SUVs and 3-row SUVs/minivans.  Please click these links for more information on how these vehicles were selected.

Fuel Efficient and Low Emissions Choices:
  • 3-Row Vehicles
    2017 Toyota Highlander Hybrid – Top safety ratings all around with standard features
    2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid – The only minivan with top safety ratings
    2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid – Top safety ratings all around
    2017 Infiniti QX60 Hybrid – Great safety ratings
  • Sedans
    2017 Chevrolet Volt – Top safety ratings all around, 50 mile all-electric range
    2017 Kia Optima Hybrid – Top safety ratings all around
    2017 Toyota Prius & Prime – Great safety ratings with standard features
    2017 Toyota Avalon Hybrid – Great safety ratings with standard features
    2017 Toyota Rav4 Hybrid – Great safety ratings with standard features

All these models receive an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ Award and an NHTSA 5-star Overall safety rating. Each one has above average fuel economy for its class.  Compact vehicles like the Volt, Prius and Rav4 may be difficult for some configurations with three carseats and/or kids in back.

Top 10 Safest Affordable Used Cars for Teen Drivers

These are IIHS Top Safety Picks, earned “Acceptable” or “Good” ratings in the IIHS Small Offset crash test and have 4-Star or 5-Star overall ratings from the NHTSA.  Only compact and larger cars are included, generally those above 2,750 lbs. curb weight.  All have stability control and side curtain airbags standard, some have hands-free cellphone interfaces and backup cameras available.  All cost $10,000 or less in most areas, depending on model year and mileage.

Driving is one of the most dangerous activities your teen will ever do.  Please give them a chance in a crash and let them drive the safest vehicle available.

Want to splurge?  Buy a 2014 Subaru Forester or 2015 Legacy with EyeSight for around $15,000, or lease a 2017 Toyota Corolla L for around $150 a month.   These ultra-safe models are also reliable, have great visibility and reasonably good handling, too.  The Corolla is unique in affordable compact cars in that it has ALL advanced crash avoidance features as standard equipment, even on the base level trim!

*The S80 is included as a heavier, full size model with excellent IIHS results going back to 2007, though it lacks NHTSA test results.
* The 2011 Lancer was not tested by the NHTSA
* The 2012 Passat was not tested in the IIHS small offset test
* The 2012 Accord was not tested in the IIHS small offset test
* The 2012 Civic was not tested in the IIHS small offset test