With spring here and summer just around the corner, many people are looking to take advantage of the sales to be found at car dealerships across the country. From single people in the city to moms who need space for kids and soccer balls, everyone shopping for a new car has their priorities in what they are looking for.
Of course, price and function are always major considerations when buying a new car, but ultimately the most important quality to look for in a new car is its safety record. Whether you’re looking for a small car, truck or SUV, there are models that stand out when it comes to car safety.
We’ve compiled a list of safe cars, trucks, SUVs and more to help you find a vehicle that not only looks good, but will get you and your loved ones from home to school, work and the beach safely.
We’ve included several new 2015 models that have been proven to perform the best in crash tests, as well as advice on buying a used car for your teenager.
The vehicles chosen for this list are based on findings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI). The IIHS evaluates two aspects of safety: crashworthiness (how well a vehicle protects its occupants in a crash) and crash avoidance and mitigation (technology and features that can prevent a crash or lessen its severity).
The IIHS gives two types of safety awards. The first is the Top Safety Pick, which is given to vehicles that show good ratings in the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests, as well as a good or acceptable rating in the small overlap front test.
The second is the Top Safety Pick + award, their highest recognition, which is given to vehicles that meet the criteria for a Top Safety Pick, plus earn an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention. This list will focus on vehicles that received this recognition for 2015.
When it comes to small cars, there are two that stand out as excellent options.
The first is the Subaru Impreza, a favorite amongst city dwellers as well as people living in ski towns out west. Options like the electronic stability control and antilock brakes get the Impreza off to a good start, but the side airbag features really make this Subaru stand apart from its competition.
In addition to front and rear head curtain airbags and front seat-mounted torso airbags, the Impreza is also equipped with rollover sensors. These sensors are designed to deploy the side curtain airbags in the event of an impending rollover (this is only on the XV Crosstrek model).
The second pick for an extremely safe small car is the safest small hybrid option, according to the IIHS. The 2015 Toyota Prius received Top Safety Pick + recognition by outperforming competitors in crash tests in addition to having advanced safety features. Beginning with 2014 Prius and Prius Plug-in models, the front structure was modified and the side curtain airbags were lengthened to improve occupant protection in small overlap frontal crashes.
The Prius also performed well in roof strength and head restraint tests. If you’re looking to save money on gas this summer in a safe car, the 2015 Toyota Prius is a very safe choice.
SUVs are an extremely popular vehicle choice for many people, including families with children. Parents want to make sure their children are safe at all times, and choosing a midsize SUV that performs excellent in crash tests is one of the best ways to protect your children on the road.
The only midsize SUV that received a Top Safety Pick + rating for 2015 is the Toyota Highlander. With head curtain airbags for all three rows of seats, rollover sensors and driver knee airbags, the Highlander is ahead of its competitors when it comes to safety features.
The Highlander excels at keeping children safe with seat cushion airbags: a separate airbag in the forward portion of the front passenger seat cushion to prevent occupants from sliding under the seat belt. For a well-priced extremely safe midsize SUV, the Toyota Highlander is a great pick for 2015.
Several vehicles proved extremely safe in the large luxury car category. The 2015 Acura RLX received the top grade in all crash test simulations. The 2015 Lexus RC also received a TSP+ rating and performed well in all crash tests. One of the safety features that helped the 2015 Mercedes E Class win a TSP+ rating is the automatically adjusting head restraints in the front seats that move up or down as seats are adjusted forward or rearward.
Several other large luxury cars were given TSP+ ratings. You can see the full list by visiting the IIHS website.
Many parents will face the reality of a child turning 16 this summer. We all know what that means: they want a car. If it were up to them, they’d be getting a bright red sports car or a convertible with oversized rims.
Fortunately, it’s not up to them. (At least, not entirely.)
If you want a safe car for your newly driving teen, consider these tips along with a few examples of car models that have been proven to be safe along with having a price tag that won’t break the bank.
If you are looking for a large car for your new driver, consider a Buick Regal (2011 and later) or a Ford Taurus (2010 and later), both of which will average around $13,500 (based on Kelley Blue Book averages).
As far as midsize SUVs, the GMC Terrain (2010 and later) or the Kia Sorrento (2011 and later) both scored well on safety tests and will average between $14,000 and $15,000.
Safety is important when considering which vehicle to buy. Everyone wants a car that looks great, but it also must be safe in the event of an accident. Whether you are looking to buy a car for yourself or for a teenage son or daughter, visiting the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety website can point you in the right direction for safe vehicles.