Safest vehicles for 2010

Looking for a safe car for your family?

For 2010 we see 19 cars and eight SUVs earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Pick award for 2010. This year the good performance in a roof strength test to measure protection in a rollover is a new requirement to win. Top Safety Pick lists the vehicles that do the most for protecting people in rear, front, side, and now rollover crashes based on good ratings in Institute tests. The winners must also have electronic stability control. This control will significantly reduce crash risk. The first recipients of this award were in 2005. Since that date the criteria has been revised twice.

Subaru leads the pack as the only manufacturer with a winner in all 4 vehicle classes in which it competes. Last year Subaru won five awards. Ford and subsidiary Volvo have six winners. Volkswagen/Audi has five winners in total. Chrysler earned four awards, continuing a recent trend of improving the crash-worthiness of its vehicles. Two new smaller cars, the Nissan Cube and Kia Soul joined the Top Safety Pick list for 2010.

A consumer who is highly concerned about safety can regard this list as a good starting point. The vehicles that win Top Safety Pick have designs that go beyond the minimum safety standards. An example is the strong roof requirement now included in the overall ratings. The vehicles rated good have a roof more then twice as strong as the federal standard. This roof can reduce the risk of serious or fatal injury in single vehicle rollovers by about 50%. That is a big number!

We see improved protection for front and side impacts. In 2008 front and side impacts and vehicle rollovers killed 24,056 passengers in 2008 (USA stastistics). The rear-end collisions were not fatal but did result i a lot of crash injufires with neck sprain and strain being reported in about 2/3 of the insurance claims for all types of crashes.

There is more safety equipment being built-in as standard. Statistics show 92% of 2010 cars, 99% of SUVs, and 66% of pickup trucks have standard side airbags with head protection. The electronic stability control is now standard on 85% of cars, 62% of pickups and 100% of SUVs.

The winners

Large cars

  • Buick LaCrosse
  • Ford Taurus
  • Lincoln MKS
  • Volvo S80

Midsize cars

  • Audi A3
  • Chevrolet Malibu built after November 2009
  • Chrysler Sebring 4-door with optional electronic stability control
  • Dodge Avenger with optional electronic stability control
  • Mercedes C class
  • Subaru Legacy
  • Subaru Outback
  • Volkswagen Jetta sedan
  • Volkswagen Passat sedan
  • Volvo C30

Small cars

  • Honda Civic 4-door models (except Si) with optional electronic stability control
  • Kia Soul
  • Nissan Cube
  • Subaru Impreza except WRX
  • Volkswagen Golf 4-door

Midsize SUVs

  • Dodge Journey
  • Subaru Tribeca
  • Volvo XC60
  • Volvo XC90

Small SUVs

  • Honda Element
  • Jeep Patriot with optional side torso airbags
  • Subaru Forester
  • Volkswagen Tiguan