Buy a Safer Car This Summer: The Best SUVs, Minivans and Sedans

Many online automotive websites list the “safest” cars.  Most have pretty low criteria.  Some require an IIHS Top Safety Pick, others an NHTSA 5-Star overall rating.  Yes, these are all safe cars, but so many cars today achieve one top rating that it doesn’t really help family vehicle shoppers all that much.

Recommended-150pxAs always, CarseatBlog goes a step beyond at helping you narrow down the field to the best models in each class of family vehicles.  Every single one of our qualifiers not only is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+, with an array of the latest advanced safety features, but is also an NHTSA 5-star overall rated vehicle.  We go even farther, making sure that there are no sub-par NHTSA individual crash test scores and eliminate the lightest vehicles that tend to fare worse in multi-vehicle crashes.  Our extremely strict criteria narrow down the field so much that each qualifier is truly among the safest vehicles on the road today.

Our Winners and Runners-Up are perfect or nearly perfect in every objective factor of crash safety. We also indicate which models provide critical advanced safety features at affordable prices and make sure none are worse than average for carseat installations.  Our Honorable Mentions just barely miss the cut in one aspect or another, but are otherwise extremely safe choices for your family and we would not hesitate to recommend any mentioned vehicle for overall family safety.

For the summer car buying season, we’ve updated our list with more qualifiers that hadn’t previously been tested by the IIHS or NHTSA.  We’ve also added a few Honorable Mentions that were tested too late to be award winners, namely the 2016 Volvo XC90, Infiniti QX60 and Lincoln MKX.  Our lists will be updated as new models are tested into 2017:

XC90 rearThe 2016 Volvo XC90 is one standout addition that earned top marks in each IIHS and NHTSA crash test.  It also avoided crashes in both IIHS Front Crash Prevention tests with an autobrake system that is STANDARD equipment so you won’t struggle to find key advanced safety features on a dealers lot.  It also has a relatively wide 2nd row middle seat, making 3-across carseats possible.  One notable drawback is the lack of top tether anchors for the third row seat, an unusual omission.

Looking for specific recommendations for your family?  Maybe you have a large number of carseats and need to know the ideal arrangement or if they will even fit in a vehicle you want to buy?  We are happy to answer new vehicle selection questions on our Community Discussion Vehicle Safety Forum and our Facebook Vehicle and Carseat Safety Group!