Automobile Safety Archive

Safest Family Sedans for 2016

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Safest 2016 Cars for Families:

Editors Update: Our 2017 awards are here.

In Part I, we awarded the safest 3-row vehicles.  In Part II, we awarded 5-passenger SUVs.  In this part, we will look at sedans that have great safety and are also typically less expensive to buy and operate than sport utility vehicles.

As with the SUVs and minivans, we have similar basic requirements to trim the increasingly long list of very safe vehicles to a select few vehicles that stand out from the pack.  This year, we increase the curb weight requirement slightly, an advantage in head-on frontal crashes.  We also limit qualifiers to midsize or larger vehicles that tend to be wider and offer better compatibility for three children or carseats in the back.

  • 200CrashMust be an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ for 2016
  • Must have an NHTSA 5-star overall rating
  • Must not have any individual NHTSA crash test results of 3-stars or less
  • Must be over 3,200 lbs. curb weight, midsize class or larger vehicles only

The qualifiers below are all among the safest sedans on the road.  Many other very safe models just barely missed the list for one reason or another, or simply lacked a complete set of testing results.  For example, at the time of this update, models like the Volvo V60 and Toyota Prius V did not have complete NHTSA crash test results.  The IIHS made some changes for 2016, requiring a “Good” rating in the small offset crash test and a frontal crash prevention system rated “Superior” or “Advanced” to earn the Top Safety Pick+ award.  The 2016 finalists for safest family sedan:

  1. 2016 Chevrolet Malibu
  2. 2016 Honda Accord
  3. 2016 Hyundai Sonata (built after Oct. 2015)
  4. 2016 Kia Optima
  5. 2016 Mazda 6
  6. 2016_leg_photos_ext_102016 Subaru Legacy
  7. 2015-2016 Chrysler 200
  8. 2016 Nissan Maxima
  9. 2016 Toyota Camry
  10. 2016 Toyota Avalon
  11. 2016 Volkswagen Passat
  12. 2016 Lexus ES350
  13. 2013-2016 Volvo S60
  14. 2016 Audi A3
  15. 2016 Acura RLX
  16. 2016 Hyundai Genesis
  17. 2016 Infiniti Q70
  18. 2016 Audi A6

Selecting the winner wasn’t too difficult.  Perfection was the key.  The very safest sedans earn the top “Good” rating in every IIHS crash test, every single sub-category IIHS crash test rating and earned the best “Superior” frontal crash prevention rating by avoiding crashes in both high and low speed testing got 6 points total.  They also earned a 5-star overall rating from the NHTSA and 5-stars in all five individual crash test ratings plus a 5-star rollover rating.  This threshold is admittedly very high, so any of our Runners-Up could claim to be just as safe on the road as our winner:

Safest family sedan for 2016:

Safest Family SUVs for 2016

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Safest 2016-2017 5-passenger SUVs for Families

Editor’s Update: Our 2017 Awards are here.

In Part I, we awarded the safest 3-row vehicles for 6 or more passengers.  In this part, we will look at 5-passenger SUVs for families who don’t need a 3rd row of seating for one reason or another.

As with the larger vehicles, we have the same basic requirements to trim the long list of very safe vehicles to those qualifiers that stand out from the pack:

  • Must be an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ for 2015 or 2016
  • Must have an NHTSA 5-star overall rating
  • Must not have any individual NHTSA crash test result or rollover rating of 3-stars or less

There are some new entrants this year, with improved designs qualifying for top crash test results.  One new model, the 2016 Nissan Murano, has not yet qualified due to incomplete NHTSA testing.   It may be added in a future update, once these tests are completed.   The 2015 Mercedes ML-Class is discontinued, replaced by the 2016 GLE-Class that also has incomplete crash test results.  The 2016 Mazda CX-5 received a 4-star overall rating from the NHTSA and did not qualify this year.

  1. XC602014-2016 Volvo XC60
  2. 2015-2016 Subaru Outback
  3. 2014-2016 Subaru Forester
  4. 2016 Honda CR-V
  5. 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
  6. 2016 Hyundai Tucson
  7. 2016 Toyota Rav-4
  8. 2015-2016 Lexus NX
  9. 2016 Lincoln MKX
  10. 2016 Acura RDX
  11. 2016 Volvo XC90

Safest SUV for 2016:

Safest Family Minivans and SUVs for 2016 with 3rd Row Seats

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Safest 2016 Family Vehicles with Three Rows of Seating

Editor’s Update: Our 2017 Awards are here.

Are safety and seating more than a couple kids your top considerations in selecting a new vehicle?  You aren’t alone!  Last year’s winner, the 2014-2015 Acura MDX, is still a contender to retain its title for 2016.

For 2016, the IIHS now requires a “Good” result in the newer small overlap crash test to qualify for a Top Safety Pick rating.  An “Acceptable” rating no longer qualifies.  The IIHS also requires a front crash prevention system.  These systems are not all created equal, some are only basic warnings that qualify for the basic TSP award, while advanced ones can actually brake in emergency situations and possibly avoid a crash better than lesser systems.  To earn the “TSP+” award, an auto-brake system with an “Advanced” or “Superior” rating is now required.

There are plenty of very safe vehicles.  Most midsize crossover SUVs and minivans provide excellent protection for occupants, likely better than anything on the road 15 years ago.  Side curtain airbags and stability control are now standard features.  In addition to frontal crash protection systems, advanced safety features like emergency crash notification, lane departure warning, cross traffic warning and blind spot warning systems are becoming more common on non-luxury models.

tspplus-bar-2016

So how do we filter the list of so many family vehicles that have earned safety awards?  It’s pretty easy:

  • Must be an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ for 2015 or 2016
  • Must have an NHTSA 5-star overall rating
  • No individual NHTSA crash test results of 3-stars or less
  • Must have at least 6 passenger seats

What vehicles make the cut?  At the time of this writing, it’s a pretty exclusive list.   Two minivans from last year, the Honda Odyssey and Kia Sedona, no longer qualify as they did not achieve a Top Safety Pick+ rating for 2015 or 2016.  Shame on these manufacturers for choosing not to provide even an optional advanced front crash prevention system on these popular family vehicles.  The 2016 qualifiers:

  1. 2014-2016 Acura MDX
  2. 2014-2016 Mitsubishi Outlander
  3. 2016 Honda Pilot
  4. 2016 Infiniti QX60
  5. 2014-2015 and 2016 Toyota Highlander*
  6. 2015 Toyota Sienna*

*The 2016 Highlander was retested with a “Good” small offset crash test result by the IIHS to also qualify in 2016.

And the Safest 2016 3-row Family Vehicle is:

News: Acura Earns Highest Safety Ratings on ALL 2015 models. Two Dorel Boosters Re-Evaluated by IIHS.

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Acura Safety v3.0We commend Acura for achieving top overall ratings from the IIHS and NHTSA on every current model!  We awarded the Acura MDX honors as the safest 2015 SUV in a recent article, and would like to acknowledge vehicle manufacturers that place an emphasis on safety.  Acura claims to be the first and only auto manufacturer to earn a 5-star Overall vehicle score from the NHTSA NCAP program, AND a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS across its entire 2015 model line (IIHS TSP+ rating when equipped with collision mitigation braking systems).  Congrats!

CarseatBlog emphasizes crash test ratings and advanced safety features in all our auto reviews.  We strongly encourage other manufacturers to put safety first and to make crash test ratings a top priority for ALL vehicles, as Acura has done.  To put it simply, an NHTSA “5-star” overall rating and IIHS “Top Safety Pick” rating is something every buyer should require in a vehicle.  No new vehicles today should earn anything less than a “4-star” rating from the NHTSA or less than an “Acceptable” rating from the IIHS in any individual crash test result.  Period.

We also encourage all auto makers to equip advanced crash avoidance technologies as standard whenever possible, especially on top trim levels and luxury vehicles.  On economy models and lower trim levels, these features should be readily available in a relatively low cost options package.  All too often, collision mitigation braking systems necessary to qualify for the IIHS Top Safety Pick “+” aware are a hard-to-find option and only on the most expensive trim level.  Then you must tack on thousands of dollars more for a safety technology package, if you can even find one at all on dealer’s lots!  That type of obsolete marketing is NOT putting customers and safety first.

http://www.acura.com/PressReleaseArticle.aspx?category=general&year=2015&id=8699-en#~prcSoSMD1munS6

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booster_safety-1st_summit-65In other news, the IIHS is correcting two “BEST BET” booster recommendations from 2014.  The Eddie Bauer Deluxe Highback 65 and Safety 1st Summit 65 were given the top rating in error.  The revised rating is “Not Recommended”.  According to the IIHS:

The concern about the Eddie Bauer Deluxe Highback 65 and Safety 1st Summit 65, both manufactured by Dorel Juvenile, is that while the shoulder belt crosses the child’s body at the middle of the shoulder, it is positioned too far forward. In that position, the shoulder belt would be less effective in a crash.

The IIHS states that these models were inadvertently evaluated to the protocol used prior to 2014.  They also note that these ratings only apply to these models in booster mode, and DO NOT apply when used with the 5-point harness system.  Below, you can see the difference between a Good (left) and Poor (right) shoulder belt fit in regard to contact at the shoulder (courtesy of IIHS):

Booster-GOOD-FIT-IIHS (00000002) Booster-POOR-FIT-IIHS

www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/iihs-corrects-booster-ratings-2-best-bets-awarded-in-error