Safest Car Models in the U.S. with Safety Crash Ratings


Incorporating specific safety crash ratings into our discussion on the safest car models in the United States adds another layer of valuable information for potential buyers. Safety ratings, provided by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), offer insights into how vehicles perform in various crash scenarios, from frontal collisions to side impacts and rollovers. Here, we delve deeper into some of the safest car models, highlighting their safety ratings and the features that contribute to these ratings.

Understanding IIHS and NHTSA Ratings

The IIHS ratings include tests for front small overlap, front moderate overlap, side impact, roof strength, and head restraints & seats. The ratings are Good, Acceptable, Marginal, or Poor. The IIHS also awards the Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ distinctions to vehicles that achieve the best performance across these tests and have advanced safety features.

The NHTSA evaluates vehicles in frontal crash, side crash, and rollover tests, assigning them a star rating from one to five, with five being the best. These ratings help consumers compare vehicles’ safety features and crash protection.

1. Subaru Outback

  • IIHS Rating: Top Safety Pick+
  • NHTSA Rating: 5 stars overall
    The Subaru Outback is renowned for its safety, featuring outstanding performance in crashworthiness tests. It achieves Good ratings (the highest) in all IIHS crashworthiness tests and includes superior-rated front crash prevention systems. The NHTSA awarded it 5 stars in its overall safety rating, reflecting its excellent performance in frontal and side crash tests, as well as rollover resistance.

2. Toyota Camry

  • IIHS Rating: Top Safety Pick+
  • NHTSA Rating: 5 stars overall
    The Toyota Camry excels in safety, receiving Good ratings in all IIHS crashworthiness categories and the highest honor of Top Safety Pick+. It’s equipped with Toyota Safety Sense technologies that contribute to its superior front crash prevention capabilities. The NHTSA’s 5-star overall rating underscores its robust safety in various crash scenarios.

3. Honda Insight

  • IIHS Rating: Top Safety Pick+
  • NHTSA Rating: 5 stars overall
    The Honda Insight stands out for its comprehensive safety features, securing a Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS with Good ratings across all crashworthiness tests and superior front crash prevention. The NHTSA mirrors this sentiment with a 5-star overall safety rating, highlighting the vehicle’s excellent performance in protecting occupants during collisions.

4. Mazda CX-5

  • IIHS Rating: Top Safety Pick+
  • NHTSA Rating: 5 stars overall
    The Mazda CX-5 is a testament to Mazda’s commitment to safety, earning a Top Safety Pick+ for its Good ratings in IIHS crashworthiness tests and advanced safety features. Its 5-star overall rating from the NHTSA further confirms its status as one of the safest cars available, demonstrating superior protection in crash tests.

5. Hyundai Sonata

  • IIHS Rating: Top Safety Pick+
  • NHTSA Rating: 5 stars overall
    The Hyundai Sonata achieves top marks for safety, with a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS, thanks to its Good ratings in crash tests and advanced safety technologies. The NHTSA’s 5-star overall rating is a testament to its ability to protect occupants during frontal, side, and rollover crashes.

Key Safety Features Impacting Ratings

These models boast several safety features that significantly impact their ratings, including:

  • Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB): Detects potential collisions and automatically applies the brakes to prevent or mitigate the crash.
  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Keeping Assist (LKA): Alerts drivers when the vehicle begins to drift out of its lane and can automatically steer the car back.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC): Maintains a preset speed and distance from the vehicle ahead, adjusting speed as necessary.
  • Blind Spot Detection (BSD): Warns drivers of vehicles in their blind spot during lane changes.


The safety of a vehicle is a critical factor in the buying process, and understanding the crash test ratings from reputable organizations like the IIHS and NHTSA can guide consumers toward making the safest choice. The Subaru Outback, Toyota Camry, Honda Insight, Mazda CX-5, and Hyundai Sonata are among the top performers in safety ratings, reflecting their manufacturers’ dedication to passenger protection. By choosing a vehicle with high safety ratings and advanced safety features, consumers can significantly enhance their protection on the road.