15 Safest Cars You Can Buy, According to IIHS

2018 Subaru Outback
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IIHS Announces Top Safety Pick+ Awards

When you’re shopping for a new car, you want to know that you are protected if collisions occur. Fortunately, cars are getting safer, with improved materials, engineering, and high-tech active safety features included on vehicles in every price class.

Safety is a critical factor for many car buyers, who rely on crash test results from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to help them decide. At U.S. News Best Cars, we use ratings from both organizations to form our safety scores.

“The improvements in occupant protection have been amazing over the past decades,” said IIHS President Adrian Lund. “All automakers now recognize the important role of safety in consumer choice, and they are increasingly receptive to working with our engineers to understand the next steps in keeping people from harm in motor vehicle crashes and to make real changes in their vehicle designs.”

The IIHS strengthened the requirements necessary to achieve their premiere Top Safety Pick+ score for 2018. A total of 15 vehicles met the stringent tests and earned the TSP+ honor. For the 2018 edition of the testing, their ratings include stricter headlight performance standards.

"Headlights have long been treated as design elements instead of the critical safety equipment that they are," said Lund. "We're pleased to see this changing.”

The IIHS also called for better protection for the front passenger in small overlap front crashes. The small offset crash test simulates a collision at the front corner of the vehicle that misses the car's most robust crash structures. The organization had already been testing driver-side small overlap crashes for several years.

Of the 15 winners, Korean brands Kia, Hyundai, and Genesis (which share corporate ownership) lead the pack with six wins. Japanese automaker Subaru is second with four wins, followed by German automaker Mercedes-Benz with two. Toyota, BMW, and Lincoln each have one win.

An additional 47 vehicles earn the slightly less stringent IIHS Top Safety Pick rating.

Take a look at the following slides to see this year’s class of Top Safety Pick+ award winners.

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