Safest Cars in 2024 - These Rated All 5 Stars in Every Category

2024 Model Year Cars That Scored 5 Stars In All Categories of NHTSA Crash Tests

What are the safest cars you can buy in 2024? Based on crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 14 cars have emerged so far with the highest ratings on their scoring system. These cars scored 5 stars in every category and we have curated the full list for you.

There were several vehicles which appeared on our list which also appeared on the IIHS "Top Safety Pick+":
- The Acura Integra 4 door hatchback
- Both Mazda3 configurations (Sedan and Hatchback)
- Honda Accord
- Genesis G80. (Electrified, and gas version made after October 2023

The implications of getting top scores in all categories across not one, but both of the major authorities on crash testing make the Integra, Mazda3, Accord and G80 the most compelling choices in this lineup.

The Cars in the Lineup

Each of these 2024 model year vehicles won 5 stars in each category of NHTSA crash testing - frontal, side and rollover.

2024 Acura INTEGRA

Acura Integra - 2024 top safety pick
The Acura Integra (4 door hatchback) also earned the IIIHS "Top SAFETY PICK+ designation in their small car category.

Structural Integrity and Design

The 2024 Acura INTEGRA is built on a platform that emphasizes structural rigidity and crashworthiness. The vehicle's body structure incorporates advanced high-strength steel in key areas to enhance protection during a collision. The use of these materials not only strengthens the frame but also strategically distributes crash energy away from the passenger cabin, minimizing injury risks during severe impacts. Moreover, the overall design incorporates crumple zones that are engineered to absorb and dissipate crash forces effectively, thereby protecting occupants.

Airbag Systems In terms of restraint systems, the 2024 Acura INTEGRA is equipped with an advanced airbag system that includes front airbags for the driver and front passenger, side curtain airbags that cover both rows of seats, and side-impact airbags. These airbags work in conjunction with seatbelt pretensioners to provide a comprehensive safety net. The airbag system is designed with occupant position detection, which adjusts the deployment of airbags based on the severity of the crash and the position of the occupants, reducing the risk of injury caused by airbag deployment itself.

Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems

The 2024 INTEGRA includes a suite of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) that elevate its safety profile. Key features include:

  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC): This system maintains a preset distance from the vehicle ahead, automatically adjusting the speed to maintain safe following distances.
  • Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS): This feature uses forward-facing cameras and radar to detect potential collisions, providing automatic braking if a collision is imminent and the driver has not yet responded.
  • Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS): It gently corrects steering to help keep the vehicle centered in its detected lane, reducing the risk of accidental lane departures.
  • Road Departure Mitigation System (RDMS): This system uses a camera to detect road markers and can provide steering assistance to help prevent the car from leaving the road.
  • Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR): The system recognizes and displays traffic sign information, keeping the driver aware of speed limits and other important road signs.

2024 Acura TLX

Acura TLX - 2024 top safety pick

Structural Integrity and Design

The 2024 Acura TLX 4 DR builds upon its reputation for safety with a body structure designed to withstand and mitigate the forces of a collision. Key to this design is the utilization of Acura's Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure. This proprietary technology enhances occupant protection by distributing crash energy more evenly throughout the front of the vehicle. Additionally, the TLX uses ultra-high-strength steel in critical areas such as the door frames, roof, and floor panels, significantly increasing the car’s overall structural integrity. By integrating these materials, the TLX is better equipped to handle different types of impacts, thus improving safety for all occupants.

Airbag Systems

In terms of airbag systems, the 2024 Acura TLX 4 DR is equipped with a comprehensive suite designed to offer maximum protection. The system includes:

  • Dual-stage, multiple-threshold front airbags (SRS), which are capable of adjusting their deployment based on the severity of the crash and the size and position of the occupants.
  • Front side airbags, which provide additional protection for the torso during side impact crashes.
  • Side curtain airbags with a rollover sensor that covers all windows, enhancing protection for all occupants in the event of a side impact or rollover.
  • A driver’s knee airbag which helps to keep the driver in the proper seating position and minimize injuries to the lower limbs during frontal collisions.

This diverse array of airbags ensures that passengers are safeguarded from multiple angles, reducing the risk of injuries associated with various types of impacts.

Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems

The TLX 4 DR includes an array of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) that leverage cutting-edge technology to enhance driving safety:

  • Traffic Jam Assist (TJA): This system complements Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow and Lane Keeping Assist System to help keep the vehicle in its lane and at a safe distance from the vehicle in front in congested traffic conditions.
  • Blind Spot Information System (BSI): Using sensors located around the vehicle, this system alerts the driver to vehicles in adjacent lanes that may not be visible in the side mirrors, greatly enhancing the driver’s ability to make safe lane changes.
  • AcuraWatch™: This suite includes features such as Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW), which employ forward-facing cameras to detect potential dangers on the road, warning the driver to take preventive actions.

2024 BMW 3 Series Sedan 4 DR

BMW 3 Series 4 DR Sedan - 2024 top safety pick

Structural Integrity and Design

The 2024 BMW 3 Series Sedan 4 DR maintains BMW's high standards of safety through its robust structural design, which incorporates advanced engineering techniques and materials. The core of the vehicle’s safety is its rigid body structure, which is constructed using high-strength steel and lightweight aluminum components. This hybrid construction not only reduces overall weight but also increases the vehicle's ability to absorb and dissipate energy effectively during a collision. Additionally, strategically placed crumple zones help to minimize the impact forces transmitted to the cabin, protecting occupants in various crash scenarios.

The use of multi-phase steels in critical areas such as the side pillars and roof enhances the structural integrity, ensuring that the vehicle can withstand severe impacts without compromising the passenger compartment. Moreover, the B-pillars incorporate reinforced material that provides extra protection in the event of a side collision.

Airbag Systems

  • Front airbags for both the driver and the front passenger, which deploy in two stages depending on the severity of the crash.
  • Side airbags integrated into the seat structures to offer better protection against side impacts.
  • Full-length side curtain airbags, which deploy from the roof to cover both front and rear windows, providing additional protection against head injuries during side collisions or rollovers.
  • An innovative knee airbag for the driver, which helps to protect the lower extremities and maintain proper body position during frontal impacts.

Each airbag is coupled with sophisticated sensors that tailor deployment strength and timing to the severity of the collision and the size and position of the passengers, thereby optimizing the protective effect.

Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems

The BMW 3 Series Sedan comes equipped with an impressive array of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) designed to enhance safety and driving comfort. These include:

  • Active Driving Assistant: This suite includes features such as Active Blind Spot Detection, which alerts drivers to vehicles in their blind spot; and Frontal Collision Warning with City Collision Mitigation, which automatically applies the brakes to prevent or lessen the severity of an impact.
  • Lane Departure Warning: This system uses cameras to detect lane markings and alerts the driver if the vehicle begins to drift out of its lane without signaling.
  • Dynamic Cruise Control: This system uses radar to maintain a set distance from the vehicle ahead, adjusting speed as necessary to keep pace with changing traffic conditions.
  • Parking Assistant Plus: This system helps drivers find suitable parking spaces and automatically steers the car into both parallel and perpendicular spots.

The BMW 3 Series Sedan also includes the optional Driving Assistant Professional package, which offers additional features such as Extended Traffic Jam Assistant for limited access highways, a system that provides semi-autonomous driving capabilities in traffic jams at speeds up to 37 mph.

2024 Cadillac CT5

Cadillac CT5 - 2024 top safety pick

Structural Integrity and Design

The 2024 Cadillac CT5 is built with a focus on high-strength materials and smart engineering to ensure maximum occupant safety. The vehicle's architecture employs a mixed-material construction strategy, utilizing ultra-high-strength steel and aluminum to provide a lightweight yet rigid frame. Key areas such as the door beams, roof rails, and floor pan are reinforced to improve structural rigidity and crash resilience. The strategic placement of these materials helps in effectively dissipating the energy during a crash, thereby reducing the impact felt inside the cabin.

Cadillac also incorporates advanced joining technologies, including laser welding and structural adhesives, which contribute to a stiffer body that can better withstand collisions. This is complemented by a safety cage construction that envelopes the passenger compartment, providing a protective shell that maintains its integrity during various crash scenarios.

Airbag Systems

The airbag system in the Cadillac CT5 is extensive and sophisticated, providing comprehensive coverage for all occupants:

  • Dual-stage frontal airbags for the driver and front passenger, which adjust their deployment based on the severity of the crash and occupant information.
  • Seat-mounted side-impact airbags for the front seats, designed to offer additional protection for the thorax and pelvis areas during side impacts.
  • Side curtain airbags that extend over both rows, inflating between occupants and the windows to mitigate head injuries in the event of a side collision or rollover.
  • A driver knee airbag, which helps to protect the lower limbs and reduce the risk of leg injuries in frontal collisions.
  • Additionally, the CT5 features rear outboard seat side-impact airbags, a relatively new addition aimed at improving protection for rear passengers in side-impact crashes.

These airbags are supported by sophisticated sensing systems that detect collision severity and occupant presence, ensuring that each airbag is deployed optimally to provide maximum protection.

Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems

The Cadillac CT5 is equipped with a comprehensive suite of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) that enhance safety through active technology and automation:

  • Super Cruise: An optional semi-autonomous driving system that allows hands-free driving on compatible highways, using LiDAR map data, cameras, radars, and GPS.
  • Automatic Emergency Braking: This system detects potential front-end collisions and can automatically apply the brakes if the driver has not already done so, reducing the severity of or possibly avoiding the crash.
  • Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning: This feature alerts the driver when the vehicle begins to drift out of its lane without signaling and can gently steer the car back to its correct position.
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert: When reversing, this system warns the driver of approaching traffic from either side, reducing the risk of collisions.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control: Maintains a preset distance from the vehicle ahead, adjusting speed automatically to keep pace with traffic flow.

2024 Genesis G80

Genesis G80 - 2024 top safety pick
The G80 comes in both a gas and electrified version. Both versions also earned the IIHS  "Top SAFETY PICK+ designation in their large luxury cars category. Note that they published a caveat that this award applies only to vehicles built after October 2023 if the gas version.

Structural Integrity and Design

The 2024 Genesis G80 is engineered with a focus on structural safety, incorporating high-strength steel and aluminum to create a robust yet lightweight frame. This luxury sedan uses a multi-load path structure, which enhances the vehicle's ability to absorb and distribute crash energy away from the passenger compartment. Key areas, including the A-pillars and roof structure, are reinforced to provide superior rollover protection.

Genesis employs hot-stamped and ultra-high-strength steel in critical areas to ensure durability and safety without compromising vehicle weight and performance. The use of advanced bonding techniques, such as structural adhesives and laser screw welding, further contributes to the overall rigidity of the vehicle, enhancing both safety and driving dynamics.

Airbag Systems

The Genesis G80 features an advanced airbag system designed to offer maximal protection in various types of collisions. This system includes:

  • Advanced dual front airbags, which deploy in two stages depending on the severity of the crash.
  • Front and rear side curtain airbags, providing head protection for both rows during a side impact or rollover.
  • Front-seat side airbags designed to protect the torso during a side impact.
  • A driver's knee airbag, which helps to stabilize the lower body and reduce injuries in severe frontal collisions.

In addition to these standard airbags, the G80 incorporates innovative technologies such as the center airbag. This relatively new feature deploys between the driver and the front passenger, aiming to prevent injuries caused by potential collisions between occupants in a side impact.

Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems

The 2024 Genesis G80 is equipped with a suite of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) that leverage sensors, cameras, and radar technologies to enhance vehicle safety and driver convenience. Noteworthy among these features are:

  • Highway Driving Assist II (HDA II), which combines lane following assist and adaptive cruise control to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle ahead while keeping the car centered in its lane. This system is particularly effective on highways, where it can adjust speed based on road conditions and traffic patterns.
  • Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), which uses camera and radar data to detect a potential collision with a vehicle, pedestrian, or cyclist ahead. If a risk is detected, the system alerts the driver and can apply the brakes if necessary to avoid or mitigate the impact.
  • Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist, which helps to prevent collisions with vehicles in the driver’s blind spot during lane changes by providing visual and auditory alerts and, if necessary, braking intervention.
  • A 360-degree camera system that offers a bird's-eye view around the vehicle, greatly enhancing maneuverability in tight spaces and improving safety when parking.

The G80 also introduces Remote Smart Parking Assist, which allows the car to be parked remotely via the key fob, ideal for tight parking spaces where opening doors might be challenging.

2024 Honda ACCORD 4 DR

Honda Accord - 2024 top safety pick
The Accord Sedan also earned the IIIHS "Top SAFETY PICK+ designation in their midsize car category.

Structural Integrity and Design

The 2024 Honda Accord continues to prioritize passenger safety through its advanced structural integrity and design. The vehicle's ACE (Advanced Compatibility Engineering) body structure is specifically engineered to help protect occupants in a variety of crash scenarios. This involves the use of high-tensile steel that not only enhances vehicle stiffness and durability but also effectively distributes crash energy across the front of the vehicle, thereby reducing the impact forces transmitted to the cabin.

The 2024 model incorporates additional reinforcements in the floor to improve torsional rigidity, which not only contributes to better handling but also increases the overall safety during side impacts. The pillars and roof are designed to support substantial weight, aiding in rollover protection and helping to maintain cabin integrity during severe collisions.

Airbag Systems

In terms of occupant protection, the 2024 Honda Accord is equipped with a comprehensive suite of airbags. This includes multi-stage front airbags that adjust the deployment rate based on the severity of the collision and the detected presence of a front passenger. Side curtain airbags extend from the front to the rear, offering head protection for all outboard occupants in the event of a side or rollover crash.

Additionally, the Accord features side airbags integrated into the front seats to provide extra torso protection and SmartVent airbags designed to deploy in a manner that minimizes the risk of injury from airbag inflation. The model also introduces knee airbags for both the driver and front passenger, which help in reducing leg injuries in frontal impacts.

Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS)

The Honda Accord 2024 is equipped with an extensive array of advanced driver-assistance systems that not only enhance safety but also improve the overall driving experience. The Honda Sensing Suite, standard across all models, includes features such as:

  • Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), which helps bring the car to a stop when a frontal collision seems unavoidable.
  • Road Departure Mitigation System (RDM), which can determine if the car is veering off the road and uses steering and braking to prevent departure.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow, which maintains a set following interval behind detected vehicles for highway driving.
  • Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), which subtly adjusts steering to help keep the vehicle centered in a detected lane.

The 2024 model also introduces Traffic Sign Recognition (TSR) that can automatically detect and alert the driver of speed limits and other road signs. Additionally, the Blind Spot Information System (BSI) with Cross Traffic Monitor alerts the driver to vehicles in blind spots during lane changes or when reversing.

2024 Kia EV6

Kia EV6 - 2024 top safety pick

Structural Integrity and Design

  • Utilizes a high-strength steel and aluminum frame that enhances the overall rigidity and crashworthiness of the vehicle.
  • Aerodynamically efficient design not only contributes to better driving dynamics but also reduces the risk of injury by minimizing impact forces in a collision.
  • Features crumple zones that are strategically engineered to absorb and disperse energy during a crash, protecting the cabin and its occupants.

Airbag Systems

  • Equipped with advanced, multi-stage airbags that include dual front advanced airbags, dual front side airbags, and full-length side curtain airbags.
  • Features a driver's knee airbag to reduce injuries in the event of a frontal collision by restricting the lower body movement.
  • Incorporates advanced sensors that assess the severity of an impact and control airbag inflation accordingly to optimize occupant protection.

Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS)

  • Equipped with a comprehensive suite of ADAS technologies to enhance driving safety and convenience.
  • Includes Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with pedestrian, cyclist, and vehicle detection that helps prevent accidents or reduce their severity by applying emergency braking if necessary.
  • Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) and Lane Following Assist (LFA) help keep the vehicle centered in its lane.
  • Blind-Spot Collision Avoidance Assist alerts the driver to vehicles in blind spots and can intervene to help prevent a collision.
  • Smart Cruise Control adapts the vehicle's speed to maintain a safe distance from the car ahead.
  • Highway Driving Assist assists with driving tasks such as speed control and lane positioning on highways, reducing driver fatigue and enhancing safety.
  • Equipped with a Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist system that warns the driver of vehicles approaching from the sides while reversing.

2024 Mazda Mazda3 Sedan

Mazda3 Sedan - 2024 top safety pick
The Mazda3 Sedan also earned the IIIHS "Top SAFETY PICK+ designation in their small car category.

Structural Integrity and Design

  • The 2024 Mazda Mazda3 Hatchback features a robust chassis engineered with high-strength steel that enhances both the vehicle's stability and crash resilience.
  • Designed with enhanced safety cage construction, the hatchback provides superior protection, aiming to maintain cabin integrity and distribute crash forces away from occupants during collisions.
  • Incorporates strategically placed reinforcements in key areas such as the doors and roof to bolster structural safety and reduce potential injury from side impacts.

Airbag Systems

  • Equipped with comprehensive airbag coverage, including advanced dual front airbags, front side-impact airbags, and side curtain airbags that extend protection to both front and rear occupants.
  • The hatchback models also benefit from the use of airbag systems that feature adaptive deployment, which adjusts the inflation rate based on the severity of the collision and occupant details, ensuring optimal protection.

Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS)

  • Offers a suite of advanced safety technologies aimed at preventing accidents and enhancing driver confidence. Key features include:
    • Smart Brake Support with collision warning that activates in imminent crash scenarios to reduce impact or prevent collisions altogether.
    • Adaptive Front-lighting System that adjusts the beam direction of the headlights based on vehicle speed and steering angle to improve visibility during nighttime driving.
    • Lane Departure Warning System with Lane-Keep Assist, which alerts the driver when the vehicle begins to drift out of its lane without signaling and can gently guide the car back to the correct lane.
    • Mazda Radar Cruise Control with Stop & Go function maintains a set speed and safe following distance from the vehicle ahead, adjusting to the flow of traffic and bringing the vehicle to a stop if necessary.
    • Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Blind Spot Monitoring enhance situational awareness and assist in preventing accidents during lane changes or when reversing.

2024 Mazda Mazda3 Hatchback

Mazda3 Hatchback - 2024 top safety pick
The Mazda3 Hatchback also earned the IIIHS "Top SAFETY PICK+ designation in their small car category.

Structural Safety Features

  • Impact-Resistant Body Design: The 2024 Mazda Mazda3 Hatchback incorporates a body structure specifically engineered to withstand high-impact collisions, utilizing reinforced materials at critical points to ensure durability and safety.
  • Enhanced Safety Cage Structure: The vehicle’s safety cage has been meticulously designed to protect the occupants by absorbing and redirecting crash forces away from the passenger compartment, minimizing injury risks during an accident.

Airbag System and Placements

  • Dual Front Advanced Airbags: Located in the steering wheel and the passenger-side dashboard, these airbags deploy in a manner that maximizes efficiency and minimizes injury, adapting to the specifics of the crash and occupant conditions.
  • Driver's and Front Passenger's Knee Airbags: These are designed to prevent leg injuries in the event of a severe crash by cushioning the space between the occupant and the vehicle's lower dashboard and steering column.

Advanced Safety Technologies and Driver-Assistance Systems

  • Mazda Radar Cruise Control with Stop & Go: This system automatically controls the speed of the Mazda3 Hatchback to maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle ahead. It can bring the vehicle to a stop and resume speed in heavy traffic conditions.
  • Lane Departure Warning System with Lane-Keep Assist: Alerts the driver when the vehicle begins to drift from its lane unintentionally. The Lane-Keep Assist can make slight steering corrections to help guide the vehicle back to the center of the lane.
  • Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring: Uses sensors on the rear of the car to monitor areas that the driver cannot easily see. If another vehicle is detected in one of the Mazda3’s blind spots, the system alerts the driver with a warning light in the corresponding side mirror.
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert: This system helps when reversing from parking spaces where the driver’s view of oncoming traffic is obstructed. It provides audible and visual alerts if an approaching vehicle from the sides is detected.
  • Front and Rear Parking Sensors: To aid in maneuvering in tight spaces, these sensors provide audible warnings to prevent collisions with obstacles in front of or behind the vehicle.

These structural enhancements, airbag systems, and advanced safety technologies collectively form a comprehensive safety framework for the 2024 Mazda Mazda3 Hatchback, ensuring protection and peace of mind for its occupants.

2024 Polestar 2

Polesar 2 - 2024 top safety pick

Structural Integrity and Design

  • High-Strength Steel Frame: The 2024 Polestar 2 leverages a high-strength steel frame designed to provide robust passenger protection and improve overall vehicle stability.
  • Aluminum Body Components: Incorporation of aluminum in key areas reduces the vehicle's weight while maintaining structural integrity, aiding in both efficiency and safety.

Airbag System

  • Front-Impact Airbags: These airbags are placed in the front to protect the driver and front passenger in the event of a frontal collision.
  • Side Impact Airbags: Installed in the seats, these airbags offer protection against side impacts.
  • Overhead Airbags: Deployed from above, these airbags help to protect occupants’ heads in the event of a rollover or side collision.
  • Knee Airbags: Situated under the dashboard, these airbags protect the lower extremities of both the driver and the front passenger from serious injuries during severe impacts.

Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems

  • Auto Emergency Braking (Interurban): This system detects vehicles and other obstacles in front of the Polestar 2, automatically applying the brakes if a potential collision is detected.
  • Electronic Stability Control: Enhances the vehicle’s stability by detecting and reducing loss of traction during sharp turns or sudden movements.
  • Lane Keep Assist: Monitors the vehicle’s position within the lane, automatically steering the car gently back into the lane if it begins to drift without signaling.
  • Driver Attention Detection: This system evaluates the driver’s alertness and can issue alerts if signs of fatigue or distraction are detected.

2024 Subaru Impreza

Subaru Impreza - 2024 top safety pick

Structural Integrity and Design

  • Reinforced Body Structure: The 2024 Subaru Impreza features a reinforced body structure that significantly increases its crashworthiness and ability to safeguard passengers in the event of a collision. Key areas of reinforcement include the chassis and door frames, designed to absorb and dissipate energy efficiently.
  • Advanced Use of Materials: Subaru employs high-tensile steel in critical areas which enhances the overall structural rigidity without adding excessive weight, thus maintaining the vehicle's efficiency and performance characteristics. This material choice improves resistance against various impact types.

Airbag System

  • Comprehensive Airbag Coverage: The 2024 Impreza includes multiple airbags strategically positioned around the cabin to provide comprehensive protection. This includes dual front advanced airbags, side curtain airbags, and seat-side pelvis/torso airbags.
  • Driver's Knee Airbag: To protect against lower limb injuries during severe impact scenarios, a knee airbag is provided for the driver, which is particularly effective during frontal collisions.
  • Whiplash Protection: Front seats are equipped with a sophisticated mechanism designed to mitigate whiplash injuries, which works in synergy with the airbag system during rear-end collisions.

Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems

  • EyeSight Driver Assist Technology: Standard across all trims, this system includes features like adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, and lane keep assist. It uses dual color cameras and works effectively in varying traffic conditions to reduce the risk of accidents.
  • Automatic Pre-Collision Braking: If the vehicle detects an imminent collision and the driver has not applied brakes, the system automatically engages the brakes, potentially avoiding impacts or reducing collision severity.
  • Lane Departure and Sway Warning with Lane Keep Assist: Alerts the driver when the vehicle begins to drift from its lane without signaling, and can gently guide the car back to its lane.
  • Blind-Spot Detection and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert: Optional systems that enhance situational awareness. Blind-spot detection alerts drivers to vehicles in their blind spot during lane changes, while rear cross-traffic alert warns of approaching vehicles when reversing out of parking spaces.

2024 Subaru Legacy

Subaru Legacy - 2024 top safety pick

Structural Integrity and Design

  • Enhanced Frame Design: The 2024 Subaru Legacy enhances its structural integrity through the use of reinforced frame components, designed to provide better stability and improved impact resistance.
  • Energy-Absorbing Construction: The vehicle incorporates energy-absorbing materials around key areas like the engine bay and cabin space to minimize the effects of collisions on occupants.
  • Increased Use of High-Tensile Steel: High-tensile steel usage in the vehicle’s structure is strategically increased to improve safety without significantly adding to the vehicle's weight, aiding both efficiency and protective capabilities.

Airbag System

  • Comprehensive Eight-Airbag Layout: The Legacy is equipped with a total of eight airbags, including advanced dual-stage deployable front airbags, side-curtain airbags for both front and rear passengers, seat-side pelvis/torso airbags, and knee airbags for the driver.
  • Subaru Advanced Frontal Airbag System: This system employs sensors to gauge the severity of an impact and adjusts airbag deployment accordingly. This nuanced approach helps in reducing the risk of airbag-related injuries while providing optimal protection.
  • Rear Seat Cushion Airbags: Unique to the segment, these airbags help to protect rear occupants’ knees and lower extremities during front or side impacts.

Advanced Safety and Driver-Assistance Technologies

  • EyeSight Driver Assist Technology: This flagship system includes adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane departure and sway warning, and lane keep assist. It utilizes dual cameras to monitor traffic movement, optimizes cruise control, and warns drivers if they sway outside their lane.
  • DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System: Utilizing facial recognition software, this system alerts drivers if their attention to the road seems compromised. This feature is particularly effective for preventing accidents due to distraction.
  • Blind-Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert: These systems enhance peripheral awareness, alerting the driver to vehicles in their blind spot during lane changes or when reversing.
  • Reverse Automatic Braking: This feature helps avoid collisions by automatically applying the brakes if an obstacle is detected behind the vehicle while reversing.

2024 Tesla Model Y

Tesla Model Y - 2024 top safety pick

Structural Integrity and Safety-Centric Design

  • Reinforced Frame and Chassis: The Tesla Model Y employs a reinforced aluminum and steel frame. This structure not only provides rigidity but also enhances safety by distributing collision forces away from the passenger compartment.
  • Low Center of Gravity: Due to the placement of its heavy battery pack along the base, the Model Y enjoys a very low center of gravity, significantly reducing the risk of rollovers, one of the most common causes of serious road injuries in SUVs.
  • Crumple Zones: Strategically designed crumple zones help absorb and dissipate energy during collisions, reducing the impact transmitted to occupants.

Airbag System

  • Advanced Multi-Airbag Protection: The Model Y is equipped with a comprehensive suite of airbags, including front, side, knee, and overhead airbags that deploy based on the severity of a crash.
  • Innovations in Airbag Functionality: The airbags in the Model Y are intelligent; they can adjust their level of inflation depending on the size and position of the passengers and the intensity of the crash. This nuanced response helps to maximize protection while minimizing potential airbag-related injuries.

Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS)

  • Autopilot: The Model Y comes standard with Tesla’s advanced Autopilot system, which includes features like auto lane keeping, traffic-aware cruise control, and autosteering. These functions significantly reduce the driver's workload during highway driving and help mitigate human error.
  • Full Self-Driving (FSD) Capability: An optional upgrade in the Model Y, the FSD package introduces navigational autonomy from highway on-ramp to off-ramp, automatic parking, and summon feature where the car comes to you in a parking lot.
  • Active Safety Features: Standard across all Model Y vehicles, these include automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, and blind-spot monitoring, which actively contribute to preventing accidents before they happen.
  • Sentry Mode and TeslaCam: These features turn the vehicle’s external cameras into a surveillance system when the car is parked. Sentry Mode alerts owners of potential threats through their mobile app, while TeslaCam records footage that can be useful in case of incidents or theft.

2024 Toyota Camry

Toyota Camry - 2024 top safety pick

Structural Integrity and Design

  • Reinforced Body Structure: The 2024 Toyota Camry enhances occupant safety through a rigid body structure that utilizes high-tensile strength steel. This design aids in better energy absorption in the event of a collision.
  • Impact-Absorbing Frame: The vehicle's frame is specifically engineered to distribute collision forces around the passenger compartment, thereby reducing the impact felt by occupants and increasing protection against side and frontal impacts.

Airbag Systems

  • Comprehensive Airbag Coverage: The Toyota Camry is equipped with an advanced airbag system, including dual stage, multiple-threshold front airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, and rear-seat-mounted side airbags.
  • SRS (Supplemental Restraint System): This system includes airbags that are intelligently designed to deploy in a way that maximizes the protection of occupants based on the severity of the collision and the position of the seats.

Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS)

  • Toyota Safety Sense™ 3.0: This suite includes advanced features such as Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, and Automatic High Beams.
  • Star Safety System™: Offers enhanced vehicle stability control, traction control, anti-lock brake system, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, and smart stop technology.
  • Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert: Helps to enhance the awareness of the driver by detecting vehicles in the vehicle’s blind spot during lane changes or when reversing.
  • Parking Assist with Automatic Braking: This feature helps to avoid potential collisions during parking by detecting objects and applying brake force if necessary.
  • Road Sign Assist: Utilizes a forward-facing intelligent camera to detect speed limit signs, stop signs, Do Not Enter signs, and yield signs, displaying them on the Camry’s multi-information display.

Additional Safety Technologies

  • Adaptive Headlights: These headlights adjust the direction and range of the light beam to the steering angle and vehicle speed, improving night-time visibility and reducing glare for other drivers.
  • Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan: Offers a panoramic overhead view of the car’s surroundings while parking, which helps in maneuvering in tight spaces.
  • Intelligent Clearance Sonar with Rear Cross-Traffic Braking: This system helps to reduce the likelihood of collisions by detecting stationary objects, approaching vehicles and pedestrians both in front and behind the vehicle when parking.
  • Safety Connect: Offers emergency assistance, stolen vehicle locator, roadside assistance, and automatic collision notification available 24/7 to ensure help is on the way when needed.

Background of the Crash Tests

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) operates a rigorous vehicle safety testing program. NHTSA's testing protocol can be broken down into a series of components designed to assess various dimensions of a vehicle's safety.

Frontal Crash Tests: Vehicles are subjected to 35-mph frontal impacts, simulating a collision with a similar vehicle.

Side Crash Tests: These evaluate protection in side-impact collisions, using a 3,015-pound barrier at 38.5 mph.

Rollover Resistance: NHTSA tests how vehicles perform to determine their rollover risk, which is a critical aspect for taller, top-heavy vehicles.

Safety Ratings: After conducting these tests, vehicles are awarded up to five stars; the highest rating indicates the best possible injury protection.

The 5-Star Safety Ratings provide consumers with information on crash protection and rollover safety. A vehicle scoring five stars in all categories denotes the highest safety level according to NHTSA standards. For more specifics on the various crash tests performed by NHTSA, enthusiasts can view details on the Research Testing Databases

Other Safety Ratings - IIHS Selections

The cars featured in the post were limited to those which were NHTSA 5 star rated. Another organization, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a nonprofit that does extensive crash testing and safety evaluation, releases its picks each year based on their own testing criteria.

There were several vehicles which appeared on our list which also appeared on the IIHS "Top Safety Pick+" namely, The Acura Integra 4 door hatchback, both Mazda3 configurations, the Honda Accord, and the Genesis G80.

IIHS Safety Evaluation Overview

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has established a comprehensive framework for evaluating vehicle safety. This includes examining several components of crashworthiness such as the moderate overlap front, both the driver-side and passenger-side small overlap front, and side tests. In the realm of prevention and visibility, it assesses headlight systems and front crash prevention systems, including pedestrian detection. The IIHS further rates the effectiveness of seat belt reminders and inspects the ease of use of the LATCH system, which is essential for securing child seats.

Crashworthiness Tests:

  • Moderate Overlap Front Test: Vehicles are propelled at 40 mph to hit a barrier covering 40% of the vehicle's width on the driver side, simulating a head-on collision.
  • Small Overlap Front Tests: Involve 25% of the vehicle's front width impacting a barrier at 40 mph, focusing on the vehicle's structure's outer edges.

These assessments check both how well the vehicle absorbs crash energy and how effectively it shields occupants:

Key Metrics:

  • Structural Performance: Evaluates the level of cabin intrusion
  • Injury Measures: Uses sensors in crash test dummies to predict injury risks
  • Dummy Kinematics: Analyzes how dummies move during impact to gauge potential occupant motion

Front Crash Prevention Systems: Evaluated on their ability to avoid or mitigate collisions with other vehicles and pedestrians.

Headlight Performance: Rates the quality of illumination provided by the vehicle's headlights under different conditions and configurations.

Through this multifaceted approach, the IIHS aims to provide a robust picture of vehicle safety. These evaluations not only rate the cars but also help consumers make informed decisions about their purchasing options. The results reflect significant developments in vehicle safety over the years, providing crucial data on the real-world performance of these safety systems.

Crashworthiness Tests

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) utilizes a series of crashworthiness examinations to evaluate the protective capabilities of vehicles during collisions. These tests assess the structural integrity of the vehicle, the potential for injury to occupants, and the effectiveness of restraint systems.

Moderate Overlap Front Test

The Moderate Overlap Front Test simulates a common type of frontal collision. A vehicle collides with a barrier at 40 mph, impacting with 40% of the driver's side front width. The crash test named for its moderate overlap mimics an incident where two vehicles of similar size collide at slightly lower speeds. Reinforced structures in the occupant compartment maintain their form, allowing seat belts and airbags to adequately protect occupants. Recent enhancements include the use of an additional dummy, akin to a small woman or a 12-year-old child, situated in the rear seat to gauge protection levels for all passengers.

Driver-Side Small Overlap Front Test

As of 2012, the Driver-Side Small Overlap Front Test has been assessing how well the vehicle's left front side endures collisions with immovable objects or vehicles. Traveling at 40 mph in this scenario, only 25% of the vehicle's front width on the driver's side bears the brunt of the crash. The challenge lies in the vehicle's edge-most structure and the potential intrusion into the driver's space, often causing significant lower limb injuries. An effective survival space requires enhanced protection beyond the typical central crush-zone structures.

Passenger-Side Small Overlap Front Test

Developed in response to the inconsistencies recognized in driver and passenger side protection, the Passenger-Side Small Overlap Front Test mirrors its driver-side counterpart. Both sides of the vehicle require equal fortification as this test introduces an impact on the vehicle's right side to ascertain safety for passengers. Predominantly, contemporary vehicles now obtain positive ratings in regards to passenger-safety against such challenging collisions.

Side Impact Test

The Side Impact Test assesses the safeguarding capabilities of vehicles when struck on the side. During this evaluation, a vehicle is subjected to an object striking its side at 31 mph, testing the vehicle’s side protection features such as airbags and the structural strength of the doors and pillars. This test aims to replicate a "T-bone" collision scenario, which could potentially happen at intersections.

Roof Strength Test

The Roof Strength Test measures a vehicle's ability to withstand a rollover. Pressure is applied to one side of the vehicle's roof at a gradual rate, and the force required to crush the roof by five inches is recorded. Stronger roofs indicate better rollover protection, reducing the risk of injury when a vehicle is inverted.

Head Restraints & Seats Test

In the Head Restraints & Seats Test, the focus is on evaluating the potential for neck injuries during a rear-end collision. The test examines the seat’s ability to support the head and neck in a simulated rear-impact scenario, specifically looking at the restraint's geometry and dynamic support. A well-designed head restraint minimizes backward movement of the head and neck during a crash, thereby reducing the risk of whiplash.

The crashworthiness tests delineated above are critical in the IIHS's assessment process, and they contribute significantly to vehicle safety improvement initiatives. They offer invaluable insights into the resilience of vehicles against various types of collisions, ensuring enhanced protection for occupants.

Crash Avoidance and Mitigation

Evaluations for crash avoidance and mitigation focus on systems that prevent crashes or lessen their severity. These include testing the effectiveness of front crash prevention systems and the adequacy of vehicle headlights.

Front Crash Prevention

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) scrutinizes vehicles for their capability to prevent collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians. These front crash prevention systems are assessed through a range of tests that examine how well a car can recognize and respond to imminent crashes. This evaluation takes into account the following aspects:

  • Automatic Breaking: Vehicles are tested at different speeds to determine their ability to avoid a crash or reduce speeds by applying brakes automatically without driver intervention.
  • Forward Collision Warning: Cars are evaluated on their ability to alert the driver to an impending collision with a visual, auditory, or haptic signal.

Vehicles receive ratings of basic, advanced, or superior depending on their success in preventing collisions or reducing impact speed during testing.

Headlight Evaluation

IIHS also rates a vehicle's headlights for how well they illuminate the road and for the presence of glare for oncoming drivers. To properly evaluate headlights, the following parameters are examined:

  • Visibility: Measurements of the distance at which the light is projected and the distribution of light on straightaways and curves.
  • Glare: Assessment of the intensity and control of light that might blind oncoming traffic.

The ratings for headlights range from poor to good. Good-rated headlights provide better visibility and less glare and substantially enhance nighttime safety.

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